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« | Home | »

Melendez loses in Strikeforce: What’s next for Gilbert?

By Zach Arnold | June 27, 2008

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Josh Thomson beat him tonight in San Jose. If a video of the fight surfaces, we’ll link to it. For those of us stuck in Comcast-land, getting HDNet Fights is not easy unless you have a dish. I’d love to see HDNet Fights put some of their recent content in embeddable video format (like MSNBC) so that bloggers could give the network some free advertising online.

FWIW, Miesha Tate was +300 and Josh Thomson was +350 at the BodogLife online sportsbook. Some coin was made if you picked either one of them. No wonder people love betting on MMA.

CompuStrike has stats of last night’s fights on the Strikeforce show. Erin Bucknell of MMACalifornia.net fame has a show report on her site, as well.

Topics: HDNet, Media, MMA, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 37 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

37 Responses to “Melendez loses in Strikeforce: What’s next for Gilbert?”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    That loss really hurts Gilbert Melendez’s standing. He really seemed to arrived when he beat Kawajiri. But now with the losses to Ishida & now Thomson, he is in jeopardy of becoming somewhat of a high level gatekeeper.

    As for Thomson, he needs to get out of Strikeforce. They have no competition for him. Would love to see him back in the UFC.

  2. Michael says:

    Why is it everyones answer to a fighter fighting in another organization for him to fight in the UFC. He would be stuck on the under card fighting nobodys and being stuck in MMA purgatory.

  3. D. Capitated says:

    I don’t see Thomson in UFC unless they’re willing to pay him more than Strikeforce, and Strikeforce pays him some decent coin. His guaranteed money for his undercard fight at the Playboy Mansion was $24,500. Compared to some guys that are in the UFC in recent fights, he gets more in guaranteed money than Tyson Griffin or Ricardo Almedia. I’m sure he beat that $24,500 mark last night too. So for him, his attitude is probably gonna be “why bother?” DREAM or Sengoku will call at some point down the line and offer $50K or something. Its far more likely than being able to go to the UFC and win three bouts and get a title shot (I’m sure he saw what happened to Karo like everyone else).

    Also, aside from Thomson/Melendez, which was as solid a 50-45 fight you’ll ever see, the card stunk. One of the worst events I’ve sat through in a long time.

  4. Pontus says:

    I really hope we get more of the top ten light weight fighters that got their ranking in Japan fighting in the UFC.

    Because I feel theres something wrong with the lightweight rankings and the only way to bring clarity to the subject is having the ufc stable of light weights fight these other top ten fighters.

  5. cyph says:

    There is a real illusion of greatness from fighters in smaller organizations like Strikeforce. Milendez was thought of as a top five and even top three in some circles because he beat lesser competition. When he gets some top competition, he drops two in a row.

    It’s not so much that he loses, everybody loses–but the fact that he was outclassed five rounds to none, on the ground and in the stand up. What champion gets beat like that? The guy who beat him was dropped from the UFC for not being good enough.

    How good is Robbie Lawler and Frank Trigg who’s supposedly top ten who were also dropped from the UFC? What about Gomi, Aoki, Kawajiri, Calvacante, and Ishida? Ishida “beat” Milendez by the greatest display of LNP I’ve ever seen, if clinging to somebody’s back the whole fight is considered improving one’s position.

    Has Thomson improved that much or are the other organizations just plain substandard? Last night’s 4+ hours of bore fest was MMA at its worst. Exciting MMA is worth watching, but bad MMA was excruciating to watch. You can’t grow the sport with that kind of garbage.

  6. D. Capitated says:

    Also, I was wrong about Thomson’s pay. It was 14,500 guaranteed, which is still a lot better than, say, Chris Wilson gets. I just can’t see him being willing to take a bunch of 6&6 or 8&8s when he’s probably gonna be getting 15&15 as long as he holds that belt.

  7. Rollo the Cat says:

    Strikeforce can probably pay their champions more than the UFC would offer them. Thompson will stay where he is, I am sure.

    Pontus, you are very perceptive. I have been telling anyone who will listen that the standard of excellence for LWs is now with the UFC, not the Japanese groups. People are stuck in the Pride days, when the UFC didn’t have LWs.

  8. D. Capitated says:

    It’s not so much that he loses, everybody loses–but the fact that he was outclassed five rounds to none, on the ground and in the stand up. What champion gets beat like that?

