Diaz Decisions Noons, Coenen Takes Kaufman’s Arm

Nick Diaz tells the world that he’s a much different martial artist than he was the first time he faced K.J. Noons.

He proved it on Saturday night by defeating Noons by decision in the main event of “Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons 2.”

Noons – a Houston native who moonlights as a professional boxer – was never able to put together the kind of destructive punches he used to batter and cut Diaz in their first bout.

“He beat me fair and square. That’s it,” Noons said after the bout. “Nick was the better man tonight.”

Diaz said he believes he’s the most well-rounded fighter in the world and he wanted to prove it.

“I beat this guy on the ground or standing up,” Diaz said. “I’ll beat this guy in a boxing match but I’ll also tap him out on the ground. … I just want to display my skills to the world because I can do it all.”

Earlier in the night, Dutch veteran Marloes Coenen submitted champion Sarah Kaufman to become the new Strikeforce women’s welterweight champion. Coenen, who dropped down from the middleweight class after losing to Cris Cyborg, maintained an even keel in the cage with the physically stronger champion. Kaufman battered Coenen from the guard in the third round, but the Golden Glory trainee secured an impressive armbar and forced Kaufman to tap out. Kaufman was visibly upset after the bout was stopped, believing that Coenen kept the armbar locked in too long.

Not so, said Coenen. “I would like to apologize to Sarah,” Coenen said afterward. “I really didn’t know.”

The Heavy.com live blog of the event is below.

Andre Galvao vs. Tyron Woodley

First Round: Both welterweights take a few seconds to get the feel of one another, but Woodley is the one to land the first shot. Galvao needs to get this to the ground, which he tries to to. However, Woodley lands several nice shots from the top to his opponent. Woodley with another nice shot. Galvao looks very timid and misses with a right. Another takedown is stuffed, and Galvao takes a big shot. Back to the feet, Galvao takes a few more, drops, and Woodley gets the finish with a few punches to his downed opponent. Abysmal performance by Galvao, who was clearly overmatched by Woodley. Woodley def. Galvao via technical knockout at 1:48 of Round 1.

Sarah Kaufman vs. Marloes Coenen

Round 1: Coenen misses with a leg kick to open the action and is clearly the bigger fighter here. Leg kick lands for her in the second attempt. Neither fighter scores in the first exchange, and both seem to be a bit conservative at this point. Kaufman sneaks a jab through. Fighters continue to try to feel one another out, and we are two minutes into the championship affair. Coenen clinches and looks to  land some knees. Kaufman reverses and pushes Coenen up against the cage. Knees by Kaufman, and the referee separates them. Big one-two for Coenen, followed by a clinch. Knees in the clinch for Coenen, but Kaufman reverses and pushes her opponent up against the cage. Coenen looking for the muay-thai plum, but Kaufman avoids. Chess match going on against the cage, but neither fighter seems to have the edge. The crowd voices its disapproval of the clinch, and the referee separates the fighters once again. Leg kicks from Coenen land, followed by an uppercut. The fighters clinch once again and the round comes to an end.

Round 2: Coenen lands a decent counter out of the gates, and Kaufman still looks a bit timid, or maybe just confused. Fighters clinch 40 seconds into the second frame. Kaufman drives Coenen into the cage, and the crowd boos. Referee requests some action from the fighters and elects to separate the two again. Kaufman is still struggling to close the gap on Coenen, who has the reach advantage. Coenen misses with a left hook, but lands a leg kick, which is caught by Kaufman. The two are up against the cage once again, and Coenen fails to reverse the positions. Knees being exchanged by both fighters. Not much action happening here, and a separation seems inevitable. The referee separates them for the third time, and Coenen misses with a combination right after. Kaufman misses with a combination of her own. However, she comes back with a nice takedown with time running down. Ground and pound from Kaufman before being caught in an armbar briefly. She escapes and the bell rings. Big finish for Kaufman.

