From the press release:
Two-time STRIKEFORCE World Lightweight Champion (155 pounds), Gilbert "El Nino" Melendez (18-2), has signed a new, multi-year agreement with the San Jose, Calif. based world championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion.â†µ
"STRIKEFORCE is my home, they've always been like family to me and I'm looking forward to continuing my career with them," said the talented, exciting, 5-foot-9, 27-year-old protégé of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Cesar Gracie and Muay Thai legend Jongsanan Fairtex. "There are a lot of great fights out there for me - lots of challenges. I can't wait to get back into the cage, do my thing and show the world that I'm still at the top of my game.''
Universally recognized as one of the top 155-pounders in the world, Melendez has won four in a row and five of six.
Melendez of San Francisco, by way of Santa Ana, Calif., last fought on April 17, 2010, retaining the STRIKEFORCE belt with a dominant, lopsided five-round decision over Japanese superstar Shinya Aoki in Nashville, Tenn., live on The CBS Television Network.
Excellent signing for Strikeforce, but a curious one as well. Melendez spent almost the entirety of 2010 calling out fighters and expressing interests in fights that can't take place in Strikeforce. Shinya Aoki was brought over only to get clowned, but Bellator's Eddie Alvarez and the UFC's Frankie Edgar - two other fighters Melendez expressed interest in fighting - have no chance of ever competing against him unless they sign with Strikeforce. Judging by the USA TODAY/SBN Consensus MMA Rankings, his opportunity for future opposition under current conditions is narrow. Only Tatsuya Kawajiri remains as a reliable opponent.â†µ
Along with this signing, Strikeforce needs fresh blood at 155lbs.