Strikeforce Barnett vs. Cormier Results: Melendez Takes Split Decision, Wins the Trilogy

May 19, 2012
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Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson - Strikeforce Barnett vs. CormierAfter 15 rounds, the trilogy between Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson is over. The war, however, may not have been settled at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier on Saturday night in San Jose, Calif.

Melendez won a narrow split decision in the rubber match between the two Bay Area friends, although many in attendance at the HP Pavilion booed the decision.

Melendez was faster out of the gate, taking the center of the cage, cutting off the majority of Thomson’s movement. He continually pressured Thomson throughout the fight, sticking his jab in Thomson’s face and landing some good body shots, especially early on. He also mixed in several takedowns, putting Thomson on his back early in the fight.

Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson at Strikeforce Barnett vs. CormierBut every time Melendez got Thomson to the mat, he would pop almost immediately back to his feet. Though he couldn’t get his patented ground and pound assault in action with Thomson, Melendez did catch him on the way back to his feet with punches and knees several times in the bout.

Just when it looked like Melendez might dominate his way to a decision, Thomson kicked into gear.

Thomson put Melendez on the mat with a tricky trip takedown late in round four. Melendez gave up his back while trying to escape, and Thomson took full advantage, jumping on Melendez’s back and locking on body triangle. Thomson sunk the rear naked choke, but couldn’t slip his elbow under the champion’s chin. Thompson road out the round on Melendez’s back, but couldn’t find the finish.

Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson at Strikeforce Barnett vs. CormierThe fifth round was another good one for Thomson as his striking was more fluid and quicker than it seemed earlier in the fight, and he scored the trip takedown again. This time he couldn’t dominate as he did at the end of round four. Once he got Melendez to his back, Thomson primarily held him down, while Melendez fired off a flurry of punches from his back until the final bell.

The judges scorecards read 48-47 across the board, two of them in Melendez’s favor, one for Thomson, keeping the Strikeforce belt around Melendez’s waist.

“We know each other real well. It’s a battle of the bay. He’s a tough guy,” said Melendez after the fight, although he didn’t side with those booing him.

“I thought I won most of the rounds. I know he took me down in the fourth round. I thought I had control. I just started cup-caking it out there. It wasn’t my best performance.”

Thomson, however, didn’t side with Melendez’s detractors either.

“He’s one of the best fighters, if not the best in the world,” he said. Adding, “He fought a great fight. Tonight wasn’t my night; the judges gave it to him.”

The frustration of being the Strikeforce champion, where the majority of fight fans and many pundits say that Melendez can’t prove his position as one of the top lightweight fighters on the planet, appears to be wearing on Melendez.

He admitted that he had a difficult time getting motivated for the fight when he has everything to lose with little to gain fighting opponents like Thomson.

“It’s just not as motivating. I have everything to lose; he’s got everything to gain,” Melendez stated. “I’m in a lose-lose situation with Josh. Even though I won, I lost.”

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  • Mario

    Close fight.

    But I had it for Josh.

    • shakejunt

      yeah he was doing a lot of damage with those headbutts to cormiers hands.

      • phrankthetank

        Yea…. Wrong fight.

  • phrankthetank

    I didn’t get to see this one unfortunately, but does a split decision against thomson end the argument about if he’s the worlds best?

    • RonnieV

      I believe it raises Thomson’s stock if anything. He looked extremely impressive, especially in the later rounds. Melendez won the first three rounds, Thomson won the final two. Great fight, very similar to the second Maynard/Edgar fight.

  • GiovanniB

    Well if we follow stupid ass nate diaz’s logic Melendez is the #1 lightweight and now Thompson is #2 and the rest are just trying to get to the top…LOL Anybody who wants a piece of Melendez should fight Thompson first…LOL couldn’t get motivated enough? Please, motivation my ass! Melendez would get raped if he moved over to the UFC, the level of competition there is just too much for him to handle. He better stay in strikefarse and make all the money he can and then retired, that would be a better game plan for his future since money is not a problem.

    #1 lightweight…ROFLMAO suck on that split decision Melendez and suck it good! LOL

  • Close fight, I had it for Gilbert 3 – 2.

    Their styles match up very evenly and always makes for a close one. No need for a 4th fight, any time soon anyway.

    • RonnieV

      Just like the third fight, a 4th fight does not benefit Melendez at all. He has everything to lose, and Thomson has everything to gain. Regardless, it was a great fight. I think Thomson would whoop most of the lightweight division in the UFC.

      • RubeKegal

        Thomson wouldn’t do a damn thing in the UFC LW division. His 19-5 record is padded with trash.

