In a fight that didn’t really have a clear winner, one thing is for certain and that is that the audience is the clear loser in this contest. Daron Cruickshank and KJ Noons went toe-to-toe in a stylistic match-up that was looking to be everything fight fans were hoping it to be. Cruickshank was forced backwards by KJ’s dangerous boxing combinations, but Cruickshank kept things interesting with his own punches, fancy kicks, and even some explosive takedown attempts.
KJ landed the unintentional fight-ending foul just a few moments into the second round when he tried to frame out with his lead hand while Daron tried to explode in, but KJ landed the same foul in the first round too. Referee Big John McCarthy wanted the action to continue, but it was KJ that realized the foul and backed off allowing Big John to pause the bout. The doctor was brought in, but after seeing the blood pool around his eye, it was clear that the eye poke was bad. Cruickshank displayed his inability to see and that’s all the doctor needed to stop the bout.
It’s hard to say who was getting the better of who because both fighters were landing hard shots in the pocket. Cruickshank had the more diverse arsenal, but KJ came prepared and avoided the majority of his kick attempts. Noons on the other hand pushed forward the whole first round and had success ripping the body and then going upstairs.
Definitely an unfortunate and disappointing end to what was for going to be an exciting, competitive striking contest. Daron landed two takedowns in the first round, but KJ popped right back immediately and didn’t let Cruickshank capitalize. I would definitely like to see these two fighters face off again later this year.