NOONS OVERWHELMS EDWARDS TO RETAIN ELITEXC TITLE,
DIAZ SCORES THIRD-ROUND TKO OVER CORBBREY,
NINJA, PEE WEE, FEIJAO ALSO TRIUMPH
HONOLULU (June 14, 2008) – 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 “Return Of The King,’’ 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 can’t come soon enough for the fighters’ volatile camp members who nearly came to blows in the cage after the main event. The fracas caught most everyone off guard.
“I’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,’’ Noons said. “Nick has no class, he’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.
“I’m the champion and have the EliteXC belt. I’ll fight anybody. I didn’t see his fight but if they say Nick deserves a rematch, then we can fight and I’ll beat him again – if he can make 160 pounds.’’
Noons shocked the MMA world when he captured the first-ever EliteXC lightweight belt with an upset TKO victory over Diaz during EliteXC’s fight card on Nov. 10, 2007, on SHOWTIME. “I hope they make the fight with Diaz right here at the Blaisdell, but wherever it is, I will be ready,’’ Noons said.
Offered Diaz, who weighed in at 169 pounds a day earlier: “I’m sorry about what happened in the cage afterward, but I didn’t start it. His guys were talking (expletive) to us.’’
The event was presented by Los Angeles-based ProElite, Inc.’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.
“We accomplished what we set out to do on each and every fight card and that is deliver quality, exciting, entertaining fights,’’ said Douglas DeLuca, Executive Chairman, ProElite, Inc. “The fights were outstanding. I can’t say enough about the athletes’ performances. They were just spectacular.
“It was great being back in Honolulu. The fans in attendance and those watching on SHOWTIME got a terrific night of mixed martial arts.’’
As far as homecomings go, it doesn’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.
“Yves caught me, rocked me,” said Noons, who also is a professional boxer. He has won all six of his MMA fights inside the distance. “But once I knocked him down I knew I had to go in and finish it.’’
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.
“I wasn’t exactly thrilled with my fight; in fact, I am pretty disappointed,’’ said southpaw Diaz, who suffered a cut around his left eye. “This 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 wouldn’t come off.
“I will and can still make 160 pounds and will fight KJ any time, any place. I’ll fight anybody in the world who thinks they are better than me or who is considered better than me.’’
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.
“Please, powers of be, let me fight Diaz again, but only when we weigh the same,’’ Corbbrey said. “I 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.’’
In other SHOWTIME televised fights: former EliteXC 185-pound champ Murilo “Ninja” 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); Brazil’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 “Pee Wee” 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 “Red Bull’’ 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 “vintage Ninja Rua,” the Brazilian totally outclassed Bonello, who was stepping up in class for the first time.
“I really wanted to prove a point and that was to win by knockout and not submission,’’ Ninja said. “This 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.
“I get criticized by people who don’t think I have good striking skills so I’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.’’
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.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,’’ said Herman, who trains out of the garage at his house. “Nothing he did fazed me. I’m thrilled to get the win and especially happy to get the knockout. But I think I’m going to dump my ‘Pee Wee’’ nickname and go with ‘Blueberry Muffin’ from now on.
“I love blueberry muffins and my mom, Karen, makes the best.’’
In an outstanding performance, Brazil’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.
“This is the kind of impressive performance that I wanted, but I still have more to show,” said Feijao, who was cornered by Anderson Silva, among others. “The ref did his job. If he didn’t stop it when he did I’d still be throwing punches.
“He 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 it’s a knockout or not, as long as I win I’m happy. I’m ready to fight anybody at 205 pounds.
Said Cole: “That 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.’’
SHOWTIME announcer Mauro Ranallo handled play-by-play Saturday with world wrestling star Bill Goldberg and The Fight Professor, Stephen Quadros, serving as color analysts. The executive producer was David Dinkins, Jr. with Bob Dunphy directing.