Josh Thomson and Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante, two of the premier lightweight fighters in the world, promised a competitive match-up at Saturday night’s Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons II in San Jose, Calif., and they delivered.
The first round epitomized the delivery on their potential.
Cavalcante dropped Thomson with punches midway through the opening stanza and immediately followed him to the ground. The American Top Teamer locked on an arm-in guillotine choke that appeared to be very tight. Thomson remained calm, eventually working his head out after a full minute of defending the choke.
Moments later, Thomson locked on an arm triangle choke that had Cavalcante in deep waters. The problem for Thomson was that they were too deep in the round and the bell sounded before he could finish the choke.
The second round saw them stalemated for the first half of the round before Cavalcante took superior back positioning on the mat. But again, Thomson turned the tables and finished the round in a flurry of ground and pound as the round ended.
The final round played out with more clinching before Cavalcante tossed Thomson to the mat and began working from top position. Thomson did a good job from the bottom, defending most of Cavalcante’s attacks, eventually escaping to his feet. Cavalcante landed an uppercut, dropping the shooting Thomson, but once they hit the mat, Cavalcante had trouble mounting much more offense before they ran out of time.
At the end of the night, Thomson walked out of the ring with a unanimous decision, if not a bittersweet taste in his mouth, as another rematch with Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez looms on the horizon.
“First off, I want to say knock, knock Melendez. Knock, knock baby. I wanna say I’m knocking on the door, I want my title back,” said Thomson after the fight, before admitting, “I felt like (expletive) tonight. I left it in the hands of the judges and that’s not someone that I wanted to do.”
He didn’t like the way the win went down, but Thomson was happy that another shot at his friend and the man who took the lightweight strap from him is now in order.
“Everyone’s waiting for a trilogy… am I right?!”