Ishida to Replace Thomson Against Melendez

Mitsuhiro Ishida. Photo courtesy of Fighting and Entertainment Group.

Josh Thomson has once again been forced to withdraw from a scheduled rematch against Gilbert Melendez.

The reigning Strikeforce lightweight champion will be replaced by Japanese wrestler Mitsuhiro Ishida, who will take on Gilbert Melendez, a man he once defeated, for the interim Strikeforce lightweight belt at the organization’s August 15 event in San Jose, California.


Strikeforce announced the change in a press release sent out to the media this evening.

Reports circulated earlier this week claiming that the leg injury that forced Thomson out of his originally scheduled rematch against Melendez in April was not fully healed. That seems to be the case as Thomson was unable to gain medical clearance for the bout.

Ishida’s inclusion is one of many changes that the event’s fight card has gone through. Injury and health problems to Alistair Overeem and Joe Riggs caused them to be removed from the show last week as well. Hieron has been tapped to replace Riggs against Nick Diaz while Fabricio Werdum remains without an opponent.

Melendez and Ishida first clashed at the “Yarennoka” show on New Year’s Eve 2007, where Ishida out-wrestled Melendez en route to a unanimous decision victory. It was Melendez’s first loss as a professional.

Since then, both fighters have struggled to find consistency. Ishida has dropped two out of his last five bouts, including his most recent one - a first-round TKO loss to Mizuto Hirota at Shooto’s “Final Tradition” show in May. Meanwhile Melendez has his decision loss to Thomson sandwiched in between victories over Gabe Lemley and Rodrigo Damm.

Strikeforce’s August 15 show is headlined by an anticipated meeting involving female stars Gina Carano and Cris “Cyborg” Santos for Strikeforce’s 140 lb. women’s title. Renato “Babalu” Sobral will also defend his Strikeforce light heavyweight title against Gegard Mousasi. The event will air on Showtime.


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