Ten Reasons To Order Showtime and Watch Strikeforce This Weekend
This Saturday on Showtime, Strikeforce returns with another championship card that appears to be a can't-miss. In the main event, Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz will attempt to make the first defense of his title against the last man to beat him in the cage, K.J. Noons.
Also on the card, Women's Welterweight Champion Sarah Kaufman will return to defend her title for the second time against the extremely talented Marloes Coenen.
Personally, I'm counting the days till this card, but it occurred to me recently that there are some fight fans who don't currently subscribe to Showtime and won't be watching this event. To them I must say, "What are you waiting for?"
Here are 10 reasons off the top of my head that should be enough to convince you to call up your cable or satellite provider immediately and have them hook you up.
10. The Return Of Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante
In 2008, "JZ" Cavalcante was rated as one of the best lightweights in the world. Between '04 and '08, he went on a 14-fight unbeaten streak that included winning K-1 Hero's Middleweight Grand Prix. That streak came to an end when he lost a decision to then-No. 2 lightweight Shinya Aoki in early 2008.
Since that fight, Cavalcante has only fought twice, sitting out the majority of two years due to lingering injuries. Most recently, he won a decision over Katsunori Kikuno in July, and then signed a four-fight deal with Strikeforce.
This Saturday, Cavalcante makes his Strikeforce debut against former champion Josh Thomson. The matchup has the hardcore fans salivating, knowing the winner is likely in line for big things.
Will "JZ" reclaim his past glory, or will the layoff and opponent be too much to overcome? This is just one of the intriguing story lines going into Strikeforce: Diaz Vs. Noons 2.
9. You'll Probably See Someone You Don't Like Lose
When it comes to both fighters in the main event on Saturday, there is very little to not appreciate inside the cage. But if you've ever checked out an MMA message board, then you would know that both fighters tend to rub many fans the wrong way outside the cage.
Diaz is as polarizing a fighter as there is in the sport; either you love him or you hate him. His fans appreciate his shoot-from-the-hip style when it comes to the media, and his assertion that he is the "realest" fighter in the sport. His detractors are quick to label him a mindless thug and criticize him for his public use of marijuana.
Either way, it is easy for MMA followers to develop a rooting interest when it comes to Diaz fights.
Noons, on the other hand, seems to be more widely perceived as the heel in any matchup from here on out. His recent controversial win over Jorge Gurgel—which saw him drop Gurgel with a hook after the bell in Round 1, and hit him with an illegal knee on the ground after he was basically out in Round 2, while not receiving even a warning from the ref—certainly didn't earn him any new fans. His references to how much better-looking he is than Diaz don't seem to help either.
So, unless you're a Diaz fan and he loses, you will probably be seeing someone that you don't like lose.
8. Strikeforce Challengers Also in October
Less than two weeks after Diaz Vs. Noons 2, the next installment of Strikeforce Challengers will take place on Oct. 22. If you're ordering Showtime just for this weekend's show, think of the Challengers event as two for the price of one.
Strikeforce Challengers will feature the rematch between Roger Bowling and Bobby Voelker, the return of undefeated welterweight prospect Billy Evangelista (pictured on right), and heavyweight slugger Lavar Johnson.
Also, check back on BleacherReport.com for my live blog from the event.
7. Is Josh Thomson Deserving of a Third Fight With Gil Melendez?
I can't think of any other fighters who have shared 10 rounds between them, and there certainly has never been a 15-round trilogy in the history of MMA.
In 2008, Josh Thomson upset Gilbert Melendez by winning all five rounds of their championship fight for the Strikeforce Lightweight title. Gil then worked his way back to a rematch, and took the title back in December of '09 by winning a five-round unanimous decision. Both fights were extremely entertaining and proved that both fighters were quite evenly matched.
Since their last fight, Melendez notched one of the biggest wins of his career by dominating Shinya Aoki with another five-round decision. That win put Melendez at the No. 2 spot on most lightweight rankings.
This Saturday, Thomson faces "JZ" Cavalcante in the co-main event of Diaz Vs. Noons 2. If he can get a win there, it is highly likely that a third fight with Melendez will go down. With as evenly matched as Thomson and Melendez are, one would have to think a third fight between the two could very well go the distance again.
That would be a legendary trilogy that would be remembered for years to come. Three fights and 15 competitive rounds. This Saturday we will get to see if it is destined to come true.
