A review of Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman, which featured the most dominant female in MMA, a top middleweight talent in the sport, and a bunch of other guys.
Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman: Everyone in the world, especially Kaufman, knew what Rousey was going to do. And yet it only took her 54 seconds to do it. Rousey worked her way inside with the jab, ate a punch, clinched, used her world-class Judo to get Kaufman down, immediately mounted, and then, after a brief struggle, locked up the armbar to force the tap out. I thought Kaufman would be a tough fight for Rousey because she at least had a clear path to victory, but the way Rousey easily handled her was amazing. After the fight, Rousey called out Cris “Cyborg” Santos to fight her at 135, but Santos immediately took to twitter and said she’s waiting on Strikeforce to release her since they’re doing away with the 145 lb division. So if there is no Santos fight lined up, Rousey doesn’t have many challengers left. Meisha Tate didn’t seem too keen on fighting Rousey again, probably because she likes the use of her arm. They could always bring back Marloes Coenen, which would actually be a hell of a fight should it happen. Outside of those two options though, there isn’t a real contender for Rousey, but such is life in Strikeforce. I’m just waiting for Strikeforce to go out of business so Invicta can get on Showtime and properly promote/build Women’s MMA.
Ronaldo Souza def. Derek Brunson: I love Souza. You want to talk about a guy who has legit improved his striking over the years and not just gone from a 0 to a 2, you’re talk about Souza. His striking might not be at a 10, but he’s obviously worked very hard to improve his hands and it’s showed in these last few fights. The cover and counter he landed on Brunson to drop him was a thing of beauty. Even better than that though? His patience on the finish. Instead of rushing the guy and going wild with strikes, he waited, picked his punches, and knocked Brunson out clean. Could he have jumped on Brunson’s back and locked in a choke after knocking him face first into the mat? Probably, but the fact that he didn’t shows what kind of confidence he has in himself and his hands. I honestly think that Souza could make the leap to the UFC tomorrow and be a top five middleweight. First things first though, and that’s a rematch with Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. Even though the title is meaningless, that’s still a hell of a fight between two guys who could be UFC middleweight contenders.
Tarec Saffiedine def. Roger Bowling: I still like what Saffiedine brings to the table. Bowling did his usual power punching shtick but Saffiedine made him pay with leg kicks and knees to the face when Bowling would come inside with body punches. Saffiedine also did a nice job stuffing the takedowns of Bowling and even taking the back and nearly finishing with a choke in the closing seconds of the fight. The crowd went mild when Saffiedine asked for a title shot, but I don’t hold that against him because it’s tough for people to get excited about any Strikeforce title fight outside of the women, knowing that all the best champions are in the UFC.
Anthony Smith def. Lumumba Sayers: So this fight happened. It was sloppy on the feet but Smith’s ground game looked pretty smooth. He had a dominant position early and even though he lost it, it was pretty clear that his ground game was the superior of the two. Smith ended up on his back after a slip, Sayers followed him down, and Smith almost immediately locked in a triangle choke for the victory. It’s a nice win for Smith, but Sayers is an average fighter at best and there a like five dudes in the Strikeforce middleweight division, so I don’t know who he fights unless they want to stunt his growth by giving him Tim Kennedy.
Ovince St. Preux def. TJ Cook: This was a rather dominating performance by St. Preux. He hurt Cook early in the first round and nearly had him finished, but Cook did a nice job surviving and firing back. The second round was very slow with St. Preux keeping his distance before scoring a takedown and doing almost nothing with it. Then in the third round St. Preux landed an overhand left of death to put Cook out cold. It was a hell of a KO for St. Preux, but he’s still an extremely flawed fighter and isn’t worth half the hype people try to put behind him. He’s a pretty sloppy striker, but makes up for it with his length and explosiveness. His top game is absolutely terrible and he can’t maintain a position to save his life. He’s going to beat guys like Cook who don’t train full-time and aren’t very good to begin with, but I just don’t see him as a guy who can challenge the top guys at 205. Not that there are any top guys at 205 in Strikeforce at this point.