Nick Diaz: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
Above all else, Strikeforce “Diaz vs. Noons 2” was a step in the right direction from a matchmaking perspective.
Below are more fights that make sense for Strikeforce matchmaker Rich Chou.
Nick Diaz vs. Tyron Woodley
Although he got his revenge, going five rough rounds with a blown-up lightweight didn’t do much for Diaz’s standing in the welterweight division. Meanwhile, Woodley jammed his name into the collective consciousness of MMA fans by collecting an effortless TKO win over decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist Andre Galvao.
As always, linear matchmaking is the smart play and Strikeforce is in position to use it properly. Besides that, Woodley was groomed for title contention since day one with the promotion.
Ideally, Woodley would get another fight or two to develop, but time isn’t a luxury Strikeforce enjoys when it comes to bringing prospects along. Unless SF wants to stick Diaz on the shelf for a while, Woodley may be the only ready-made 170-pound title challenger on its roster.
Josh Thomson vs. K.J. Noons
Let’s be real: Thomson got a gift decision from the judges over Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante. With that in mind, a trilogy bout with reigning Strikeforce 155-pound champion Gilbert Melendez doesn’t make much sense.
What does make sense is matching Thomson against another valuable commodity in Noons. The fight itself is appealing in that we’d finally get to see how Noons does against someone fully capable of taking him down. On the flipside of the trade is Thomson’s well known tendency to get reckless on the feet.
A good fight should always be the end game when it comes to matchmaking. Adding some real consequence only makes a good fight better. In a division desperate for a clear hierarchy, this fight would go a long way towards that end.
Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante vs. Lyle Beerbohm
Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but Cavalcante should have left San Jose with a draw at worst. The only way to salvage the mess left by yet another folly from the judges’ table is to make fights that address the issue hounding Strikeforce’s lightweight division -- the dearth of consistent, relevant matchmaking.
The fighters are there and the mere possibility of a bout between Cavalcante and Beerbohm is a testament to that fact. “Fancy Pants” has the overall grappling chops to give the burly Brazilian fits and both fighters could use the additional exposure given their relative lack of popularity amongst mainstream fans.
It may be a bitter pill to swallow since giving neither Thomson nor Cavalcante a title shot means Melendez is probably stuck waiting around for a challenger. Unless Strikeforce can finagle another quality lightweight from Dream, that’s just going to have to be how things play out.
Sarah Kaufman vs. Hitomi Akano
Akano won plenty of fans with her gutsy performance in the Strikeforce women’s 135-pound tournament and her smooth grappling could give Kaufman some serious stylistic issues. After leaving her arm out on an island against Marloes Coenen on Saturday night, Kaufman needs to get back on the horse and prove she can still beat quality grapplers.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Alistair Overeem
Hey, a guy can dream can’t he?
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