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KJ Noons vs. Krazy Horse Bennett in Strikeforce: Why?

By Zach Arnold | May 19, 2010

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On June 26th at San Jose Arena (HP Pavilion), no less.

I understand that Bennett beat Noons in the past, but what does Noons gain from beating Bennett in Strikeforce? It’s one of those situations where Noons benefits little from the fight and could lose a lot if he gets beat. Yes, Noons needs to build up his name to the American public, but look at what’s happened with his career trajectory — clowning Nick Diaz in their Texas fight to fighting Andre Dida in DREAM (in a fight that turned cautious) to now getting booked against Krazy Horse Bennett? Who the hell cares about seeing Noons get “revenge” for, what, a loss in Elite XC he had over three years ago that nobody even remembers or cares about? I understand that Noons had a layoff of two years due to inactivity, but he got some of the ring rust off in the Dida fight.

This reminds me of when Scott Coker discussed the possibility of Feijao facing King Mo for the Light Heavyweight title and Coker told Ariel Helwani that Feijao “has a thorn in his side” in Mike Kyle because Feijao lost to Kyle in the past. Seriously, who do you know that is a hardcore MMA fan that is clamoring to see Feijao vs. Mike Kyle in a re-match? No one. The same Mike Kyle, BTW, who didn’t get punished nearly enough in my opinion for the stunt he pulled in the WEC cage on Brian Olsen in 2006 where Olsen ended up getting taken to the hospital. Even if you forget that incident took place, who exactly wants to watch Feijao vs. Kyle in a re-match? Nobody.

As Jordan Breen recently pointed out, it seems as if Strikeforce has cornered themselves with their matchmaking and has a tendency to go backwards and not forwards in thinking.

That, in general, is the kiss of death for a fight promotion long-term — especially when you are in a situation where you are trying to keep things moving forward on Showtime after the deal on CBS turned sour.

Last week’s St. Louis show drew 308,000 viewers on Showtime, which falls in line with MMA shows on Showtime that don’t have a lot of star power. To put that number into perspective, the 308,000 viewers Strikeforce drew on Showtime last weekend is less than the estimated final buyrate for UFC 113 in Montreal where MMA fans paid $50 or more to watch Mauricio Shogun vs. Lyoto Machida in a re-match and a marginal semi-main event featuring Josh Koscheck dominating Paul Daley.

Topics: DREAM, Media, MMA, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 30 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

30 Responses to “KJ Noons vs. Krazy Horse Bennett in Strikeforce: Why?”

  1. Alex Sean says:

    The Noons/Bennett rematch is kind of bizarre in that Bennett hasn’t exactly been on a roll since that fight nor has he had any sort of consistent staying power against tough opponents. So in the sense of this being a loss that Noons needs to avenge, I think it’s kind of weak. On the flip-side though, I think the safe bet is Noons making quick work of Bennett and maybe this is just a way of giving him a good squash match victory before putting him in there with tougher opponents.

    Noons is an interesting guy to book because he’s a pretty good talker so he can sell fights, has a marketable look, but I think more than likely the best “money” fight for him is against Nick Diaz at 170 rather than Gilbert Melendez at 155. At the same time though, if he were to get a title shot at Gil and beat him for the title, with Gil being friends and a training partner of Nick, maybe they could promote it as a 155 Champion vs. 170 Champion grudge match deal. If promoted well and all the pieces fall in place I think that could actually do some business.

    Of course I’m getting way ahead of myself here but ultimately I do agree it’s a weak rematch for the usual rematch build but it could also be a good squash match to introduce the Showtime viewers to KJ.

    • Steve says:

      “I think the safe bet is Noons making quick work of Bennett”

      Krazy Horse is a hard guy to finish on the feet, and Noons isn’t likely to exploit his awful ground game. I suspect this fight will go exactly like the first one, minus the wild KO. In the first fight, Noons was outpointing him easily and was well on his way to judges decision before Bennett had his BOOM … HEADSHOT moment.

      Noons should win this fight, but he will need to be more careful about covering his chin. However, he’s probably going to need the full 15 minutes to beat Bennett, and that leaves open the possibility of another huge KO by Krazy Horse.

