MMA Picks: Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman for Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight title
The annals of women’s MMA history will add another chapter is Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight champion and MMA superstar “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey defends her title against former champion and punching powerhouse Sarah Kaufman.
Rousey comes into the fight with an undefeated record of 5-0, all of which have been first-round armbar submission victories. Although Kaufman has one loss on her record, due to armbar, she has 15 victories, with 10 of those wins by way of knockout.
While there was not as much trash talking leading up to this fight as there was in Rousey’s previous fight with Miesha Tate, tis match is a good test for both fighters. Rousey has never faced a striker like Kaufman. Although she has been training with the likes of kickboxing champion Lucia Rijker, Rousey will certainly have her chin tested if Kaufman can catch her.
The fight is also a good test for Kaufman as audiences will she how she has improved since her loss to Marloes Coenen back in 2010.
The road so far
Kaufman had started the path back to the title after she had lost it to Coenen. She had defeated Megumi Yabushita by TKO in at AFC 5: Judgment Day and then defeated former title contender Liz Carmouche at Strikeforce Challengers: Volelker vs. Bowling III by decision. When Tate defeated Coenen for the Strikeforce gold, Kaufman was sure that she was going to get the first crack at the title, having previously beaten Tate in 2009.
However it would Rousey who would get first shot at Tate’s belt. Rousey was riding a four-fight winning streak and began to engage in a war of words with Tate, which led Strikeforce promoters to select her first. After Rousey was announced the contender, Kaufman voiced her displeasure, and said Rousey “talked her way into a title shot.”
Although Kaufman had earned the title shot by merit alone, there were many who felt Rousey deserved the shot because she put herself out there and chased the champ, similar to how boxers Jack Johnson chased James Jefferies back in the early 1900’s.
On the same night where Rousey captured Tate in an armbar and won the gold, Kaufman engaged in a war with Alexis Davis, winning the fight by majority decision. There was speculation that Kaufman would be the opponent for Rousey’s first title defense
The fight itself
In a fight that’s a classic striker vs. submission expert, it’s hard not to pick Rousey as the favorite in this match. Not only is Rousey undefeated, but also Kaufman’s one loss was a result of an armbar submission. If Kaufman can keep the fight standing she may have a chance as her striking and power has been compared to the likes of Wanderlei Silva and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson by Strikeforce commentator Mauro Ranallo.
However Rousey was like a shark in her last fight in that she went after Tate and took her down repeatedly. Tate was able to escape one armbar, but Rousey easily caught her in another before getting the win.
Ultimately, I see Rousey winning this fight in the second round. She will wear down Kaufman until the former champion catches her by surprise at the end of the round with a couple of punching combinations. Rousey will rebound in the second round and catch Kaufman in an armbar for the tap out.
What are your thoughts of tonight’s match? Tweet me @alstover with the hashtag #RantMMA