After struggling to find opponents for both men on April 11th, Strikeforce has decided that it was time for Gilbert Melendez to get a shot at reclaiming the title Josh Thomson took away from him last June. Strikeforce executive Mike Afromowitz today confirmed the rumored matchup.
From the time the event was first announced both men were expected to be a part of it, but were initially hoped to face separate opponents. Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker had hoped to pit Thomson against former EliteXC champion KJ Noons, but that fell through when Noons’ father said that KJ wanted to focus on his boxing career at this time. Coker had tried to line up Melendez to face either PRIDE veteran Mitsuhiro Ishida or UFC veteran Jorge Gurgel. Those bouts fell through when Ishida joined the upcoming DREAM Welterweight tournament and it was revealed that Gurgel is still recovering from an elbow injury.
In their previous meeting Thomson topped Melendez via five round shut-out unanimous decision victory, in a battle that has been mentioned as one of the best fights of the year. Thomson’s last fight was a non-title affair in which he knocked out opponent Ashe Bowman last September, however Melendez has not fought since losing the title to Thomson.
Other bouts for the April 11th card include Nick Diaz vs. Frank Shamrock, which will still be the headlining fight, Jake Shields vs. Joe Riggs, Benji Radach vs. Scott Smith, and potentially Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos vs. a yet to be named opponent.
For more information about the April 11th card, and to stay up to date on all rumors regarding it, check out Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz Rumors in our Rumors section.