Gilbert Melendez (21-2 MMA, 11-1 SF) returns to action in September, and Pat Healy (28-16 MMA, 6-1 SF) will be the next man to try and take his Strikeforce lightweight title.
) today confirmed the matchup with sources close to the fighters.
Melendez and Healy will meet in the headliner of the previously announced event, now entitled "Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy," which takes place Sept. 29 at Power Balance Pavilion (formerly ARCO Arena) in Sacramento, Calif.
Melendez returns after a May win over longtime rival Josh Thomson. The hard-fought split-decision victory was Melendez's seventh-consecutive win and earned him a 2-1 victory in the trilogy series with Thomson. The win also served as Melendez's fourth-straight defense of the Strikeforce lightweight title.
Healy earned his shot with five consecutive wins under the Strikeforce banner, and he is 8-1 in his past nine overall fights. A blue-collar grinder, the Team Quest product fought most recently in July and earned a come-from-behind decision win over Japanese import Mizuto Hirota. Healy's current run also includes victories over Caros Fodor, Maximo Blanco, Eric Wisely and Lyle Beerbohm.