Jorge Gurgel had promised to show off his BJJ skills against KJ Noons, but surprise, surprise he reverted to his unhealthy love of getting into stand-up wars and it would eventually cost him.
In fairness he actually did well for much of the first round, utilizing good movement and leg strikes to put Noons off his boxing based gameplan.
The controversy in this fight began at the end of the round as Gurgel looked to be finishing strongly with a series of head strikes to his hunched over opponent. Just after the bell sounded however, Noons suddenly popped back up and threw a left hook that lands flush and knocks Gurgel to the floor in a heap.
Technically the punch doesn’t count since it’s after the bell, but Gurgel is all but done, struggling to get to his feet and making his way back to his corner on unsteady legs.
He fights on despite the unfortunate incident but there’s no way he’s recovered fully during the minute break, and so it proves as early in the second Noons floors him again with a perfect overhand right followed by a crashing left hook.
Gurgel lurches desperately for his opponents legs as Noons appears to be waiting for the referee to step in. The official is hesitant though and Noons again starts to fight, throwing more punches. Another controversial moment then occurs as Noons throws an illegal knee to his grounded opponent just as the ref finally makes his mind up to stop the fight.
As Noons wheels off to celebrate Gurgel is trying again to stand up but his legs have turned to jelly. It’s a brutal and unfortunate loss for the fighter which marks the first TKO loss of his career.
It’s difficult to say how much blame should be attributed to Noons here. Personally I thought the strike at the end of the first was very late, and of course there is no excuse for kneeing a grounded opponent in the head so I do think he has to shoulder some of the blame, but it’s doubtful there was any real bad intentions behind either strike and he was not penalized for either.
The win extends Noons unbeaten run to six fights, 10-2 overall, and he remains a genuine force at 155lbs.