HONOLULU -- Furious action before and after the final bell marked the main event Saturday at EliteXC "Return of the King." Karl James Noons retained his 160-pound title in exciting fashion, needing just 48 seconds to stop Yves Edwards in front of a supportive crowd of more than 4,200 fans inside the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena.
After the opening bell, the two lightweights stormed to the center of the cage and exchanged blows. Edwards was the first to connect, nailing Noons with an uppercut and a right hand.
"He caught me with a great shot," Noons said. "He came forward and I think he tried to finish the fight. But I wasn't hurt."
The champion kept his composure and landed a counter of his own: a right hand that put Edwards on his back.
Noons immediately let loose with a vicious barrage of punches and then began a series of elbows that forced referee Mario Yamasaki to step in and stop the fight.
Unfortunately, the action didn't stop there.
After Noons' victory, Nick Diaz -- victorious earlier in the night -- entered the ring to promote a rematch with Noons. Then Diaz and younger brother Nate, a UFC fighter, began taunting Noons' corner and family. Carl Noons, KJ's father and a former boxer, did not take kindly to the treatment.
"We were just enjoying the moment," Carl Noons said. "I heard Nick in the left-hand corner trying to push into the interview and try to diss."
The scene quickly escalated from mere cursing and inappropriate hand gestures to a full-on brawl in the cage.
"I retorted back that, you know, that's uncool and back and forth, and next thing I know [Nate Diaz] throws a bottle at me after throwing his middle fingers," Carl Noons said. "And then pushing from them came and then I just chased him on the ring, hit him, and then I came back in and grabbed Nick."
Diaz declined to comment on the incident.
Security and staff rushed the cage to intervene and the Diaz brothers were escorted out of the arena.
"Bottom line is, major disrespect. [It was] the last thing I ever thought would happen, you know, after my son winning a great fight," Carl Noons said. "Bottom line is, on record, those Diaz brothers are just punks from Stockton [California] and they've got no respect. They're just punks, and I hope we don't see them out tonight."
Diaz controls Corbbrey, forces stoppage in Round 3
Earlier on the card, Diaz fought someone in his own weight class, though he couldn't actually make the weight requirement and settled at a catch weight of 168 pounds.
Coming in over nine pounds over the EliteXC 160-pound limit, Diaz took on the well-rounded Muhsin Corbbrey.
After a closely contested, but ultimately uneventful first two rounds, Diaz threw Corbbrey to the mat with a body lock and went to work on a submission. The Cesar Gracie black belt fished for a kimura before transitioning into an armbar.
Corbbrey escaped, but Diaz took top position in the scramble and punched his way to the mount, where he rained down blows until referee Chris West called a halt to the contest at 3:59 of the third.
Bonello let his aggressive intentions known before the bell even rang, getting in Rua's face during the staredown and spitting some choice four-letter words toward the former champion.
The Australian came out swinging and landed a few good shots before clinching up with Rua. Bonello pulled guard and attempted an armbar, but Rua easily avoided the submission. On the ground, Rua moved from side control to mount seemingly at will, all the while continuously bouncing Bonello's head off the canvas with elbows.
Rua eventually moved to knee-on-belly, where he landed a number of vicious right hands before referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in at 3:16 of the first round.
Herman stays undefeated
Heavyweight Dave Herman kept his undefeated record intact, scoring a technical knockout over Ron Waterman. Waterman scored the early takedown and had side control, but Herman was able to regain guard and eventually get back to his feet. Once there, the surprisingly acrobatic heavyweight landed a flying roundhouse kick to Waterman's face. Waterman again shot in for a takedown, but was stopped along the fence.
Herman, now 11-0, landed a number of elbows that appeared to hurt Waterman as he worked for the takedown. Herman took the opportunity to step to the outside and land a knee to Waterman's body and then pounded away until the referee stopped the bout at 2:19 of the first.
Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante was impressive in his light heavyweight tilt, dropping opponent Wayne Cole to the canvas with a well-placed knee from the clinch before finishing him off with punches at 2:47 of the opening frame.
In the local-dominant after-card, Icon Sport middleweight champion Ross "Kala Kolohe" Hose showed he had some work to do yet in improving his game, getting choked out by late replacement Robert "Bubba" McDaniels in the first round.
McDaniels shot in early for the takedown and Hose sprawled, ending up in half guard. The more grappling-savvy McDaniels swept to the outside and took the Hawaiian's back.
"He went for one rear-naked choke, I was defending that one and he slipped the other one across and that one was pretty deep," Hose said.
Unable to escape, Hose was forced to tap out at 41 seconds of the first round.
But not all was lost for Icon Sport title-holders, as bantamweight ace Mark "The Shark" Oshiro was victorious in his bout, catching Chris Willems in a triangle choke. Willems attempted to slam his way out, but Oshiro held tight, pulling his foot down to lock on the choke and force Willems to tap at 2:12 of Round 1.
Brad McCray covers MMA for Sherdog.com.