Despite rumors of a UFC lightweight being brought in as his next opponent, Strikeforce 155-pound champion Gilbert Melendez will instead defend his divisional gold against former title-holder Josh Thomson. The fight will mark the third in a trilogy between the two with each taking home a decision win in the previous offerings.
Strikeforce confirmed the match-up today along with two other fights for the May 19 card: Bobby Voelker vs. Nah-Shon Burrell and Mike Kyle vs. Rafael Cavalcante. The San Jose show will be headlined by the already-announced Grand Prix final featuring Daniel Cormier-Josh Barnett.
The 20-2 Melendez is on a six-fight winning streak with his last loss, interestingly enough, coming at the hands of Thomson when the two met in June 2008. “El Nino” avenged the defeat in 2009 and has looked incredibly sharp since, dominating Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and most recently Jorge Masvidal.
Comparably, Thomson has split his last two bouts but holds consecutive victories over Pat Healy, Gesias Cavalcante, and KJ Noons in his last three Strikeforce appearances. He holds an overall record of 19-4 with thirteen stoppages including nine submissions.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE