Later this year, Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will put his title on the line against Jorge Masvidal. The announcement of this fight is sensible for the organization but should also serve as the last title fight in the promotion for numerous reasons.
The lightweight and middleweight divisions are the only current classes where a reigning champion is present and scheduled to defend their title. Ronaldo Souza will defend his 185 lb. strap in September; the welterweight title is vacant, the light heavyweight belt walked away with Hendo and The Demolition Man was fired before the division grand prix was over, let alone a champion determined.
This show is over people and the only ones who think everything is “business as usual” are those who want to think it is. Let the winner or Melendez-Masvidal enter into the UFC leapfrogging competition as number one contenders for the UFC belt or at least a fight out to truly prove themselves.
Becoming a champion in any organization is a triumph and an honor. To become a champion, it is reflecting of one’s work ethic, training and dedication. To hold belts in a company where a majority of the current champion are no longer with you and the remaining men are not top-level (UFC) caliber, fighting for that strap could lead to inflated worth.
We have seen men become signed to the promotion that is promised to be the next big thing and disappoint. Jake Shields came in as SF middleweight champ, fought to a disappointing split decision win over Martin Kampmann and eventually was outclassed by GSP earlier this year. “KingMo” Lawal was supposed to be unstoppable, won his belt after exposing Mousasi’s weak wrestling and then was starched by Rafael Cavalcante. Most notably, Anthony Pettis came hot into the UFC ready for war against the current LW champion but faced off against Clay Guida, only to lose in a unanimous decision and now his title dreams are pushed further away.
The fight between El Nino and Miami Hustle has two different men in the mix. Melendez is a beast; he has avenged the only two losses on his record and continues to dominate the lightweight division. Winning would echo the cry to put him into the UFC and face off against the current lightweight champion. Masvidal is well-rounded and able to fight anyone in front of him; in a victory, it would be smart for him to enter the UFC fighting a contender in promise of a title shot.
Time and the decisions of Zuffa will help iron out the wrinkles of Strikeforce and what is to become of them. In the end, regardless of what belt is around their waste – the best in the world will be fighting in the stage they need to and upcoming fighters will be on the smaller platforms making their case for fame and we will be here to watch it all and continue to bring you the coverage and news you expect.
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