Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will defend his title against DREAM standout and promotional newcomer Shinya Aoki at Strikeforce’s return to CBS on April 17 in Nashville, Tennessee, according to multiple reports.
The event also features two additional title bouts, as middleweight champion Jake Shields faces Dan Henderson in the card’s headliner, while light heavyweight title-holder Gegard Mousasi will take on Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal in a featured matchup.
Melendez (17-2) began his career with a 14-1 mark that included claiming the 155-pound title with a win over Clay Guida in 2006, before dropping the belt to Josh Thomson in June 2008. After winning and defending an interim title with victories over Rodrigo Damm and Mitsuhiro Ishida, “El Nino” won back the title with a unanimous decision win over Thomson in December.
Aoki (23-4) has won 9 of his last 11 bouts dating back to 2008 and is currently on a three-fight win streak that includes winning the DREAM lightweight title with an October win over Joachim Hansen, as well as a first-round submission of Sengoku champ Mizuto Hirota in a non-title bout in December.
Pictured: Gilbert Melendez