Revenge. Payback. Retaliation.
Call it what you will, but Nick Diaz was looking for all of the above when he faced K.J. Noons on Saturday night at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons II in San Jose, Calif., and while he fell short of a stoppage he did get a unanimous decision win to avenge the last loss of his career and retain his Strikeforce welterweight title.
Outside of the first round, which resembled an MMA fight, Diaz and Noons seemed more than happy to engage in a boxing match with a few knees and kicks tossed in for good measure. It looked early on like Diaz was going to take advantage of a Noons mistake, as he clipped the two-sport fighter and took the fight to the ground.
Diaz was unable to capitalize from side control, and Noons escaped back to his feet without taking any unnecessary chances on the ground.
The first fight had to come flashing back in Diaz’s mind during the second round when Noons unloaded a big punch and moments later the blood began to flow down the Stockton, Calif., fighter’s face. Doctors stopped the first fight due to cuts, but despite a nasty gash above his right eye, once the round ended Diaz didn’t have to deal with too much blood in his face from then on.
In classic Nick Diaz fashion, he began to gain momentum as the fight wore on, peppering away at Noons with jabs and quick combinations. Noons didn’t back down and landed some big shots of his own, but was seemed to throw just one punch to Diaz’s 10.
Some fans get sick of hearing the phrase “punches in bunches,” but it’s hard not to use that when talking about Diaz’s unrelenting style of poking away at opponents, and amassing damage. As the combinations added up, so did the points on the judges’ scorecards. And when it was done, Diaz defeated Noons by unanimous decision.
Following the fight, Diaz seemed to put his rivalry with Noons to rest, but wanted to comment on his performance.
“The thing is, no offense or disrespect, it’s all over with, but I beat this guy on the ground or standing up,” Diaz said motioning to Noons. “It’s mixed martial arts out here and it’s hard not to go for the takedown. It makes me look really bad as if I need to do that, and I’ll beat this guy in a boxing match, but I’ll also tap him out on the ground.”
To his credit, Noons took his lumps and didn’t try to call into question anything about the scorecards, keeping his respect for Diaz in tact.
“He beat me fair and square,” Noons said. “Good job, Nick.”
With the series between the two now sitting at one fight each, a third fight may be in store down the road, and the champion said he’d be more than happy to go at it with his rival one more time.
“We can do whatever,” stated Diaz.
It’s more likely that Noons will return to the lightweight division where he normally fights, and can instantly make a run towards a shot against Gilbert Melendez, while the champion may soon be staring at an explosive match with Strikeforce newcomer Paul “Semtex” Daley or the “Comeback Kid,” Scott Smith.