Hopefully, the third scheduled opponent will be the charm for UFC women’s bantamweight contender Sarah Kaufman. After injuries to both Shayna Baszler and Amanda Nunes, Kaufman will now battle Leslie Smith at the TUF Nations finale in Quebec City on April 16.
Kaufman and Smith are no strangers to one another as they engaged in a thrilling battle while fighting for the Invicta FC promotion. Kaufman got the nod via split decision in a back-and-forth Fight of the Night at Invicta 5. No doubt Kaufman’s range of emotions have been in roller coaster mode with the series of changes and uncertainty in the last week, but thanks to Smith, she gets to remain on the card.
Smith has a career mark of 6-4-1. She’s known for her aggression and volume punching, and has three knockouts to her credit. Smith knows how to put on a solid show as she’s earned four Fight of the Night bonuses during her time with Invicta FC. She obviously hadn’t forgotten about her loss to Kaufman as “The Peacemaker” expressed an interest in fighting her again when Baszler was initially forced to withdraw.
Now she gets her opportunity after Nunes was forced out because of a dislocated finger. It will mark Smith’s UFC debut.
Kaufman has an impressive 16-2 career record with one no-contest, and the former Strikeforce champion is currently ranked no. 5 by the UFC. Her first Octagon appearance was at UFC 166 against Jessica Eye in a fight that was eventually ruled a no-contest. Eye won a close decision in an exciting bout in Houston, but failed the post-fight drug test. Kaufman is hoping to climb the ranks in the hopes of landing another shot at champion Ronda Rousey. “Rowdy” defeated Kaufman in a Strikeforce title fight back in 2012.
Kaufman and Smith put on a solid show in their first encounter, and there’s no reason to believe that they can’t do it again next week in Quebec City.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports