Not even close.
The Strikeforce Lightweight Champion, Melendez, showed no signs of rust after nearly a year away from the cage in putting away "Crusher" in just over three minutes.
Kawajiri had earned the title shot by easily scoring a decision victory against former Strikeforce Champion Josh Thomson four months ago in Japan. It was not his night, however.
The champ dropped Kawajiri with his first significant strike thrown, a right cross, and it was all downhill from there for "Crusher."
Every strike "El Niño" threw was with bad intentions. Melendez pummeled Kawajiri with a plethora of knees and punches before he finished the fight with some vicious elbows on the ground.
He was deadly with every appendage.
The poor Japanese challenger was completely overwhelmed by Melendez's aggression and he'll head back to Japan with his tail tucked firmly between his legs.
After retaining his title, Melendez quickly called out the UFC champion, eager to prove himself against the best in the world:
"I think it's time we unify some titles. Who wants to see me fight the UFC Champ here in this hexagon? I'm the number one lightweight in the world, I'm coming for that spot."
I've got to admit, after his blistering performance against a top ten fighter last night, he's got a point. There is currently no one on the Strikeforce roster who looks even close to Melendez in terms of talent ... even Aoki.
With his performance last night, Melendez may, however, force the UFC's hand. Maybe time for a switch-a-roo?
Photo via Esther Lin/Strikeforce