Josh Thomson

Thomson, Melendez to Rematch for Strikeforce Lightweight Title


Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thompson. Photo by Jon Swenson.

Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson will defend his title in a rematch against former PRIDE Fighting Championships standout Gilbert Melendez at Strikeforce’s upcoming “Shamrock vs. Diaz” event on April 11 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.

Various websites, including MMA on Tap, were able to confirm the matchup on Tuesday. Five Ounces of Pain was the first to report the possibility of the bout. Thomson won a five-round unanimous decision over Melendez at a Strikeforce event in June of last year.

Since then, Thomson has only competed once and has yet to defend his belt. The American Kickboxing Academy product last competed at Strikeforce’s second visit to the Playboy Mansion this past September, defeating Ashe Bowman via first-round TKO in a non-title bout.

Melendez has not fought since losing to Thomson either due to taking some time off to heal lingering injuries and opening his own gym in California. The Cesar Gracie-trained fighter has one fight on his current contract with Strikeforce and will become a free agent following his rematch with Thomson.

Thomson Still Battling Toe Injury


Josh Thomson. Photo by Jon Swenson. Used with permission.

One month after being forced to withdraw from his first-ever Strikeforce lightweight title defense, Josh Thomson is still feeling lingering effects of torn ligaments in his toe, suffered during a training session for his scheduled November rematch with Yves Edwards.

From MMA Weekly’s “MMA Insider Blog”:

“For some reason, I still can’t run, I can’t do cardio, I can’t do anything right now,” he tells MMAInsider. “I can’t ride a bike…you have to push on the balls of your feet. I can’t do anything that causes my big toe to bend.”

Thomson is doing rehab on the injury twice a day, and his doctor has worked out the scar tissue that had built up in the digit. If it doesn’t get better in two weeks, he says an anticipated February return for Strikeforce is off the table. He will, however, get on their card tentatively scheduled for March in San Jose.

I’m not much of an expert on toe injuries, but I did suffer torn ligaments in one of my toes before, and it sounds like Thomson just needs to get off his feet and rest in order for the injury to heal. At least that’s what worked for me.

Anyway, Duane Ludwig replaced Thomson at Strikeforce’s November event and won a decision over Edwards, potentially earning him a shot at Thomson’s belt early next year, if a planned bout between Ludwig and Phil Baroni doesn’t get put together by Scott Coker and company first. Thomson and Ludwig have fought before - Thomson scored a second-round submission of Ludwig at Strikeforce’s “Tank vs. Buentello” event in October 2006.

Ludwig to Replace Thomson at Strikeforce


Duane Ludwig. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled title defense against Yves Edwards at Strikeforce’s upcoming “Destruction” event on November 21 due to injury reports Sports Illustrated’s Josh Gross.

Thomson suffered torn ligaments in his toe during his training for the bout and hoped that the injury would have healed in time for the fight. Duane “Bang” Ludwig has agreed to replace him on short notice. However the bout will now be a non-title fight affair and probably won’t take place at 155 lbs according to Ludwig.

“Coker called me about 10 minutes ago and asked if I wanted to take the fight and I said, ‘Sure.’ We’ve got to determine a weight to fight at because there’s no way I can make 155 (pounds) on such short notice, but I’m excited to get another fight in before the end of the year.”

No word as of yet concerning how long Thomson will be out of action. Despite each competing in a variety of bouts around the world at lightweight, this will be the first-ever meeting between Ludwig and Edwards. Ludwig recently avenged a prior loss to Sam Morgan by stopping the ‘TUF’ veteran with strikes at Strikeforce’s “Payback” event on October 3 while Edwards is coming off of a brutal first-round TKO loss to K.J. Noons at a June EliteXC event.

Thomson to Defend Strikeforce Title Against Edwards


Josh Thomson. Photo by Jon Swenson. Used with permission.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Strikeforce World Lightweight (155 lb. limit) Champion, Josh “The Punk” Thomson (16-2), will set out to make his first title defense and, at the same time, look to even an old score against the only man on the planet who has stopped him in the heat of battle - Yves Edwards (34-14-1) – at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on Friday, November 21st. 

The 32-year-old Edwards, who scored an unforgettable, first round knockout on Thomson with a head kick at UFC 49 on August 21, 2004, remains one of only two competitors who have defeated Thomson.  The finishing shot that Edwards landed on Thomson was afterwards called “the greatest knockout due to a kick in UFC history” by play-by-play announcer, Mike Goldberg.

