Gilbert Melendez to Defend Strikeforce Lightweight Title Sept. 29 Against Pat Healy



World-ranked lightweight Gilbert Melendez now has a date and opponent for his next Strikeforce title defense.

Strikeforce officials announced Wednesday that Melendez will face Pat Healy in the main event of the Zuffa-owned organization’s Sept. 29 offering at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento, Calif.

The Showtime-broadcast event will also see Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix winner Daniel Cormier square off with an as-yet-unannounced opponent in the co-headliner. The main card airs on the premium cable channel at 7 p.m. ET and will be immediately preceded by an undercard special on sister channel Showtime Extreme.

Melendez, 30, topped Josh Thomson in their May 19 rubber match, taking a hard-fought split decision from his onetime sparring partner. The win marked the seventh consecutive victory for “El Nino,” who successfully defended his title twice in 2011, dominating former Shooto titlist Tatsuya Kawajiri before outpointing the game Jorge Masvidal last December.

Healy also rides a considerable winning streak into his showdown with Melendez. “Bam Bam” posted three victories in 2011, outpointing Lyle Beerbohm, Eric Wisely and Maximo Blanco. The Oregon native has won twice thus far in 2012, submitting AMC Pankration standout Caros Fodor prior to edging Deep champion Mizuto Hirota in Portland, Ore., just 11 days ago.

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