Strikeforce's Josh " The Punk" Thomson wins in 5 round battle for the belt

James DuryeaContributor IJuly 1, 2008

Picked up late to go to the event, ( fights started at 7, and I was picked up in SF @ 745- fight in San Jose 50 miles away) my buddy and I RACED to the HP pavilion last Friday to watch the Strikeforce lightweight belt go on the line. For those who don't know. the Strikeforce organization, Based in the Bay area is where Frank Shamrock last fought, and is home to stars like Cung Le, TUF alum and heavyweight belt holder Bobby Southworth, 9-3,who fought and retained in his belt on fri in a 5 round decision over Anthony Ruiz, 20-11.

We show up just as a girl fight is starting, so already I knew that we had 15 minutes + to walk around and get food and look at some REALLY hot girls( they ALL live in the 408!) Not that its not fun to watch girls fight, and it is kinda hot, but 99% of girl fights are going to the judges, and you know it, buddy.

The other under card fights were fun, but mostly went the full five rounds, in my opinion because there are no elbow strikes allowed in strikeforce, with limits the attacks that can be utilized and takes away from the fight over all.

Finally we got to the main event. Having met both the fighters and liking them both I was torn as to who to root for. Gabe Melendez fights and lives in my home town of SF, and is a cool guy who I see around. He also trains with the Jake Shield team with Nick and Nate Diaz, who are some of my favorite fighters. Same with Josh, who I've met a couple time and thought was a good person to represent the sport. He fights out of AKA, and is a all around champ.

He showed it on Fri. From bell to bell he dominated in the stand up and the take downs. He threw and laned 69 leg kicks in the bought to Gabe's 1. This is attributed to the fact that Josh is a high level wresltler from stanford, and any leg kickjs would set up a take down.

The end of the second round I yell out( we were 4 rows from cage side, in Thomson's corner) "Take him down to finish the round!" and Thomson did. That was pretty cool.

BY the end o f the third, the crowd, which had been torn in rooting for the two, could see that the fight was going to the challenger, and the crowd started to chant "thomson"

Gabe never took him down, was taken down very round, but was landing big overhand rights b/c Josh kept letting his left down. But Josh's muay thai looked stronger, as his kick were sharp. and when ever he started to get rocked,he shot in and took Gabe down.

The sickest part, though, was the guy who fought after the Thomson victory. This guy got his finger bent back the opposite way on his left hand, and called his own time out- the ref looked at him, then the finger, and called a time out. the doc popped his finger into place and he went back to fight- only he was mentally broken- guy got rear naked chocked in under a  minute after. it was pretty bad ass- all in all... Support Local MMA!