Saturday, Oct. 9, Live on SHOWTIME® From HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif.;
SAN JOSE, Calif. (Oct. 9, 2010) – A grudge rematch lived up to its hype and more Saturday when Nick Diaz (22-7, 1 NC) of Stockton, Calif., won his eighth consecutive fight and retained his STRIKEFORCE welterweight championship with an exciting, crowd-pleasing five-round decision over KJ Noons (9-2) of San Diego, Calif. in a 25-minute slugfest at HP Pavilion on SHOWTIME® that SHOWTIME announcer Mauro Ranallo called “one of the most exciting stand-up contests in MMA history.’’
By winning a unanimous decision by the scores of 49-46, 49-47 and 48-47, Diaz evened the score with heated rival Noons, who defeated him by disputed first-round TKO on Nov. 7, 2007. Noons had a six-fight winning streak end.
The first bout ended in bloody controversy; the return bout was highlighted by high drama and intense two-way exchanges that left both proud, courageous fighters bloody and spent at the finish. Diaz was cut around the right eye and nose. Noons was cut around the nose and mouth.
In other results on the televised portion of the “Diaz vs. Noons II’’ event presented by STRIKEFORCE and Rockstar Energy Drink: Marlos Coenen (18-4) of The Netherlands captured the STRIKEFORCE Female Welterweight title with an impressive third-round submission (arm-bar) over previously unbeaten Sarah Kaufman (12-1) of Victoria, British Columbia; former STRIKEFORCE belt-holder Josh Thomson (18-3) of San Jose earned a hard-fought three-round decision over Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante (15-4-1) of Brazil in a battle of world-ranked lightweights and Tyron Woodley (8-0), of St. Louis, Mo., registered a 1:28, first-round knockout over Andre Galvao (5-2) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in a matchup of up-and-coming welterweights.
“I knew I won the decision but I’m a little disappointed I didn’t finish him in the first round,’’ said Diaz, a Cesar Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who only attempted a handful of takedowns.. “I’m a little surprised he hung in like he did because he took a lot of punishment. But he has a good chin.’’
Diaz was cut on the right eye early in the second round, but his corner did an excellent job of minimizing and controlling the cut and it was not a major factor for the most part the remainder of the bout.
“I was worried about the cut, but my corner told me it wasn’t a big deal,’’ he said. “I am not opposed to a third fight down the road if Noons wins a few fights. Whatever the fans want. Anything is possible.’’
Noons took the tough setback with class. “Honestly, he beat me fair and square. But I landed more punches than him. I out-struck him. Even though I got a little tired at the very end, I kept pushing all the way. I know I was getting to him. If they want a third fight, you know I’ll go for it.’’
Thomson, who may have earned himself a third fight with STRIKEFORCE World Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez, was happy with the win but unhappy with his performance.
“I probably could have fought much harder but JZ is a very dangerous guy and one of the best in the world and it was obviously very important for me to win so I played it a little safe,’’ Thomson said. “I felt this might go the distance but no way I won that fight, 30-27. He got me a few times, but I hurt more from his two headbutts (that required stitches).’’
Coenen, a strikingly attractive submission whiz, was pitching a shutout on all three judges’ scorecards after two rounds although some at press row had the fight even. After scoring her eighth career triumph by arm-bar, she was in near tears inside the cage.
“Like I said before, winning the world title can be a life-changing thing for me,’’ said Coenen, whose first defense is slated to be against Miesha Tate, who won a four-woman, one-night 135-pound elimination tournament earlier this year on STRIKEFORCE Challengers on SHOWTIME.
“Miesha won the tournament, she’s a great grappler and obviously very good,’’ Coenen said. “I will definitely have to stand with her. For tonight’s fight, I worked very hard. This is an unbelievable feeling.’’
A disappointed Kaufman took the defeat in stride but is hopeful of a rematch. “This kind of thing happens,’’ she said. “I made a mistake and Marloes capitalized. Up until then, I was fine and felt I was hurting her. She never hurt me. If I have to get back in line and win a fight or two to get a rematch, that’s what I’ll do. I’d love to fight her again.’’
