This weekend's Strikeforce card wasn't the most memorable. In fact, the card did nothing but emphasize the lack of depth in the organization. It was frankly disappointing (much like the Dark Knight Rises prologue). Even the commentary booth seemed disinterested, and unorganized, as if they were offering a play-by-play of a game of Farkle instead of MMA.
Perhaps it was warranted, given the action. One of the best prospects at LHW, Ovince St. Preux was blitzed and manhandled by Gegard Mousasi (in addition to being blitzed and manhandled by an impressively incompetent ref). Cris Cyborg, fighting the #2 ranked female in the world, answered the question 'what would happen if Jonathan Goulet got in the cage with Dan Henderson?'. And then Gilbert Melendez dominated one of their most compelling contenders in Jorge Masvidal.
First, a word about Gilbert's performance. I have to disagree with my colleague, Matt Roth on this one. I think Melendez was very impressive. Masvidal, for all of his faults (which were on display), is a rugged and talented fighter. He's a good counter puncher, is tough as nails, and well polished overall.
And Melendez shut him down. Working his head movement, using angles, and boxing like he wanted a shot against Andre Ward, Masvidal was utterly neutralized. He also displayed some useful quirks: feinting the takedown for an uppercut, and controlling the arm Jorge used to touch the ground in order to avoid knees to the head so as to be a "grounded" opponent. It was frankly, a masterful performance. If Melendez looks "bad" last night, it's because Masvidal had no sense of urgency and seemed only interested in not gambling for victory.
You got the feeling Gilbert himself knew this. He knew this was a big fight. He knew the stakes. All things considered, his performance reflects his knowledge of the political landscape he's now a part of. He engaged as much as he could have with his overly patient foe. And so in his post-fight interview, he called out the UFC LW division. Well played Gilbert.
But his call to action was inevitable. When rumors persisted that he was coming to the UFC, Melendez perked up: he's historically been one of the few fighters who explicitly acknowledges his status can't be validated until he's part of that misguided and soon to be deceased Gladiator intro. There must have been a slight sting when it was announced that Strikeforce was staying, and Melendez wasn't going anywhere.
Gilbert's 'call out' is a microcosm of the Strikeforce dilemma where the Sharks continue to swim with nothing but flounders. Unfortunately he's stuck. A call out, in conjunction with a performance that revealed the gap between himself and their best contenders, was the best course of action Melendez could have taken.
But any potential solution that doesn't involve Gilbert going to the UFC will demand either turning over the dirt underneath the rocks for prospects, or sending guys in the UFC to Strikeforce. But who has name value enough to garner interest against Melendez, but not enough name value to incur a cost to the UFC?
I hope the brass are thinking about that question. Because Melendez doesn't belong in a cage where Frank Shamrock restricts his contributions to misinterpretations of compustrike statistics. Or where Heido Androl struggles for relevant questions while wearing a dress that makes her look like she was grown on a tree in Papua New Guinea. He belongs in the UFC.
Was Gilbert's performance enough to convince you he deserves a UFC title shot?
Yes. I thought it was a good technical performance worth rewarding. (122 votes)
No. Low connect percentage, and he failed to mix it up with takedowns. (76 votes)
198 total votes