On a night of predictable prelims, Showtime Extreme concluded their final Strikeforce broadcast with a lightweight battle between former title contender KJ Noons and Ryan Couture.
This fight was the biggest in the career of Couture, who had previously squared off against other lower-tier fighters.
This was a war! Although there was quality action in Round 1, the second round was five minutes of highlights, as these lightweights battled in hopes of securing a UFC contract. The final round continued the exciting action before going to the judges' scorecards.
In his first fight against a former champion, Couture was awarded a split decision against Noons, although it was extremely controversial and immediately debunked by Pat Miletich and Frank Shamrock.
What we'll remember about this fight
The poor decision. KJ Noons deserved the win in this battle, and that should be the take-home lesson from this fight.
What we learned about KJ Noons
Not much. This fight was pretty standard for Noons. He controlled the action and showed exemplary head movement while boxing his way toward a win. Unfortunately, the decision robbed him of a hard-earned victory.
What we learned about Ryan Couture
That he is wickedly tough. Couture withstood the onslaught of Noons in the second round. After being rocked, Couture remained upright as the former EliteXC champion delivered unanswered combinations in a fight that appeared to be only seconds away from being stopped.
Aside from the controversy, Couture proved that he is worthy of a UFC contract. With big heart and creative striking, the 30-year-old fared well against a seasoned veteran and former champion.
What's next for KJ Noons
Undoubtedly, this fight was sink or swim for Noons, who lost three of his last four fights heading into the event. Prior to the skid, Noons had won six straight, which includes wins over Nick Diaz, Yves Edwards and Jorge Gurgel.
It is clear that Noons should have come out with the decision victory, although I'm not sure that the UFC will sign him with only one win in five fights. Hopefully Dana White was watching this closely and awards Noons a contract.
A match against a fellow boxer like Sam Stout would make for an incredible matchup.
What's next for Ryan Couture
The son of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, Ryan made his professional debut under the Strikeforce banner, which has been the home of all of his fights. The win tonight gives him a four-fight winning streak heading into the UFC, even though he didn't deserve the win tonight.
Couture will likely enter the Octagon sometime this summer, and the UFC should take its time and allow Ryan more time to develop. Perhaps a bout with Mac Danzig or Danny Castillo is in the cards.