Strikeforce action returned to Showtime and the organization delivered another fun night of fights from San Diego.
Ronda Rousey successfully defended her championship belt in the headlining bout of the evening, but the entire main card was solid. Four of the five bouts on the main card ended inside the distance and produced a number of highlight finishes.
Catch my Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman post-fight thoughts and analysis for the main card below.
- What can you say about Ronda Rousey? Another fight, another armbar submission victory. The Strikeforce woman’s bantamweight championship defended her belt against Sarah 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, she looks seriously unstoppable and it is truly hard to envision anyone taking her belt.
- Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza showed he is much, much more than just a Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter when he brutally knocked out Derek Brunson 41-seconds into the first round of their co-main event middleweight bout. Brunson charged “Jacare” with some sloppy striking and the Brazilian took advantage by landing a perfectly placed counter that badly hurt Brunson. What came next was more impressive, though. Souza showed incredible killer instinct by pouncing on Brunson with ground strikes as soon as he was hurt and finishing the fight, earning the first knockout win of his MMA career. Look for Souza to face off against Luke Rockhold for the middleweight championship next.
- Welterweights Tarec Saffiedine and Roger Bowling fought a tough 15-minute battle that included three very close rounds with Saffiedine coming out on top by unanimous decision. It was a solid 170-pound fight, but neither man was able to dominate due to the evenly matched skill sets of both competitors. For the most part, the fight was a stalemate. The strikes landed were for each man were close but Saffiedine was able to earn the slight edge in ever round. “The Sponge” is now 6-1 under the Strikeforce banner with his only loss coming to top welterweight contender Tyron Woodley. With the 170-pound weight class relatively thin in Strikeforce, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Saffiedine challenge champion Nate Marquardt for the title.
- The story of Anthony Smith vs. Lumumba Sayers was clear; Smith was far superior on the ground and he took advantage. Smith established his dominance by mounting Sayers early in the first round and immediately working for submissions. After a few failed attempts, Smith ended up on bottom position and locked in a textbook triangle choke, forcing Sayers to quickly tap out. It was the first main card appearance for Smith in Strikeforce and he delivered, sending a message to Strikeforce executives that he should continue to be featured on Showtime.
- Ovince St. Preux knocked T.J. Cook silly with a vicious left hand to the chin in the opening fight of the Showtime broadcast. The first five minutes of the bout was a straight up bombfest with St. Preux nearly finishing Cook very early on. St. Preux seemed to have tired himself out from the first round as he lost some steam in the second stanza. When the third round began, it only took one perfectly placed punch to the chin of Cook to bring an end to the fight. It was a spectacular knockout by St. Preux, who rebounds with a strong performance after a disappointing loss to Gegard Mousasi in his last outing.
This article was written by Mike Bohn, founder and lead writer of FightCove.com. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @FightCoveMike. Also, be sure to follow @FightCove on Twitter and “Like” Fight Cove on Facebook.