by Damon Martin (Photos courtesy of Tom Casino)
(Photos courtesy of Tom Casino/EliteXC)

EliteXC crowned its new 160-pound champion on Saturday night as boxer turned mixed martial artist K.J. Noons picked up the biggest win of his professional career. He stopped Nick Diaz, getting a TKO by doctor’s stoppage due to cuts.

Many wondered going into the bout if the Cesar Gracie trained Diaz would stand with the professional boxer, but early on is was clear that he wanted to put the fight on the ground and use his superior jiu-jitsu skills.

What Diaz encountered was a tremendous takedown defense from Noons who stuffed him at every turn and used body punches to punish him throughout the round.

After a few exchanges it was clear that Noons was the more technical striker, landing power shots to his opponent, one of which opened a huge gash just above Diaz’s right eye.

The fight was allowed to continue, but later in the round Noons would then land a knee that opened another cut over his opponent’s left eye.

In between rounds doctors examined Diaz and it was determined that he could not continue and Noons was crowned the EliteXC 160-pound champion.

While the live crowd in attendance didn’t seem pleased with the stoppage, Noons punished Diaz throughout the round and dominated until it was stopped.

“I was ready for a war, but he got cut unfortunately and they had to stop it,” said Noons in his post fight interview. “But I trained real hard and I was ready to go five rounds, so it was good.”

Diaz left the ring in disgust, walking to the back without congratulating his opponent and using obscene gestures along the way, showing little class in defeat.

Noons celebrated in the cage as EliteXC presented him with the belt and proclaimed that Nick Diaz was the best in the world.

“I’m number one now baby,” said Noons after defeating Diaz.

In other action, Internet legend Kimbo Slice made his professional debut in devastating fashion, finishing journeyman fighter Bo Cantrell in just 19 seconds.

After stalking him across the cage, Kimbo (real name Kevin Ferguson) unloaded a solid combination that clipped Cantrell.

He followed with a heavy elbow and forearm strike that seemed to slam into the back of Cantrell’s ear and he dropped to the canvas tapping out immediately.

“I wanted to show what all this hard work and sacrifice was for,” said a victorious Kimbo.

And as for who the YouTube sensation turned EliteXC superstar might stack up against next?

“What’s next is whoever’s next,” Kimbo stated. “Real talk.”

Jake Shields, who just signed a long-term extension with EliteXC, proved just why he is considered to be one of the best 170-pound fighters in the world by dominating Xtreme Couture fighter Mike Pyle, finishing him with a rear naked choke in the first round.

A brief exchange opened the bout, but Shields quickly took the fight to the ground and started to work for a better position. After gaining the mount, Shields took Pyle’s back and soon locked on the fight-ending choke.

The bout was originally slated to be for the EliteXC welterweight title, but Pyle declined a championship bout, something Shields was none too happy about.

“I’m furious,” said Shields about the fight not being for a title. “I deserve this belt. This is my cage. I’m beating up anyone in it.”

Kyle Noke made the long trip from Australia to make his EliteXC debut and was impressive in a win over Seth Kleinbeck, who just recently signed a long-term deal with the organization.

Noke used a crisp jiu-jitsu game on the ground to negate Kleinbeck’s offense. Eventually, back on the feet, the Australian landed some solid shots, one of which opened a huge cut over his opponent’s eye.

The gash was extremely wide and deep and doctors had no choice but to stop the fight. Noke, who now trains with Greg Jackson in New Mexico, picked up a win in his EliteXC debut.

In the opening bout of the Showtime portion of the card, Antonio Silva returned to action and dominated Jonathan Wiezorek en route to a submission by rear naked choke in the first round.

Full Results (including prelims not televised)

-KJ Noons def. Nick Diaz by TKO (Cuts) at 5:00, R1
-Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson def. Bo Cantrell by TKO at 0:19, R1
-Jake Shields def. Mike Pyle by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:39, R1
-Kyle Noke def. Seth Kleinbeck by TKO (Cut) at 4:22, R2
-Antonio Silva def. Jonathan Wiezorek by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:12, R1
-Geoff Bumstead def. Robert Ruiz by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:30, R1
-Yves Edwards def. Nick Gonzalez by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:05, R1
-Matt Lucas def. Jon Kirk by Unanimous Decision (30-27 x 3), R3
-Brett Rogers def. Ralph Kelly by Submission (Strikes) at 1:43, R1
-Jae Suk Lim def. Daniel Pineda by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:42, R1