Two longtime promotional veterans are set to clash as a welterweight contest between K.J. Noons (10-4) and Billy Evangelista (11-1) has been targeted for Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal. Strikeforce officials have yet to confirm the bout, though reports from MMA Junkie indicate verbal agreements are already in place. Both men were originally scheduled to meet at Strikeforce: Miami, however a match was never finalized.
Noons returns to action for the first time since dropping a lightweight title eliminator to Jorge Masvidal in June. The loss was the second in a row for the 28-year-old Californian, which snapped a six-fight win streak stretching back to his time as the EliteXC lightweight champion in 2007. An accomplished striker, Noons has collected TKO wins over UFC veterans Nick Diaz, Yves Edwards, and Jorge Gurgel.
Meanwhile, Evangelista returns for the first time since suffering a similar setback, a unanimous decision loss to Masvidal in early March. The defeat was the first of the 31-year-old's career, and marked the end of an 11-fight win streak that included victories over UFC featherweight Nam Phan and Octagon veteran Luke Caudillo.
'Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal' is scheduled for December 17th at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California. The main event features a lightweight title bout between Gilbert Melendez and Masvidal.