K.J. Noons stopped a two-fight losing streak by edging out Billy Evangelista on the scorecards (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in a closely fought, action-packed bout that kicked off the main televised card of the “Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal” event.
After being decimated by Jorge Masvidal in his last outing, Noons reevaluated his game and his future in MMA. Promising to be a “smarter” fighter in this bout, Noons came out mixing it up, getting an early takedown and establishing his kicks to set up his crisp boxing.
Evangelista was just effective in the first two rounds, implementing his clinch game and scoring with knees in close, in addition to scoring during the exchanges with Noons. After two rounds of action, it appeared that the third round would likely determine the outcome of the bout.
That’s when Noons found another gear. Noons found his rhythm in the final round, landing his jab at will, and firing off multiple punch combinations. He found trouble later in the round after dropping for a takedown and getting caught in the guillotine of Evangelista. Noons was able to give up position to escape, dropping to his knees before scrambling out of danger and getting back to his feet.
Noons (11-4 MMA, 3-2 SF) finished the fight strong, landing more combinations, and in the end was awarded the unanimous decision victory.
“I changed up my camp and it made a one-dimensional fighter better,” Noons said about the training changes. “I wanted to showcase something different. I got that fire back and I look to get even better.”