    I’d say that being beaten for five rounds but being somewhat competitve the whole time is better than getting blown out in 20 seconds or something. I can think of several champs who’ve gone out like Melendez did last night. Noguiera was dominated completely and totally all 20 minutes of his two complete fights with Fedor. Tim Sylvia lost all 25 minutes against Couture. When Tito and Couture fought to “unify” the UFC light heavyweight title, Couture completely controlled Tito the entire bout.

    How good is Robbie Lawler and Frank Trigg who’s supposedly top ten who were also dropped from the UFC? What about Gomi, Aoki, Kawajiri, Calvacante, and Ishida? Ishida “beat” Milendez by the greatest display of LNP I’ve ever seen, if clinging to somebody’s back the whole fight is considered improving one’s position.

    The high end lighter weight fighters overseas always fought each other and the guys from the US considered to be the best up until very recently when the UFC decided to reinstitute the lightweight division, so I don’t think there’s a whole lot of questions to be asked. I think the question is far more worthy of being posed to guys like Kenny Florian. Florian’s beaten, what, the DEEP featherweight champ?

    Has Thomson improved that much or are the other organizations just plain substandard Last night’s 4+ hours of bore fest was MMA at its worst. Exciting MMA is worth watching, but bad MMA was excruciating to watch. You can’t grow the sport with that kind of garbage.

    Well, the sport is a lot more spread out in terms of talent. Thinking back to much of the last 9-12 months, there have been a lot of bad shows at the higher levels. Most of the EliteXC shows have not been good. UFC 83 and 85 sucked. All three Sengoku events were pretty much misses.

    However, mixing in the question about Thomson isn’t fair. The guy was in the best fight of the night last night. Its not like he puts on a mask and becomes Scott Coker. He was in an all out war with Clay Guida in his last loss and beat some other decent fighters like Phan and Ludwig. Its been over two years since he lost and this is his 7th win in a row. The guy deserves credit in my book, and holding him as being proof that MMA outside of the UFC isn’t very good because he lost to Yves Edwards almost 4 years ago is sorta silly. BJ Penn couldn’t beat Caol Uno 5 years ago before leaving. Does that mean anything?

  9. 45 Huddle says:

    I doubt Zuffa would offer him $8k/$8k at this point in his career. They have signed many fighters to solid contracts right out of the gate.

  10. CapnHulk says:

    The quality is pretty bleh, but it’s better than nothing I suppose.

    http://blogs.chron.com/fighting/2008/06/strikeforce_melendez_vs_thomso_1.html

  11. D. Capitated says:

    I doubt Zuffa would offer him $8k/$8k at this point in his career. They have signed many fighters to solid contracts right out of the gate.

    Tyson Griffin was given a whopping $7,000 guaranteed out the gate. Guida’s first win in the UFC netted him $6,000 and his biggest pay day of guaranteed money was a whopping $11,000 he got for the fight with Huerta. I know it would be a nice thing if true, but its not unless your name is Brock Lesnar or you were an established fighter in PRIDE.

  12. 45 Huddle says:

    Dung Hyun Kim got $20k/$20k in his first fight. Payscales have gone up.

  13. D. Capitated says:

    Dung Hyun Kim was also important in getting the UFC a more prominent place on Korean TV. I’m looking around at the cards, and I see a lot of 4/4 and 6/6. Boetsch got 6/6. Nakamura got 5/5. Heath ‘s fights are all 6/6. Pelligrino only gets 10/10. Chris Wilson got 12/12, but that’s still not what Thomson makes. But hold on to that belief dearly. It is cute.

  14. cyph says:

    The problem is that Melendez was predicted to dominate and Thomson is not even a top ten fighter. You can’t compare him to Couture who’s one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. Thomson is nowhere close to Randy Couture as an MMA fighter. The same goes with Fedor.

    You can’t compare the domination of Nogueira with Thomson’s domination of Milendez. Thomson has never shown the brilliance that he did last night, whereas Couture and Fedor have always been elite fighters.

    If Thomson continues to fight the way he did last night and establish himself as an elite fighter, then it may cast last night’s bout in a different light.

  15. cyph says:

    I have no idea why you’re comparing an elite Strikeforce fighter’s pay to UFC undercard fighter’s pay. If Thomson can’t get at least 20 + 20 in the UFC, then he obviously has no market worth.

  16. D. Capitated says:

    The problem is that Melendez was predicted to dominate and Thomson is not even a top ten fighter. You can’t compare him to Couture who’s one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. Thomson is nowhere close to Randy Couture as an MMA fighter. The same goes with Fedor.

