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Gilbert Melendez vs. Shinya Aoki set for Strikeforce title on April 17

A fight for the Strikeforce lightweight championship is expected to take place between Gilbert Melendez and DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki in April.

The news of the anticipated match-up was first reported by Josh Gross from

Apparently the bout will be only for the Strikeforce portion of the title, while Aoki’s DREAM portion would be safe and sound.

The pair of champions are expected to clash on April 17 during a Struikeforce card likely for the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Melendez will be making the first defense of the crown he unified with a December “5 Oz. Fight of the Year” victory over Josh Thomson, while Aoki was last seen snapping Mizuto Hirota’s arm in two and giving him the middle finger during “Dynamite!! 2009” on New Years Eve .

  • Jak says:

    I guess the only thing i’d be concerned of is if Aoki were to win… would he be defending the SF belt anytime soon or would DREAM take priority?

    Not that Cung Le and Alistair Overeem have taught us anything about fighters who have SF belts.

  • Rece Rock says:

    As stated in my earlier posts…..

    Melendez’s belts on the line but the Dream LW belt isn’t ??? soooo if shinya aoki wins he goes back to japan with the SF belt and can pull an Overeem if he feels like it or only come fight in the US once every like year in a half… way to go Coker, that’s the way to make sure you have fighting champions in your promotion…

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Makes sense to only have the SF belt up since it is by SF rules and not Dream rules. Should be a good fight, I dont think Aoki will have the submission advantage he usually comes in with, and Melendez looked great in his last fight striking so hopefully he can ko Aoki.

  • Rece Rock says:

    fanoftna33 –

    the Dream belt isn’t up for grabs because dream execs know Melendez isn’t going over seas to defend as often as they would like when he has a belt and a comfortable position in the states… but Coker on the other hand enjoys when his champs don’t defend there belt for months and years…

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Rece Rock,
    I dont think Coker enjoys it, I think he is really trying to compete with the ufc and making these types of matches is what it is going to take. I am not a huge fan of risking your title for nothing but bragging rights and being able to say your champ beat one of the top fighters in the LW division. But its aggressive matchmaking like this we will never see in the ufc that really makes me want to watch every SF event.

  • Jak says:

    Still… between this Hendo/Shields, Mo/Mousasi, Rogers/AA…. some very nice looking fights.

    Although it is pretty funny that Lawal gets a title shot for beating Mike Whitehead.

  • Rece Rock says:


    If i wanted to see anything aggressive out of Coker it would have been to strip Overeem of the belt months ago and I really wouldn’t think aggressive match making was the cause for a Overeem/ Rogers bout… I could describe the creation of that bout alot of ways but aggressive match making would not be one of them.

  • xtreme_machine says:

    in this fight people will see their little japanese hero Aoki get his @ss handed to him and put to sleep via KO

    WAR! El Ni?o

  • Rece Rock says:

    I hope they don’t let him wear those awful pants…

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Rece Rock,
    Completly agree on stripping Overeem of the belt. I think maybe Coker is putting the best available fighter against Overeem here and hopeing for Rogers to win, and Coker probably knows a title fight means a automatic drug test for Overeem and who knows if he will agree to that.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    They let Beerbohlm wear his, and compaired to them Aoki is in slacks.

  • Rece Rock says:


    Yea thats what I meant… Besides the funky colors, he uses them to gain friction on his opponent… I don’t know what SF thinks about that?

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Aoki is a big name so he can probably get away with a lot more than your average fighter, and if he isnt allowed to wear them it’s a ready made excuse for him losing.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Doesn’t SF ban elbows to a downed opponent? Having to eat elbows while in his guard would be a game-changer for Aoki regardless of his trousers.

  • edub says:

    fanoftna33: Makes sense to only have the SF belt up since it is by SF rules and not Dream rules.


    Who knows if Gilbert will be able to keep Aoki off of him. His wrestling looks much better, but Aoki has put better wrestlers on their back before. If it goes to the ground I can’t see Gilbert surviving. Aoki won’t even have to deal with elbows if he ends up on the bottom.

    The pants thing is an iffy subject. There are definately ways to get around the shorts rule (i.e. Sotiropolous), but I can’t see california officials okaying the “grappling” pants.

  • hindsightufuk says:


  • Makington says:

    Melendez’s fight with Thomson made a super believer out of me. Gilbert made Josh look like a chump while putting on easily my pick for Fight of the Year just as the year ended. I think Gilbert wins this fight on pressure. Too much action coming at Shinya too fast and he’ll tire him out, eventually earning a TKO.

    We all know how well japanese traditionally fair when going up against bigger stronger American wrestlers, and I know how good Aoki is, but I don’t see this being any different.

  • Carvaggio says:

    i like melendez in this one but if i were Aoki the first thing i’d do is make the ref check out how greasy Gilbert is before the fight. when he fought ishida the 2nd time that was the first time i’ve ever thought that a fighter had already looked greased going into a fight and then ishida made a complaint afterwards about him greasing (& it made sense that in japan – where they towel you off – ishida took Gil down at will but in SF he couldn’t… (Anyway go ahead & downvote me to oblivion due to siding with a foreigner rather than the american.)

  • Makington says:


    oh wait, good point.


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