With Gilbert Melendez off of Final Strikeforce Card, Masvidal vs. Healy Likely

John Heinis@HeinisHardNewsSenior Analyst INovember 27, 2012

May 19, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Gilbert Melendez (left) fights Josh Thomson (right) during the lightweight bout of the Strikeforce World Grand Prix at HP Pavilion.  Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker billed his promotion's January event as a "stacked card" just last month, but two of the three title holders set to defend their belts at "Strikeforce: Champions" have withdrawn from the show. 

Just days after The MMA Corner broke the news that Strikeforce middleweight champ Luke Rockhold would miss the event with a wrist injury, MMA Junkie has now revealed that Gilbert Melendez is officially off the card as well.

The lightweight champion was set to defend his belt against Pat Healy, but instead in his place will likely be American Top Team product Jorge Masvidal. 

Healy and Melendez were originally scheduled to face off at Strikeforce's Sept. 29 card, but a separated shoulder prevented that bout, and ultimately the entire card, from happening. 

Roughly two weeks ago, UFC president Dana White stated that he believed "El Nino" was injured again and would not participate in the final Strikeforce event. Turns out White was correct. 

The card, which was originally set to be headlined by Rockhold vs. undefeated prospect Lorenz Larkin, now features welterweight top gun Nate Marquardt defending his title against Tarec Saffiedine.

Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier is also still set to compete against Dion Staring on the card. 

Should the event end up being cancelled, it would mark three in a row for Strikeforce: their Nov. 3 event was cancelled once Rockhold could no longer fight on the card. 

After Rockhold postponed his upcoming title defense for a second time, Larkin lashed out at the champion on Twitter, with the American Kickboxing Academy fighter being quick to respond.

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