As a good portion of the MMA community already expected, Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez will take to the cage on January 12 and defend his title against streaking veteran Pat Healy. The bout had been rumored since Strikeforce first announced the event, though Melendez’s presence on the card hadn’t been confirmed until recently based on his need to recover from an injury he suffered in September.
Strikeforce officials announced the Melendez-Healy bout this week in addition to confirming other clashes between Daniel Cormier-Dion Staring, Nate Marquardt-Tarec Saffiedine, and Luke Rockhold-Lorenz Larkin. Also revealed, the show will take place in Oklahoma City. The organization initially planned to stop in OKC earlier this month for a similarly-styled lineup though ultimately scrapped it based a string of health-related issues coupled with the inability to fill the vacancies due to the roster’s relative lack of depth.
Melendez has been considered as one of the top three lightweights for some time, racking up an overall record of 21-2 including wins in his last seven scraps. However, he has been out of action since May when he narrowly outpointed Josh Thomson.
Meanwhile, the 28-16 Healy has come out with his hand raised in five straight. While “Bam Bam” has certainly looked sharp as of late, he also holds a number of impressive wins from earlier in his career including success against the likes of Dan Hardy, Paul Daley, and Carlos Condit.
The January 12 show is rumored to be the final offering from Strikeforce before the organization folds.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE