Photos: Esther Lin/STRIKEFORCE
Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010,
HP Pavilion, San Jose, California
“DIAZ VS. NOONS II” – This Saturday at HP Pavilion
Live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT
SAN JOSE (Oct. 7, 2010) – There may have been tension in the room, but all the fighters, specifically Nick Diaz and KJ Noons, were respectful and reserved and made like true professionals during Thursday’s final press conference for this Saturday’s “DIAZ VS. NOONS II’’ mega-fight card at HP Pavilion live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Diaz (22-7-1, 1 NC), of Stockton, Calif., will risk his STRIKEFORCE Welterweight (170 pounds) World Championship against Noons (9-1), of San Diego, in the main event. In a second world title fight, undefeated Women’s Welterweight (135 pounds) Champion Sarah Kaufman (12-0), of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, will make the second defense of her 135-pound title against No. 1 contender and Dutch superstar Marloes Coenen (17-4).
“Diaz-Noons II’’ is a grudge rematch of a bloody, controversial slugfest won by Noons on a disputed first-round TKO on Nov. 7, 2007, when a cageside physician halted the proceedings due to excessive cuts around Diaz’ eyes. Both fighters have gone unbeaten since. Diaz has won seven in a row; Noons has triumphed in his last six fights.
Popular local favorite and former STRIKEFORCE champion Josh Thomson (17-3), of San Jose, will meet Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante (15-3-1) of Brazil in a battle of world-ranked lightweights in a featured televised match. The winner could be next up to challenge STRIKEFORCE World Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez.
In the opening bout of the telecast, Tyron Woodley (8-0), of St. Louis, Mo., faces Andre Galvao (5-1) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in a welterweight weight.
Tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster.com, at the HP Pavilion ticket office, or by phone at (800) 745-3000.
Doors will open at 4 p.m. PT. The first live, non-televised fight is at 4:30 p.m.
What the eight fighters had to say Thursday:
“I feel good and weight-wise I am almost perfect. I was angry for a long time (about the first fight). I was real upset that it ended the way it did because it wasn’t like I was hurt.
“Then I kind of dropped the idea of ever fighting a rematch because he got out of MMA. I never considered the first fight as a loss. I just always looked at it as a fight that was stopped (too soon).
“I don’t feel that this fight is about revenge. But I’m happy now that he took the fight.’’
“I love to fight and I love my job and I want to thank STRIKEFORCE and SHOWTIME and Nick for taking this fight. I’ve trained very hard and I’m excited about Saturday. This is a fight the fans want to see.
“I have respect for Nick as a fighter. His style works for him and I like to watch him fight. (But) I’m really pumped and ready to fight the best at 170 pounds.
“The first fight I worked on going forward against Nick because Nick never fights going backward, but I’ve been working on all aspects of the game. I’m sure at some point he’s going to try and take me down but I am ready for anything.’’
“JZ is a savage and a beast and I think it’s a joke that you guys have a guy like Ben Henderson ranked above a guy like him. I could go out there and fight the fight of my life and still lose. I have to beat him everywhere; there is no way I am going to win this fight doing one thing. JZ has fought some good ones all over the world. He is probably bigger and hits harder so I know I have to lay it on the line and see what happens,
“Everybody wants to talk about Gilbert Melendez but all my training and focus is on JZ. If I don’t get past this one, everything else is out the window.’’
“This will be an excellent fight and I’m really looking forward to it and fighting for STRIKEFORCE. I like being part of a fight fans want to see and are talking about. This is my chance to make a name for myself in America.
“I was off a long time because of my injuries but I’ve seen a lot by working with teammates and other guys that has helped me stay involved in the game. But there is nothing like a real fight.’’
“I like winning. This is definitely a big fight and, like always, I know I’ll have to come out confident and aggressive.
“This is definitely a big deal for the 135-pound division and a big push forward for it. The more attention and exposure we get, the more the fan base will grow. There’s already a good fan base for the STRIKEFORCE women at 145 pounds, so this is a great opportunity for us and the division.’’
“The closer we get to the fight, the more excited I am. All the work is done. I’ve trained really hard and feel great. I’m good on my weight and feel strong. That helps my confidence a lot fighting at 135 pounds. Coming down from 145 was a gradual process, but I had a good nutritionist and team working with me.
I don’t think I’ve lost any strength but I definitely feel faster.
“This fight means the world to me. I won a world tournament in Japan 10 years ago and, here I am again, 10 years later with another opportunity to win another potentially life-changing event. A victory means I can stay and have a career in America. I would love that to happen very much.’’
“I can’t concern myself on what an opponent may do. It’s up to me to turn my weaknesses into strengths.”
“This fight means a ton to me. I fought through the STRIKEFORCE Challengers series. Fans got to learn my story as a fighter, they got to see me develop and get better each fight. They got to submit guys fast. They got to see me go through wars. This is definitely a step forward towards my dream to be a champion. We’ll get those fireworks going on Saturday.”
“Tyron is a tough fighter, a top wrestling guy who has fought three times on STRIKEFORCE. I am excited and have a good game plan. I’m ready to go.’’