The long-rumored, and highly anticipated, Strikeforce lightweight title unification bout between current champion Josh Thomson and interim champion Gilbert Melendez has been set for December 19th inside the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
The bout has been confirmed by multiple news outlets, including GracieFighter.com, the official website run by Melendez’ trainer, Cesar Gracie.
“Gilbert Melendez will be fighting Josh Thomson in Strikeforce’s December 19th show at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA,” a statement on the website read. “The anticipated rematch had been canceled twice previously with Thomson citing injury for withdrawing on both occasions.
“Melendez has two losses on his record. Once against Mitsuhiro Ishida and the other against Josh Thomson. He later avenged the Ishida loss by a resounding TKO victory, and will be looking to do the same against Thomson.”
The two first met in June of 2008 when Thomson defeated Melendez via unanimous decision. Thompson has fought only once since then, defeating Ashe Bowman in a non-title affair in September 2008.
Thomson has been on the mend because of complications stemming from a broken leg he suffered in April, which was the cause of their second cancellation. Due to his extensive leave, the organization felt the need to manufacture an interim title and satisfy the division’s other top dogs.
Melendez has fought twice since posting his disappointing performance against Thomson, and captured the interim title by defeating Rodrigo Damm in April. He then successfully defended his title against the aforementioned Ishida in August.