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Strikeforce odds: Gilbert Melendez heavily favored over Pat Healy

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May 19, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Gilbert Melendez defeats Josh Thomson (not pictured) at the Strikeforce World Grand Prix at HP Pavilion.  Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
May 19, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Gilbert Melendez defeats Josh Thomson (not pictured) at the Strikeforce World Grand Prix at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

The line isn't as big as Jon Jones and his -1300 odds against Vitor Belfort (+700) at UFC 152 but it's impressive nonetheless.

When Strikeforce returns to Showtime for its next mixed martial arts (MMA) event, it will do so with its prized commodity, Gilbert Melendez, defending his lightweight championship against vested veteran Pat Healy at the Power Balance Pavilion (formerly the Arco Arena) in Sacramento, California.

And he'll do so as a -900 favorite.

That's according to the fine folks at MMAOddsbreakers.com, who note that while Healy (a +600 dog) is legitimate competition here, the only real opportunity he has at winning is if Melendez isn't properly motivated and comes in unprepared.

His motivation is one of the few questions heading into this bout with Healy, who has a lot more to gain from this fight and always seems to be up for a challenge. Healy is riding the longest winning streak of his career and presents a size challenge for Melendez with a two-inch height advantage. That might be his only edge though if the champ fights at his best.

Even with that, the line is juicy enough it just may be worth taking a bite at. Any Maniacs going to pull the trigger on it?

Melendez (21-2) finally rid himself of Josh Thomson with a five round split decision win over "The Punk" at the Strikeforce: "Barnett vs. Cormier" event last May. It was his seventh win in a row in a division already hurting for viable challengers.

Enter "Bam Bam."

Healy (28-16) is riding a seven-fight winning streak of his own, one that includes a submission win over the aforementioned Thomson back in 2009. He most recently overcame Mizuto Hirota at the Strikeforce: "Rockhold vs. Kennedy" event back in July in Portland, Oregon.

Will "El Nino" continue dominating the competition in the UFC's sister promotion? Or will Healy shock the world and pull the upset?

For more on the upcoming Strikeforce event on Sept. 29 check out our comprehensive news archive by clicking here.