“El Nino” to Strike Beverly Hills

25 Sep

by Sherdog.com Staff (2007-09-25)

Gilbert Melendez (Pictures) will return to action for the first time in 10 months when the undefeated lightweight fights Tetsuji Kato (Pictures) on Sept. 29 in the first ever mixed martial arts event at the Playboy Mansion, Strikeforce announced Sunday.
Melendez, who made a name for himself in PRIDE after earning the 155-pound Strikeforce title in a five-round war against Clay Guida (Pictures), called the non-title fight with the Japanese Shooto veteran a “challenge because it’s a bigger guy dropping down in weight and he’s got a lot of experience.”
At 25 years of age and with just 12 bouts under his belt, “El Nino” has quickly established himself as one of the premier fighters in MMA, having excelled in both 145- and 155-pound fights. He’ll need a resounding performance over the 29-year-old Kato (18-7), a veteran of the Shooto 167-pound division and loser of four of his last six fights, to meet the expectations that accompany his now top-five ranking.
Also on the untelevised “Strikeforce at the Mansion” card, veteran middleweights Joe Riggs (Pictures) and Eugene Jackson (Pictures) take to the cage.
Lightweights Josh Thomson (Pictures) and Adam Lynn (Pictures) square off.
Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Bobby Southworth (Pictures) fights Vancouver, British Columbia’s Bill Mahood (Pictures).
And heavyweight Daniel Puder (Pictures) takes on Richard Dalton (Pictures).

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