Gilbert Melendez makes weight
SAN DIEGO -- Gilbert Melendez, widely regarded the top lightweight mixed martial artist not competing in the UFC, made weight Friday for his Strikeforce title defense against Jorge Masvidal this weekend.
Both Melendez (19-2) and Masvidal (22-6) came in exactly at the 205-pound limit for Saturday's title fight. In a quick word to the sparse crowd at the Valley View Casino Center, Melendez praised his opponent and promised an entertaining fight.
"I'm going to put on a show like I always do," Melendez said. "He's a tough guy. He dropped from 170 (pounds). He likes to fight. It's a good matchup."
As much as Melendez looks forward to defending his Strikeforce title, his real wish is likely a crack at the UFC 155-pound strap, currently held by Frankie Edgar.
Speculation that Melendez would be the next big star to move to the UFC -- following the likes of Nick Diaz and Alistair Overeem -- hit a major roadblock earlier this week when Zuffa, parent company of both organizations, announced Strikeforce would continue to operate on Showtime in 2012.
In addition, UFC president Dana White confirmed Melendez and "other stars" would remain on the Strikeforce roster.
All eight fighters set to compete on Saturday's main card successfully made weight. Christiane Dos Santos (10-1) came in at 145 pounds for her featherweight title fight against Japanese newcomer Hiroko Yamanaka (12-1), which will serve as the night's co-main event.
Brett Okamoto covers mixed martial arts for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.