Shinya Aoki was considered the No. 2 lightweight in the world, right behind BJ Penn.
Penn lost his UFC title to Frankie Edgar last week at UFC 112, and Aoki, the Dream champion, was schooled by Gilbert Melendez in the Strikeforce lightweight championship bout Saturday night in Nashville. All five judges scored the bout 50-45 for Melendez.
Can't wait to see the next weight-class rankings whenever they come out.
In the meantime, let's talk some Gilbert Melendez (18-2). He thoroughly dominated Aoki, stuffing every shot and takedown attempt. Aoki (23-6) offered no other offense, seemingly content to catch a whooping from the defending champion. He was 0-for-18 in takedown attempts and threw just 51 punches in five rounds, landing 18.
"I couldn't make any mistakes and I had to wait to pull the trigger until the last 30 seconds of the round," Melendez said, winner of four straight bouts.
PHOTOS: Strikeforce Nashville
Below is the round-by-round reactionary analysis as it happened:
Lots of dancing and faking and such in the first two minutes. The biggest excitement was an Aoki poke in the eye to Melendez. Midway through, Aoki shot in, Melendez stuffed it and Aoki nearly turned that into an armbar submission. Dang, he's quick. Melendez got back to his feet fairly quickly.
With less than two minutes left, Aoki was on his back near the cage, daring Melendez to make a move. He did, landing several shots, and that might have been enough to win the fairly flat round.
Aoki continued with takedown attempts from the first round, Melendez continued to stuff them and Aoki continued to turn it into submission attempts. No dice, though, Melendez too prepared for that against the submission specialist from Dream.
Melendez kept the fight standing for the middle minutes and was the aggressor. Aoki has, for the moment, stopped looking to shoot in for a takedown. Until the final minute. Aoki shot in, but Melendez stuffed it again. He has ankle control, then dove in and landed a good shot to Aoki's face. Melendez won the second round on the Fightin' Words scorecard.
Aoki shoots, Melendez sprawls. Repeat. Melendez moves in for a shot on the grounded Aoki. It lands, but Aoki got Melendez into his guard. Risky move for Melendez. Melendez got back to his feet with no harm caused.
Aoki is now pulling a Thales Leites against Anderson Silva in UFC 97, dropping to his back repeatedly trying to get Melendez to engage him on the ground where he's strongest. With about 1:10 left, Melendez unleashed a series of punches to Aoki, who was pinned up near the cage. Seeing how that has been the majority of action this round, give this one to Melendez, too.
Melendez blasted Aoki with a big knee to the stomach after dropping him with a punch. Aoki has to be morally defeated right now. What is referee Mario Yamasaki doing? Aoki was crawling around the cage on his butt, and Melendez jumped in with a monster punch and a follow-up flurry. Yamasaki jumped in and the fight was over? Nope! He was getting Melendez off him to let Aoki up. Huh?
Aoki was poked in the eye with 4:08 left, but quickly recovered after a brief timeout. Not sure anything else of note happened in this round aside from taunting by Melendez and some falling down by Aoki.
Video from Showtime Sports