Woodley entered the fight intent on proving his striking ability and he did, landing a couple of right hands as Galvao, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist, went for a takedown. Galvao made it to his feet, but was still woozy. When he attempted another takedown, Woodley delivered a few more shots, the ref stepped in and stopped it, and Woodley had registered his first pro KO win.
“I feel awesome,’’ said 5-foot-9, 28-year-old Woodley, a two-time All-American NCAA wrestler for the University of Missouri who was making his first start on the Saturday championship series after fighting three times on STRIKEFORCE Challengers. “I knew I hurt him but wasn’t sure if he was faking or not so I had to be patient.
“Strikeforce Challengers prepared me for this, and it is a tremendous win. But I really expected it to go a lot longer.’’
Saturday’s thrilling event will re-air as follows:
Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 10 p.m. ET/PT SHO2
The telecast also will be available On Demand beginning Tuesday, Oct. 12, and running through Oct. 25.
Mauro Ranallo called the action on SHOWTIME with MMA legends Frank Shamrock and Pat Miletich serrving as expert analysts.
In Saturday’s non-televised professional results: James Terry (8-2), San Jose, unanimous decision (39-27, 30-27 and 30-26) over David Marshall (8-2), Sacramento, at 170 pounds; Josh McDonald (8-4), Concord, Calif., unanimous decision (29-28 three times) over Ron Keslar (5-3), San Jose, at 180 pounds; and Jean Bouscal (3-2), Dublin, Calif., submitted (arm-triangle choke) Luis Mendoza (0-1), San Jose, at 3:00 of first round at 155 pounds.
UPCOMING STRIKEFORCE EVENTS ON SHOWTIME: “Relentless” Roger Bowling (8-0), of Columbus, Ohio, opposes “Vicious” Bobby Voelker Voelker (22-8), of Kansas City, Kan in a rematch of welterweights on STRIKEFORCE Challengers at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., on SHOWTIME (11 p.m. ET/PT), on Friday, Oct. 22. In other bouts: Fresno resident Billy Evangelista (10-0, 1 NC), faces Waachiim “Native Warrior’’ Spiritwolf (8-6-1), of San Diego, Calif., in a 165-pound catch weight bout, heavyweight star and Madera, Calif. native Lavar “Big” Johnson takes on Virgil “RezDog” Zwicker (8-1), who lives on the San Pasqual Indian Reservation near San Diego, and world-ranked Shana “Rock Solid’’ Olsen (4-0), of Diluth, Minn., takes on Canadian Muay Thai Champ Julia “The Jewel” Budd (pro debut), of Sechelt, British Columbia, in women’s bout at 145 pounds.
STRIKEFORCE Challengers will be in Jackson, Miss., on Friday, Nov. 19 (11 p.m. ET/PT). In the main event, lightweight star and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro (20-4) will take on streaking Justin “The Silverback” Wilcox (9-3) of Cincinnati at the Jackson Convention Complex).
MMA legend Dan Henderson will face former STRIKEFORCE World Champion “Babalu” Sobral when STRIKEFORCE returns to St. Louis on Saturday, Dec. 4, at Scottrade Center (10 p.m. ET/PT). In featured bouts, Paul “Semtex’’ Daley (25-9-2) of Nottingham, England, meets Scott “Hands Of Steel’ Smith (17-7, 1 NC) of Elk Grove, Calif., in a welterweight match, “Ruthless “Robbie” Lawler (17-6, 1 NC) of Elk Grove, Ill., meets 2000 Olympic Games silver medalist Matt Lindland (22-7) of Oregon City, Ore., in a middleweight scrap and football legend and unbeaten MMA fighter Herschel Walker (1-0) will meet an opponent to be announced and St. Louis native Jesse Finney will face a foe to be determined.
For more information on SHOWTIME Sports, including exclusive video, photos and news links on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and STRIKEFORCE mixed martial arts telecasts, along with access to the SHOWTIME Sports Facebook® and Twitter® pages, please go to http://Sports.Sho.com.