Tatsuya Kawajiri will still be facing Gilbert Melendez at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley on April 9 with the Strikeforce lightweight title on the line.

Japan has been an uncertain place over the past couple of weeks since the tragic earthquake and tsunami that struck the island have now claimed over 9,000 lives with more than 13,000 people still missing.

The tragedy has affected everyone in Japan on some level. UFC middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama opted to stay home and not fight at UFC 128 last weekend after the situation in his home country.

Strikeforce officials confirmed with MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday, however, that Kawajiri will still participate on the April 9 show.

Kawajiri, who trains with the T-Blood team in Japan, enters the fight after dispatching of former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson at Dream’s New Year’s Eve show in Japan to close out 2010.

This will be the second time Kawajiri has faced Melendez. The pair first met in Pride in late 2006 with Melendez coming out on top by unanimous decision.

Kawajiri will undoubtedly compete with a purpose and a heavy heart as he fights for Japan when he faces Melendez on April 9.


Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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