Round 3: Jab lands for Kaufman to open the round, but she is subsequently taken down by Coenen. Kaufman with the quick reversal and ends up in Coenen’s guard. Coenen looking for an opportunity at a submission. She is in the closed guard now. Kaufman lands some nice shots from the top, while Coenen throws a few of her own from the bottom. Kaufman with hammerfists, but Coenen grabs the armbar. Kaufman immediately taps, and Marloes Coenen defeats the champion. Coenen def. Kaufman via submission (armbar) at 1:59 of Round 3.

Josh Thomson vs. Gesias Cavalcante

Round 1: Both fighters come out looking to get the feel. Cavalcante throws a combination, but fails to land anything significant. Thomson throws a kick, which lands. Cavalcante pushes forward, pushing Thomson up against the cage. Knees from Thomson. Cavalcante throws one of his own. The two separate, and Cavalcante misses with a leg kick. Leg kick lands for Thomson. Thomson misses with a left and a head kick, and Cavalcante lands a nice shot. He throws on a guillotine, as the fighters hit the floor. Thomson struggling to get out. Cavalcante cranks, cringing as he puts all his efforts into getting the tap. Thomson pulls out and lands in Cavalcante’s guard. Ground and pound from the former Strikeforce champion after the escape. One minute to go, and both fighters seem to be a bit fatigued. Cavalcante looking for the triangle. Thomson escapes yet again. He is in half guard looking for the arm triangle. Cavalcante is saved by the bell. Very entertaining latter half to the round.

Round 2: Thomson excited as the second round begins. Cavalcante misses with a lead jab and elects to press his opponent up against the cage. Thomson reverses, as each fighter send knees into one another. Not much action right now. Cavalcante looking for the takedown, but he fails to earn it. Thomson scores a trip and ends up on top of Cavalcante. He’s on his back, looking to get his hooks in. He has Cavalcante wrapped up.Thomshon looks to land some shots, but is timid to score a submission. Brief scramble lands Thomson in half guard. He may be looking for another arm triangle choke. Cavalcante is in a bad spot here, as the clock ticks away. 10 seconds left, and Thomson finishes the second with some ground and pound.

Round 3: The final frame begins with a takedown attempt by Thomson. Cavalcante stuffs it and looks to clinch. Thomson reverses and pushes his opponent up against the cage. Cavalcante needs to get something done if he wants to win this fight. Thomson nearly gets the takedown, but Cavalcante avoids it. Cavalcante gets the takedown and ends up in the mount position. Not a good spot for Thomson after two solid round. Shots to the body land for Cavalcante. Thomson explodes and pushes Cavalcante into half guard. He looks for butterfly guard and now looks for rubberguard. Thomson smiles and pumps his fist to the camera. He is having a great time, apparently. He works his way back to the feet with two minutes to go. Thomson misses the takedown and falls to his back. Ground and pound from Thomson, who has his back pushed up against the cage. The former champion looking for the guillotine choke now. Cavalcante may be in trouble. He explodes out with 45 seconds to go. Thomson looking to work his way back up. Cavalcante not doing much from top position. Thomson with upkicks with 10 seconds to go. Bell rings, Thomson smiles, and both fighters raise their hands. Thomson and Cavalcante put on a great performance to determine the next Strikeforce lightweight top contender. Thomson def. Cavalcante via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).

Nick Diaz vs. K.J. Noons

Round 1: Leg kick for Diaz to start the fight. Noons misses with a left hook. Both fighters look to find their rhythm, and Noons seems to be the first with some decent shots. Diaz comes back with a combination of his own. Noons scores a nice shot, but Diaz follows up with one of his own. He moves the fight to the floor, and Noons is not in a good spot here. Diaz in side control, looking to transition to mount. Noons pushes away and looks to stand up. He does, and the two fighters separate. Diaz taunts Noons, and both fighters slow down a bit. Noons is having problems with Diaz’s reach. Diaz taunts Noons once again and looks for the takedown. Noons avoids and separates. Each fighter lands a jab, but Noons gets the better of the exchange. Less than one minute to go, and Noons looks to score to the body. He lands a few shots, but Diaz hits him as well. 30 seconds to go. Diaz talking to Noons, and Noons lands a decent left hook as the round comes to a close.

