HONOLULU (June 14, 2008) â€“ On a night fit for a King, not even a post-fight scuffle could ruin the moment for KJ Noons, who retained the EliteXC lightweight title with a devastating 48-second, first-round TKO over Yves Edwards Saturday at the Blaisdell Arena on SHOWTIME.
In the co-feature on a card billed as â€œReturn Of The King,â€™â€™ Nick Diaz registered a third-round TKO over Muhsin Corbbrey.
The victories by Noons, who was raised in Kailua-Kona until he was 16, and Diaz sets up what could be a rematch, but a return bout canâ€™t come soon enough for the fightersâ€™ volatile camp members who nearly came to blows in the cage after the main event. The fracas caught most everyone off guard.
â€œIâ€™m not sure what happened or who started what, but I feel bad for Yves, a class act who trained really hard for this fight,â€™â€™ Noons said. â€œNick has no class, heâ€™s a bum, a piece of (expletive) and he and his team disrespected my family and I with their gestures and trash talk and tried to upstage our fight.
â€œIâ€™m the champion and have the EliteXC belt. Iâ€™ll fight anybody. I didnâ€™t see his fight but if they say Nick deserves a rematch, then we can fight and Iâ€™ll beat him again â€“ if he can make 160 pounds.â€™â€™
Noons shocked the MMA world when he captured the first-ever EliteXC lightweight belt with an upset TKO victory over Diaz during EliteXCâ€™s fight card on Nov. 10, 2007, on SHOWTIME. â€œI hope they make the fight with Diaz right here at the Blaisdell, but wherever it is, I will be ready,â€™â€™ Noons said.
Offered Diaz, who weighed in at 169 pounds a day earlier: â€œIâ€™m sorry about what happened in the cage afterward, but I didnâ€™t start it. His guys were talking (expletive) to us.â€™â€™
The event was presented by Los Angeles-based ProElite, Inc.â€™s EliteXC, and aired on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast). The explosive main event can be seen exclusively on Cage Cam at SHO.com/Sports.
â€œWe accomplished what we set out to do on each and every fight card and that is deliver quality, exciting, entertaining fights,â€™â€™ said Douglas DeLuca, Executive Chairman, ProElite, Inc. â€œThe fights were outstanding. I canâ€™t say enough about the athletesâ€™ performances. They were just spectacular.
â€œIt was great being back in Honolulu. The fans in attendance and those watching on SHOWTIME got a terrific night of mixed martial arts.â€™â€™
As far as homecomings go, it doesnâ€™t get better than this for the popular Noons, who gave the hometown fans what they came to see: a sensational knockout win.
Fighting in the same arena his father did 30 years ago, Noons (6-1), of San Diego, Calif., landed a straight right hand that dropped Edwards (34-14-1), of Coconut Creek, Fla., on the seat of his pants. Noons quickly pounced on the veteran, who had a three-fight winning streak end, landed upwards of 16 unanswered punches, most of which connected, and that was that.
â€œYves caught me, rocked me,â€ said Noons, who also is a professional boxer. He has won all six of his MMA fights inside the distance. â€œBut once I knocked him down I knew I had to go in and finish it.â€™â€™
After a close, competitive first-round, Diaz (17-7) of Stockton, Calif., mostly had his way against Corbbrey (7-3) of Hilton Head, S.C. He was on top and had landed about 17 unanswered punches, many of which landed, before the referee stepped in and halted matters at 3:59 of the third.
â€œI wasnâ€™t exactly thrilled with my fight; in fact, I am pretty disappointed,â€™â€™ said southpaw Diaz, who suffered a cut around his left eye. â€œThis was one of my worst fights. I felt slow. I hated coming in that heavy. I worked very hard to cut the weight, but it just wouldnâ€™t come off.
â€œI will and can still make 160 pounds and will fight KJ any time, any place. Iâ€™ll fight anybody in the world who thinks they are better than me or who is considered better than me.â€™â€™
Despite a leap in class, Corbbrey did not appear intimidated or in awe of the world-class Cesar Gracie jiu-jitsu black. Diaz was just too big.
