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Gilbert Melendez Defends His Strikeforce Lightweight Title With Razor-Close Decision

Gilbert Melendez seemed a little uninterested in his third fight with Josh Thomson for the Strikeforce lightweight title Saturday night in the co-main event of Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier. “El Nino” was awarded a split decision, much to the disappointment of the San Jose crowd.

Melendez confirmed in the post-fight interview that he felt like he was in a no-win situation with Thomson, as he entered the heavy favorite.

“It’s just not as motivating,” Melendez said. “I have everything to lose, and he has everything to gain. I’m in a lose-lose situation. Even though I won, I lost.”

Many felt like Melendez could receive a shot against a member of the UFC’s stacked lightweight lineup. Instead, he was paired with Thomson for a third time. “The Punk” was the last fighter to defeat Melendez.

“We know each other real well,” Melendez said. “He’s a tough guy. I thought I won most of the rounds. It wasn’t my best performance, but I got a win.”

Thomson asked the crowd if they wanted a fourth fight, which came to a loud ovation from those inside the arena. Melendez landed 120 strikes to 90 by Thomson, including 40 power strikes to just 19.

“He fought a great fight,” Thomson said. “Tonight wasn’t my night, hats off to him.”