According to multiple reports, including MMA Junkie, Gilbert Melendez has agreed to defend his Strikeforce lightweight title against Josh Thomson.
The third fight between the two will take place May 19 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier. The bout is likely to serve as the co-main event, with the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier holding down the main headline.
Melendez (20-2) has lost just once in 11 Strikeforce fights, dropping the title to Thomson back in 2008. “El Nino,” however, took back the crown 17 months later. Thomson (19-4) has won 10 of his 12 fights in Strikeforce, including a recent victory over K.J. Noons to secure the shot at Melendez.
Several reports had Strikeforce and the UFC trying to work out a deal to bring in a major-name lightweight from the Octagon to Strikeforce. Instead, it will be Thomson, which should offer at least a strong story for the fight promotion to present. If Melendez does take care of Thomson, it would seem very likely that Zuffa would try to bring over someone from the deep and talented pool of fighters representing the weight in the UFC right now.