    Couture was the underdog heading into the fight with Tito and Fedor was the underdog heading into the first fight with Noguiera. Its much closer a worthy comparison to Noguiera/Fedor I than you obviously imagine. However, I’m not comparing Melendez to any of the above men, merely the circumstances of the fight. You asked what champion gets beat like that: You got answers.

    Thomson has never shown the brilliance that he did last night, whereas Couture and Fedor have always been elite fighters.

    Fedor was anything but a proven elite fighter entering his first bout with Nogs. He had some wins in a promotion that didn’t allow punching to the head on the ground and in PRIDE beat a single legitimate contender. He wasn’t even the highlighted fighter in promotion for his bout with Schilt.

  17. D. Capitated says:

    I have no idea why you’re comparing an elite Strikeforce fighter’s pay to UFC undercard fighter’s pay. If Thomson can’t get at least 20 + 20 in the UFC, then he obviously has no market worth.

    Virtually no one above club fighter status in this country has any “value” to the UFC. Having just beaten Melendez will probably get him offers to go fight for EliteXC (who need someone after Diaz as a contender) and to go back to Japan. They can get as many Grey Maynards as they want, pay then next to nothing, and eventually feed them to their lightweight champion (whether its Penn or someone else). One out of the bunch will probably become an elite fighter and then they can worry about paying him more than a base TUF salary 3-4 years down the road when he actually develops. What that proves about the UFC and their talent level, I’m not sure.

  18. cyph says:

    Fedor was anything but a proven elite fighter entering his first bout with Nogs. .

    You’re basically comparing Thomson to Fedor again to make your point. Thomson is not Fedor nor will he ever be. Do you really believe that Thomson will have a legacy like Fedor will have in four years? If not, then stop making the comparison.

  19. Hawk says:

    You are splitting hairs.

    The poster’s point, is at the time, no one knew what Fedor could do against legit competition in a true MMA environment. He “upset” Nog. With Fedor, you have the advantage of looking at it in hindsight. You do not with Thomson.

    Gilbert Melendez is a great fighter, who got beat by a greater fighter. This does not devalue either one. What happens next will define who they are. Not who they have beaten past tense. The future is always more important.

  20. cyph says:

    Am I splitting hair? Fedor was 12-1 with three years of experience when he beat Nogueira. Thomson is 14-2 with 8 years of experience behind him. Is he a late bloomer?

    He’s not unlike BJ Penn record wise. The difference is that BJ Penn fought top competition while he lost to the likes of Clay Guida. We shall see. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

  21. 45 Huddle says:

    A few of you fans are either too new to the sport, or have a bad memory.

    Fedor Emelianenko came intom Pride pretty highly touted. He was the Rings Absolute & Heavyweight Champion, winning 2 tournaments in order to get those honors.

  22. Garret says:

    I see Melendez challenging the winner of the DREAM Light Weight GP.

  23. spacedog says:

    45 WTF are you talking about. I did not watch those Pride PPV live but watching the old dvds you hear the commentators talking about Fedor being an unknown, and an underdog. His run to the title was absolutely a shock.

  24. Rollo the Cat says:

    I agree with 45 here. Whatever the announcers said, if you followed the sport, you knew Fyodor was a force.

  25. Hawk says:

    And RINGS used special rules, outlawing striking on the ground. It was not true MMA in the sense as it is and has become.

    Striking on the ground makes all the difference in the world. Just like how kneeing on the ground makes all the difference. It’s the addition of a new technique to use in a fight. Without striking on the ground, there are countless fighters who would have never reached anything in MMA, just like how the removal of knees had severely weakened the game of others.

    Fedor was *not* proven in true MMA to that point as Nogueira was. It was a significant upset. By the time of their first fight, Nog had won seven fights in PRIDE (and one in UFO) and had dominated every single one of them. Fedor had fought twice, beating Schilt on the ground and Herring by doctor stoppage. Huge difference.

  26. 45 Huddle says:

    True, he was not as proven as Nogueira. But there is a reason he was fast tracked to the title. He got a Pride Title Fight in his 3rd Pride appearance. That was basically unheard of.

  27. ChinBo says:

    Really it was a bad style matchup for Melendez. He is a pretty good boxer/brawler on his feet and he has good ground and pound.

    Thomson had the footwoork to avoid the infighting and his wrestling was obviously superior.

    I think this fight combined with Ishida sorts of exposes Melendez’s wrestling as not top level.

  28. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    If UFC felt that they could do significant damage to Strikeforce by signing away one of their fighters, then they would pay whatever it took, particularly if it was pretty much guaranteed to cost less than 100k per fight.

