At Pride Shockwave 2006, Gilbert Melendez and Tatsuya Kawajiri put on a war. Fans were entertained by what was arguably the best fight of the year. Gilbert Melendez came away with a unanimous decision after fifteen minutes of action. A little more than four years later the two meet again, this time in a cage and for Melendez’s Strikeforce lightweight title.
The two fighters wasted little time engaging in their anticipated rematch. Melendez momentarily dropped Kawajiri with a right hook as he went in for a jab. It was very apparent that the Strikeforce champion’s striking had greatly improved since their first encounter. “El Nino” had Kawajiri in trouble again with knees to the head but his Japanese counterpart was able to recover close to the cage.
Getting the better of the “Crusher” on their feet, Melendez’s superior boxing forced Kawajiri to shoot for a telegraphed takedown. Melendez sprawled, rolled the former Shooto champion to his back and unleashed a barrage of elbows that forced referee Cecil Peoples to put a halt to the fight.
“That’s my style, that’s how we train. I don’t know how to fight any other way,” said Melendez when Gus Johnson asked about his performance. “It’s been a long time training hard. I just have a great team.”
“I think it’s time we unify some titles. Who wants to see me fight for that UFC title? I’m the number one lightweight in the world baby. I’m coming for the spot!” said the Strikeforce champion emphatically.