There were slick submission finishes, brutal knockouts, all out wars, another lightweight championship title defense by Benson Henderson and another first-round submission win for Ronda Rousey.
The past month has been unforgettable, but as MMA fans we are always looking forward to the next event – we rarely take time to appreciate the great moments that have passed us by. Before shutting the door on August for good, take a moment to look back and give credit to the best of the month that was.
Fighter of the Month – Ronda Rousey
The face of female mixed martial arts continued her unbelievable streak of dominance on Saturday night as “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey submitted Sarah Kaufman 54-seconds into the first round in the main event of Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman.
Many said that Kaufman would be the biggest test of Rousey’s career but it didn’t look that way once the fight began. Rousey defeated Kaufman just as easily as the five prior opponents she has faced thus far in her career. Simply put, Rousey is a star. She’s incredible talented and there is little anyone has to offer her at this point.
Rousey called out former Strikeforce champion Cris “Cyborg” Santos in her post-fight interview with Mauro Ranallo, but it is unknown at this time if that fight will ever become a reality due to the fact Santos is currently under suspension and fights at a weight class above Rousey. Nevertheless, Rousey continues to build herself as a major player in the world of mixed martial arts and positive things will continue to come her way after another spectacular performance.
Honorable Mention – Benson Henderson
Fight of the Month – Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner at UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera
In a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate, Joe Lauzon and Jamie Varner delivered two-and-a-half rounds of tremendous action with Lauzon emerging the victor by third-round submission. There were so many high points in the fight that’s hard to pick out just one, but the entire second round and the scramble that led to Lauzon’s triangle choke finish was simply fantastic.
The fight was very close until Lauzon locked in the choke and even in defeat; Varner has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. It was the perfect fight for network television and an instant classic, the type of fight you can watch over and over again. Lauzon vs. Varner at UFC on FOX 4 was without a doubt the best fight of the month.
Honorable Mention – Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Brandon Vera at UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera
Knockout of the Month – Lyoto Machida def. Ryan Bader via KO (Strikes) – R2 (1:32) at UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera
Lyoto Machida knocked Ryan Bader out cold in the second round of the UFC on FOX 4 main event on Aug. 4. The fight was relatively uneventful up until the finish, and it was blatantly obvious from the outset that Machida’s skills were simply a level above that of Bader. It was a fairly typical Machida performance, the Brazilian kept his range and got scouted what Bader had to offer, and what “The Ultimate Fighter” winner offered was essentially nothing.
The finish came when Bader tried to lung in on Machida and the former light heavyweight champion landed an accurate counterstrike that put Bader down and out. “The Dragon” displayed the high-level striking ability that brought him to the top of the sport and he placed himself comfortable among the top contenders in the division.
Honorable Mention – Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza def. Derek Brunson via Knockout (Strikes) – R1 (0:41) at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman
Submission of the Month – Ronda Rousey def. Sarah Kaufman via Submission (Armbar) – R1 (0:54) at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman
When Ronda Rousey stepped into the cage with Sarah Kaufman on Aug. 18, it was simply another fight and another armbar submission victory for the “Rowdy” one. The Strikeforce woman’s bantamweight championship defended her belt against Kaufman in just 54-seconds. Rousey did what she does best, going after Kaufman, dragging her to the ground and locking in her signature submission in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
Six professional fights, six submission wins, all in the first round. Rousey is phenom; her submission skills are top notch. Rousey looks seriously unstoppable and it is truly hard to envision anyone taking her belt.
Honorable Mention – Joe Lauzon def. Jamie Varner via Submission (Triangle Choke) – R3 (2:44) at UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera