Shortly after Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez beat Jorge Masvidal in December people began wondering who “El Nino” would defend his belt against next. The two opponents most often mentioned were KJ Noons and Josh Thomson, both former title-holders in their own right. However, it appears the two talented 155ers will instead face each other with top contendership likely on the line.
A bout between Noons-Thomson has been attached to Strikeforce’s March 3 event in Columbus, Ohio with verbal agreements already in place.
News of the expected match-up was first reported by MMAJunkie.
Noons is coming off an entertaining decision win over Billy Evangelista and also holds Strikeforce victories over Conor Heun and Jorge Gurgel. Comparably, Thomson hasn’t fought in more than a year due to injury but is 2-0 in his last two Strikeforce appearances with success against JZ Cavalcante and Pat Healy. He also holds a victory over Melendez, as does the champ over Thomson, meaning an eventual bout in 2012 between the two would mark a rubber match.
The March 3 card is also expected to feature the final of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix as well as a title-fight between bantamweight belt-holder Miesha Tate and undefeated contender Ronda Rousey.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE