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Strikeforce live results: Melendez vs. Aoki

Posted on: April 17, 2010 10:01 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2010 10:41 pm
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It's champion vs. champion as Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert "El Nino" Melendez (17-2-0) defends his title against visiting champion from Japan's DREAM organization, Shinya Aoki (23-4-0, 1 NC).

The key for Melendez here is to avoid submissions, which is easily the biggest weapon in Aoki's arsenal. That may affect Melendez's strategy in that he could avoid engaging in a wrestling match and try to keep it standing. Or if it does hit the mat, Melendez will have to be sure not to get too careless with ground and pound.

Round 1: Melendez with a punch to the gut as he tries to establish his range. Right hand by Melendez. Aoki throws a right kick and Melendez catches the leg to trip him down. Melendez lets him up, wisely. Aoki circles with his back to the cage as Melendez stalks him. Another punch to the guy by Melendez and Aoki accidentally jabs him in the eye for a brief stoppage.

Melendez throws a hard right and Aoki drops to his backside to dodge it, then grabs Melendez's arm and nearly gets an armbar out of it. Melendez slips out and they're back on their feet. Aoki is so dangerous with those submissions from out of nowhere. Aoki with a shot, Melendez sprawls and Aoki tries to pull him into guard. Melendez avoids it and kicks at Aoki's legs. Melendez cautiously goes to the mat and lands some ground and pound before they get back to standing.

Aoki with a left high kick, which gets blocked. Every time Melendez throws the left hand, Aoki throws a kick. The round ends, and I have it 10-9 Melendez. I might have it the other way around if Melendez hadn't escaped the armbar attempt so quickly.

Round 2: Melendez with a nice uppercut to the nose as Aoki ducks in to try a takedown. Aoki backs off. Aoki with a takedown shot, immediately sliding to his own back to try to bait Melendez into a submission. Melendez in Aoki's guard. He lands some fists from the top before Aoki ties up his wrists. Melendez shakes loose and lets Aoki up.

Melendez with a lunging straight right, which Aoki ducks. Body shot by Melendez. Melendez unloads with a flurry as Aoki puts his back to the cage. They separate, and Melendez moves in for another flurry. He's landing a few here and there, but Aoki is blocking plenty. He's also bleeing from the nose.

Aoki with another shot, then pulls guard again. Melendez throws a huge fist at his head and grazes him. Melendez backs off and then lets him up. Melendez avoids another takedown and then lands several nice fists from the top as the round ends. 10-9 Melendez.

Round 3: Aoki shoots in and Melendez sprawls, throwing an uppercut to the body for good measure. Aoki holds the leg and fights for the takedown. Melendez ends up on top of Aoki in his guard. Aoki is controlling Melendez's wrists. He lets go to land a right to the jaw and Melendez gives one back.

Melendez tries to let Aoki up but Aoki butt-scoots across the cage to try to force him to keep fighting. Melendez throws a lunging fist at Aoki on the ground, but in a weird moment, referee Mario Yamasaki breaks them up and resumes the fight standing. Looked like he was about to stand Aoki up right before the punch, so he just committed to it. Odd.

Aoki continues to fall on his back to lure Melendez into a ground fight. Melendez goes there and lands some punches. Melendez opens up and starts throwing major bombs at Aoki's face. Aoki weathers the storm and blocks some of them. There's a lull in the action so Yamasaki stands them up. Melendez with a jab and Aoki with a knee. End of the round, and I have Melendez winning 30-27 heading into the championship rounds.

Round 4: Melendez stalking Aoki. Nice uppercut by Melendez. Straight right to the body by Melendez. Aoki with a takedown shot. Melendez clinches him and lands a big knee to the ribs, then, backs up to force him to stand again. Very nice. Aoki's game plan is slipping away from him. Aoki does the butt-scoot across the cage again and Melendez nails him with a fist again, and Yamasaki -- again -- warns him and stands Aoki up. That's a totally legal strike right there, so I have no idea what the deal is.

Aoki shoots again and Melendez lands a big right to the jaw. Melendez on the ground looking to strike down at Aoki. The round ends. Clearly 10-9 Melendez.

Round 5: Melendez goes right back to the body shots. Aoki with a shot-into-backslide, and catches a finger in the eye. He's OK, so we're back in action. Aoki ducks a right hand from Melendez. Aoki manages to bait Melendez to the ground and begins pulling his leg up for a triangle choke attempt. Melendez puts Aoki's back to the cage wall to avoid it, and escapes.

Melendez back to his striking game. Aoki slips to the mat, but Melendez doesn't go with him this time, so he's back up. Aoki keeps trying to get things down, but Melendez is no longer accomodating him. Melendez unloads with a series of fists as the round comes to a finish, putting Aoki on his back involuntarily, for once. 10-9 Melendez, so I have it 50-45 for Melendez.

Winner: Gilbert Melendez defeats Shinya Aoki via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) after five rounds to retain the Strikeforce lightweight championship.


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