via D. Mandel / sherdog.com
Nick Diaz took a unanimous decision (48-47, 49-47, 49-46) over K.J. Noons to retain his Strikeforce welterweight title.
Strikeforce and Showtime got the rare privilege of airing an instant MMA classic.
Diaz wanted to make it clear that his decision to shoot in for take downs came from his desire to show off his complete game and finish the fight on the ground, not a concession of losing on the feet.
K.J. Noons admitted "he beat me fair and square. Congratulations, Nick" after the fight.
Strikefroce welterweight champ Nick Diaz came out landing leg kicks but Noons immediately scored with punches. Diaz began landing with jabs but Noons was countering. Then Diaz tagged Noons with a punch that dropped Noons and followed him to the ground about 3:30 into the first round. Noons fought his way back to his feet about 90 seconds later. Diaz ended the round talking smack and dancing away from Noons.
Noons came out landing in the second and doing his own smack talk. He cut Diaz with hooks and forced a bleeding Diaz to shoot for a take down that got no where. Noons dominated the ensuing exchanges but Diaz scored his own shots and bloodied Noons' nose. Noons landed knees to the body and avoided head kicks from Diaz. He connected to Diaz' body too.
Diaz shot immediately in the third, but Noons sprawled and easily evaded the attempt. Diaz began to connect with jabs. Noons began to bleed again from the nose. Noons began to answer but continued to be outscored. Diaz renewed his kick attack on Noons' legs. Diaz began to taunt Noons again and continued to outscore Noons.
Commentator Pat Miletich compared to watching the two strikers doing their thing to watching a masterpiece being painted.
In the first of two championship rounds, Diaz threw a spinning back kick and and axe kick before beginning to taunt Noons again. Then he landed a powerful punch to Noons' ribs. Noons connected with a couple of hooks and began to get aggressive again. But Diaz answered with some counters. In the clinch, Noons was scoring with uppercuts. Noons scored with a beautiful 1-2 but Diaz quickly answered with a five or six punch combo. Noons began to pour it on, tagging Diaz' chin with a hard uppercut and following with a sharp hook. But Diaz answered with even harder shots to Noons' face.
In the fifth, Diaz almost got Noons down about 30 seconds in but again Noons got back up immediately. Noons appeared to crack Diaz' nose and reopened the cut over the eye. Diaz landed with a head kick. Noons scored repeatedly then Diaz returned fire and landed. Noons landed a leaping left hook. Diaz went for another take down that went nowhere. Noons cracked him hard but Diaz seemed unphased. They traded wildly to the end of the fight.