In need of a new contender for champion Gilbert Melendez, Strikeforce has booked a potential #1 contender’s fight between strikers K.J. Noons and Jorge Masvidal. The bout will take place at the upcoming “Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum” event.
The lightweight showdown was confirmed earlier today by Zuffa officials.
Noons (10-3) is returning to the lightweight division after a one fight stay at welterweight. Noons moved up in weight last October to settle a grudge with current Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz. Despite fighting a bigger opponent, Noons put up a valiant effort in losing to Diaz by unanimous decision in a five round war. Before the loss to Diaz, Noons had been on a six fight win streak with victories over the likes of Jorge Gurgel, Yves Edwards, and the aforementioned Diaz. He was the first and last EliteXC Lightweight Champion and in his ten career victories, eight have come by way of (T)KO. Along with his MMA credentials, Noons also has pro boxing experience, posting a 11-2 decision in the squared circle.
Even though Noons might be a former professional boxer, don’t expect that to scare away Masvidal (21-6) from trading leather with him. The MMA veteran has been inconsistent in his last seven fights, posting a 4-3 record, but he is coming off a decision victory over the previously undefeated Billy Evangelista back in March. Masvidal has fought top competition throughout his MMA career, challenging top fighters such as Paul Daley, Joe Lauzon, and Toby Imada. He may not be known as a finisher, with a matching ten (T)KO career victories and 10 decision victories, but he’s a fighter who will no doubt challenge Noons in the striking department.
Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum is scheduled for June 18 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The event will be headlined by Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum and Brett Rogers vs. Josh Barnett, both of which are part of Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE