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Ishida Replaces Thomson, Will Fight Melendez For Interim Title at August 15 Strikeforce

Gilbert MelendezStrikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson has been forced out of his scheduled rematch against interim 155-pound title-holder Gilbert Melendez after failing to be medically cleared for the contest, which was to take place at Strikeforce’s August 15 “Carano vs. Cyborg” event in San Jose, California.

The promotion has already secured a replacement, as Mitsuhiro Ishida will fill in for Thomson and take on Melendez in a rematch of their own with the interim title on the line.

Strikeforce announced the latest lineup change on Thursday. Welterweight contender Joe Riggs and heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem also withdrew from the event due to injuries in recent weeks.

The card was bolstered by the addition of a light heavyweight championship contest between title-holder Renato “Babalu” Sobral and challenger Gegard Mousasi, a fight that was set to take place at the recently-canceled Affliction: Trilogy event.

The PRIDE and Shooto veteran Ishida (18-5-1) is coming off a May loss to Mizuto Hirota after previously defeating Justin Wilcox in his Strikeforce debut as well as picking up a victory over Daisuke Nakamura at DREAM 7. “The Endless Warrior” previously defeated Melendez via unanimous decision in December 2007.

Melendez (14-3) first won the Strikeforce lightweight title in 2006 with a split decision win over Clay Guida. After three-straight victories and the loss to Ishida, “El Nino” defended the title with a victory over Gabe Lemley before losing to Thomson via unanimous decision in their first meeting. Injuries prevented Thomson from defending the title, so Melendez was crowned the interim lightweight champ with a second-round knockout of Rodrigo Damm earlier this year.

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Pictured: Gilbert Melendez


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