Although it has not been the most highly anticipated possible rubber match, the trilogy between Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson is near, as the two will square off again on May 19th. The event, which is headlined by the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix final between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier, will take place at the HP Pavillion in Strikeforce’s hometown of San Jose, California.
MMAJunkie first broke the news regarding the matchup.
Melendez (20-2) last fought in December, defeating Jorge Masvidal by decision in San Diego, for his third consecutive defense of the Strikeforce lightweight title. Interestingly enough, his last fight in San Jose was against Thomson, whom he defeated in 2009 after losing to “The Punk” the year before. The Cesar Gracie product has not lost since losing that first matchup with Thomson, winning six consecutive fights in the four years since.
Thomson (19-4-1NC) earned the title shot and third matchup after defeating KJ Noons in March via unanimous decision. Although he was not happy with his performance, Thomson will certainly relish the opportunity to determine the winner of he and Melendez’s series, after being even after ten minutes of cage time. The longtime American Kickboxing Academy member has just one loss since losing to Melendez in their rematch, and that took place under the Dream promotion in 2010. With a 10-2 record in Strikeforce, Thomson has had a strong showing since leaving the UFC in 2004.
Also added to the card is a light heavyweight matchup between Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante and Mike Kyle. “Feijao” (11-3), has not fought since defeating Yoel Romero Palacio in September in Cincinnati, his first fight since losing the light heavyweight title to Dan Henderson earlier in 2011. He will take on Kyle (19-8-1NC), who has struggled with injuries over the last few years. He has been scheduled to take on Gegard Mousasi on multiple occasions, but the matchup has never taken place due to Kyle and Mousasi both withdrawing due to injury issues.
Those two fights will take place on the main card that will be headlined by the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix final between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier, along with a welterweight matchup between Naj-Shon Burrell and Bobby Voelker.
For complete coverage of Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier, stay tuned to MMAFrenzy.com