Gabba Gabba Hey
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Pensacola, FL
Round 1 - Referee Herb Dean in charge of the evening's main event. The fighters feel each other out to open, and it's a few seconds before some pawing jabs are thrown. Melendez ands the first combo, but Masvidal is fine. Melendez has quick hands to open, and he lands two more punches. Masvidal looks to kick, but Melendez beats him to the punch up top. Masvidal a little tentative to open, and Melendez is the quicker fighter to start. Crisp right for Melendez, and Masvidal waves him in for more. Masvidal bobs and weaves, but he's being beaten early on. Fake shot into an uppercut for Melendez. Two minutes remain, and Melendez looks extremely calm and in control. Masvidal misses a knee, but a sweep does topple Melendez. He pops right back up with no damage. Masvidal starting to work the jab. He front kicks to the chest. Melendez cuts off the cage and catches a kick. He rushes forward and tries for a guillotine choke. Masvidal puts a hand down to avoid knees. Melendez actually picks it up and knees him anyway before breaking. The two flurry briefly, and both land, but Melendez is in control after one. MMAjunkie.com gives Melendez the opening round, 10-9.
Round 2 - Tentative open again, and Masvidal does land an early jab. Melendez rushes forward with a flurry, but Masivdal slips it all and lands a jab. Better counterwork from Masvidal to start. Melendez undaunted and moves forward, finding his own range with a lead left. Melendez counters a blocked high kick. He's cutting off the cage well. Masvidal seems unconcerned with the power and drops his hands in a bit of a taunt before slipping out and returning to the center. Melendez mixes in kicks to the leg and body. Masvidal is answering with some success, but it's still Melendez with the volume. Masvidal slips on a knee attempt, and Melendez scores again with the shot into an uppercut. Crowd behind Melendez, and he flurries with jabs that miss and a right that doesn't. Final minute. Masvidal hasn't seemed threatened by his opponent's power, but he's also not offering up enough volume to take rounds. Melendez pumps his jab, and the round ends. Masvidal started better, but it's still Melendez taking the rounds, and MMAjunie.com sees it for Melendez, 10-9.
Round 3 - Melendez patient again to open. Masvidal eluding well and moving, but he's yet to threaten in the counter attack. Melendez shoots in to no avail. Masvidal kicks the leg. Melendez turning up the heat. Masvidal looking to land one big counter, but Melendez doing a fine job of not allowing that space. Masvidal leaps with a knee, but Melendez avoids and lands a punch over the top. Melendez works the body, and there's a brief break after he loses his mouthpiece. Halfway in. Melendez cutting off the cage and volume striking. His face is reddened from some of the stiff counters Masvidal is landing, but they're not enough to steal the rounds. Melendez managing the cage well and leaping forward when he can. It's tough for Melendez because the more he opens the more Masvidal seems to counter, and Masvidal is the bigger man. Still, Melendez is winning rounds with his handywork. Exchange in the closing seconds, and Melendez is cruising, taking the third on the MMAjunkie.com card, 10-9.
Round 4 - Again, Masvidal wades forward but lets Melendez strike first. He's looking to counter all the way and has pretty much abandoned the low kick. Melendez lands a nice combination. Melendez starting to really press with the strikes, and he seems to be picking up steam as the fight play out. A couple of right hands are sneaking through. Masvidal is popping the jab with success, but again, it's Melendez who answers with three or four punches. Halfway in. Melendez still cutting off the cage well, and he kicks the legs, as well. Crowd wants both guys to pick up the pace. It's technical, and Masvidal again lands his stiff jab. Melendez answers over the top with a right. Melendez's face really showing the wear of his opponent's work, but the champ is controlling the pace and positioning of the fight. Melendez sneaks in a few hooks. Melendez with plenty of spring in his step. Masvidal leaps forward with another knee. Flurry to close. Crowd actually offers a few boos, but Melendez is simply outworking Masvidal on the feet. MMAjunkie.com sees it again for Melendez, 10-9.
Round 5 - Final round, had Masvidal had best get busy if he wants the belt. Melendez's face is busted up, but he's outworking his opponent. Melendez shoots, and Masvidal stuffs it, but Melendez fires in a few punches. Masvidal is stalking and tries the knee twice more. It's not there. When Masvidal lands, and it's stiff. He's simply not throwing enough. Melendez flurries, and Masvidal wants to brawl. Melendez won't do it, and he walks away and resets. Halfway mark. Melendez drills the body and lands two punches up top. Masvidal yells at him to come on. It's a familiar feel as the final round unfolds. Masvidal has popped Melendez's head back a few times in the round, but he needs a knockout blow. Melendez's face does not look like a guy who won a fight, but his hands and cardio are doing exactly that. Big flurries in the final minute. Crowd is on its feet. Melendez not playing it safe and willing to exchange. Masvidal shoots in and tries to move around to the back, but Melendez stands up and ends the fight in the clinch. Technical work from Melendez, who should retain his belt. Masvidal's corner puts him on their shoulders anyway. Masvidal deserves credit for landing several firm punches, but Melendez simply outworked him. MMAjunkie.com gives Melendez the final frame, as well, awarding him the fight, 50-45. Gilbert Melendez def. Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) to retain Strikeforce's lightweight title.
FFL: Silva, Silva, Nogueira, Nogueira & Franklin