    However, I don’t expect that Strikeforce is riding on any one fighter. They have a solid regional brand, and I don’t think that name brand fighters are a key to their continuing survival.

  29. D.Capitated says:

    Anyone who says that Fedor was established as an elite fighter is talking out of their ass. He was the underdog in every sports book on the planet. Fedor had in fact conquered RINGS, but everyone was also aware that RINGS was not PRIDE in terms of the quality of opposition. Lee Hasdell is and was not Mark Coleman or Igor Vovchanchin. Furthermore, he became RINGS champion after most of their top talent bounced, Noguiera included.

    As for it being “unheard of” that he got fast tracked to the title, again, ridiculous. The two titles in PRIDE had existed all of 26 months at that point. Sapp had fought Noguiera after merely two bouts in PRIDE. Schilt got a title shot before Fedor in spite of losing to Fedor. After Fedor won, Kohsaka’s PRIDE debut was against him. Zulu was a whopping 1-0 for the organization prior to their New Years bout. Meanwhile, Silva faced a guy making his MMA debut (Iwasaki) and a guy making his PRIDE debut (Kanehara).

    So yeah, you know what? This “Fedor was an established elite fighter and his rise was unique” isn’t supported by, like, any facts whatsoever.

  30. D.Capitated says:

    Am I splitting hair? Fedor was 12-1 with three years of experience when he beat Nogueira. Thomson is 14-2 with 8 years of experience behind him. Is he a late bloomer?

    If Thomson was fighting in an organization where he didn’t get punched in the face any time someone had a point on the mat, he probably would have fought 30-40 times over that period. Thing is, the old school Pancrase and RINGS type rules sets are completely dead and often irrelevant.

    Seriously, Valentijn Overeem looked pretty great in RINGS, beating guys like Babalu and Randy Couture and making it all the way to the finals of the 32 man King Of Kings tourney that Noguiera won. But in any company that let him get hit in the face, he flopped and flopped badly.

  31. Rollo the Cat says:

    “Anyone who says that Fedor was established as an elite fighter is talking out of their ass. He was the underdog in every sports book on the planet. ”

    Those two statements have nothing to do with each other.

  32. D. Capitated says:

    You’d think an “elite fighter” might be considered something more than the overwhelmingly likely loser, then. No one was expecting that he’d beat Noguiera, much less be a dominant champion and the best heavyweight in the history of the sport. If Thomson ends up rolling in his next 6-7 fights and continues to beat top level competition internationally, there won’t be any questions asked, just as no one asks questions of Fedor and whether or not he truly belongs now. If Fedor had lost in his next fight out the gate, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Instead, we might be comparing him to Ricco Rodriguez or Mark Kerr or Vitor Belfort or any of the other number of guys who were supposed to be massive successes and ended up flashing out, which is why much of this is so inane.

  33. Zack says:

    I thought Kawajiri won the Melendez fight. The LW division is stacked across the board and a lot of guys are going to trade wins and losses. A lot of losses may be to unranked guys.

    Take someone like Frankie Edgar…the guy has never been ranked top 10 but could really potentially beat almost any LW in the world.

    Also…LOL @ 45 Huddle trying to give a history lesson.

  34. 45 Huddle says:

    Fedor was an underdog on the sportsbooks? Are you serious with this comment? They barely even had MMA gambling at that stage of the sport.

    And people might disagree with me, but I’ve been a fan of this sport a very long time. And it seems like fans concepts of the history gets extremely distorted over time.

  35. IceMuncher says:

    Guys like Melendez, Kang, and Shields were always question marks to me. They looked great when they fought against lesser opposition, but they have very few fights with top fighters. You really can’t judge a fighter until he gets in there with someone who’s at the same level they are, and even then you need more than 1 or 2 victories.

  36. D. Capitated says:

    Fedor was an underdog on the sportsbooks? Are you serious with this comment?

    I’m dead ass serious. Olympia Sportsbook had been doing MMA for quite some time. You can keep repeating that Fedor was expected to usurp the throne as often as you want, but anyone who was actually watching knows better. Fedor as “established elite fighter” wasn’t effectively proven until he won the ’04. Prior to that, people questioned whether the Noguiera fight was a loss and claimed he was ducking Cro Cop with a wide assortment of injuries.

  37. D. Capitated says:

    Let me reword that about the Noguiera fight: They questioned whether or not it was a fluke rather than effective proof of Fedor’s talent. The ducking Cro Cop thing everyone should know about. After all, his next bout in PRIDE after fighting Noguiera, he was nearly knocked out by Fujita.

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