K.J. Noons showed an improving MMA game, while keeping his signature punching power at hand to win a unanimous decision over Billy Evangelista in Strikeforce on Saturday night.
A pro boxer as well as MMA fighter, K.J. Noons actually surprised Evangelista to open the fight, shooting in right away for a takedown. It only lasted momentarily as Evangelista popped back up and snagged a takedown of his own, but the ground action was only for a moment or two.
Back on the feet, it was an even exchange in the first round, but after the initial five minutes, Noons’ hands took over as he established his jab and a nasty uppercut.
In the third round, Noons uncorked a huge head kick that caught Evangelista flush on the jaw. To his credit, Evangelista shook it off and kept moving forward, but he felt the impact of Noons’ foot to his face.
Evangelista’s best chance to finish the fight came in the final round where he snatched a standing guillotine on Noons, but the San Diego area fighter wiggled free and slipped back to his feet where he punished his opponent again with punches.
When it was over, all three judges gave the fight 29-28 to K.J. Noons, who gets back on track after two consecutive losses.
“It’s just great coming off a couple losses, I’m ready to get back in there. I’ve got that fire back,” Noons said after the fight.
Now working with a new coach, Noons is motivated to get back to the top of the Strikeforce lightweight division. At one time not long ago, Noons was splitting his attention between boxing and MMA, but now that he’s a full time mixed martial artist, his dedication seems set.
“I’ve got to become a better MMA fighter all around. I think people show me as a boxer, so I was trying to do the takedowns and kicks and just give the people a good show,” Noons stated.
The former Elite XC champion will now look to put together a run that will put him in title contention, hopefully by the end of 2012.