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Strikeforce results: Ryan Couture split decisions K.J. Noons despite losing the striking battle

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In the final bout of the preliminary card at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine, it was Ryan Couture who edged out his competitor, albeit in very controversial fashion. Couture took a split decision, earning 29-28 on two judges' scorecards. The other judge scored it 30-27 in favor of Noons.

Preliminary numbers from CompuBox also suggest Noons should be regarded as the rightful winner. Noons landed twice as many power strikes as Couture in addition to landing more strikes overall. Noons also stuffed all of Couture's takedown attempts and even is credited with a knockdown.

No matter how one scores the fight, however, the action was undeniable.

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The bout began with Noons stalking in the center while Couture moved around the outside. Noons looked early to the uppercut with no set-up, but couldn't quite find the mark as needed. Couture used good movement and even landed a few knees to the body of Noons. The round ended with Couture landing a spinning back kick to the chest of Noons, but slipping, which allowed Noons to fire a knee to Couture's jaw as he retreated.

In the second is where matters got hairy for Couture. As soon as the round began, Noons seemed more comfortable despite an accidental headbutt cutting open his forehead. It was soon thereafter an angry Noons hurt Couture with a series of power hand strikes. Noons tried desperately to finished Couture and appeared as if he was one or two punches away from doing so, but Couture covered up and hung on

Round three saw Couture being more active if ineffective. Noons was still able to land hard power shots, but nothing similar to the devastating strikes in the second round. Couture fired several good knees to the ribs of Noons, but wasn't able to slow him down.

The win brings Couture's record to 6-1, all of which took place under the Strikeforce banner. Noons moves to 11-6 in professional MMA, having lost four of his last five fights. He is 4-4 in the Strikeforce organization.