Having a lightweight rematch scheduled for Strikeforce Saturday is really no guarantee of anything: since meeting in September of 2008, Josh Thomson and Gilbert Melendez have made and broken arrangements to fight on at least two separate occasions. The idea that one could take a bad fall near a saturated-fat spill at the concession stand should not be overlooked.
If they do wind up fighting, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Melendez has a whole lot of answers for Thomson, who shut him right down in their first five rounder. In Melendez’ favor is the display of error correction he put on against Mitsuhiro Ishida in August: the takedown opportunities that Ishida found in their 2007 fight were absent. Improved defense and Thomson’s year-plus layoff work in his favor.
The winner will probably be pitted against B.J. Penn in fantasy circles. Until promoters lose the proprietary selfishness, that’s where it’ll have to stay.
Might Look Like: Thomson/Melendez 1. (You expected something else?)
Wild Card: Thomson’s left fibula, which has been a recurring problem in 2009. It’s apparently holding up to stress in the gym, but sparring partners aren’t motivated by revenge or money.
Who Wins: Melendez impressed with his exorcism of the Ishida defeat, but Thomson is a 155er who could comfortably fight at 170. It’s a tall order. Thomson by decision.