No extra security was needed this past Saturday night in San Jose as the big grudge match ended with a friendly hug. Unless of course you count the security needed to once again protect judges from fans. In that case, all MMA organizations need to hire a riot squad because it doesn’t appear like things will be fixed anytime soon.
When Nick Diaz vs. KJ Noons 2 was announced, everyone waited in anticipation not only for the fight, but for the build up as well. After all, these two hated each other a few years ago and things were never settled following their first fight. While the build up was lacking thanks to Diaz’ seemingly lack of interest in fighting Noons, the fight delivered.
This wasn’t one of the greatest five round title fights ever as claimed by Mauro Ranallo at the end of the night but it was a very good fight. It may have come off like a low-level boxing contest to some, and maybe it was, but their activity level was enough to keep interest at a high level. Diaz did what he always does on the feet, pepper away with the jab, follow with the straight right, mix things up to the body, rinse and repeat. He ended up rocking Noons in the first round and managed to wrestle him down into side control, where he proceeded to do nothing before Noons was able to get up. Noons landed his fair share of punches on the feet as well, particularly the jab and the left hook. He looked to be swinging a bit too wildly with his strikes though, which allowed Diaz to move away before getting hit. By the end of the fight both men were bleeding but neither looked all that tired despite throwing over 1,000 combined strikes. Diaz was awarded the decision, which was the right call, and they hugged it out when things were all said and done. It was a very touching moment. Unless of course you’re Scott Coker and you were hoping to promote a rubber match.
There aren’t many options right now for Diaz at welterweight. Tyron Woodley needs one big win before getting a title shot and then you’re left with Paul Daley, who still needs to beat Scott Smith before we talk about him challenging Diaz. Obviously the fight everyone wants in Diaz vs. Jason Miller but getting them to agree to a comfortable weight will be harder than Diaz’ head. Come on homies, don’t be scared. Credit Noons for moving up to 170 but his home is at 155. Hopefully he takes some time off after fighting 4 times in 8 months, cuts his hair, and comes back at lightweight.
Predicted Next Fights: Diaz vs. Miller – Noons vs. Jorge Masvidal
Josh Thomson defeated JZ Cavalcante by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Strikeforce once again brought in talent from DREAM in hopes of giving them some American exposure and a paycheck. It also presented fans with another interesting match up between not only two top lightweights but according to Josh Thomson, two of the top three lightweights in the world.
This was an excellent back and forth fight. JZ came out strong in the first round, dropping Thomson with a right hand and almost finishing him with an arm in guillotine choke but Thomson was able to survive and get his head out. Thomson ended the round with an attempted arm triangle but JZ held on until the buzzer sounded. The second round was all Thomson. He managed to get an early takedown where he controlled the entire round and battered JZ with punches and elbows to the body. The third round was all JZ. This time he managed to get an early takedown and proceeded to control and batter Thomson with strikes. Thomson tried a few submission attempts and even mugged for the camera while holding rubber guard but nothing looked to come close. Both men raised their hands as the fight ended and it could of gone either way depending on how you scored the first round. Of course anyone with eyes knows that a knockdown and a close submission is greater than just a close submission so they rightfully scored the fight 29-28 in favor of JZ. But when it comes to MMA judging, you’re better off hiring the three blind mice instead of three commissioned judges. The three judges scored things in favor of Thomson including one judge giving Thomson all three rounds, a score so absurd that not even Thomson agreed. Thanks to more incompetent judging, my enjoyment of a great fight was taken down a notch. Thanks guys.
Knock knock? Who’s there? Thomson. Thomson who? Thom-son for you to fix your broken hand so we can do this rubber match. My terrible joke aside, it’s obvious that Thomson will meet Gilbert Melendez for the third time and I can’t wait for it. Their first two fights were great and this time we’ll be getting a more healthy Thomson instead of one that was just coming off knee surgery and a long layoff. I hope JZ will be back in Strikeforce but I have a feeling that he’ll be heading back to Japan for his next contest.
Predicted Next Fights: Thomson vs. Melendez 3 – JZ vs. Kawajiri 2
Marloes Coenen defeated Sarah Kaufman by Submission (Armbar) at 1:59 in Round Three to win the Women’s 135 lb Title
After retaining her title against Roxanne Modafferi, Sarah Kaufman complained about not being on the “big show.” Well she finally got her chance against “big show” veteran Marloes Coenen. Unfortunately for Kaufman, because of the way Strikeforce works, she’ll likely be headed back to the small show.
There wasn’t much to this fight for the first two rounds. Coenen did a great job at using her long reach and leg kicks to stay out of Kaufman’s range and avoid her great boxing. Kaufman did a lot of clinching to try and wear down Coenen, who was dropping to 135 for the first time in her career. Then in the third round the fight hit the ground with Kaufman on top and in the guard of Coenen. From there she landed out of control punches and hammerfists that didn’t seem to faze Coenen, who was just biding her time until locking up an armbar. Kaufman tapped out but but the ref was a little late in jumping in, which may have caused Kaufman to dislocate her arm. Coenen was extremely classy in victory though. Instead of celebrating like she just won a world title, she immediately apologized and hugged Kaufman and had a genuine look of concern on her face for her opponent.
Next up for Coenen is top contender Miesha Tate in a fight not only for the 135 lb title but also my heart. That’s right, I’m putting my heart on the line for these two. If that doesn’t make them train and fight harder, I don’t know what will. Back to the drawing board for Kaufman. Her boxing is still outstanding but she either needs to be more controlled on the ground or work on her submission defense. Better yet, just stay off the ground.
Predicted Next Fights: Coenen vs. Tate – Kaufman vs. Carina Damm
Tyron Woodley defeated Andre Galvao by TKO (Strikes) at 1:48 in Round One
Tyron Woodley is the first fighter to work his way up through the Challengers Series and make it to the “big show” in Strikeforce. After a good amount of hype, he certainly delivered.
From the moment he was hit with the first right hand, Andre Galvao didn’t want to fight. He spent the rest of the fight going for desperation takedowns that had no chance at working and being punished with punches on his attempts. At one point he got up off the ground wobbly and it just seemed like a matter of time before things would be over. The ref quickly stopped the fight after Galvao failed on another takedown and took two punches on the ground. Maybe the stoppage was early but Galvao clearly didn’t want to fight past the 10 seconds so I had no problem with it.
Hopefully Woodley continues to be nurtured a bit by Strikeforce rather than fast tracking him to the top. He’s an outstanding wrestler, his striking looks improved with each fight, and he has power to go along with everything. Galvao may have fought himself out a job with this performance. At the very least I’m sure Strikeforce wouldn’t mind loaning him to DREAM for his next fight.
Predicted Next Fights: Woodley vs. Joe Riggs – Galvao vs. Hayato Sakurai