“I was better than him then and I’m way better than him now,” said Thomson who, one day before his 30th birthday, coasted to his eighth consecutive victory, a first round TKO of Lion’s Den protégé, Ashe Bowman, during Strikeforce’s second affair at the world famous Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California on Saturday, September 20th.

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Strikeforce Announces “Destruction” Event


Renato Sobral. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Southworth vs. “Babalu” Greenlit For Nov. 21st: Riggs battles Stewart, tickets for Strikeforce “Destruction” on sale Monday

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Only two months after injuries to both fighters postponed their scheduled showdown, a healthy Strikeforce World Light Heavyweight (205 lb. limit) Champion, Bobby Southworth (9-5), will make his highly anticipated title defense against surgically repaired superstar, Renato “Babalu” Sobral (30-7), in the main event of Strikeforce “Destruction” at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on Friday, November 21st.

Joe “Diesel” Riggs (28-11) will make his return to the welterweight (170 lb. limit) division in a featured contest with Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, Luke Stewart (6-1). Strikeforce World Lightweight (155 lb. limit) Champion, Josh “The Punk” Thomson (16-2), will set out to defend his crown for the first time and notch his ninth consecutive victory against an opponent to be announced.

“It’s my title and I plan on defending it,” said Southworth, who had originally been slated to put his belt on the line against Sobral in the main event of Strikeforce’s second affair at the world-famous Playboy Mansion on September 20th. Stabilization problems stemming from a past knee injury, however, sidelined Southworth. “The stabilization in my knee is back and so is my strength.”

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Thomson-Bowman Set for Non-Title Bout


Josh Thomson. Photo by Jon Swenson.

Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson will reportedly take on Lion’s Den product Ashe Bowman at the organization’s upcoming event at the Playboy Mansion on September 20th according to Sherdog.com.

Strikeforce VP Mike Afromowitz is expected to make a formal announcement of the bout at some point next week. Thomson’s title will not be on the line.

Thomson became Strikeforce’s latest lightweight title holder after upsetting highly regarded PRIDE veteran Gilbert Melendez on June 27th in San Jose, California via a five-round unanimous decision. Thomson’s current win streak now stands at seven straight fights.

Bowman meanwhile has been fighting primarily under the newly formed “Ken Shamrock Productions” promotion. He has not fought since earning a second-round submission of Henry Schweichler in October of last year.

Southworth to Defend Title Against “Babalu”


Bobby Southworth. Photo by Jon Swenson.

Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and former “Ultimate Fighter” contestant Bobby Southworth will defend his title at Strikeforce’s upcoming event at the Playboy Mansion on September 20th against fellow UFC veteran Renato “Babalu” Sobral.

Strikeforce Vice President Mike Afromowitz officially announced the bout in a press released sent out to the media today. Additional participants confirmed by Afromowitz include Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson and undefeated prospect Billy Evangelista.

Southworth made his second consecutive defense of his Strikeforce title at the organization’s “Melendez vs. Thomson” event in June, winning a unanimous decision over Anthony Ruiz, who defeated Southworth by TKO due to a cut last November.

Sobral has been rumored to also be taking on former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz at Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning” event in October, however Ortiz has yet to officially sign with the promotion. The popular Brazilian recently picked up a hard-fought unanimous decision over Mike Whitehead at Affliction’s debut show last month.

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“Unfiltered: Melendez vs. Thomson” Premieres Friday on HDNet


Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thompson. Photo by Jon Swenson.

SAN JOSE, Calif. – HDNet, the first national television network broadcasting all of its programming in the high-definition format, will give fans an all-access, behind-the-scenes look at the lives and training camps of Strikeforce World Lightweight (155 lb. limit) Champion, Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (14-1), and challenger, Josh “The Punk” Thomson (14-2), during a special 30 minute program that premieres Friday, June 13th at 12 a.m EST/9 p.m. PST, two weeks before the two rival forces collide at San Jose’s HP Pavilion.

“Unfiltered: Melendez vs. Thomson” follows both world-class fighters as they prepare for what is arguably the biggest battle of their lives and a fight that will determine supremacy in the sport’s 155 lb. division.

