Last night a legitimate MMA legend was born. Leading up to the event, Ronda Rousey had already established herself as a significant threat on the submission front but few felt she would find same success against a seasoned veteran like Sarah Kaufman. In the end, not only did Rousey beat Kaufman but did so in less than a minute by way of her trademark Armbar.
By beating Kaufman in the manner she did Rousey erased all doubt about her status as the top female fighter in the sport and moved into Mike Tyson territory in terms of being a ferocious finisher.
In general, Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman was a solid card capped off by a brilliant performance by “Rowdy Ronda”. More specifically…
Miesha Tate/Julie Kedzie Produce “Fight of the Year” Candidate Nobody Saw
– Bobby Green reminds me a bit of the Diaz Brothers in terms of his pawing, surprisingly powerful stand-up and openness to drawing opponents in through trash-talk inside the cage. Matt Ricehouse has potential, but his striking left a lot to be desired in comparison to Green’s and his lack of consistent takedown attempts was curious.
– Given her Muay Thai accolades, Germaine de Randamie’s inability to knock Hiroko Yamanaka out surprised me, especially since Yamanaka chose to stand for most of the fight and looked like a fish out of water throughout.
– If Herb Dean is the best ref in the business, as Dana White often says, it shows exactly how much trouble MMA is in without some immediate oversight where officials are concerned. Keith Berry should have been given a chance to continue. Hopefully Strikeforce will pair him with Adlan Amagov again next month and make up for Dean’s poor stoppage.
– Kedzie and Tate turned in a fantastic fight featuring near finishes for both including a third round for the ages! I was among the numerous viewers who felt Tate was done after eating a stiff head kick, yet she battled back and ended up tapping out Kedzie in a fight she would have certainly lost on the scorecards. Truly, her resilience was a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, Strikeforce/Showtime made the decision to put the fight on the Showtime Extreme portion of the card rather than the main lineup, so chances are a ton of fans never even saw them fight live! And, though Showtime had at least 30 minutes to fill in their allotted time after the co-headliners each involved a sub-minute finish, they still didn’t deliver regardless of how incredibly deserving Tate/Kedzie were for some increased exposure. Shameful.
Featured Fighters Deliver Despite Lack of Love Entering the Evening
– Ovince St. Preux has a ton of potential but I’m not sure he’ll ever tap into it. He’s a bit sloppy still at this stage in his career though clearly athletically gifted and packed with power. Still, he had T.J. Cook dead in the water early on and couldn’t put him away. He also almost got KO’d himself one or two times by rushing things instead of approaching in a calculated manner.
– Anthony Smith has a bright future. Lumumba Sayers? Not so much.
– Roger Bowling will never ascend above status as a power puncher who entertains fans. He gasses out relatively quickly and doesn’t seem to have much in his arsenal. Meanwhile, Tarec Saffiedine is more rounded and has much better grappling, but I don’t see him getting close to a major title at any point in his career.
– I like Derek Brunson, but it was nice to see Ronaldo Souza’s striking pay off in a bout. He’s looked crisper than normal in his last few fights, now showing he has knockout power to accompany his other-worldly BJJ game. Brunson, on the other hand, needs to take an extra month off after suffering back-to-back losses in a two-month period. The sky is the limit for him and there’s no reason to fall into the trap of taking too many fights and risking his health/confidence.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE