Damm to Replace Thomson vs. Melendez at Strikeforce
Ariel Shnerer / April 6, 2009 - 6:05pm
Stepping in for the injured Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson, "Alliance Jiu-Jitsu" standout Rodrigo Damm (8-2) will take on Gilbert "El Nino" Melendez (14-2) at "Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz" on April 11 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
The Fight Network learned of the replacement matchup on Monday afternoon.
A native of Brazil, the 29-year-old Damm is looking to rebound from a first-round submission loss to Eiji Mitsuoka at "Sengoku: Fourth Battle" last August. The "BodogFight" veteran boasts wins over Jorge Masvidal, Johil de Oliveira and Kultar Gill. Damm will be making his debut for the California-based Strikeforce promotion as a late replacement for this Saturday's lightweight tilt.
Melendez, a veteran of multiple organizations including World Extreme Cagefighting, Shooto, Rumble on the Rock, PRIDE Fighting Championships and Strikeforce, will have the significant edge in experience when the two lightweights clash on April 11.
A pupil of renowned Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach Cesar Gracie, Melendez has recorded victories over the likes of Hiroyuki Takaya, Rumina Sato, Clay Guida and Tatsuya Kawajiri. He suffered his first loss, a unanimous decision to Mitsuhiro Ishida, at "Yarennoka: New Year's Eve 2007."
In his previous bout, which was held last June, Melendez dropped the Strikeforce lightweight championship to Thomson in a closely contested battle.
Originally scheduled to get a crack at reclaiming his title from Thomson, the Santa Ana, Calif.-native must now shift his focus to Damm, a capable BJJ black belt, in the final bout to cap off Saturday's Strikeforce broadcast on Showtime.