MMA Power Rankings -- LIGHTWEIGHT

Updated: May 21, 2012, 5:58 AM ET
By ESPN.com staff | ESPN.com
Monday, May 21
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The hype for their rubber match never reached anything like a fever pitch, but the in-cage drama between Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson did. Melendez was able to eke out a split decision victory in a fight where momentum swung on a pendulum for five crazy rounds. Thomson, regarded by many to be a warm body for Melendez to stay busy with, gave Melendez everything he could handle throughout in the third act of the trilogy. But two of the three judges saw it for "El Nino," who had some dominant moments and was the busier fighter when taken down.

Melendez remains near the top of the bunched-up lightweight picture in this week's Power Rankings. There are two things that you've got to like about his performance. One, that even if he admitted to not performing to his full ability in San Jose, he still made a war of it. And two, that he was open for something that seems less and less absurd in a promotion with bare cupboards: A fourth fight with the "Punk." When Showtime play-by-play man Mauro Ranallo tossed the idea out of a quadrilogy, and Thomson asked the crowd "do you want to see a fourth fight," Melendez gave his casual assent. "Yeah, whatever," he said.

Ultimately nobody has any idea what's next for Melendez. Could be Pat Healy, could be Eddie Alvarez, could be a name from the UFC's current roster. Or it could be Thomson. Whatever the case, it seems like Melendez's next fight will be under the Strikeforce banner.