Thomson won the Strikeforce belt away from Melendez in June 2008, but has yet to defend the title due to injuries. In Thomson's absence, Melendez captured the interim belt and will look to reclaim the world title in their long-awaited rematch.
The live blog begins below.
Melendez walks out to a nice ovation. There's a section chanting his "El Nino" nickname. Former training partner Josh Thomson also gets a loud reaction, but mixed in with some boos from the Melendez die-hard supporters.
Round 1: Melendez sticks out jabs. He throws a left hook and lands a kick. Melendez tries to close the distance for the takedown, but Thomson backs. They trade punches. Thomson stuffs a takedown. Melendez lands a leg kick but falls down. Thomson wraps his left arm around Melendez's neck. Melendez escapes. Thomson swings and Melendez ties up. Thomson fires punches that land. Melendez goes for a single-leg but Thomson defends. Melendez is able to land a punch as a consolation prize. Thomson lands a hard kick. Melendez mixes his punches and Thomson throws back. Thomson lands a kick to the body. Thomson fires away again and Melendez moves off.
MMAFighting.com scores the first round 10-9 for Thomson.
Round 2: Thomson throws a kick and Melendez counters and puts Thomson down. Thomson quickly gets up. Thomson falls again, but it might have been a slip this time. They exchange punches. Melendez throws an illegal shot below the belt. Melendez bows to Thomson as an apology. Fight resumes and Melendez comes forward with punches. Thomson taps a leg kick and Melendez taps one back. Thomson attacks with kicks to each side of Melendez's ribs. Melendez shoots and Thomson stuffs it and throwing a knee to punctuate his effective takedown defense. Melendez catches a kick and runs forward with a knee. Thomson goes for a takedown and Melendez lands a knee in clinch. Melendez lands to the leg. Thomson throws rapid hooks and backs Melendez. They are trading wildly. Thomson drops to his knee. He stands up and is dropped again. Thomson works rubberguard . Great second round.
MMAFighting.com scores the round 10-9 for Melendez.
Round 3: Thomson throws his first front kick of the night. Melendez chops at Thomson's left leg. Melendez lands a left hook and a leg kick. Thomson answers back with a leg kick and smiles. Thomson misses a spinning back kick. Melendez lands leg kicks. Thomson finds a home for a leg kick and throws a faat combo. Melendez is scoring with leg kicks. Melendez rocks Thomson with a right. Melendez throws a leg kick nd they both slip at the same time. Melendez throws jabs and Thomson backs him with a front kick. Thomson shoots and Melendez defends with a whizzer. Thomson lets go and they separate. Melendez connects on one more leg kick.
Round 4: Thomson connects on an inside leg kick. Melendez continues shooting out empty jabs before landing a leg kick. Thomson takes down Melendez, but Melendez stands up right away. They exchange punches with Melendez getting the better of the trade. Thomson comes over with the right. Melendez lands kicks and he's outboxing Thomson. Melendez catches a kick and almost trips Thomson. Thomson shoots and Melendez defends. Thomson looking for the knock out. Nice boxing war. Melendez throws a knee. Thomson throws a kick. Thomson got poked in the eye. The crowd boos Thomson.
Round 5: Thomson rocks Melendez and they trade punches again. These two don't mind swinging and these two are putting on a memorable fight. Melendez catches a kick and drops Thomson into guard. Back to their feet, they go at it aggressively. Melendez rushes in with a knee to the body and Thomson puts him on his back. Melendez scrambles out with under a minute left. Thomson hunts Melendez with punches. They exchange punches to close the fight. These two put on a show.
10-9 for Melendez. MMAFighting.com scores the fight 49-46 for Melendez.
Gilbert Melendez wins by unanimous decision (49-47, 49-46, 49-46)