â€œPlease, powers of be, let me fight Diaz again, but only when we weigh the same,â€™â€™ Corbbrey said. â€œI have no problem with the stoppage and I know I agreed to the fight, but he must have weighed 200 pounds. He out-fought me and I respect him for that. But he wore me out when he leaned on me.â€™â€™
In other SHOWTIME televised fights: former EliteXC 185-pound champ Murilo â€œNinjaâ€ Rua (16-8-1) of Brazil scored a 3:16, first-round TKO (strikes) over previously undefeated Australian-born, Las Vegas-based Tony Bonello (16-1-1, 1 NC); Brazilâ€™s highly regarded Rafael Feijao (6-1) registered an impressive 2:47, first-round TKO (strikes) over Wayne Cole (11-7) of Norman, Okla., in a fight at 205 pounds and heavyweight prospect Dave â€œPee Weeâ€ Herman (11-0) of Bloomington, Ind., registered a 2:19, first-round TKO (strikes) over Ron Waterman (15-6-2) of Greeley, Colo. (Fighter Pages below).
In an upset in the top undercard fight streamed live and for free at ProElite.com, Bubba McDaniel (12-4) of Wichita Falls, Tex., submitted (rear choke) popular local favorite and ICON 185-pound champ Kala Kolohe (6-2) of Waianae, Hawaii, at 0:41 of the first round. In other results on an undercard that featured all Hawaiian fighters, Mark Oshiro (11-1) of Honolulu scored a 2:12, first-round TKO over Chris â€œRed Bullâ€™â€™ Willems (2-2-1) of Hilo at 140 pounds; Kaleo Kwan (9-8) of Waimanalo took a unanimous decision over Mike Aina (9-7-1) of Hilo at 160; and PJ Dean (1-3-1) of Waianae and Dean Lista (3-1-1) of Honolulu fought to a majority draw. A scheduled scrap between promising unbeaten Lolohea Mahe (4-0) of Kahului, Maui, and Chris Barnard (1-3) of Waianae at 265 pounds was cancelled when Barnard withdrew earlier in the evening.
Russell Doane of Waipahu overpowered Dwayne Haney (2-1) of Honolulu en route to winning a 2:46, first-round TKO and Carl Barton (1-0) of Honolulu scored a 55-second, first-round TKO over Kepa Madeiros (0-1) of Honolulu in non-televised bouts.
In a performance in which SHOWTIME announcer Mauro Ranallo referred to as â€œvintage Ninja Rua,â€ the Brazilian totally outclassed Bonello, who was stepping up in class for the first time.
â€œI really wanted to prove a point and that was to win by knockout and not submission,â€™â€™ Ninja said. â€œThis guy did a lot of talking; I know he was trying to get to me. So when I had him down, I really wanted to hurt him. I want to get back the EliteXC belt and will fight anybody to do so.
â€œI get criticized by people who donâ€™t think I have good striking skills so Iâ€™m happy to win the way I did. This fight was dedicated to my baby boy who is due in late August or early September.â€™â€™
In a wild, fast-paced, exciting encounter, Herman overcame a quick start by Waterman to win decisively in a performance highlighted by a remarkable flying roundhouse leg kick.
â€œI didnâ€™t really know what to expect,â€™â€™ said Herman, who trains out of the garage at his house. â€œNothing he did fazed me. Iâ€™m thrilled to get the win and especially happy to get the knockout. But I think Iâ€™m going to dump my â€˜Pee Weeâ€™â€™ nickname and go with â€˜Blueberry Muffinâ€™ from now on.
â€œI love blueberry muffins and my mom, Karen, makes the best.â€™â€™
In an outstanding performance, Brazilâ€™s Rafael Feijao was smashing in his second EliteXC start. The referee stopped the bout after Feijao had landed about 12 unanswered shots on Cole.
â€œThis is the kind of impressive performance that I wanted, but I still have more to show,â€ said Feijao, who was cornered by Anderson Silva, among others. â€œThe ref did his job. If he didnâ€™t stop it when he did Iâ€™d still be throwing punches.
â€œHe got me with a good shot at the start but I get hit like that in training all the time. I felt strong. Training with Anderson and the guys I do is the best thing to ever to happen to me. Whether itâ€™s a knockout or not, as long as I win Iâ€™m happy. Iâ€™m ready to fight anybody at 205 pounds.
Said Cole: â€œThat guy is talented, for sure, but I feel I am in his class. I was just flat tonight for some reason. It was good experience and I will be back.â€™â€™