In the main event of the evening at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal, it was Gilbert Melendez who dominated action early and often.
With a mission of proving why he belongs in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Melendez approached his opponent, connecting on right and left combinations that pushed Masvidal back against the cage.
Action would stand still midway through Round 1 until Melendez once again became the aggressor, landing a big right to Masvidal.
Melendez then pinned Masvidal up against the cage and placed in a Guillotine Choke.
Unfortunately for Melendez, Masvidal escaped, as both remained on their feet until the first frame came to a close.
When action picked back up, Melendez began to display his spectacular striking skills, as he landed a big right hook that once again pushed Masvidal up against the cage.
However, Masvidal would respond with a knee and an attempted combination, but it wasn't enough to phase Melendez.
Melendez held control of the second round by displaying various leg kicks along with strikes, while Masvidal appeared to be gassing out.
Masvidal continued to look uncomfortable against a much faster Melendez as Round 3 began.
Any momentum that Masvidal may have had was long gone when Melendez began to attack his opponent with a series of strikes.
Melendez continued to unload his right hand, but Masvidal connected on a strike that appeared to swell up Melendez's eye.
The third round came to a close with Melendez continuing to dominate his opponent despite an occasional knee by Masvidal.
When the first of two championship rounds began, it was Masvidal who remained content with how the championship bout was going, evidenced by his failure to test Melendez.
Melendez began to swing for the fences as Round 4 came to a close.
When the fifth and final round began, Melendez's eye continued to swell up but Masvidal still lacked a sense of urgency.
After a Masvidal knee, Melendez began to unleash his vicious striking, while his opponent had no answer.
With just a minute remaining in the championship bout, Masvidal finally began throwing strikes, but it was too late.
After a takedown attempt, Melendez returned to his feet as the final round came to a close
The judge's scorecards read 50-45, 50-45, 49-46, allowing Gilbert Melendez to remain the Strikeforce lightweight champion.
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