Following every UFC and Strikeforce event, The MMA Corner will break down the event and suggest fights the promotion should make in the future. This week, our focus is on “Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal,” which took place on Dec. 17 from The Valley View Casino Center in San Diego.

Gilbert Melendez vs. K.J. Noons

Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez continued to impress, as he fought to a unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal in Saturday night’s main event.

Now with six wins in a row, “El Nino” could easily go to the UFC and compete against some of the best in the world, but UFC president Dana White has stated that from here on out, all Strikeforce fighters will remain in the Showtime-televised promotion.

That doesn’t mean UFC fighters can’t transition to Strikeforce though, and Melendez would like to face a top contender in the UFC’s stacked lightweight division.

However, there is still tough competion in Strikeforce that the Caesar Gracie fighter has not faced yet. One such guy, who was also victorious on Saturday, is K.J. Noons.

Noons fought in the opening bout of the Showtime card and defeated Billy Evangelista by unanimous decision. “King Karl” made a name for himself in the Elite XC promotion, defeating Nick Diaz, but hasn’t been able to capture a Strikeforce title thus far.

Melendez and Noons have never met before, so it would give the champion another opponent in his path to reach his goal of taking out the best fighters on the planet.

Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos vs. Ronda Rousey

The most-feared woman in MMA returned to the Strikeforce cage after an 18-month lay off and looked impressive as ever with a TKO victory over Hiroko Yamanaka in just 16 seconds.

It’s hard to believe that Santos is just 26 years old and is dominating every opponent she faces. She will only get better and better, and Strikeforce will have to find someone who will give her a tough fight.

A name that has been mentioned, and was also in attendence in San Diego, is undefeated Ronda Rousey. Rousey is 2-0 in Strikeforce, 4-0 total, and has won all of her bouts by first-round armbar submission.

With a resume like that at only 24-years-old, Strikeforce needs to match her up with Santos. Let’s see how she will fare agaisnt an opponent like “Cyborg.” Even if she is defeated, fans will get to see how much potential the young lady has and it would also give her experience points for stepping into the cage to fight for the title.

Gegard Mousasi vs. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal/Lorenz Larkin winner

Mousasi was able to use his experience advantage to win a unanimous decision over Ovince St. Preux on Saturday that now puts him even closer to getting back his Strikeforce light heavyweight championship.

Mousasi lost his belt to Muhammed Lawal back in April and would be more than happy to get a rematch.

“King Mo” is scheduled to fight at the upcoming Strikeforce event on Jan. 7 against rising star Lorenz Larkin. The winner of that bout should take on Mousasi next to determine who is the No. 1 contender in the light heavyweight division.

Lawal rebounded with a win over Roger Gracie after losing his belt to Rafael Cavalcante at “Strikeforce: Houston” and is easily capable of getting back to the top of the rankings again with his knockout power.

Larkin is undefeated as a fighter with a record of 12-0 and has come into the Strikeforce promotion, winning three fights on the big scene. “Monsoon” is an impressive boxer himself with eight career knockouts.

Either fighter who walks away the winner of that bout is easily capable of defeating Mousasi, but it would be a tough task.

 Caros Fodor vs. Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante

If you didn’t get a chance to watch the undercard fights on Saturday, you missed a devastating knockout by Caros Fodor to put away Justin Wilcox in only 13 seconds.

Fodor is currently 5-0 with Strikeforce and is on the verge of getting his first career title shot.

You could make a case that Fodor could be matched up with Gilbert Melendez for the belt next, but with only seven professional fights, he needs a little more time to mature as a mixed martial artist.

A fight that would help improve his game is to be matched up with Gesias Cavalcante.

“JZ” has fought all over the world against some of the top lightweights and would give Fodor a challenge. Calvalcante’s career so far in Strikeforce hasn’t been what he’d hoped for, with only one win, and he is looking to make a statement that he does have what it takes to fight the top guys of the promotion.

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.