6. Consistent Elite-Level Boxing
If you're like me, then you appreciate the sweet science as much as MMA. And if you're looking for more reasons to order Showtime, look no further than their upcoming boxing schedule.
To start, the Friday following this weekend's Strikeforce show will feature former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver's heavyweight debut. Whether you're a fan of Tarver or never got over his knockout of Roy Jones Jr., this will be a very interesting glimpse of what Tarver might be able to do with the big guys.
The next month features the third round of Showtime's fabulous Super Six tournament, a terrific matchup of youth vs. experience as Juan Manuel Lopez takes on Rafael Marquez, and then a few weeks later Showtime begins their stacked bantamweight tournament.
Every one one of those fights is a can't-miss.
5. You Can't Beat the Price
Showtime is no more than about nine bucks added to your monthly bill, and most providers will give you the first six months free. Considering the monthly MMA, boxing, original programming, and a ton of movies, you would be crazy to miss out on these fights to save a few bucks.
Think about it like this: With what you pay for one UFC pay-per-view, you can get five months of Showtime and see five times as much MMA. Not to mention Showtime shows reruns of fights five nights a week.
A Showtime subscription is a must for any MMA fan.
4. Unfinished Business
Whether you feel that K.J. Noons was dominating Nick Diaz in their first fight in 2007, or that Diaz is just a slow starter and took a couple hard shots, you cannot deny that the fight did not conclusively answer who the better fighter is.
After a competitive round that saw Diaz receive cuts over both eyes, the inexperienced doctor stopped the fighter before a second frame. Diaz was clearly still able to fight and wanted nothing more than to continue. He left the cage immediately in anger while Noons celebrated his career-best victory.
Diaz has pursued a rematch ever since, but until now, Noons was never interested. EliteXC even went as far as stripping Noons of the title he won for stopping Diaz due to not accepting a rematch.
Well, now the two can settle it once and for all. Diaz has his scar tissue under control, and Noons has only gotten better. Time to straighten out the outcome.
3. Sarah Kaufman
Strikeforce Women's Welterweight (135 lbs.) Champion Sarah Kaufman is easily one of the most underrated and underappreciated fighters in the sport. She is 12-0 with nine KOs and has beaten five of the other nine fighters in MMARising.com's Top 10 women's welterweight rankings. She also went five five-minute rounds in winning the Strikeforce title.
Her opponent this Saturday, Marloes Coenen, is best remembered for her title-challenging effort against Strikeforce Women's Middleweight Champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos. Most felt she gave Cyborg her toughest fight in recent memory. She is 17-4 with three KOs and 12 submissions. She is ranked No. 7 in the women's pound-for-pound list on MMARising.com.
Before her most recent appearance, many had criticized Kaufman for going the distance too often, despite only going the distance in her last three fights. She answered those critics against Roxanne Modafferi in July: Kaufman rocked Modafferi multiple times before picking her up while in her guard and slamming her to the canvas for a knockout. It was a brutal highlight-reel stoppage.
Can she defend her title for the second time and remain undefeated? Another reason to watch on Saturday.
2. When Is Diaz Ever in a Dull Fight?
Put whatever your feelings on Nick Diaz's personality aside and ask yourself, "When is Diaz ever in a dull fight?"
If you have seen the man fight enough, you know the answer to that is basically never.
Diaz never stops coming forward and never stops throwing punches. In turn, he leaves himself vulnerable, and as a result, it is edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting stuff.
Since entering the Strikeforce ranks, Diaz is 3-0 in the promotion and each fight has been an absolute slugfest. His title-winning bout with Marius Zaromskis was an instant classic that saw both fighters stunned before Diaz finished his man late in the first round by TKO.
And who can forget the all-time great battle between Diaz and Takanori Gomi in Pride's last major event: Both fighters were repeatedly rocked before Diaz pulled only the second gogoplata in major MMA competition history to submit Gomi in the second round.
Saturday's main event is between two fighters who love to chuck 'em. Expect it to be a war that will not disappoint.
1. You're MMA Fans!
The UFC does not encompass the entire sport. If you never miss a UFC event, then why would you miss three great fights this weekend?
You don't want to be the one reading other people's opinions about the fights on Sunday, so watch them for yourself and come to your own conclusions.
You're a fan of MMA for Christ's sake!