Prior to last night’s Strikeforce: Diaz Vs Noons event we posed six questions that would be answered during the course of the show.
Now it’s time to take a look at the answers and see what we’ve learned.
Question 1. Who will win the stand-up battle, Nick Diaz or KJ Noons?
Answer: On this occasion Diaz certainly proved that he as the ability to get the better of Noons on the feet, besting him over five full rounds.
It was touch and go at times. The second round looked a little like the first round of their last fight which Noons dominated, but for the most part Diaz awkward rangey style caused problems for Noons who by the end was resorting to big power shots which more often than not hit nothing but fresh air.
Many will write up the fight as purely a boxing encounter, but it’s worth stressing that some of Diaz best blows were landed with his knees in the later rounds. It should also be noted that Diaz power is often questioned, but a chopping right hand in the first round dropped Noons, and in all likelihood was the reason for his opponent’s broken jaw.
Question 2. Can Nick Diaz curb his bad boy antics or will we see another brawl in the cage?
Answer: Aside from some smack-talking in the cage during the fight Diaz was notably more laid back than we’ve seen him in the past and there were no major post-fight antics to report.
After the judges decision the two embraced and seemed content to put the bad blood behind them – for the time being at least.
Don’t think that Diaz is going soft though. A rumor has since emerged that Diaz and Jason Mayhem Miller got into an altercation backstage following the fight.
Question 3. Can Sarah Kaufman Impress In Her ‘Big Show’ Debut?
Answer: After campaigning hard both inside and outside of the cage to get a main card slot, Kaufman wasn’t able to make the most of the opportunity, and dropped to the first loss of her thirteen fight career.
Kaufman’s gameplan never really seemed to get going, coming off second best in the stand-up and often resorting to just clinching up against the fence which met with the disapproval of the spectators.
After the third round submission loss It will be interesting to see what comes next for her – whether Strikeforce continue to back her for a main card role, or if she once again finds herself back in the Challenger series.
Question 4. Is Marloes Coenen Strikeforce’s Next Lady In Waiting?
Answer: I think so. I should however qualify that by saying that realistically no other female fighter is going to be able to reach the level of star power she has enjoyed, but like Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos I believe Coenen can carve a niche for herself as one of the most recognizable stars of woman’s MMA.
Inside the cage she doesn’t possess Santos brute force, but her desire to finish fights is evident, whether it’s by KO or submission. Her record speaks for itself in that regard, with sixteen of her eighteen career wins ending inside the distance. She also showed off well-rounded skills with improving striking, some eye-catching throws and of course her slick submission skills.
Gina Carano had a rare ability to appeal both to male and female fans and I think Coenen has a chance to do the same. She also has a unique dynamic in that she’s often described as being “classy” or “sophisticated,” in both her demeanor and look. Those are adjectives not often found in the world of combat sports, but help distinguish her from others, is appealing from a marketing perspective and reflects well on MMA as a whole.
Question 5. Is JZ Cavalcante Poised To Take the U.S By Storm?
Answer: A loss suggests that the answer is no, but he was unlucky not to get the nod from the judges and after a solid performance like this I don’t think too many lightweight fighters are going to be in a hurry to face him.
He showed that he’s a tough customer with power in his hands and possesses a threat on the mat. If he had pushed the pace a little more on the ground I think he would have swung the fight in his favor, but considering he had only fought twice in the last two years due to injuries I felt he gave a good account of himself and didn’t gas as badly as I had expected.
So he’s not quite going to take the division by storm, but given time he can certainly work his way back into title contention.
Question 6. Can Tyron Woodley Become The Next Successful Product From The Strikeforce Challengers Series?
Answer: It definitely looks that way after this impressive showing. Woodley is best known for his wrestling and submission finishes up to this point, but last night was a timely showcase of his striking ability as he rocked Galvao early and had him in all kinds of trouble in the two minutes it took to earn the TKO victory.
Woodley certainly has the makings of being a fine example of what the Strikeforce Challengers series can produce and Scott Coker is already talking up his chances of a title shot in the next 12 months.
Hopefully they give him time to continue developing, but he’s certainly appears to be well on his way to becoming a force at 170lbs.