In a bout that could determine the next challenger for Gilbert Melendez's Strikeforce lightweight title, Jorge Masvidal turned in a great performance, busting up K.J. Noons en route to a unanimous decision win Saturday at "Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum" in Dallas.
Noons immediately came out pushing the pace. Masvidal looked uncomfortable with this in the first few seconds but quickly eased in. Both men throwing heavy leather. Masvidal lands a knee that stops Noons in his tracks. Masvidal lands a jumping knee and then bullrushes Noons into the cage and gets a takedown. Masvidal not doing anything with it, though, as Noons isolates his right arm. Masvidal breaks free from it and Noons stands. Noons is bleeding from the forehead after Masvidal lands a knee. High kick drops Noons. Masvidal jumps all over him. Noons scrambles. Masvidal looking to finish but the horn sounds. Tremendous round.
Noons looks OK as the second round starts. A minute in and the cut is bleeding again. Masvidal catches a kick and takes Noons down, but Noons is right back to his feet. Noons landing more than Masvidal but Masvidal grabs a single leg and easily gets Noons to the canvas. Center of the cage in full guard. Noons makes his way over to the cage and uses it to stand with two minutes left. Masvidal drives Noons into the cage but can't secure the takedown. He finally drags him down with just under a minute to go. Noons stands, though. Masvidal makes a mistake and ends up on his back against the cage with 40 seconds left. Masvidal stands. Jumping knee lands flush for Masvidal. The round ends.
Masvidal not throwing a lot to start the third round. Noons is the one doing all the throwing in the early-going for the third straight round. Noons evades a takedown attempt with three minutes to go. Masvidal secures a takedown with two minutes left but Noons is on his back for about 10 seconds before he gets back up. Masvidal stays on him, though, and takes him back down with 90 seconds left into side control. Noons again works back to his feet but Masvidal takes him back down. The fight ends with Masvidal on top of Noons.
All three judges scored the bout 30-27 for Masvidal.
Masvidal made his return to Strikeforce in March when he picked up a unanimous decision win over Billy Evangelista. Noons, the former EliteXC lightweight champion, hadn't fought since October when he moved up in weight and dropped a unanimous decision to Nick Diaz in a welterweight title fight.