K.J. Noons. Photo by Esther Lin/ProElite.
The King’s return was a good one.
Fighting in his home state of Hawaii for the first time under the Elite Xtreme Combat banner, K.J. Noons successfully defended his EliteXC lightweight title for the first time, scoring a quick and brutal first-round stoppage of longtime veteran Yves Edwards in the main event of Saturday night’s “Return of the King” event.
Noons and Edwards wasted no time, quickly meeting in the center of the cage to exchange punches right from the opening bell. Although Edwards stunned Noons at one point, the fast-paced exchange on the feet suddenly came to a halt when Noons caught Edwards with a short right hand that sat him down on the canvas. Noons pounced on Edwards and unleashed a furious barrage of unanswered punches and elbows that forced referee Mario Yamasaki to step in and save Edwards.
“Yves caught me, rocked me,” Noons said after the fight. “But once I knocked him down I knew I had to go in and finish it.’’
Noons post-fight celebration was marred by the entrance of Nick Diaz, still suited up in fight gear from his bout against Muhsin Corbbrey earlier in the night, along with his younger brother and current UFC lightweight Nate Diaz, into the cage. In an attempt to hype a potential rematch between the two, the younger Diaz opted to exchange words with Noons’ father, Karl Sr.
The words soon escalated to threats and before long the elder Noons and the Diaz brothers grabbed one another, forcing ringside officials, color commentator Bill Goldberg, and everyone else in the cage to jump in and prevent an all-out brawl. The Diaz brothers quickly jolted from the cage, holding their trademark middle fingers high in the air while walking backstage.
“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 shit, and he and his team disrespected my family and I with their gestures and trash talk and tried to upstage our fight.”
Diaz was victorious last night as well, nearly submitting Corbbrey multiple times before finally stopping the former Muay Thai artist with strikes in the third round. Corbbrey’s slick striking skills were on display in the first round as he hung with the usually crafty Diaz on the feet and stole an extremely close first round. The second round saw much of the same until the final minute, when Corbbrey tripped Diaz to the canvas only to be reversed and put on his back before the end of the round.
After literally throwing Corbbrey to the ground, Diaz quickly moved to side control and locked in an armbar, which nearly had Corbbrey finished until he managed to find his way out of the hold. However Diaz moved to mount after briefly standing up, delivering a number of unanswered blows until referee Chris West decided that Corbbrey had suffered enough.
Despite picking up his second win of the year, Diaz blamed his weight-cutting troubles for early struggles against Corbbrey, who took the fight against Diaz at a catch-weight of 168 lbs after the Stockton native informed his opponent’s camp he would not be able to make the required lightweight limit.
“I wasn’t exactly thrilled with my fight; in fact, I am pretty disappointed,’’ Diaz said. “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.”
Also victorious in the televised portion of the event was former EliteXC middleweight title holder Murilo “Ninja” Rua, who used a superior ground game to hand King of the Cage veteran Tony Bonello his first professional loss.
After attempting to intimidate Rua with a flurry of hate-filled words during the pre-fight staredown, Bonello failed to connect with wild punches at the beginning of the fight. He then opted to pull guard, attempting an armbar that Rua escaped with ease. Unfortunately for Bonello, Rua got on top and never stopped throwing, connecting with a variety of strikes before Yamasaki waved off the bout.
The other televised fights saw Dave Herman and Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante come away with wins, each stopping opponents Ron Waterman and Wayne Cole with strikes respectively.
Complete results from the event:
K.J. Noons def. Yves Edwards - TKO (Strikes)
Nick Diaz def. Muhsin Corbbrey - TKO (Strikes)
Murilo Rua def. Tony Bonello - TKO (Strikes)
Dave Herman def. Ron Waterman - TKO (Strikes)
Rafael Feijao def. Wayne Cole - TKO (Strikes)
Robert McDaniel def. Kala Kolohe Hose - Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Mark Oshiro def. Chris Willems - Submission (Triangle)
Kaleo Kwan def. Mike Aina - Unanimous Decision
P.J. Dean vs Dean Lista - Majority Draw
Russell Doane def. Dwayne Haney - TKO (Strikes)
Carl Barton def. Kepa Madeiros - TKO (Strikes)
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