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Strikeforce recap for 'Melendez vs Thomson' June 27 event

Strikeforce recap for \'Melendez vs Thomson\'
Strikeforce: "Melendez vs Thomson" is in the books and there is a new lightweight champion for the San Jose-based organization. Josh "The Punk" Thomson used an array of kicks and scored takedowns in each round to secure a unanimous decision victory and pry the 155-pound title from one of the top fighters in the world, Gilbert Melendez.

He was the more aggressive fighter throughout the five round fight, and was never really in any danger of being stopped. It's unclear if all the injury talk heading into the fight was just a ploy by him to get the champ over confident, but he looked to be in top form.

Indeed, Thomson was in great shape and was far and away the better man on this night. Hats off to him for a great performance ... can't wait to see who he fights next.

As for Melendez, he looked hesitant to fully commit to attacking Thomson. He mixed in some decent boxing, but never had an answer for Thomson's kicks or his takedowns. Perhaps, the loss to Ishida had him worried that Thomson might be looking to execute the same type of game plan. Therefore, he didn't want to over commit to his striking and possibly fall victim to another dreaded case of the lay and pray.

Not only that, but he looked slower and weaker than the challenger. He did a lot of chasing, but had a hard time catching "The Punk," who looked to be in much better shape and was cat like with his quickness. Not only did that wear him down significantly throughout the fight, but as the fight grinded on, he grew more and more frustrated with being unable to land shots on the crafty Thomson.

In the end, it was a solid five round fight, but a pretty one-sided victory for Josh Thomson.

The production of the event was superb. There might be some who disagree, but events that Bas Rutten announces just seem better. Not only is he knowledgeable, but he brings comedic value to the microphone as well. It's hilarious when he says stuff like comparing Billy Evangelista's blood soaked head to that of Dennis Rodman.

He's no Joe Rogan, but I can live with Bas doing the color commentary all day long.

It was also more than refreshing to not have to wait 20 minutes in between each fight. Strikeforce is all about the fights. They know we're not there to watch dancing girls or ads for Sylvester Stallone's next regretful attempt at a sequel. As soon as one fight was done, another was was beginning.

That's the way it should be. And Kudos to Strikeforce for that.

In addition, HDNet provided some great stats and visuals between rounds. Sure it's not a completely accurate source to use to score the fight because it doesn't show things like submission attempts, but it's informative to the viewers anyway.

For example, we knew exactly how many kicks Thomson was throwing and landing. We knew exactly how many takedowns Bobby Southworth and Evangelista were getting. It adds that little something extra for the fans in between rounds. It'd be nice to see that utilized more in other organizations.

So again, I think Strikeforce did a fantastic job with the production of the event.

As far as the actual fights go, maybe some of them weren't as competitive as I would have liked, or had the finishes that would have made those uncompetitive fights more exciting, but I think that's something Strikeforce will get better with as it gets more and more events aired on HDNet.

Like I said, at least they're going in the right direction with their production. And without question the promotion will improve the matchmaking as its roster gets deeper with more shows being aired on HDNet and possibly NBC.

There were a few things I didn't like as far as the rules went. One, and I know this is a highly debated subject in mixed martial arts, is that I think elbows to a grounded fighter are important both offensively and defensively. There's nothing wrong with adding more dimensions to a fight. Elbows make all the difference in the world, not only during the fight, but during preparation for the fight.

Sure, elbows cause more cuts, but this is fighting and cuts should be expected. Again, that's just this writer's opinion.

In addition, three minute round fights should be left for the females. In some cases, instead of the shorter rounds causing the pace to be pushed more, it leads to more fighters just looking for that one takedown or that one flurry that will stick out to the judges. It actually makes some of the fights less exciting, and obviously there's less conditioning involved and certainly less fights being finished.

In regard to the main card action, Chris Cariaso put on a very impressive performance. He dominated Cung Le-trained fighter, Anthony Figueroa. The two had fought previously with Cariaso winning a decision, but Cariaso improved dramatically for this fight. He scored the first submission victory of his career, and he was relentless in his attack for nearly two rounds before finally pulling off the rear naked choke.

It will be interesting to see the 135 pounder fight again for sure.

Something has to be said about Raymond "The Real Deal" Daniels getting dominated in his MMA debut. It goes to show you that MMA is a whole different game. Daniels -- a highly touted professional kickboxer -- was completely out classed by an 8-4 Jeremiah Metcalf tonight.

The stat tracker showed that Daniels, the great striker, didn't land one punch or kick in the entire fight. There was also one point in the second round when Metcalf landed a huge right hand that almost floored the talented striker. He just looked like he didn't belong in that cage. Maybe he'll do better his next time out, but he certainly didn't look like a guy touting himself as wanting to be the greatest fighter of all time.

Overall, it was a decent event. Not spectacular, but certainly worth watching. To check out all the results for Strikeforce: "Melendez vs Thomson," as well as blow-by-blow commentary of the main card action click here.

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