El Nino Gilbert Melendez is one tough s.o.b and come April 17th Shinya Aoki is going to find out that fighting world class lightweights with exceptional wrestling skills is a lot tougher than he thought, well if that's what he thinks , hell I don't know.
But Shinya, who always seems to lounge right behind BJ Penn in the consensus worlds lightweight rankings will be fighting in a cage against probably the most underrated lightweight of all time and a man who will not only prove to be a tougher opponant than any he has faced in Japan but possibly a juggernaut that even Penn would have a hard time dealing with.
Now I love Shinya and I believe that he is the best pure grappler in MMA at his weight class, but just grappling and fighting in an MMA fight are two differant situations and I truly do not believe that Aoki is ready for the overall experience that he will get in Nashville next month.
Am I happy that I will get to see him on national television on a stacked card that is FREE, DUH , but I am a little saddened that it is probably going to be a wrestling clinic that will not go the way of the arm snapping Japanese fighter.
There are just too many variables for Aoki to overcome in this fight, Melendez's overall cage experience, his outstanding wrestling, and his unbeilvable strength for a 155 pound fighter.
No, Gilbert Melendez would probably be better suited as a UFC lightweight with a better shot at beating BJ Penn than anyone in the current roster.
Here is how I see it playing out, Melendez outscores Aoki round 1,
Melendez outscores Aoki, round 2, Melendez outscores Aoki round three, get my drift, Shinya is just too raw in the American ways of the cage to beat a seasoned fighter like El Nino, and once the water comes back down you will find a dejected Aoki sitting there with no explanation of what just happened.