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Strikeforce announces non-title fight for Josh Thomson

The San Jose-based Strikeforce promotion has confirmed that its lightweight champion, Josh “The Punk” Thomson, will be competing on its second-annual show at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sept. 20 when he takes on Ashe Bowman.

The Thomson vs. Bowman matchup will be a non-title affair.

Thomson, who wrestled as an amateur at Standford, won the title on June 27 when he recorded an upset unanimous decision victory over then-incumbent Gilbert Melendez.

With a stellar overall record of 15-2, Thomson has an impressive 6-1 record while competing under the Strikeforce banner with notable victories over Nam Phan and Duane “Bang” Ludwig. His only Strikeforce loss was to current UFC lightweight competitor Clay Guida.

Outside of Strikeforce, Thomson holds victories over Hermes Franca, “Razor” Rob McCullough, Doug Evans, and Gerald Strebendt. The win over Strebendt took place during Thomson’s UFC debut at UFC 44 in September of 2003.

After defeating Franca via a split decision at UFC 46, he returned at UFC 49 in August of 2004, where he suffered the first loss of his professional career after being knocked out in the first round from a head kick delivered by Yves Edwards.

Bowman, nicknamed “The Machine,” is affiliated with Ken Shamrock’s Lion’s Den and holds a 6-4 record, according to Sherdog’s fight finder. Primarily competing for Ken Shamrock Promotions, Bowman has also fought for the WEC (before it was under Zuffa ownership) and for the Mixed Martial Arts Championship in Washington, D.C., where he suffered a loss to BodogFIGHT veteran Matt Lee when he submitted to a rear naked choke in the first round.

In addition to Thomson vs. Bowman, Strikeforce’s return to the Playboy Mansion will be headlined by a middleweight fight between Joe “Diesel” Riggs and Kazuo Misaki along with Bobby Southworth defending his Strikeforce light heavyweight title vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral.

  • derreckla says:

    Does anyone know why this is a non title fight? All these reports are not stating why? If your the champ you should defend your title.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    I can’t comment for certain, but it could be because Bowman doesn’t have the best record in the world. He has also never fought for Strikeforce before and does not hold wins outside of the promotion over highly-ranked fighters.

    It’s probably a situation where they couldn’t find a suitable opponent for Thomson but still wanted to get him on the card because it will be great exposure for him and his presence will add to the overall quality of the show.

  • Andrej says:

    Still a weak atempt.

  • Evan says:

    buzzkill. I hate non title fights for a champion in his weight class.

  • Nick Travaglini says:

    My two cents: Non-title fights with a current champion should not be allowed, and if the opponent is not worthy of a title shot then the state athletic commision should step in and not allow the fight to happen in the first place.

    It is one of the few things in this sport that I do not like.

  • Joseph says:

    Its funny how people clown EliteXC, and if this were to happen to them, people would be going nuts about protecting their paper champs and how corrupt they are.

    Yes, Strikeforce is making this a non title match.

    I expect fans to give them a pass though, and trash EliteXC, although they have a much better Oct 4 card than Strikeforce besides Riggs vs Misaki.

  • Evan says:

    BTW ………great picture Sam…hahaha

  • Numba1Stunna says:

    Strikeforce has Non-Title fights all the time it seems, I am a huge Gilbert Melendez fan and all I want is for him to get back on track and get a rematch, Strikeforce knows thats a big money fight so they probably don’t want Thomson being challenged for his title quite yet. It seems he should have little to no trouble handling this guy but you never know. Does anyone know if Melendez is supposed to fight on this card as well? I can completely see Melendez winning one fight, Thomson winning this and then an immediate rematch will be scheduled. The first fight was somewhat boring and a wrestling match, but the rematch I predict will be an all out war…

  • Numba1Stunna says:

    Also, I had no idea that Thomson had so many quality wins under his belt, that is a pretty impressive list of wins if you ask me. Strikeforce puts out IMO the 3rd best shows in MMA. Behind WEC and the UFC, I think they need more depth to their weight classes though. Since ProElite is struggling another joint Strikeforce-EliteXC show might not be a bad idea. Imagine this card:

    Robbie Lawler Vs. Cung Le
    KJ Noons Vs. Josh Thomson
    Babalu Vs. Rafael Feijao
    Gilbert Melendez Vs. Duane Ludwig
    Frank Shamrock Vs. Jake Shields
    Ninja Rua Vs. Phil Baroni
    Allistair Overreem Vs. Brett Rogers
    Nam Pham Vs. Yves Edwards

    That’s just throwing a few names out but you could mix and match and get a pretty sweet card out of it if you ask me…I would definitely buy it on PPV if something like that was put together. I’m ready for people to bash me on this but I would love it….

  • marc says:

    Can’t stand fights like this. Just prolongs a title fight and risks champ getting hurt; not to mention what happens if he loses. Remember Gomi….

  • Andrej says:

    Remember Anthony Ruiz beating Bobby Southworth in a non-title fight. You think they would learn.

  • […] announces non-title fight for Josh Thomson More The San Jose-based Strikeforce promotion has confirmed that its lightweight champion, Josh […]

  • Justin B says:

    Get em Josh. That tee shirt is great


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