        Pat Healy
        Ashe Bowman
        JZ Cavalcante
        Adam Lynn
        Nick Gonzalez
        Nam Phan
        Duane Ludwig
        Rocky Johnson
        Harris Sarmiento
        Daisuke Sugie

        When he fought Clay Guida, he had no answer for Clay and Clay is 10 times the fighter he was then.

        He recently lost to Kawajiri WHO WOULD GET KILLED IN THE UFC!!

        Let’s be real, Melendez would get killed by every top 10 fighter in the UFC with the possible exception of #9 Eddie Alvarez.

        • RonnieV

          Did you watch the fight Rube? Thomson looked great last night, who cares about how he looked against Kawajiri. Melendez knocked out Kawajiri in the 1st round, and beat Guida. Thomson is a tough fight for Melendez, throw their past fights out the door. Until these two are fighting against UFC opponents, they will never get the respect they deserve. It was a great fight for 25 minutes. Neither one ever slowed down their pace, again it reminded me of Maynard/Edgar 2!

          • RubeKegal

            Yeah but Ronnie, that is said about all fighters in the UFC and then the ones that come to the UFC just don’t get it done. Thomson looked great last night, but would he have looked that great vs Edgar? Maynard?

            Takanori Gomi was expected to run through the competition and I think he went 1-3 in the UFC all before getting cut.

            Kid Yamamoto was the best thing in Japan…then he fights real competition and it really shows how talented he is.

            Big Nog
            Marcus Aurelio
            Ryo Chonan
            Paulo Filho
            Heath Herring

            The list goes on of guys who were projected to do big things and just didn’t.

            Which one of the following do you see Thomson or Melendez beating:


            I think they lose to any of those fighters….I personally think Jim Miller beats both Thomson and Melendez…I also think Gleison Tibau beats either one….it’s an entirely different level of competition in my book.

  • So which Strikeforce lightweight are you guys excited to see Melendez fight next?

    Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

  • pooby

    Close fight, but decision or not, Melendez looked bad last night. He acted pissy in the after fight interview, while Josh behaved like a champion. Melendez was even talking shit to the crowd on the way out.

    • RonnieV

      What were you watching? I didn’t see any of that, in fact he even thanked the fans that booed him

    • RubeKegal

      Yeah so Melendez talked shit to fans on the way out, like I don’t give a **** or whatever cuz it’s like his battle….CESAR GRACIE JIU JITSU!!

  • D-rail

    Rubekegal is in love with the all UFC fighters and that’s all there’s to it. I had a girlfriend like that, she kept comparing all the dudes she date to me . She was so in love with me that nobody was as good as me.

    • RubeKegal

      That former girlfriend must have left you due to the small penis situation.

      Anyways, you must hate facts because I presented facts and somehow that makes me a UFC nuthugger because Takanori Gomi dominated in Pride, goes 1-3 in the UFC and goes back to Japan and is back to his winning ways.

  • D-rail

    Mr Facts, why don’t u bring up a current list of fighters the don’t involve Pride to prove your point. U probably said the same nonsense about all WEC fighters before the transition, just like the typical UFC ball waxer u are today. I’m sure the Strikeforce fighters are all falling short too in the UFC. Hector Lombard or Eddie Alvarez shouldn’t even bother according to you, and Michael Chandler would also tank….

    • RubeKegal

      No actually WEC fighters have transitioned well as a whole. Bendo, Pettis, Cerrone all have done well for themselves.

      Don’t see why you are getting so upset. Do facts really bother you? Do you still think Gomi is best LW around? I mean come one man, take your head out of your rectum.

      Strikeforce competition isn’t the same as UFC competition and you can look at any fighters record and see that for yourself.

      And I don’t see Lombard or Alvarez doing much in UFC. Time will tell

  • D-rail

    Barnett and Cormier don’t bother, Rubekaka has u all figured out. There’s no future for u in the UFC, you’ll just end up getting beat up by the mid level fighters there, best move on. Especially Barnett, u fought in pride, don’t even think about it!!

    • RubeKegal

      I have to agree, today’s crop of heavyweight, Barnett has nothing for them. Cormier might have a shot, but Barnett has no chance. D-Railmyass might be upset by this but its truth. I can see Barnett going 2-2 in 4 fights and then going elsewhere.

  • D-rail

    Look Rubekegal, ur predictions might entertain some dudes when their spooning u, But in the MMA world, they hold as much value, as writing on a gas station stall with peepee on it. I know u don’t bet, but that’s how one puts their money where there mouth is. Everyone knows that in MMA, and yes, even in the UFC, every fighter is one punch or kick away from changing their stock value regardless of their track record.