This Saturday’s Strikeforce: Melendez vs Masvidal event should be Gilbert Melendez’s last appearance in a Strikeforce card as Dana White has told reporters he means to bring him to the UFC and potentially give him an immediate title shot against Lightweight champ Frankie Edgar. Win or lose Gilbert will most likely be brought over to the UFC after his match with Jorge Masvidal, but that won’t alleviate any pressure on him as he needs to send a message to the UFC lightweight top contenders by dominating Masvidal.
For the Srtikeforce Lightweight Title: Jorge Masvidal +280 vs Gilbert Melendez -350
Melendez is deserving of being the big betting favorite as he is on a 5 win streak and is ranked the #1 lightweight in the world by MMAWeekly and #2 by SherDog. Gilbert “El Niño” has never been KO’d or submitted in any of his 21 fight pro MMA career. Jorge Masvidal on the other hand has been TKO’d once and submitted twice. Although Masvidal is a hard hitter I see Gilbert’s superior wrestling and BJJ coming into play if things get uncomfortable standing up.
Betting pick: “El Niño” has his bases covered and will come out on top this Saturday and will most likely be pitted against Frankie Edgar or Gray Maynard mid-2013.
The Easiest Pick on the Main Card: Cristiane Santos -1000 vs. Hiroko Yamanaka +600
This match is for the women’s featherweight title. Cristiane Santos aka Cris Cyborg is the biggest betting favorite on the entire card. She is on a 10 win streak, defended her title twice and 8/10 of her wins were via KO/TKO. Cyborg is ruthless when dismantling her opponents. She throws them around like ragdolls and pummels them without mercy on the ground. Her power and aggressiveness always gives her the standup advantage and her BJJ skills and strength greatly assists her in getting out of submissions.
Hiroko Yamanaka is an all around fighter who is ranked the #2 featherweight by the Unified Women’s Mixed Martial Arts Rankings. She is on an 8 win streak and is making her first Strikeforce appearance. Both Yamanaka and Santos have a unanimous decision win over Yoko Takahashi and a win over Hitomi Akano. But Cris was able to TKO Akano while Yamanaka won via split decision in her second fight with her.
Betting pick: Yamanaka doesn’t pose much more of a threat than Santos’ previous opponents so bet on Cyborg to defend the title once more.