Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament: Filling out a Lightweight Tournament
As Strikeforce's largest competitors step into the ring for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez might be watching and wondering if the organization's little guys will get a chance to fight in a tournament of their own someday.
While it might sound like a great idea at first, the organization would probably need to acquire more talented lightweights for the tournament to draw any interest. A co-promotion with the inclusion of Bellator's Eddie Alvarez would do wonders for a lightweight tournament, but that appears to be out of the question for Strikeforce.
No. 1 Gilbert Melendez vs. No. 8 Jorge Masvidal
One of the reasons a Strikeforce lightweight tournament would probably be a failure is the lack of competition for Gilbert Melendez. Melendez has already soundly defeated the fighters who would be seeded the highest in this tournament, so Melendez's first round fight would probably be nothing more than a formality.
Recently signed by Strikeforce, Jorge Masvidal would be a potential quarterfinal round opponent for Melendez. In his last fight, Masvidal fought Paul Daley to a close decision, but that was mainly due to Daley's inability to defend takedowns, something that wouldn't be a problem for Melendez.
No. 2 Shinya Aoki vs. No. 7 Billy Evangelista
In his only fight with Strikeforce, Shinya Aoki lost a decision to Gilbert Melendez. Strikeforce would have to pull some strings in order to have Aoki commit to a tournament with Strikeforce, but the tournament would be borderline pointless without him.
Billy Evangelista has slowly made a name for himself with Strikeforce. Evangelista is undefeated in 11 career fights and has won fights against Jorge Gurgel and Waachiim Spiritwolf. A lightweight tournament would give Evangelista a great opportunity to become recognized by many more fans than he currently is, but he would probably be given a tough matchup in the first round because of his inexperience against top competition.
No. 3 Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. No. 6 K.J. Noons
Tatsuya Kawajiri has not fought under the Strikeforce banner yet, but he is currently believed to be Gilbert Melendez's next opponent. Kawajiri lost to Melendez in their last meeting in 2006, but Kawajiri does hold wins over Strikeforce contenders Josh Thomson and Gesias Cavalcante.
K.J. Noons last fight came at welterweight against Nick Diaz. After losing for the first time in more than three years at 170 pounds, Noons would probably welcome a return to lightweight.
No. 4 Josh Thomson vs. No. 5 Gesias Cavalcante
As the No. 4 seed in this tournament, Josh Thomson would be only one win away from a potential rubber match with Gilbert Melendez. A former Strikeforce lightweight champion, Thomson would probably be a higher seed if it weren't for his most recent loss in DREAM to Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Gesias Cavalcante lost to Thomson in his last fight, so this would be a chance at redemption for him. Cavalcante has also lost to Kawajiri and Shinya Aoki, so a rematch in the first round of this tournament would be almost unavoidable.