All the guessing about Gilbert Melendez’s next opponent came to a halt on Wednesday when Strikeforce announced that its lightweight champion would square off with Pat Healy on Sept. 29 at the Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento, Calif.
“There’s no doubt that Gilbert Melendez is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but he’s facing a tough test when he defends the Strikeforce lightweight title against Pat Healy in Sacramento,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said.
“Pat has been around the sport a long time and has put together an impressive winning streak. This is the biggest fight of his life and he doesn’t want to waste this opportunity.”
The co-main event will feature recently crowned Strikeforce World Grand Prix Heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier, returning to the cage, as he looks to keep his unbeaten streak intact.
Cormier’s opponent was not released, but will be announced in the coming days, according to the promotion.
Melendez (21-2) is on a seven-fight winning streak, most recently defeating Josh Thomson in a rubber match in May.
Healy (28-16) comes into the title challenge winning five consecutive bouts. He is coming off of a victory over Mizuto Hirota just a couple weeks ago in Portland, Ore. and has been calling for the fight ever since.
Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy will air on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET (delayed on the West Coast). The preliminary bouts air on Showtime Extreme at 8 p.m. ET. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Saturday, July 28.
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Pat Healy is one of the most overlooked guys at 155. I didn't see his fight against Hirota, but apparently it was something of a robbery. Healy is a tough fight for anyone, but Melendez should take it.