Round 2: Hesitancy from each fighter as the second frame opens. Noons lands a nice combination, and Diaz looks unconcerned. Diaz stares down his opponent as he dodges another shot. Noons loosens up and begins to taunt Diaz now. Noons avoids a takedown and looks to land a combination. Diaz is cut and bleeding from over his right eye. Diaz looks a bit timid at this point. Noons eats a combination from Diaz. The fighters clinch briefly, but Noons breaks away. Blood streams down the face of Diaz. Noons bleeding out of his nose. Diaz seems to be gaining confidence as he continues to push forward. Noons misses with three big shots. Diaz scores a body shot and continues to press forward. 1:30 to go in the second round, and Noons lands a nice combination. However, he continues to push forward. Kicks from Diaz are checked by Noons. He lands a nice knee to the body of Diaz, who continues to try and use his reach.Diaz clinches, but Noons separates and evades. 20 seconds to go, and the pace slows in a big way. Noons misses with his combination and eats a few from Diaz. A kick for Noons closes the round, and the fight is likely even through two.

Round 3: Diaz looks for the takedown as the round starts, but Noons counters with a knee and avoids. The fighters trade jabs, while Diaz scores a nice straight right as well. Noons works combinations to the body and head, but Diaz is the one scoring with a combination. He is gaining confidence a minute into the third. Right to the body lands for Diaz, while Noons misses with a left. Noons fixes his hair, which has happened way too many times during this fight. Leg kick lands for Diaz, who is stalking Noons at this point. Noons’ combination is blocked by Diaz, who throws a nice hook of his own. Diaz works his jab. Two minutes to go in the main event’s third round. Noons appears to be fading. Diaz throws kicks, and the two clinch briefly. Noons lands several shots to the body, and Diaz misses with a right hook. One minute left in the round, and neither fighter has stolen this one yet. Diaz pushing forward, throwing decent combinations. They clinch again, and Diaz separates with a combination. Noons misses with a hook, and Diaz throws a pair of kicks to end the round.

Round 4: Noons takes the center of the cage to start the second. Spinning back kick misses for Diaz. He begins to taunt Noons again and lands a nice one-two. Noons comes back with an uppercut, but he seems frustrated. He is having a big problem closing the distance at this point. Diaz with two kicks. Noons lands a right hook. Diaz counters a combination with his long jab. Noons presses forward, but can’t seem to get much done. The two nearly clinch, but Noons avoids it. Nice combination from Diaz, but Noons comes back with one of his own to the body. Diaz uses his reach to land another combination, while Noons lands a very nice left hook. Diaz seems completely fine after the shot, as he comes back with several shots of his own. Both fighters engage, trading shots. Diaz nearly gets the clinch, but Noons avoids yet again. Noons lands a nice shot when Diaz tries to clinch again. He pushes forward, but Diaz is the one landing the shots. He is confident now. Noons is circling away from the champion. Diaz misses with his kicks, but seems incredibly confident. The round ends with no action, but it seems Diaz is ahead going into the fifth.

Round 5: The final round begins, and Diaz is pumped. He leads with a few kicks, and Noons looks to close the distance. Takedown attempt is stuffed by Noons, but Diaz lands a few nice shots following it. Diaz keeping the distance, while Noons keeps coming up short with his combinations. Diaz lands a combination and looks to clinch. Both fighters land. They separate, and Diaz lands a shot to the head of Noons, while avoiding a combination from his opponent. Diaz avoids a combination and looks for the clinch. Noons escapes yet again. Halfway through the round and neither fighter has scored anything significant. Noons lands a nice shot, and Diaz clinches. Noons avoids it, and the two engage again in the striking game. Diaz is still loose, but he eats a big uppercut from Noons. One minute to go. The fighters clinch and send shots into one another. Diaz presses forward, while Noons throws punches in an effort to earn a big shot. Knee from Diaz lands. The fight ends, and both fighters raise their hands in victory. Close fifth round, but Noons may not have done enough to earn the decision. Diaz def. Noons via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-47, 49-46).