Photo by Dave Mandel via Sherdog
Scott Coker and company have put together a nice little card for tonight's Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons 2. Maybe a handful of competitive fights isn't enough for you. Maybe you need a little context to draw your interest. Here are the major storylines going into tonight's event.
Will Nick Diaz fight to his strengths? The Brothers Diaz have developed a style of boxing in which they throw a high volume of quick, slappy punches. While not aesthetically pleasing, both Nick and Nate have proven effective with the style. K.J. Noons, however, has a very good standup game that he has translated from his professional boxing career. Diaz blamed his poor performance in the first fight on the weight cut down to 160 pounds and a prolific schedule. Standing right in front of Noons didn't help. Diaz is the better overall fighter. Will he use the entirety of his MMA repertoire?
How will K.J. Noons look at 170? As noted, the first fight took place at 160 pounds, the EliteXC lightweight limit. This will be Noons first fight at welterweight, a weight class that more naturally suits Diaz. Will the added size affect the fight's dynamics?
Will Sarah Kaufman take advantage of her Showtime spot? Kaufman made waves when she complained about defending her title in the co-main event of Strikeforce's B-show. After slamming Roxanne Modafferi through the mat, Strikeforce rewarded her with a chance to defend her title on a big Showtime show. Marloes Coenen presents a much bigger challenge - in both size and skill. Can Kaufman retain her title while putting on an exciting performance?
- Has Gesias Cavalcante's knee completely recovered? Cavalcante entered his New Year's Eve fight with Shinya Aoki at 14-1-1 with his sole loss coming to Joachim Hansen in "JZ's" third professional fight. After the New Year's bout ended in a no contest, Aoki won a unanimous decision victory in the rematch a month later. Cavalcante tore his ACL in the fight and opted for rehab in lieu of surgery. Thirteen months later, he lost a decision to Tatsuya Kawajiri. Fourteen months after that, he won a split decision over Katsunori Kikuno. For those keeping score at home, Cavalcante is 1-2 over the last three years and hasn't looked like the perennial top 10 fighter he was before the pair of fights with Aoki. Is the knee the cause for Cavalcante's fall from grace?
- How good is Josh Thomson? Thomson owns one of the less impressive 17-3 records in the sport. He has a win over Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez, though "El Nino" avenged the loss 18 months later. Thomson's next best win is a unanimous decision over Hermes Franca back at UFC 46. Cavalcante might not be the fighter he once was, but he's still Thomson's best opponent not named "Melendez."
- Which prospect bounces back strong? Tyron Woodley ran through his first five fights, submitting all five of his opponents within the first nine minutes. André Galvão is one of the most decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu players to enter MMA. Both, however, looked less than impressive in their last victories. Woodley needed all fifteen minutes to scrape a split decision from Nathan Coy. Galvao took a lot of punishment from the ageless Jorge "Macaco" Patino before finishing the fight with strikes in the third round. Who keeps their hot prospect status on track?