Strikeforce Challengers 17: Liz Carmouche Gunning For Another Title Shot

For 15 minutes, Liz Carmouche appeared to be well on her way to becoming the new Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion in only her sixth career fight.

Coming in on extremely short notice, Carmouche dominated champion Marloes Coenen with power, strength and some vicious ground-and-pound, but Coenen weathered the storm and used her experience to catch Carmouche in a triangle choke early in the fourth round to retain her title.

Carmouche, though, has used that loss as a learning experience and will look to take the experienced she gained in that fight into what could be a No. 1 contender's bout Friday against former champion Sarah Kaufman at Strikeforce Challengers 17.

"It was a win-win situation for me," Carmouche said last week on Bloody Elbow Radio about her fight with Coenen. "If I won, I was champion of the world and if I lost, it was still a wonderful experience and it brought me a lot of spotlight and a lot of attention I needed to help push my career forward."

Carmouche has been looking at fighting Kaufman ever since entering the organization, as Kaufman was the 135-pound champion at the time. Now she'll get her chance as both are looking to climb back up the ladder in the division.

"She looks to push an aggressive game both in her stand-up and her ground-and-pound and that's the same thing I do, so I think it's going to be a brawl," Carmouche said.

It's a brawl where Carmouche feels she has the advantage, as well. She said she's not concerned with Kaufman's power because she trains "98 percent of the time" with men bigger than her and takes their best shots.

"I know if I can take any of their blows to my face, I can definitely take anyone else's," she said. "I've worked with 225 (pound) guys, 265 (pound) guys and those are some men who hit really hard. So if I can stay on my feet and keep pushing toward them, I know anyone else is not going to compare."

After having such a stellar effort in a championship fight on short notice, Carmouche said she hopes a win against Kaufman will earn her the first crack at the winner of next week's women's bantamweight title bout between Coenen and Miesha Tate.

"I think it's going to be a great fight," Carmouche said of the Coenen/Tate fight. "I'm really excited about seeing that one. Miesha Tate has good wrestling and is known for being a good grappler and Marloes is certainly a good stand-up K-1 fighter and also has great grappling and she comes by submissions all the time, so this is going to be a really exciting fight with a lot of scrambling."


SBN coverage of Strikeforce Challengers 17

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