STRIKEFORCE hits Sacramento, California on September 29th with a card featuring a 155 lb title defense for Champion Gilbert Melendez as he takes on veteran Pat Healy. Healy has paid his dues, with 5 wins in a row under the STRIKEFORCE banner. Healy also has a long career under his belt, having faced a who is who of tough fighters since he started fighting 10 years ago. It is his level of competition more than anything that has earned Healy a record of 28-16 in MMA – the record does not reflect just how tough Healy is. Healy deserves the shot. But he faces off against a dominant champion and a fighter who many consider the best MMA competitor outside of the UFC.
Healy is unlikely to get any love from the sportsbook oddsmakers when the odds for this fight are released, as Melendez is sure to be installed as a heavy favorite.
Melendez is in a tough spot mentally, however. he is in a sort of holding pattern, kind of designated to be the fighter that carries the STRIKEFORCE banner until the promotion is shutdown by ZUFFA.
Melendez is of the opinion he should be facing the top name sin the world today – Ben Henderson, Frankie Edgar and the fighters on the UFC roster. Healy is another fight for Melendez similar to the Jorge Masvidal fight – a fight against a tough guy where he is going to have to work to get the victory, and he is not going to get the credit he deserves for a victory when all is said and done.
This is not to say that Healy doesn’t have a chance, he has a lot of ring time and is unlikely to be in a fight where he sees something that surprises him. He has been in with guys of Melendez level before, and he has fought some top notch competition at 170 lbs as well.
As the fight gets closer we will see if there is any baggage on either side, but I will leave you with a good bet this far out of you can get the odds on it – this fight is going t he distance!