Gilbert Melendez vs Tatsuya Kawajiri Strikeforce fight booked for April 9 in San Diego


Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez will take on former Shooto welterweight champion Tatsuya Kawajiri in a 155-pound clash tentatively planned for April 9, 2011, in San Diego, California.

"El Nino" announced his second showdown against "Crusher" via, setting up another cross-promotional battle between two of the best lightweights in the world currently competing outside the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Their first dance took place under the now defunct PRIDE banner, in which Melendez came away with a somewhat controversial decision win all the way back in Dec. 2006.

Since then, both fighters have gone on to bigger and better things, particularly Melendez, who seemingly ran out of competition outside of the UFC after ripping off four consecutive wins against the best Strikeforce could offer him. 

So much so, that the Cesar Gracie trained product has been riding the pine since April 2010, patiently awaiting a fresh (and worthy) challenger to his lightweight throne. 

Kawajiri rectified that problem by decisively defeating Josh Thomson at the Dynamite!! 2010 New Year's Eve show. 

The unfinished business between the two, combined with Kawajiri's run through DREAM over the past few years, was apparently enough to convince Scott Coker and company that a rematch was in order. 

Only this time, the stakes are much higher. 

That may or may not be a bad thing, as the Japanase destroyer's two losses since the initial meeting have come to Eddie Alvarez (current Bellator lightweight champion) and Shinya Aoki (current DREAM lightweight champion). 

Third time's the charm?

Melendez vs. Kawajiri will likely serve as the co-main event of the evening on the April 9 show, which is currently scheduled to be headed for the sunny skies of San Diego, California. The main event will reportedly feature another title fight, with Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz putting his strap on the line against British knockout specialist Paul Daley

As always, keep it locked to for updates to this still-developing fight card. 

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