A long-rumored lightweight bout between K.J. Noons (10-4 MMA, 2-2 SF) and Billy Evangelista (11-1 MMA, 7-1 SF) is now official for next month's "Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal" main card.
) first passed along news of the bout this past month, and Strikeforce executives recently made it official.
"Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal" takes place Dec. 17 at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. The event's main card airs on Showtime.
Noons and Evangelista both look to rebound from recent setbacks.
Noons, a San Diego resident, missed an opportunity to vie for champ Gilbert Melendez's lightweight belt when he was outpointed by Jorge Masvidal at "Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum." (Masvidal subsequently was booked for the Dec. 17 event's headliner.) It was Noons' second consecutive setback following a decision loss to then-welterweight champ Nick Diaz's belt in October 2010.
Evangelista's rise was similarly halted by Masvidal when the two met in March at "Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson." The American Kickboxing Academy product was out-struck and out-wrestled en route to a decision loss. It was his first defeat in 13 pro fights, which includes past wins over the likes of Jorge Gurgel, Nam Phan and Ryan Healy.
The latest "Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal" card now includes:
Champ Gilbert Melendez vs. Jorge Masvidal (for lightweight title)
Champ Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos vs. Hiroko Yamanaka (for women's featherweight title)
Gegard Mousasi vs. Ovince St. Preux
Billy Evangelista vs. K.J. Noons