The 26-year-old Melendez, a protégé of both Muay Thai legend Jongsanan Fairtex and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Jake Shields, notched his last victory, a second round TKO of Gabe Lemley, live on Showtime during the Strikeforce co-promoted “Shamrock vs. Cung Le” mega-event at HP Pavilion on March 29th.  Recognized by every major, independent ranking system as one of the world’s top five lightweight competitors, Melendez has also established a reputation for being one of the most complete fighters in the sport.   

Thomson has been on fire of late, winning his last six fights in impressive fashion.  Following his last conquest, a first round stoppage of Adam Lynn during Strikeforce’s historic, first event at the world famous Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills on September 29, 2007, the 29-year-old former Stanford University wrestling star was forced to undergo surgery to repair a tear in his shoulder.  The showdown with Melendez marks his first appearance since his meeting with Lynn.

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Melendez-Thomson Set for June Showdown


Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thompson. Photo by Jon Swenson.

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Following a year of anticipation, Strikeforce World Lightweight (155 lb. limit) Champion, Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (14-1), will put his coveted title on the line against number one contender and Bay Area arch-rival, Josh “The Punk” Thomson (14-2), in the main event of a Strikeforce mixed martial arts mega-card at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on Friday, June 27th.

Originally slated for March 29th, the showdown between the 155 lb. superstars was put on hold after it was learned that Thomson would have to undergo surgery for a left shoulder injury he had sustained on his way to victory over Adam Lynn at Strikeforce’s event at The Playboy Mansion on September 29, 2007.

“This is a very big fight for the fans, for the promotion and for Josh and me,” said the 26-year-old Melendez, who turned in another stellar performance in his last effort, stopping Pat Miletich protégé Gabe Lemley with a brutal ground and pound offensive in the second round of their live Showtime-televised contest at HP Pavilion on Saturday, March 29th.  “Josh is a great fighter, but I’m the champ and I plan on remaining the champ for a long time.”

Unbeaten after his first nine starts, Melendez seized the Strikeforce crown from former junior collegiate wrestling standout, Clay “The Carpenter” Guida, on June 9, 2006, battering Guida with kicks and punches for five rounds before being awarded the title by way of judges’ decision.

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Strikeforce Formally Announces Shamrock-Le


Frank Shamrock interviews Cung Le after his win over Sam Morgan at Strikeforce: Four Men Enter, One Man Survives. Photo by Jon Swenson.

Strikeforce and Elite Xtreme Combat have formally announced that former UFC middleweight champion Frank Shamrock and undefeated former kickboxer Cung Le will finally meet in a middleweight bout that will headline a co-promoted event titled “Shamrock vs Cung Le”, which take place on March 29th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.

“This is absolutely a tremendous fight and an extremely dangerous fight for both fighters, but one I know they have wanted and the fans have been waiting for and can’t wait to see,’’’ EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw said. “I can’t wait to see it either. Shamrock is a true MMA legend, but Cung Le is one of the very best fighters around, and this is his chance to prove that to the world.”

Since returning to active competition, Shamrock has submitted Phil Baroni and knocked out Cesar Gracie. His lone loss since that time came last February when he was disqualified for illegally kneeing Renzo Gracie while he was on the ground in their bout.

Le, a San-Shou expert and former K-1 kickboxer, is undefeated thus far in his mixed martial arts career. His last fight was a win over former UFC middleweight Sam Morgan in November.

There’s no doubt that the weeks leading up to this fight are going to be filled with storylines. Frank Shamrock can sell a fight. Period. The pre-fight trash talking is going to begin the second after this fight is officially announced and it’s going to be fun to follow.

Guess what? The trash talking has already started.

“Being No. 2 isn’t such a bad thing so Cung has nothing to be ashamed of,” cracked the ever-entertaining Shamrock. “But there’s a big difference between being No. 1 and No. 2. Le will find that out soon enough. This is a fight that has been building for years. This is where we both grew up, where we both found our paths in life as martial artists and champions of combat. It was inevitable that we would one day face each other here. I’m excited it’s finally happening.’’

A lightweight title bout between champion Gilbert Melendez and top contender Josh Thomson was also slated to take place at the event but now may be canceled according to Sherdog’s Josh Gross, who is reporting that Thomson will undergo surgery on an injured shoulder later this week.

Tickets for the event go on sale this Saturday at 1 PM EST.

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