May 19, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Gilbert Melendez enters to fight Josh Thomson (not pictured) during the lightweight bout of the Strikeforce World Grand Prix at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
There had been a lot of debate about whether Pat Healy earned a title shot with his performance against Mizuto Hirota at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy earlier this month. Well, it appears that he did. Healy will meet Gilbert Melendez for the Strikeforce lightweight title in the main event of the September 29th show in Sacramento. The promotion confirmed the event and the fight via press release a little while ago:
Gilbert Melendez, STRIKEFORCE® lightweight champion and top pound-for-pound fighter, will make his next title defense against veteran and red-hot number one contender Pat Healy, when STRIKEFORCE®: MELENDEZ vs. HEALY comes to Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento, Calif. on Saturday, Sept. 29. The main event, scheduled for five rounds, will air live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
The co-main event will feature recently crowned STRIKEFORCE World Grand Prix Heavyweight champ and San Jose’s own, Daniel Cormier, returning to the cage to take on his next challenge, as he looks to keep his unbeaten streak intact and prove he truly is one of the best in the division. Cormier’s opponent will be announced in the coming days.
Melendez (21-2) is currently on a seven-fight winning streak. He narrowly defeated Josh Thomson in his last bout. Healy (28-16, 6-1 SF) is currently on a five-fight winning streak and picked up a close win over Hirota his last fight. His only loss in Strikeforce was to Thomson in 2010.
There clearly weren't many options on the table for Strikeforce, so they went with the most obvious one. I can't imagine Melendez is very happy about this though. Tickets for the event go on sale July 28th.