Posted by Tommy Hackett on October 9th, 2010
Tonight, a fast-paced MMA autumn continues with the talent-laden and sadly overlooked Strikeforce: Diaz vs Noons 2, broadcast on Showtime at 10 pm EST/PST stateside.
KJ Noons looks to live up to the early promise of his somewhat now-stagnant career. Nick Diaz, fresh off a huge win over Hayato Sakurai, comes in ready to prove that his defeat at Noons’ hands in 2008 was an anomaly. Prospects like jiu jitsu luminary Andre Galvao will try to show that his success in the “gentle art” will translate into an MMA career.
But the biggest question may be how much longer can this organization continue to survive as it seems to be overlooked at nearly every turn… even the live gate is down.
On a personal note, for my part, I’d love to see it continue. These are some great fights we’re getting, and without shelling out PPV dough. The MMA world needs competition and not a ZUFFA monopoly.
On another (and less relevant) personal note, tonight’s show is in Strikeforce’s warm weather backyard, my birthplace of San Jose, CA – and its pretty grey out in my hometown of Seattle. So maybe I’m just California dreamin’, and hoping this show ends up more than it should be… but as you can see, I have hopes for it, and Strikeforce’s continued rebound from their primetime disaster earlier this year.
Picks and analysis of the show after the jump….
Handicapping StrikeForce: San Jose tonight are Tommy Hackett (TH) and Jacob Lawton (JL). As always, picks are for entertainment purposes only, so don’t blame us if you’re found weeping in a bar pennyless while your bankrupcy lawyer Twitters a smiley face.
Main Event Welterweight Title Bout: Nick Diaz (22-7) vs. KJ Noons (9-1)
JL: A rematch of a long ago 160lbs EliteXC title bout, we see scrappy all rounder Diaz taking on former pro boxer Noons. That fight ended in a cut stoppage in favour of Diaz – since when the reigning Strikfeforce champ has gone on a 7 fight winstreak with wins over Frank Shamrock, Hayato Sakurai and Marius Zaromskis to his name. Noons, meanwhile, after the folding of EliteXC, took a two year break to pursue his boxing career, before returning this year and putting the finishing touches to his 6 fight win streak with wins over Jorge Gurgel and Yves Edwards among his conquests. He is two fights into his Strikeforce career, and undeniably a deadly stand up fighter – he looked dominating in his TKO victory over Gurgel back in August. But his often mooted weak point is his ground game, and Diaz’s Cesar Gracie BJJ black belt leaves him in prime position to take advantage. Add to this the fact that Diaz is the bigger man and a competent boxer with a rock solid chin, and you have a fight that looks very hard for Noons to win. I’m taking a second round submission for Diaz.
TH: I agree Diaz is a capable boxer with good range, but he really doesn’t want to get sucked into that game again with the ex-boxer. If Diaz remembers he’s a jiu-jitsu player and consistently uses his strikes to set up takedowns, he should win this in short order. If not, he’ll struggle, but I think he’ll struggle his way to a decision win anyway, as he isn’t as vulnerable to cuts as he once was due to treatments on his cheekbones and better weight management. I think he’s grown up a bit and should do the right thing. It’s been fun watching the Stockton boy’s re-development and this should be a big step for him, in front of what is almost a hometown crowd. Diaz, submission round one.
Co-Main Event Women’s Welterweight Title Bout: Sarah Kaufman (12-0) vs. Marloes Coenen (17-4)
JL: Coenen gets her second Strikeforce Women’s title fight, as, after suffering a defeat to Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Santos she takes on the champion in the division below, Kaufman. The undefeated Kaufman has defeated notable fighters such as Miesha Tate, Shayna Baszler and Roxanne Modaferri, as well as high tier Japanese competitor Takayo Hashi. This fight will be her second defense, and she will look to use her dominating wrestling and dangerous ground and pound to triumph here. Coenen, who also holds a victory over Modaferri, is a dangerous submission artist; the type usually well suited to defeating dominant wrestlers, but she is the type of fighter who likes to work from the top. I can’t see her taking Kaufman down and I think the champ is too ground savvy to let herself be swept. Coenen is tough – as she proved surviving a round with Santos, but look for Kaufman to take the win with championship rounds ground and pound.
TH: Coenen is a good striker, too — I’d say a touch better than Kaufman. But the Canadian is the better wrestler, and will be able to control Coenen more often than not, and we’ll see a Kauffman decision win.
Welterweight Bout: Tyron Woodley (8-0) vs. Andre Galvao (5-1)
JL: Jiu-jitsu world champ Galvao continues his flirtation with MMA as he takes on collegiate wrestling convert Woodley in a battle of 170lbs prospects. Woodley is a dangerous wrestler with savage ground and pound and workable submissions – he has 6 T(KO) wins to his name and only 1 of his fights has made it to the scorecards. Galvao, meanwhile is garnering a reputation for inconsistency – you’re never sure whether it’ll be the dominant jiu-jitsu vet or the nervous MMA rookie who steps onto the stage. Woodley, conversely, always brings his a-game – one full of piston fueled double legs and face smashing hammer fists. It’s this consistency that makes me, as a betting man, side with Woodley via a competitive decision, but Galvao is more than capable of pulling out a victory in a very even and exciting looking fight here.
TH: Galvao struggled with old favorite Jorge “Macacao” Patino in his last outing, but he eventually got the top and landed enough to earn a victory. You could hear the frustration in Pat Militech’s voice on commentary for the bout. Part of this was his bias in favor of his old opponent in Patino but to be fair, part of it was warranted. Galvao’s MMA game isn’t developing as quickly as some would hope. Still, I think it will be enough here. His jiu-jitsu, which was negated to a degree by the scrappy Patino, will slide him into a submission victory. I’ll say submission, round two for Galvao.
Lightweight Bout: Josh Thompson (17-3) vs. Gesias ‘JZ’ Cavalcante (15-3-1, 1NC)
JL: In a clash between cross-generational lightweights, former Strikeforce lightweight champ Thompson takes on K-1 HERO’S stand out Cavalcante. The Brazilian is an exciting Muay-Thai fighter with some solid jiu-jitsu, and can utilize it effectively, as evidenced by wins over Caol Uno and Vitor Riberio back in the HERO’s glory days, but in recent years fighting for DREAM Cavalcante has looked sub standard, losing to Shinya Aoki and Tatsuya Kawajiri in dominating fashion. He got his train back on the tracks with a disputed split decision win over Katsunori Kikuno, but he fights a fighter very much in his prime in Thompson – a well rounded box-wrestler with victories over current champ Gil Melendez and UFC vet Duane Ludwig. He is a very similar sort of fighter to Kawajiri, who used his wrestling to neutralise Cavalcante’s strikes and jiu-jitsu, and I can’t see why the American can’t pull a repeat performance here. Therefore, despite Thompson’s multiple injuries and inconsistencies, I can’t see Cavalcante winning here, and look for the Yank Thompson to take a unanimous decision.
TH: I like how you use the term cross-generational there — two guys who seem from two different worlds despite fighting mostly in the same years. I’ll admit I have no idea what to expect here. With Strikeforce’s lightweight division mainly failing to catch my interest, I’m left with strongest memories of Thompson in his UFC run back in 2003 or so, beating up Gerald Strebendt and getting headkicked into oblivion by Yves Edwards. But I know he’s skilled and tough, and certainly improved — even recently awarded a jiu-jitsu black belt by TUF’s newest star Dave Camarillo. JZ is a familiar face to fans of the Japanese scene but he’s famously hit-and-miss; and I think Thompson’s overall game may be a cut above. Thompson, decision.
As always, enjoy the fights!