Strikeforce Evolution Preview: Thomson vs. Melendez

Josh Thomson

Age: 31 (Born September 21, 1978)
Nickname: The Punk
Height: 5 ft 10 in
Weight: 155 lbs

Fighting Style: Wrestling, kickboxing
Fighting Out Of: San Jose, CA
Affiliation: American Kickboxing Academy
Weight Class: Lightweight (155 lbs)
Organizations Fought In: Strikeforce, Pride, UFC, World Fighting Alliance

Fight Odds: Not released yet (subject to change)
Fight Odds Movement: N/A
Overall Record: 16-2
Record in Last 5 fights: 5-0
Record in Major Organizations of MMA: 10-2
Last Fight: def. Ashe Bowman via TKO (Strikes) – Round 1, 1:14 – Strikeforce at the Mansion 2, September 20, 2008

Notable Wins: Gilbert Melendez, Hermes Franca, Rob McCullough
Notable Losses: Clay Guida, Yves Edwards

Interesting Trivia: Both fighters are former training partners of each other

MMA Accomplishments: Current Strikeforce Lightweight Champion, hasn’t lost in over three years (last eight fights)

Strengths: Fantastic conditioning, solid wrestling, technical striking, overall quickness, ability to always come out on top in scrambles

Keys to Victory: Do exactly what he did in their first fight in June 2008. Thomson dominated his former training partner winning all five rounds in the championship fight, and although Melendez should be a different fighter on Saturday, Thomson has a distinct mental edge. In the first fight, Thomson was significantly bigger, stronger, and quicker than the plodding Melendez and used that advantage to score multiple takedowns. His technical striking found frequent openings, and he was also able to take down his opponent throughout. Outside of eating a huge right from his opponent, similar preparation should yield similar results.

* Versus *

Gilbert Melendez

Age: 27 (Born April 12, 1982)
Nickname: El Nino
Height: 5 ft 9 in
Weight: 155 lbs

Fighting Style: Boxing, Submission Wrestling
Fighting Out Of: San Francisco, CA
Affiliation: Fairtex GYM / Graciefighter
Weight Class: Lightweight (155 lbs)
Organizations Fought In: Strikeforce, Pride, Shooto, K-1, WEC

Fight Odds: Not released yet (subject to change)
Fight Odds Movement: N/A
Overall Record: 16-2
Record in Last 5 fights: 3-2
Record in Major Organizations of MMA: 11-1
Last Fight: def. Mitsuhiro Ishida via TKO (Strikes) – Round 3, 3:56 – Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg, August 15, 2009

Notable Wins: Mitsuhiro Ishida, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Clay Guida
Notable Losses: Josh Thomson, Mitsuhiro Ishida

Interesting Trivia: Both fighters are former training partners of each other

MMA Accomplishments: Former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion, former WEC Lightweight Champion

Strengths: Heavy hands – particularly his right, underrated submission wrestling, aggressive approach in early rounds

Keys to Victory: Preparation. Melendez remarked that in his first fight with Thompson, he felt that his opponent was bigger, stronger, and better conditioned. The realization caused Melendez to switch some things up with his preparation including putting a greater emphasis on strength training by hiring Mark Mian, head trainer of AlterCenter to put him through some hardcore weight room sessions. Melendez now sports about five more pounds of muscle, lower body fat, improved cardio, and a greater confidence. The revamped approach has fueled him through his last two fights and may prove the difference against Thomson. A stronger, better conditioned Melendez shouldn’t fade like the previous fight against his former training partner and may provide a greater opportunity to land that crushing right hand.

Additional Strikeforce: Evolution Fight Previews

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