March 3, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; K.J. Noons reacts to a body blow from Josh Thomson during the Strikeforce Grand Prix final at Nationwide Arena. Photo via: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
When it was announced that exciting lightweights Josh Thomson and K.J. Noons were going to battle it out in the co-main event of Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey last night (March 3, 2012), no one would expect that their bout would end up being the most boring match of the night.
But that's exactly what ended up happening.
The promotion had even flown out current Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Milendez just to get his opinion during the bout as it was expected to create his next title challenger.
So why was the victorious Thomson comparing his performance and everything that had to do with his performance to human excrement during his post-fight interview? Also, where do both men go from here?
Follow me after the jump for our Josh Thomson vs. K.J. Noons Strikeforce: "Tate vs. Rousey" post-fight review and analysis:
Early on, things looked like they might actually be entertaining as Thomson quickly went to work with his patented push kicks, even blasting "King Karl" with a jumping front kick which connected square on the boxer's chin and stunned him. He even tried a flying scissor heel hook, which would have stole the show had he pulled it off.
With Noons now concerned about "The Punk's" striking, it opened up the possibility for a takedown and Thomson was able to get inside, grab a single leg and trip his opponent to the canvas. Noons attempted to scramble back to his feet but to no avail as Thomson remained in control on top.
In the second stanza, Thomson was much more aggressive early in his efforts to take the fight to the ground and he was able to put Noons on his back after securing a body lock against the fence within the first minute. Again, he wasn't able to do much other than secure top position and after two minutes, the referee had seen enough, standing them both up.
Once back to standing, it was apparent just how tired both men were, especially Thomson, and Noons came forward aggressively swinging heavily and somewhat sloppily in a 40 second spurt of violence which may have stolen the round for him despite Thomson scoring another takedown for the final minute.
For round three, Noons needed to land offense standing and keep Thomson from getting inside, but he failed in a big way as the American Kickboxing Academy fighter easily scored a trip takedown in the opening 30 seconds and this time, he actually threatened with an arm triangle submission. Thomson remained on top throughout the round and was awarded a unanimous decision when it was all said and done.
While his fight wasn't very crowd-pleasing, Thomson may have won back the crowd with his honesty in his post-fight interview with Mauro Ranallo, explaining that he hadn't fought in 15 months, had tried something different in his training camp which ruined his conditioning and had suffered not one but two bouts of staph infection as well in a moment of pure candidness.
For K.J. Noons, he really just can't put it together. His boxing-centric attack has not been enough to win fights against the better lightweights in the division and again he was unable to adapt to what Thomson was bringing on fight night. His takedown defense simply wasn't there and when he needed to land big damage during the brief striking exchanges, he couldn't score even close to enough to balance out the takedowns and positioning of "The Punk." It simply seems that Noons has been relegated to gatekeeper status in the division until he can figure out what is going wrong.
I'd like to see Noons face someone along the lines of Justin Wilcox, Caros Fodor or perhaps Gesias Cavalcante next. There are plenty of fish in the sea who are coming off disappointing performances in the Strikeforce lightweight division.
For Josh Thomson, this wasn't his ideal fight by any means, but he did get the job done. He was the first to admit that his conditioning was lousy and he had a horrible camp in the lead-up to the fight and if he gets the next title shot against Melendez, he's going to go back to his old ways of training like a madman, even if that risks more injury in the process. He knows what he did which wasn't pretty and he'll likely be looking to fix that for future bouts.
The only fight that makes sense for Thomson is a title shot against Gilbert Melendez, even if his performance wasn't very head-turning. He's on a three fight winning streak in Strikeforce and there's some unfinished business between himself and "El Nino" as both men have split a pair of wild and extremely entertaining five round wars in their prior meetings. A rubber match is needed.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you turned off during this fight as well? Would you rather have Thomson or fellow lightweight winner Pat Healy get the next crack at Melendez and his title?