Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons II Predictions

Event: Strikeforce: "Diaz vs. Noons II"
Date: Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, at 10:00 p.m. ET on Showtime
Location: HP Pavilion in San Jose, California
Main card (Televised):

Nick Diaz vs. KJ Noons

Diaz_noons_medium Luke Thomas: This fight is incredibly difficult to call. I certainly expect Noons to win early and provided he's still around, Diaz to rally late. The fact that this fight is five rounds is certainly in Diaz's favor. This fight centers on Diaz's ability to control distance or at least work from it. Provided Noons is unaffected, it's his to lose. However, my guess is that Noons isn't really prepped to go the full distance with a Diaz that isn't going away so easily. From there, the accumulation of right straights to the body and left hooks to the head will take their toll. It's close, but I think Lodi gets the hat tip. Diaz by TKO.

Kid Nate: Very tough fight to call. I completely understand and agree with Brent's assesment of Noons' boxing advantages. I also agree with Fagan that Diaz should clinch against the cage and take the fight to the ground for his easiest road to victory. But I don't expect him to and I still think he'll win. The scar tissue surgery, extra size and better conditioning Diaz will bring to this fight will allow him to survive Noons' early shots and eventually wear him down and overwhelm him with volume strikes. Nick Diaz by TKO, round 4.

Brent Brookhouse: Yes, the fight is at welterweight but let's not act like Diaz put on height when he went up. Reach wasn't a huge factor last time and I don't think it will be this time. To use his reach Diaz would have to change his style and not come forward. Noons can step in as Diaz comes forward and suddenly punching range isn't as big of an issue. Noons hits harder in one punch increments (which isn't to say Diaz has no power) and as much love as Nick gets for going to the body, Noons does it just as well if not better. There are holes in the Diaz punching style that can be overcome by a very good striker and Noons is that. Diaz is clearly a better fighter than he was the first time he fought Noons, and he's a better fighter overall.  I just think this is a fight that stylistically favors Noons. When KJ doesn't think he's going to run through someone (i.e. Conor Heun) he uses his head movement and footwork much more effectively and that's what the first Diaz fight showed. I just think Noons has the better strikers timing and a style that can overcome the Diaz "punches in bunches" style. KJ Noons by TKO, round 3.

Mike Fagan: If Nick Diaz fights smart - close the distance, work along the fence, get Noons on the floor, I think he will run away with this fight. But all indications point toward Diaz engaging with Noons on the feet. Fighting at welterweight should help somewhat, as Diaz looked anemic during the first fight, but I think Noons will pick him apart again if they fight at distance. I'm going against my better judgement, but he's the better overall fighter so Nick Diaz by decision.

Chris Nelson: One of Noons' only advantages here is his hand speed, and I'm not sure if that will diminish (along with his already not-great cardio) at 170 lbs. If Diaz fights smart, he can end this early and however he likes. Diaz via TKO, round two.

Nick Thomas
: I want to pick Noons, but I just can't because the fight is at 170. Diaz will have the size and reach advantage and can end this on the ground as well. Diaz by decision.

Leland Roling: The outcome totally depends on Diaz's gameplan and mental fortitude to sticking to that gameplan. If he comes out looking for the clinch and takedown, he can probably wear Noons down and win in the later rounds. Noons' boxing is a concern, but I have to believe Diaz will work for the takedown once he gets clobbered. Diaz via submission, Round 4.


Sarah Kaufman vs. Marloes Coenen

Kaufman_coenen_medium Luke Thomas: I absolutely think Kaufman's going to have trouble with distance. She'll lose a few rounds, but I think she'll steal it in the end. Kaufman by decision.

Kid Nate: Coenen is too big and too good on the floor. Kaufman won't be able to sprawl and brawl this grappler. Not looking forward to another five rounds of watching Kaufman though. Coenen by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: Coenen is going to be much bigger and has a world of experience. I think she'll be a bit too much for Kaufman despite Sarah having huge heart. Marloes Coenen by decision.

Mike Fagan: I would make some crack about hoping Kaufman enjoys her first and only taste of a featured bout on a Showtime card, but I wouldn't want the UG to blow up at me again. Marloes Coenen by decision.

Chris Nelson: The champ looked impressive in her last outing, but I don't think Kaufman has faced anyone with Coenen's combination of size and skill. Assuming the cut doesn't hurt her, Coenen via decision.

Nick Thomas
: Going with my fellow canuck. On the feet it's all Kaufman. Kaufman by decision.

Leland Roling: Coenen is a solid veteran, and while I'm skeptical as to how great her stand-up is going to be against Kaufman -- she certainly has the tools to win. But Kaufman's striking base and footwork is good enough to circle in and out and pepper Coenen over five rounds. Coenen isn't going to threaten from guard, and Kaufman will keep this standing on her way to a decision victory. Kaufman via decision.


 Gesias Cavalcante vs. Josh Thomson

Thomson_vs_jz_medium Luke Thomas: I like JZ big here. I think Thomson won't pressure him properly nor do I think he'll land the more significant shots landing. It won't be dominating, but it will be clear. JZ by decision.

Kid Nate: JZ doesn't have functioning knees anymore and Thomson's litany of injuries has diminished him as well. Still should be a fun fight since Thomson won't be able to control JZ on the feet or on the ground. Thomson by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: Cavalcante hasn't looked like the impressive killer he can be in over three years. Thomson is going to control the fight and take a surprisingly one sided decision. Josh Thomson by decision.

Mike Fagan: I'm concerned "JZ" isn't the same guy since he messed up his ACL. Josh Thomson by decision.

Chris Nelson: Great fight. Both guys have been banged up, but both are still possessing of solid all-around games which can be great fun to watch. Total pick'em, but I'll go with Cavalcante via decision, even if he hasn't looked as sharp since his knee troubles.

Nick Thomas
: This will be a close fight. But I have to give it to Thomson because of his wrestling and cage experience. Thomson by decision.

Leland Roling: I picked Thomson in my own preview, but I'm having reservations about that pick. Cavalcante has the explosiveness to hunt for top control and pepper Thomson from guard, and he's also quick enough to move in for some booming overhands. I'm going with the upset. Cavalcante via decision.


Andre Galvao vs. Tyron Woodley

Woodley_galvao_medium Luke Thomas: Woodley might get in trouble with recklessness, but if he produces enough distance it's his fight lose. Woodley by TKO.

Kid Nate: Galvao is still finding his feet in the cage and Woodley has shown a far better integrated MMA game. At the same time in his last fight he looked pretty bad where Galvao showed heart in coming back from getting dropped. Galvao by submission.

Brent Brookhouse: Galvao just hasn't shown that his submission game has had a comfortable transition to mixed martial arts. Woodley has the much better wrestling and should constantly be in control of where the fight takes place. Look for Woodley to use basic striking to bust up Galvao and eventually get the stoppage. Tyron Woodley by TKO, round 2.

Mike Fagan: Tyron Woodley is better than Jason High. Tyron Woodley by decision.

Chris Nelson: Galvao is a phenomenal grappler, but takedowns won't come easy against Woodley, who has a pretty nifty submission game himself. I think this one stays largely on the feet, where the advantage lies with the Missourian. Woodley via TKO, round two.

Nick Thomas
: The battle of the prospects. Galvao has the better resume, but I think Woodley has better stand-up and cardio. Woodley by decision.

Leland Roling: I just haven't been impressed with Galvao, although he is a much better fighter than he should be due to his grappling abilities and surprising stand-up technique at this early stage in his career. Unfortunately, Woodley is going to be a nightmare in terms of cardio and positioning. Woodley via decision.

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