Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier took place May 19, 2012, at San Jose, California's HP Pavilion. Reigning Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (21-2) took on Josh Thomson (19-5, 1 NC) in a furious rubber match in the night's co-main event. Check out the video highlights below.
Get more on Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson with play-by-play from MMA Fighting, SB Nation's home for mixed martial arts.
Round 1: Trilogy fight here. Thomson won the first bout and Melendez the rematch. Thomson got a mixed reaction from the crowd and Melendez a big ovation. Dan Stell is your referee. Thomson counters Melendez's early flurries. Melendez scores a takedown. They scramble back to their feet. Thomson clearly doesn't want a firefight. Brief exchanges. One minute left. Thomson with a combo and a high kick late, Melendez follows with a quick takedown. MMAFighting scores the round for Melendez, 10-9.
Round 2: Round two starts off at the same pace as round one. Thomson occasionally going for the high kick. Melendez throwing looping 1-2 combos. Melendez connects on an uppercut. Time out as Thomson catches something in the eye, didn't quite see it live and no replay on the screen. First real exchange of the round, Melendez gets the better of it. Melendez with a takedown. One minute left. Back up with 20 seconds left. Melendez stuffs Thomson's takedown attempt. MMAFighting scores the round for Melendez, 10-9 (20-18 overall).
Round 3: Melendez connects with a 1-2, goes for a double-leg, doesn't get it. Thomson connects and scores damage for the first time in the fight. Melendez backpedaling. Thomson with an uppercut and Melendez with a counter. Thomson with a trip, Melendez right back up. Thomson appears to be cut by his hairline. Pace slows. Melendez gets inside and lands several uppercuts. Thomson again claims an eye poke, scrambles away. Referee won't give him a time out this time. Thomson goes for a takedown, Melendez shakes him off. Melendez has a welt around his right eye. Closest round, but still Melendez's. MMAFighting scores the round for Melendez, 10-9 (30-27 overall).
Round 4: Melendez's right eye nearly closed as the round starts. Melendez measures Thomson and connects with a right hand. Thomson registers with a sharp straight left, followed by a head kick. Melendez goes for a double leg, picks up Thomson, and slams him. They get up and Melendez hits a standing elbow. Midway through, Melendez goes for a double leg but can't take Thomson down. Thomson drops Melendez and ends up in Melendez's guard. Gets Melendez's back as he tries to get up, gets a rear-naked choke. One minute left. Melendez breaks it but Thomson sinks it back in. 30 seconds left. Melendez breaks it a second time. Melendez gets to his feet, Thomson slams him, but still Thomson hangs on. Melendez survives. Tremendous sequence to finish the round. MMAFIghting scores the round for Thomson, 10-9 (39-37 Melendez overall).
Round 5: Biggest ovation from the crowd all night as round five starts. A "Gilbert" chant breaks out. Thomson looks confident. Melendez scores a takedown. Thomson back to his feet. Two minutes in. Thomson steps into a huge right that just misses Melendez. Melendez blocks a high kick. Thomson registers a flurry. Two minutes left. Thomson once again claims an eye poke. Brief break. Back to action. Hellacious flurry by Thomson, finished off with a knee. Crowd now chanting for Thomson. One minute left. Thomson with a takedown. Thirty seconds left. They finish with Thomson in Melendez's guard. Got a feeling this one will come down to how the judges scored a close round three. Big ovation from the crowd at the finish. MMAFighting scores the round for Thomson, 10-9 (48-47 Melendez overall).
Strikeforce Barnett vs. Cormier results: Gilbert Melendez wins via split decision, taking two of three 48-47 scores.