Ronda Rousey and Sarah Kaufman face off at the weigh-ins before their Strikeforce title fight. Photo by Tracy Lee for CombatLifestyle.com.
The main event of Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman is... well... the Women's Bantamweight Championship between champion Ronda Rousey (5-0 MMA, 3-0 Strikeforce) and challenger and former champion herself Sarah Kaufman (15-1 MMA, 6-1 Strikeforce). It's a battle between the widely regarded best female fighter in the sport in Rousey, and the #2 bantamweight Kaufman, who was the very first woman's Bantamweight champ.
It should be a classic clash of styles, as Rousey is known for her tremendous armbars, and Kaufman for her striking. Rousey has never really been hurt by strikes in her young career and Kaufman's only professional loss was via armbar. Kaufman is a significant underdog in this one to the point of unfairly discrediting her abilities as a fighter. The main card airs tonight from San Diego on Showtime live on the East Coast and delayed to the West at 10:00 PM ET/PT.
How do these two stack up?
Rousey: 25 years old | 5'7" | 66" reach
Kaufman: 26 years old | 5'5" | 66" reach
What have these two done lately?
Rousey: W - Miesha Tate (SUB) | W - Julia Budd (SUB) | W - Sarah D'Alelio (SUB)
Kaufman: W - Alexis Davis (MD) | W - Liz Carmouche (UD) | W - Megumi Yabushita (TKO)
How did these two get here?
Rousey is an accomplished judo black-belt, and she showcased her skills in international competitions, netting (among other awards) a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics and a gold-medal in the 2007 Pan American Games. Her transition from judo to MMA has been flawless, notching 5 wins with all coming via armbar. Rousey's crowning achievement was dropping from featherweight to bantamweight and adding then-champion Miesha Tate to her list of victims by visibly snapping her arm with seconds remaining in the first round. She's been on the body issue of ESPN the Magazine, on Conan O'Brien's talk show, and has replaced Gina Carano as the leading star of Women's MMA.
Canada's Sarah Kaufman dominated the regional scene, going 8-0 with all of them coming via KO/TKO before Strikeforce signed her up. While the finishes dried up, the wins did not, and after beating Miesha Tate and Shayna Beszler, she captured the inaugural Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Championship with a win over Takayo Hashi. Her most memorable KO was not from punches, but from sheer strength, slamming Roxanne Modafferi into unconsciousness for a successful title defense. Kaufman's reign ended with a loss to Marloes Coenen, but she's bounced back with three consecutive victories. She comes into this fight a significant underdog, but the interesting test will be whether or not she can catch the champion with strikes or end up with a similar fate as Rousey's previous opponents.
Why should you care?
If you're reading this post, you probably know why you should care. Rousey is the face of Women's MMA and all of her fights have been entertaining (and with identical armbar outcomes).
More Bloody Elbow coverage in the full article.
SBN coverage of Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman