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Lightweight Champ Gilbert Melendez Signs Multi-Year Extension with Strikeforce

Gilbert MelendezStrikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez has signed a new multi-year contract to remain with the San Jose-based promotion ahead of an expected April title defense.

Melendez (18-2) has held the 155-pound title twice and began his current reign by unifying his interim title with a win over champ Josh Thomson in late-2009 before defending the belt over Shinya Aoki last April.

“El Nino”is expected to rematch Tatsuya Kawajiri next, possibly at an April 9 Strikeforce event in Japan that would also feature heavyweight grand prix quarterfinals Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett vs. Brett Rogers.

The news follows recent long-term extensions with welterweight champ Nick Diaz and middleweight contender Robbie Lawler.

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