      I suspect Noons will fight even more conservative in this fight than he did in the Dida fight. He’ll win, but it won’t be particularly entertaining.

  2. Zack says:

    Some dudes care about avenging losses. Chuck got to do it vs Jeremy Horn on PPV for the most prestigious UFC title at the time.

    • Wolverine says:

      Yeah because Horn wasn’t 32-3-1 since leaving UFC and obviously no one thought he can beat Chuck once again.

      • The Gaijin says:

        No one in their right mind thought a fattened up 185er (who was never that lean at 185 to begin with) who more or less got that entire 32-3-1 record fighting the journeyman circuit was going to beat Liddell again. Give your head a shake…LOL…thanks for my good laugh of the day.

        That ignorance aside, they gave Liddell the “revenge” fight because he’d basically cleaned out the (albeit rather thin) 205 division and they didn’t have anything compelling to give us. Re-matches like Noons-Bennett and Feijao-Kyle should be saved for a time like that…basically am “I’ve done everything in this division, won the title, took on contenders…but there’s one fight that still haunts me.” That would be a justifiable sell once you’ve established them as names.

        To book these rematches before they get any real traction going could basically kill them in the water if they were to lose again.

        • Wolverine says:

 picked Horn to win.

        • The Gaijin says:

          So? Good for Tomas Rios.

          Nobody that has or had a clue about mma thought that a fat@$$ Jeremy Horn was going to beat Chuck Liddell the second time around. That was purely a vanity project.

        • Wolverine says:

          actually many other people picked Jeremy. It’s just your revisionist version of history that Horn had no buisness with Chuck at UFC 54

        • The Gaijin says:


          Revisionist history? Too good. People were bitching about that fight the entire time after it’s announcement, leading up to it and following. Some people might have picked Horn purely for the reason that they were picking a longshot underdog, but nobody in their right mind thought he was going to win.

          Tell me how the hell am I revising history, other than you just don’t want to admit you’re completely wrong.

          Liddell was 11-1 in the UFC since losing to Horn SIX YEARS BEFORE and was widely considered to be the most dominant North American fighter in mma (alongside Hughes), with his only recent losses being to Randy (which he’d already avenged) and Rampage Jackson (that few people outside of hardcores even knew about).

          Jeremy Horn was a soft, blown up 185lb fighting at 205 who hadn’t fought in the UFC since 2001 (4 years prior) and spent 90% of that time fighting on every regional card in the western hemisphere. He didn’t even warrant a UFC fight for 4 years and was suddenly a dangerous contender?!? LOL

          Yeah those two had a lot of reason to be in the same ring in 2005 at 205lbs. There was two reasons for that fight – they had no one to fight Liddell and they knew they could sell the revenge story line and pay it off.

        • Wolverine says:

          I won’t argue with you. I remember many people giving Horn a legitimate chance. He was considered an elite fighter back then and Sherdog’s breakdown is just one of many proofs of that. He was coming off a pretty good streak of wins. Obviosuly the rematch was the main angle, but it is much more different than Strikeforce situation. The talent in LW division worldwide is enormous now and you can find hundreds of guys more deserving to be put in a Strikeforce cage.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I remember laughing at people who gave Horn a legit chance at beating Liddell.

          Sherdog is hardly a good source of anything….

    • Jason Harris says:

      To be fair on that, I really think it was a matter of them being completely out of guys for Chuck to fight, and so the “avenge the loss” thing was a convenient storyline. If they would have been able to make, say, the Wanderlei fight happen at that time, UFC and Chuck would have been all over it.

  3. Grafdog says:

    You could trim down the noons question to…”Who the hell cares about seeing Noons?”

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    In another news…. The UFC has just announced that before Josh Koscheck can get his title shot…. He will be required to fight Drew Fickett. It will be on a special PPV card in September called…. Ultimate Pointless Rematches. The main card is:

    Anderson Silva vs. Ryo Chonan
    Josh Koscheck vs. Drew Fickett
    Quinton Jackson vs. Daijiro Matsui
    Forrest Griffin vs. Dan Severn
    Ken Shamrock vs. Kimo Leopaldo III

    I find both KJ Noons and Rafael Cavalcante’s rematches pointless. Especially Noons’ because it was so long ago. I think some of this is a product of Strikeforce not having any other fights to make, so this is really there only option.

