Melendez too much, finishes Kawajiri in the 1st

by Al Yu | source:

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.

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Title Fight Gilbert "El Nino" Melendez Vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri
Fight was scheduled for 5 rounds (5x5x5x5x5) - Fight was for the Lightweight Title
Name Gilbert Melendez <a href=Gilbert Melendez" src="" />
Height 5′ 9″ (175.26 cm)
Weight 155 (70.31 kg)
Record 18-2-0
Team Cesar Gracie
Name Tatsuya Kawajiri No Headshot Available
Weight 152 (68.95 kg)
Record 26-5-2
Team Tops
Gilbert Melendez def. Tatsuya Kawajiri via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 3:14



tags: Tatsuya Kawajiri (detail)  Gilbert Melendez (detail)  Strikeforce   


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Wasa-B site profile image  

4/11/11 1:11 PM by Wasa-B

I think the fact that Kawajiri has never really looked this bad is being forgotten amidst the hupe props that Gil is getting.It seems that Kawajiri can never win the big fights: Gomi, Alvarez, Aoki and now Melendez II. He did beat JZ though JZ was coming off injury. He did beat Shaolin (iirc when Shaolin was #1) but that was some time ago. And he did beat Thomson just months ago on NYE. And then there was the first Gil fight which honestly coulda gone either way.So i guess he's about 50/50 in big fights. So what happened? Is this Gil this good now? Did KJ has the first time jitters? Was it the cage? But did it effect him that much? I do agree he is a much better fighter than shown there but Gil just never let him get off. Gil was impressive in that he improved upon his strategic ability against Aoki and still mixed up his stances and stuff but really sat down on his punches....i think he had a huge reach ad on KJ that he did on Aoki though.It sucks cuz its another big flop for a top Japanese fighter who is still in his prime, not over the hill like Gomi, Kid, etc but he just happen to have ran into possibly the best LW in the world who is peaking. To come off like that after that huge break between the Aoki fight for Gil is amazing. Them Cesar guys are badass.

Wasa-B site profile image  

4/11/11 1:11 PM by Wasa-B

Oh, btw, I think Aoki did beat Kawajiri quicker than Gil though ;p

Wasa-B site profile image  

4/10/11 9:14 PM by Wasa-B

Not exactly, Orcus. He was miquoted in that article. He said he believes he's the best LW out there prior to this fight and that to justify that, he cant just beat people but dominated them. He did that. Does this fight make him #1? Not exactly imo but it at least puts him somewhere up there, its hard to rank the #1 guy right now though Id still give it to Frankie for beating BJ twice and then by a draw, he hasnt lost since. Now, Gil was saying (cant recall if it was before or after this fight) but that he's "campaigning" himself as the #1 LW and i believe he has to do that (esp pre Zuffa takeover) to make a name for himself amidst this TUF era. I think its working but he still has to face the winner of Frankie/Gray to earn it which is what he wants and i think he has earned a shot, he seems to be peaking now.

stillmatic site profile image  

4/10/11 5:47 AM by stillmatic

Kawajiri should have trained in a cage. He looked like he was stuck in quick sand out there. He looked uncomfortable in his movement in there and wasn't finding his range well. He's definitely a better fighter than that.Huge props to Melendez though and I'm gonna become a big fan if he keeps sitting down on his shots like he did tonight. He was showing speed and power out there and putting himself in harm's way to put on an impressive performance.

orcus site profile image  

4/10/11 1:33 AM by orcus

No one gives a shit about linear champs, including Gil. AFTER beating Aoki he said he was top 3 and HE HIMSELF ranked Edgar and BJ above him. Then later he starts calling himself #1 without even having had a single fight since then.

Mmanizzle site profile image  

4/10/11 1:01 AM by Mmanizzle

I'm very happy for El Nino....   Congrats!  All the Cesar Gracie fight team guys have been reppin for years, glad to see all that hard paying off...  Jake, Gil, Diaz bros...  they're pioneers that built a name for themselves outside of UFC/Zuffa...  Much Props...

Wasa-B site profile image  

4/10/11 12:04 AM by Wasa-B

lol at the people sleeping on Melendez cuz he aint in the UFC beating on Clay Guida (which he actually did already in SF ages ago) and because giving Melendez credit would then give Aoki credit.And when he said recently he felt he was the #1 LW in the world and he has to go out and prove that by dominating guys, not just winning but dominating, he proved that tonight by a guy who just dominated Josh Thomson on NYE. Not sure what was up with KJ but like Jones/Shogun, I think Gil just got to him before he could get settled. Thomson had some excellent insight saying that KJ was the stronger guy but that Gil did the perfect thing in kneeing when KJ would try and clinch and prevented him from getting into td position. Gil may have turned it up a notch tonight but in both his wins over KJ and Aoki, he fought very smartly as well. With his reach, boxing, wrestling, BJJ, camp, Frankie and Gray got their hands full. Gil should finally get the credit he rightfully deserved after dominating Aoki.On that note, Aoki finished KJ faster. ;p

Pro Ice site profile image  

4/9/11 11:44 PM by Pro Ice

 I've been saying it for awhile Melendez is one of the top 5 greatest Lws ever!  

Ultimate 10er site profile image  

4/9/11 11:32 PM by Ultimate 10er

I feel like that might have been stopped about 1 whole second early. Not more than that though.

Tankhead site profile image  

4/9/11 11:21 PM by Tankhead

Joe Aldi will take Gilly Mendoza.