Strikeforce Lightweight Championship
Josh “The Punk” Thomson vs. “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez
Thomson got a loud mixed reaction from the crowd.
Round 1: Thomson landed a leg kick early and stuffed a takedown attempt. Both men had a great exchange, which Thomson seemed to get the better of. Thomson stuffed another takedown, but caught a right hand for it. Melendez landed a nice exchange and leg kick late in the round. Thomson followed up with a leg kick of his own. FightLine.com scores he round 10-9 for Thomson.
Round 2: Melendez clipped Thomson early and knocked him down (it seemed more like a slip), but Thomson got quickly back to his feet. Melendez floored him again, but Thomson was back up to his feet again. Melendez accidentally nailed Thomson with a low blow, which caused a pause in the fight. Once the fight was restarted, Melendez came out aggressive. He caught a kick from Thomson and pressed him against the cage. With a minute left in the round, they had another great exchange, with Melendez getting the better of it and knocking Thomson to the mat. Melendez jumped on top on got in Thomson’s guard as the round ended. Great round. FightLine.com scores the round 10-9 for Melendez.
Round 3: Melendez landed some leg kicks early. Melendez picked away at Thomson with leg kicks and jabs. Melendez was able to stuff a takedown and stayed on offense for the rest of the round. FightLine.com scores the round 10-9 for Melendez.
Round 4: Thomson was able to score a takedown early in the round, but Melendez was able to get back to his feet and both men had another great exchange. Melendez landed several nice combinations. He was able to catch Thomson’s foot again and take him down, but Thomson was able to get back to his feet. Melendez landed punches, jabs and a knee to the body, while Thomson was able to land a kick to the body. With 0:12 left, Thomson got poked in the eye and the bout was paused for a moment. Thomson basically walked away as the round came to a close. FightLine.com scores the round 10-9 for Melendez.
Round 5: Another series of great exchanges with both men just swinging for the fences. The crowd is going wild, with most of the ringside area on their feet. Melendez clipped Thomson and knocked him to the mat. Melendez got on top in Thomson’s guard, and tried to get his back. Thomson was able to get back to his feet, and they exchanged again. Thomson looks exhausted. With a little over a minute left, Thomson scored a takedown and tried to get Melendez’s back, but Melendez was able to power out and get back standing. Both men had another great exchange as the fight ended. Outstanding fight, one of the best of the year. FightLine.com scores the round 10-9 for Melendez.
Gilbert Melendez defeated Josh Thomson (scores of 49-47,49-46,49-46) to become the NEW Strikeforce Lightweight Champion.
After the bout, Melendez said the fight was the toughest he’s had and Thomson was the toughest opponent that he’s had. Thomson said he wasn’t going to make any excuses, and that Melendez was the better fighter tonight.