Gilbert Melendez believes he’s the best lightweight fighter in the business, and tonight against Tatsuya Kawajiri he gave everyone watching a demonstration of exactly why.
Right from the opening bell Melendez was dominating, momentarily dropping Kawajiri with a right hand. Looking very sharp he continued to have success with his right hand, but everything he was throwing was landing, from knees to elbows, and Kawajiri was left dazed and confused.
Living up to his ‘El Nino’ nickname, Melendez continued to storm into Kawajiri, and after the Japanese fighter failed on a takedown attempt, Melendez showed him how it’s done moments later with one of his own.
Melendez then made full use of the newly implemented rule in Strikeforce allowing elbows from the mat, dropping several vicious strikes that bounced Kawajiri’s head off the mat and forced the referee to jump in to save him from further punishment.
This was a hugely impressive display from Melendez, showing just how far he’s come since his last fight with Kawajiri back in 2006.
There’s now likely to be renewed calls for the Strikeforce champion to take on the best the UFC has to offer at lightweight, and rightly so. It remains to be seen if Zuffa will oblige, or will continue to keep the two promotions separate, but performances like this will certainly give them plenty of food for thought.