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Maggie Hendricks

Diaz boxes his way to unanimous decision win, retains belt

Maggie Hendricks
Cagewriter

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After three years of bad blood, Nick Diaz settled his grudge with K.J. Noons and held onto the Strikeforce welterweight belt with a unanimous decision, 48-47, 49-47, 49-46.

Diaz ruled the first round, dropping Noons with a short right. Diaz continued to control the fight on the ground, and when the fight returned to standing, Noons had a hard time landing strikes because of Diaz's movement.

Early in the second, a cut opened over Diaz's eye because of a Noons punch landing just over the eye. Noons' striking picked up, as he landed several jabs throughout the round. The two also continued their trash-talking, seemingly getting angrier at each other as the round went on. He was also able to avoid Diaz's takedown attempts, and landed several body shots.

Noons' strong second round didn't seem to affect Diaz in the third, as his striking took the lead. As Noons nose bled, Diaz landed punches and kicks. He also confidently stuck his chin out, daring Noons to hit it.

In the fourth, Diaz turned to more knees to beat down Noons. It seemed as if Noons was tiring, but Diaz showed no signs of fatigue. Diaz landed beautiful strikes, and bloodied his opponent's face with several effective knees. Diaz also grew in confidence, shadowboxing right in front of Noons.

The final round was just as close as Noons tried to pull out the win. Both fighters threw several technically strong strikes. Every time Noons seemed to land anything, Diaz easily countered.

Despite the long history of bad blood between the fighters, Diaz and Noons embraced after the decision was read. There were no problems between camps, as has happened in the past between these two.

"The thing is, no offense, I beat this guy on the ground or standing up, and it's hard not to go for the takedown, but I beat this guy in a boxing match," Diaz said after the fight, as Noons nodded. He also said he isn't against the idea of fighting Noons again.

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