Photo by Esther Lin, Forza LLC via Getty Images
In the lone non-heavyweight tilt on the main card of last night's (June 18, 2011) Strikeforce: "Overeem vs. Werdum" event, lightweights Jorge Masvidal and K.J. Noons duked it out with a potential lightweight title shot against Gilbert Melendez on the line.
Noons was best known for his TKO victory over Nick Diaz while in EliteXC and his five round striking war with the Stockton native in a rematch was one of 2010's most interesting fights.
He had all the momentum coming into his main card tilt last night but "Masvidal" stopped "King Karl" in his tracks.
Find out how "Gamebred" pulled off the upset after the jump.
It was apparent from the onset of the fight that K.J. Noons wanted this to be another boxing match. He took command of the center of the cage and stalked his opponent looking to land his big looping hooks.
Masvidal refused to play his game though, utilizing his kicks and knees as well as takedown attempts to keep Noons from getting comfortable.
Noons, thinking this was a boxing match, repeatedly used boxing head movement like ducking way down to avoid punches but this left him wide open to lunging knees to the face and Masvidal was happy to oblige him, crushing Noons with a thundering knee that busted open a huge cut on his forehead.
Masvidal again hurt Noons with a shin to the face near the end of the first round and nearly finished the fight but would back off, choosing instead to conserve his energy.
For the remainder of the fight, Masvidal let off the gas pedal a bit and instead chose to wear Noons down with takedowns, top control and his diverse striking attacks. Noons had no answer for Masvidal's takedowns other than to scoot near the fence and wall-walk himself back to his feet.
In the end, it was an obvious unanimous decision victory for Masvidal and he'll likely earn a shot against reigning Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.
For K.J. Noons, he's got to get out of his boxing mind-set. Sure, that style will work against guys who want to play your game like Jorge Gurgel or Nick Diaz, but against a fighter who will mix in kicks, takedowns and submissions, it's simply not going to work. He has solid head movement for a boxer but all that ducking and diving will only continue to allow him to get jacked in the face by knees and kicks. He needs to add more side to side head movement instead.
He'll likely be given a fight with one of the top guys in the welterweight division at some point. It would have likely been the loser of the Gesias Cavalcante vs. Justin Wilcox fight but that bout ended in a disappointing "no decision." Perhaps he'll fight formerly undefeated Billy Evangelista in his next bout.
For Jorge Masvidal, he did a great job against a fighter like Noons, but he won't be able to coast to victory like that against Gilbert Melendez. Hell, he might not even be able to win if he fights like he did in the first round for 25 straight minutes.
He'll need to be on his toes from start to finish because the second he lets his foot off the gas for even a minute, he'll be in big trouble against one of the best lightweights (if not the best) in the world.
So Maniacs, what do you think?
Did Masvidal convince you that he could have a chance against Gilbert Melendez? Where in the world does K.J. Noons go from here?