    • The Gaijin says:

      Silva vs. Chonan might have the chance of being a little too competitive/relevant for your card.

      I think you should go with Silva vs. Takase and we should probably add in Horn vs. Liddell III the rubber match, since Wolverine thinks it was such a great idea the second time.

  5. We all sat through Ken Shamrock/Tito Ortiz III, and that didn’t even have the awesomeness of a Crazy Horse prefight interview or ring walk. I won’t rush home to watch it or anything but I’ll root for Bennett anyways.

  6. jj says:

    “Who the hell cares about seeing Noons get “revenge” for, what, a loss in Elite XC he had over three years ago that nobody even remembers or cares about?”

    Lots of people remember that fight. There are gifs of the knockout posted all the time. Kid Khaos made Noons look like a fool in that fight. But you are right, no one cares about Noons getting revenge. But that’s because no one really cares about watching Noons.

  7. mr. roadblock says:

    This kind of matching makimg is what i was talkimg about the ither day when i said Coker is an internet mark.

    He sits around and thinks of fights like this and goes ” ohhh this is what thwy want to see, a revenge match.”

    Why not do Noons vs Diaz instead?

    Also, Wolverine, I’m not sure if you woke up tiday and started washing down crazy pills with rum or what. Horn was not brought in to even give Chuck a competitive fight. He was brought in to job and gave a great effort. Not even trying to take Chuck down.

    I dont recall anyone seriously thinking Horn would win. IRC people were just starting to realize hiw much Chuck was protected in booking since the Belfort fight.

      • The Gaijin says:

        LOL. Quoting some random Sherdog “journalist” is your ace in the hole for this topic??

        Read the guys synopsis of the fighters and think to yourself how anyone outside of some elitist mma fan who wants to make a “sexy pick” would actually make that prediction.

        Guy tearing through the best LHW’s (Couture, Ortiz, Belfort, Randleman, Sobral) in North America, with melting KO power, unbelievable takedown defence and a big size advantage fighting a fattened-up 185lb fighter who’s been “fighting in cages and rings around the world” (read: every two-bit regional promotion ever, facing notables such as Spencer Canup, William Hill and Kyle Seals) with little stand-up skill, crappy takedowns, but really good submissions if he ever gets it to the mat or makes you play in his guard.

        Boys I think we’ve found the guy!

      • Mr.Roadblock says:

        What does that prove. Can you even find another person that crazy?

        Be honest, did you write that article? 🙂

        My point on the protected thing is that people on line were starting to say that w/ the Horn fight. Pointing out that after the Rampage loss, UFC gave him fights that fit his style very well.

        It is true that UFC had less talent than PRIDE at that point in time. I’ve made the point many times (last week most recently) that UFC was very savvy in its matchmaking to build up Chuck, Randy and Tito. All three of them were overrated at 205 at that point in time. Mainly due to being the only three good fighters in the company at that point.

    • Jason Harris says:

      I agree that most people thought Chuck would win easily, but protected is silly. At that time he was fighting the best guys in the division in UFC, the division was just thin. In that era there was a lot more talent in the heavier weights in PRIDE than there was in UFC. As I said above, they were working hard on a Chuck-Wanderlei fight, they just couldn’t ever make it work in the PRIDE days.

      • The Gaijin says:

        With you on the “protected” vs. lack of actual opposition. The UFC did what they could to pit him against the best available fighters (Couture, Ortiz, Vitor, Babalu) – there’s not one guy I can think of that he could have fought and didn’t. They even entered him into the PRIDE MWGP they were so sure of him, if they were protecting him no way in hell do they put him in there (even if they did think they were getting the talent swap).

        The issue was that a lot of the NA talent came from a wrestling base without much stand-up skills and unfortunately for them Liddell ate up guys like that because he had strong wrestling skills to stuff their takedowns. The rest of the contender pool was bjj guys who were even worse off because they didn’t even have the ability to make worry about a shot.

  8. edub says:

    It’s an ok fight by me to tell ya the truth. I don’t really care about K.J. though. If Krazy Horse has the style that beats Noons(Wide open…swing for the fences) than Noons shouldn’t be that highly touted of a prospect anyway.

