Top MMA News Breaks Down Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman
Strikeforce makes their way to the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California on August 18th. The event will be headlined by Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey as she defends her belt for the first time against Canadian Sarah Kaufman, who finally has the opportunity to win back the title she once held. This card should be important for the push for Women’s MMA and an opportunity to gain more support. There will be five bouts aired live on Super Channel in Canada and Showtime in the U.S. The four preliminary bouts will be aired live on Showtime Extreme in the U.S.
Now for the breakdown:
Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout
Champion Ronda Rousey (5-0) vs. Sarah Kaufman (15-1)
One of the most exciting things about mixed martial arts today is the thought of watching Ronda Rousey fight. She has become a superstar and has replaced Gina Carano as the face of women’s MMA. We have another opportunity to watch her in the Strikeforce cage as she takes on Canada’s own, Sarah Kaufman. Kaufman was the Bantamweight title holder back in 2010 and she has another opportunity to regain what was formerly hers.
Rousey and Kaufman are arguably the two best female fighters in the world. Rousey has never been outside of the first round. In fact, her last fight against Miesha Tate was the first time any of her fights went over a minute (and that includes amateur). She has won every single one of her fights via armbar and constantly works multiple techniques to do so. She is a brilliant judoka with dominant top position and knows how to finish a fight. The issue is, nobody knows what else she can do. Kaufman is a very well rounded fighter and has been able to display her ability in multiple fights. She has solid wrestling and a powerful top game as well as good kickboxing to go along with it. If she can slow down Rousey with kicks and force her to test her striking, Kaufman has a good shot at taking back the title.
Rousey is a frighteningly strong fighter and the technique on her throws have translated well into MMA. She was able to dominate Tate with ease, though Tate lacked patience in that fight and let her emotions get the best of her. There have been no fighters that have fought a patient fight with Rousey and her scary grappling makes it hard to do so. Kaufman must keep her distance and make the fight a long and frustrating battle. If she is able to do so, she has a good shot at pulling off the upset. Rousey, however, has become a star and for good reason. She will have the toughest test of her career in front of her and even though this is no grudge match, this will be a great fight. Rousey will pull off the submission victory after we finally see her struggle as she defends her title for the first time.
Prediction: Rousey via Armbar Round 2
Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza (15-3) vs. Derek Brunson (9-1)
After getting back into the win column, Ronaldo Souza looks to make it two in a row and earn a shot at the Middleweight title. He will be taking on Derek Brunson, who is coming off of a controversial decision loss to former UFC Middleweight Kendall Grove. Both fighters have clear game plans. They are both aggressive fighters that look to frustrate their opponents. They both have decent striking and with their grappling credentials, the fight may end up on the feet. Brunson has powerful wrestling and he is extremely tough from top position; however, he is going up against one of the best grapplers in MMA. Brunson is a talented fighter and will have a solid future in MMA but this will be a tough fight for him if he is willing to get into the grappling department.
Jacare has good striking but his chin is questionable. It has not been his downfall because of his fighting IQ, but in wins against Robbie Lawler and Joey Villasenor, he was put in tough positions after getting tagged. If Brunson can keep it on the feet and make sure he rocks Jacare, he can finish him. Jacare is still one of the most talented Middleweights in the world and he should be able to eventually get his way. He is not willing to stand with any fighter but solid grapplers have been able to keep the fight upright. He should be able to get the fight to the ground after working hard for his takedowns and there is a good chance he finishes the fight when it gets there.
Prediction: Souza via Rear Naked Choke Round 2
Tarec Saffiedine (12-3) vs. Roger Bowling (11-2)
If there one thing guaranteed on this card, it is that Roger Bowling is ready to make his fight with Tarec Saffiedine a war. Bowling is a lot of fun and brings a brawling style to every fight. He pushes the pace and is willing to throw hands as he goes for a knockout. Saffiedine is a very technical striker and one of the brighter prospects that Strikeforce has. He has looked great in the organization and has only one loss in Strikeforce against Tyron Woodley, a fight that he managed to keep very close. He proved that he has improved his wrestling greatly in his fight with Tyler Stinson where he was able to get the fight to the ground and dominate from top position.
Saffiedine is going up against a brawler but after fighting Scott Smith and Stinson, he should know what to expect although Bowling is tougher than both and has much better wrestling than both. It is safe to expect Saffiedine to rotate away from Bowling’s power and frustrating him with leg kicks and quick combinations. Saffiedine does not have the same power as Bowling so he will not want to get into any wild exchanges. If the fight does get to the ground, the fighter with the top position will always have the advantage. It should be an interesting bout to see which one of these two inches closer to a shot at Welterweight Nate Marquardt’s title. Bowling is a tough fighter but Saffiedine is too talented to bet against.
Prediction: Saffiedine via Unanimous Decision
Lumumba Sayers (6-2) vs. Anthony Smith (16-8)
After coming off of the two biggest wins of his career, Lumumba Sayers is prepared to take on Anthony Smith, who will be looking to make a name for himself on a bigger stage with his kill or be killed style. Sayers is going into his fourth bout under the Strikeforce banner and recently defeated veteran Scott Smith. Neither guy has been to a decision so win or lose, a finish will likely occur. Although Smith has more experience, Sayers looked good in defeating Scott Smith and knocking out Antwain Britt. Although Sayers and Smith and lesser known commodities, this could easily be one of the best fights of the night. Expect a finish, as Smith is a well rounded fighter that could knock his opponent out or finish the fight with a submission. Watching the way Sayers was able to completely overpower a veteran like Scott Smith makes him tough to pick against. He should be able to frustrate Smith as he rocks him and finishes the fight on the ground.
Prediction: Sayers via TKO Round 1
Ovince St. Preux (11-5) vs. T.J. Cook (12-4)
Before running into Gegard Mousasi, prospect Ovince St. Preux (better known as OSP) looked dominant in Strikeforce. He will be taking on T.J. Cook who just recently had his five fight win streak broken against Trevor Smith. Both fighters are solid strikers. Cook has the punching power and can finish a fight at any point. OSP has very solid kickboxing and throws a variety of strikes. Where they differ is the grappling department. OSP likes to take the fight to the ground. He is dominant from top position as he is a massive Light Heavyweight with solid wrestling. OSP has the athleticism to have a bright future in the sport as long as he fixes some kinks that showed against Mousasi. Cook will want to tag OSP early. He needs to show his power off and his sprawling has to be at its finest against a powerful fighter. Unfortunately it is unlikely that Cook can do much against OSP. He will likely take the fight to the ground and get back into the win column with a decision win.
Prediction: St. Preux via Unanimous Decision