A preview of this weekends Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman event, which no one would care about if it weren’t for Ronda Rousey.
Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman: I’m pretty excited for this fight. I’d be more excited if I didn’t think it was taking place a month from now. But I’m still pretty excited. Unlike Rousey vs. Miesha Tate, I really feel like Kaufman has a chance in this fight because she actually has a way to victory, which is obviously to keep the fight on the feet. Tate could never keep the fight on the feet because her footwork is poor and her game is to wrestle, which played perfectly into Rousey’s judo game. Tate actually did some good things on the ground, including getting the back of Rousey, but she also got caught in Rousey’s famous armbar twice, the second one making her tap out. There’s actually a chance that Kaufman uses her boxing and footwork, which is just as good as some of the guys, and out-points Rousey on the feet. I know it’s cliche to call Greg Jackson fighters boring, but boring is what’s going to win Kaufman this fight. She’s best off jabbing and getting on her bicycle kind of like Clay Guida did against Gray Maynard. Of course the biggest difference is that Kaufman’s striking is better than Guida’s and Rousey’s striking is worse than Maynard’s, which means there should be more opportunities for Kaufman to really let her hands go instead of just jabbing and backing. The problem with Kaufman is that she likes to clinch up too often and if she clinches with Rousey, she’s either going to be thrown down or Rousey can always pull guard. I’m sure it’s a habit that she’s tried to break in camp, but old habits die hard once the cage door closes. Kaufman is also catching Rousey at the right time, because it’s possible that Rousey has been distracted from fighting with all the major media she’s been doing. That said, Kaufman’s strategy is a 25-minute strategy and for her to avoid Rousey’s clinch for 25-minutes is going to be extremely tough. Maybe things work out for her for the first round, but sooner or later I expect Rousey to get the fight in close quarters and then lock on her armbar. And when Kaufman taps, I hope she doesn’t complain like the last time she got caught in an armbar.
Prediction: Rousey, Submission, Round 2
Ronaldo Souza vs. Derek Brunson: I was high on Brunson, mainly because he’s from North Carolina and I like to root for anyone from NC, but then he lost to Kendall Grove. Now the decision sucked and he should’ve won, but the fact that it was pretty close still says a lot about where Brunson is at right now. And where he’s at isn’t anywhere near the level of Souza. Brunson is a great wrestler but if he takes down Souza, chances are he’s going to get swept and end up on his back. Then again, I’m not even sure he can put down Souza as Souza has good takedown defense and Brunson’s wrestling hasn’t quite translated to MMA. It’ll be interesting to see if Souza welcomes a grappling match or if he decides to use this fight to keep working on his striking, sort of like he did against Lumumba Sayers in his last bout. No matter what Souza decides to do, chances are he’ll out-class Brunson, who is being pushed a little too soon by Strikeforce.
Prediction: Souza, Submission, Round 3
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Roger Bowling: I like Saffiedine. I’m not sure why, but I do. Bowling is an explosive striker who hits hard, but that’s about it. Saffiedine is the more well-rounded fighter and should be able to dominate Bowling wherever this fight takes places. If it stays standing, there’s a chance that Bowling catches Saffiedine with a power punch, but Saffiedine uses his range well and will probably keep him at bay with kicks. And when Bowling closes the distance, Saffiedine can just clinch up and control him against the cage or put him on his back. It might not be the prettiest fight, but it should be a victory for Saffiedine.
Prediction: Saffiedine, Decision
Lumumba Sayers vs. Anthony Smith: Why is this fight on the main card over Miesha Tate vs. Julie Kedzie? Contrary to what Mark Radulich says, headlining the prelims isn’t better than being on the main card. Whatever. If Sayers is smart, he’ll use his grappling and make short work of Smith. If he comes to bang though, he could be in some trouble because Smith hits hard. I’m going to assume that Sayers will fight smart and win this one.
Prediction: Sayers, Submission, Round 1
Ovince St. Preux vs. TJ Cook: St. Preux’s striking was pretty exposed in his last fight, but he still hits pretty hard and has his wrestling to fall back on. St. Preux wasn’t as good as advertised prior to the Gegard Mousasi fight, but he’s still better than Cook, who is mediocre at best. I just hope that if St. Preux gets a dominant position on the ground, he’s able to capitalize on it.
Prediction: St. Preux, Decision