    If you look at the interviews before the fights on the DVD most of the Miletich guys thought Horn was gonna win. Chuck was just on fire at the time, and proved by utterly dominating him the whole fight.

    Randy during that time span would’ve beaten most the rest of the division IMHO. From Chuck 1 thru Vitor 3 he was one of the most dominant fighters in the sport. I think he beats everybody from pride except maybe Lil Nog in the 03-06 timeframe, including Shogun.

    45: You forgot Babalu vs Shogun, and Griffin vs. Horn.

    • Mr.Roadblock says:

      I think Randy would have beaten Wanderlei in the cage for sure. In the ring I’m not sure.

      I think Rampage and Shogun beat Randy in the ring or cage at that point in time.

      Arona wins in the ring, 50/50 in the cage.

      Little Nog wins both places.

      Overeem would have been an interesting fight. Could he have caught Randy in the guillotine? Also under PRIDE rules there would have been knee and kick attempts in the scrambles. Randy, as do a lot of wrestler, leave their heads in positions in UFC fights that they couldn’t if knees and/or kicks to the head of a downed opponent were allowed. They do it both on take downs, ankle picks and in side control and north/south.

      Of that list of guys I think Arona is the only one Tito had a shot against. It would have had to been an awful lay and pray fight.

      See Tito was to UFC 2003-2006 what Brett Rogers is to Strikeforce. He got overvalued then the guys who beat him were elevated in status.

      Chuck would have had a similar career path to Dan Henderson in PRIDE I think.

      • edub says:

        You makes some good points Roadblock. The ring vs. cage discussion is probably the most underrated point in proverbial “what-if” matchups. As I said earlier I think Randy wins all of those matchups in a cage. His control and power at 205 at the time was suffocating. Randy was a beast from side control so in the ring knees to the head wouldve been a great weapon for him also, as they would if those guys could’ve stopped a takedown.

        In the cage Tito IMO beats Wand(again), Arona, Overeem(I think the guy was a mental midget at 205, just because he was always worried about gassing), and Shogun. Granted all by decision. In the ring he gets by arona, and maybe Wand again.

        Chuck probably beats Wand back then either place. I’d have him dominating Arona too. Shogun and Lil Nog are nightmare matchups for him even back then.

        • The Gaijin says:

          In 2003-2006, there’s no way Tito beats anyone outside of maybe Arona (Chuck and Randy both eat Arona alive in either venue).

          His shot while not as decrepit, telegraphed and slow as it is now, was still pretty damned bad and his striking was a joke. His legacy was built off beating 185ers and Shamrock three times and the gift Griffin decision. The only reason he beat Wandy in the first place was because they let him take him down and literally LIE there doing nothing. If you saw the 2nd Wand-Arona fight, you’d see Wand’s TD defence and ability to scramble/get up from bottom were vastly improved. Wand destroys Tito (especially when kicks and knees to downed opponents are allowed) and Shogun (esp circa 2003-06) absolutely obliterates him so so badly.

          I honestly feel like Wandy would have lost to Chuck in the cage (as he did) but takes him in the ring. He knocked Chuck down twice and seemed pretty confused about what to do, as if he wanted to soccer kick or knee him but knew he couldn’t and ultimately didn’t capitalize like he normally could have.

          Disclaimer: I am a huge Wandy nuthugger from a way back.

        • Mr.Roadblock says:

          The other thing to consider when talking about Randy in PRIDE is that PRIDE didn’t allow elbow strikes. Randy’s GNP relies heavily on short elbow strikes. Throwing punches from the position he likes would require him to allow more room for the opponent to buck up.

          Also PRIDE refs were much less lenient towards stalling on the ground.

          Randy vs Rampage was the fight I really wanted to see back then, I still hope we get to see it coming up soon. But unfortunately it’ll be another one of the great fights that came years too late.

  9. […] to avenge a loss from a few years ago when Bennet clipped him with a haymaker and knocked him out. Some say this is another example of Strikeforce being the king of organizing rematches no one gives a shit […]

  10. Alex A says:

    isnt Richard Chou the matchmaker?

    Everyone says Coker is setting it up.. but I thought they brought on Chou to do it because it was getting to AKA-centric with Crazy Bob Cook doing the matchmaking.


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