Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos lit up Hiroko Yamanaka. | File Photo: Sherdog.com
Strikeforce put one of its best talents on display at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego on Saturday night, and Gilbert Melendez did not disappoint. For five rounds, the lightweight champion put his improved standup to work, keeping Jorge Masvidal off guard with numerous combinations.
Masvidal was able to do some significant damage to his opponent's right eye, but for the most part "Gamebred" was never able to find a consistent rhythm. With yet another title defense to his credit, Melendez is already looking toward his next challenge as he continues his Strikeforce reign.
Also in search of a challenge is women’s featherweight title holder Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, who needed just 16 seconds to dispatch Hiroko Yamanaka. As it stands, Santos is head and shoulders above all competitors in the division. There are plenty of elements that make up a champion, but for now, it's time to let the data do the talking. A by-the-numbers look at Strikeforce “Melendez vs. Masvidal,” with statistics provided by FightMetric.com:
228: Difference in total strikes thrown by Melendez (500) and Masvidal (272) over the course of their bout. While “Gamebred” proved to be more accurate, connecting 37 percent of the time to Melendez’s 24 percent, the champion was able to dictate the pace for the majority of the fight.
118: Significant strikes landed by Melendez, the best total of his Strikeforce tenure. His previous best of 103 came in a win over Josh Thomson in 2009, and he landed 98 against Clay Guida to first capture the Strikeforce lightweight strap in 2006.
36: Total strikes to the head by which Melendez outlanded Masvidal. While many expected the Californian to put his wrestling on display, Melendez was more than comfortable attacking his foe with multiple combinations on his feet.
8-1: Record for Melendez in Strikeforce lightweight title contests -- his lone defeat came at the hands of Thomson in 2008.
.800: Winning percentage for Melendez in five-round fights. Prior to outpointing Masvidal, the Strikeforce lightweight champion was the owner of 25-minute victories against Shinya Aoki, Thomson and Guida. He dropped a five-round affair to Thomson at a Strikeforce event in 2008.
19: Combined UFC appearances for Melendez's opponents. While "El Nino" is considered to be among the best fighters not currently under contract with the UFC, he has faced only three men with Octagon experience in a 22-fight career: Guida (15 fights), Thomson (3) and Jeff Houghland (1).
2: Rounds where Masvidal landed more significant strikes than Melendez. Despite being on the wrong end of two 50-45 scorecards, the American Top Team product outstruck his opponent 19 to 18 in round one and 25 to 20 in round three.
8: Low kicks landed by Masvidal against Melendez in the opening frame. The Bellator veteran would land only 11 more over the course of the next four rounds, however.
1.71: Amount by which Masvidal's takedown rate decreased -- from 5.48 per 15 minutes to 3.77 -- after getting Melendez to the mat just once in 25 minutes. In his previous nine rounds of action, Masvidal had scored a combined 16 takedowns in wins over K.J. Noons, Billy Evangelista and Ryan Healy.
180: Strikes by which Cristiane Santos has outlanded her five Strikeforce opponents. Marloes Coenen, who landed 19 power strikes in a 2010 title fight, has done the most damage against “Cyborg.” Meanwhile Yamanaka, who was regarded as the No. 2 woman in the world at featherweight, managed no offense on Saturday night.
6-to-1: Ratio of strikes to knockdowns for Santos against Yamanaka. The tenacious Brazilian floored her opponent twice during their short-lived 145-pound scrap.
19: More significant strikes landed by Gegard Mousasi in the first round (29) than in rounds two (8) and three (2) combined in his unanimous decision triumph over Ovince St. Preux.
4: Successful takedowns for Mousasi against St. Preux, the best documented total of The Dreamcatcher’s career. His previous high of three came versus Keith Jardine on April 9.
.250: Winning percentage for K.J. Noons when his opponent lands more significant strikes than him. Billy Evangelista hit 71 power strikes to Noons' 64 on Saturday, but Noons was able to capture a 29-28 decision on all three judges’ scorecards.
0: Takedowns by Noons in his previous nine fights before he momentarily landed one against Evangelista in their lightweight duel.