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Falling Action: Best and Worst of Strikeforce - Diaz/Noons II

<! mediaid=3457641 Jeff Chiu, AP: img border="1" align="right" vspace="4" hspace="4" src="" alt="" />I can't help but think that maybe, as a child, Nick Diaz saw one too many after-school specials about bullying and came away with the wrong message. Somehow, somewhere in the spooky corridors of his mind, the notion took route that you can't allow yourself to respect anyone until after you've beaten them in a fight.

For instance, look at the way he was immediately capable of acting like a civil human being to KJ Noons after winning Saturday night's bout. The same was true when he fought Frank Shamrock. Before that fight he wouldn't even shake Shamrock's hand, opting instead to give him the finger when Frank offered (though in fairness, in certain parts of Stockton the bird is one of those all-purpose gestures).

My point is, if the only way Diaz can treat someone with the respect he'd like for himself is to beat them up, he should probably go ahead and get in the cage with Jason "Mayhem" Miller. This stuff about throwing water bottles at him in the hallway of the HP Pavillion and trying to fight him when neither of them is getting paid, that's bush league stuff. Not only is it unprofessional, it's financially unsound.

Diaz might complain that he and Miller aren't in the same weight class, but the same was true of he and Noons, yet that didn't seem to bother him. Noons went up in weight and fought a bigger opponent because a) there was a score to settle, and b) his employer saw the undeniable promotability of the fight.

Both reasons also apply to Diaz-Miller. It's time to stop the shenanigans and make the fight, if only so they can be in the same building at some in the future without incident.

Now on to the biggest winners, losers, and everything in between after Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons II.

Biggest Winner: Nick Diaz
If you'd told me before this fight that Diaz would be mostly unable or unwilling to get Noons to the ground, I would have said that he was destined to leave San Jose with his face full of more bad cuts than an episode of 'Teen Mom.' But Diaz proved his ability to box with a boxer on Saturday night, even if his poor attempts at takedowns were nearly enough to make Pat Miletich's head explode. It's true that, for a guy who's supposed to be great on the ground, he's no expert at getting it there. It's even true that his telegraphed shots are almost embarrassingly inept, and his brief ground work in the fight didn't do much to make up for it. But as long as he can pick opponents apart on the feet all night, I have to wonder, who cares?

Biggest Loser: Sarah Kaufman
It pains me to say it, since she's such a likable fighter and person, but the plain truth is that no one took a bigger hit after Saturday night than Kaufman. She demanded to be put on a major Strikeforce card (and she had a very valid complaint), but in her first fight there she lost her belt via submission after a somewhat lackluster affair. That combination of events is the last thing she needed, especially after making so much noise following her defeat of Roxanne Modafferi. It's a tough way to experience your first loss, but don't count Kaufman out. With her ability and resiliency, she'll definitely be back in the mix soon.

Most Impressive in Defeat: KJ Noons
He may have been beaten at his own game by Diaz, but he still went five hard rounds with the welterweight champ, which is more than Frank Shamrock, Scott Smith, and Mariusz Zaromskis were able to do – and none of those guys are lightweights. What's more, Noons suffered through a broken jaw and a busted hand, and he still went the distance. That's some 'Rocky' movie-style toughness right there. When Noons gets the chance to fight guys his own size again, look out.

Least Impressive in Victory: Josh Thomson
He was right when he said there was no way he won all three rounds against JZ Cavalcante. He should have been glad to get the decision at all, just like he should be glad that Ben Henderson isn't hard at work trying to get cut from the WEC just so he can come to Strikeforce and beat Thomson down for the completely unnecessary trash he talked on him at the pre-fight presser. When you do stuff like that, bickering over rankings and denigrating other fighters, you better go out and make a statement in your fight. Thomson didn't. At least, not between the bells.

Most Interesting Future Title Fight: Marloes Coenen vs. Miesha Tate
Maybe a shake-up at the top of the women's 135-pound division is exactly what Strikeforce needed. Instead of a rematch between Tate and Kaufman, they get a very different style match-up, and a chance to promote some fresh faces. Tate has to like her chances to outwrestle Coenen, while Coenen has to be thinking that she can submit Tate off her back if she needs to. It should be fun to see how this one plays out. And okay, we might as well say what Strikeforce and Showtime are no doubt thinking: it doesn't hurt that they're both easy on the eyes, either.

Most in Need of a Bigger Challenge: Tyron Woodley
You've got to respect the way Strikeforce has brought Woodley along, preferring to build a potential future star within their own organization rather than buy one from someone else (as was the case with Dan Henderson) or try and create one out of thin air (as was the case with Bobby Lashley). Woodley's win over Andre Galvao represented a productive and swift night of work, but now it's time to throw him in deeper waters and see if he can swim. In MMA, an undefeated record isn't as great an asset as quality experience.

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