UFC is on a short break, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get down on some high-quality MMA on Saturday. Strikeforce has put together a high-octane card for our viewing pleasure with championship bouts, number one contender spots, and just good old-fashioned brutality. Dig into the primer below and get ready to fill your Saturday night with some mayhem (of the non-church trashing variety).
Woman’s 135lb Champ “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman: One of the most popular female fighters of all time, Ronda Rousey will look to eliminate a new threat to her title reign in the form of former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman. Limb-breaking exciting is always on the cards when Rousey hits the cage, yet she faces a woman of a larger frame and deadly precision striking. This fight hinges on Rousey’s ability to close that gap and take minimal damage on the way in, setting up her judo takedowns, throws and trips to get her to the mat. This fight pans out to be a real nightmare for Kaufman, whose entire takedown defense game is based on working from the clinch, which are Rousey’s bread and butter. This comes down Kaufman landing a KO before Rousey gets her hands on here, making for an edge of your seat main event.
Ronaldo “Jacare” De Souza vs. Derek Brunson: In an example of a fighter “calling down the thunder”, Derek Brunson successfully manages to get his match with Jacare, for better or worse. Jacare remains one of the few BJJ legends who has added a striking game to his arsenal and kept his mind for grappling intact in the process, making him perhaps the deadliest non-UFC Middleweight out there. Brunson, while a decent athlete with some upside, comes into this fight seeming to be wholly unprepared for what awaits him. The interesting thing is, would a fighter call someone out not once, but twice, if they didn’t have a game plan? We’ll see.
Tarec “The Sponge” Saffiedine vs. “Relentless” Roger Bowling: My personal pick for FOTN, karate stylist Tarec Saffiedine will square off against grueling power puncher Roger Bowling. Saffiedine has done fairly well against everyone in the division thus far with his brand of evasive striking, but Bowling presents a difficult problem in his raw speed, power and cardio. In this game of cat and mouse, Saffiedine will need to land enough shots on Bowling to take that decision win without giving Bowling a chance to score with any offense of his own. A sketchy proposition to be sure, but one that Saffiedine has pulled off many times and in exciting fashion.
Lumumba Sayers vs. Anthony “Lionheart” Smith: A fight that should be short and sweet, the dynamite-fisted Lumumba Sayers takes on tough regional fighter Anthony Smith. This is a case of two fairly raw fighters whom bring far more offense than defense, with both having a fair amount of athletic ability and a metric ton of power. No matter how you slice is, fights like this are always close and the question will be who can land the first solid strikes or the first takedown of the fight.
Ovine St. Preux vs. TJ Cook: Homemade Strikeforce product OSP will look to rebound from his first loss within the promotion against Gegard Mousasi, as he takes on veteran fighter TJ Cook. Cook brings a fair deal of power and a well-rounded game, but will be taking on a highly prized 205lber in OSP, who brings a relentless striking and takedown game into the fight. Cook has the tools to get this done, but he’ll need to be sharp if he hopes to avoid the bull rush style that OSP is known for, lest he finds himself in perilous waters.