Sarah Kaufman has done her homework on Liz Carmouche. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Sarah Kaufman was an interested observer when Liz Carmouche challenged Marloes Coenen for the Strikeforce 135-pound women’s title in March.
Carmouche, a late replacement, gave the champion fits before submitting to a triangle choke in the fourth round. Kaufman also fell prey to a Coenen submission in October 2010. Now Kaufman and Carmouche are set to fight Friday at Strikeforce “Challengers 17”.
“I thought that Liz definitely fought with a good game plan for Marloes,” Kaufman said on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “Marloes didn’t fight a great fight … . Liz got in some very good positions and wasn’t able to capitalize on them. I saw some really good things that [Carmouche] did and I also saw some holes.”
In particular, Carmouche looked stronger and more aggressive than Coenen. She was able to take her down and pass into mount multiple times but also couldn’t finish Coenen from the position.
“She’s going to come in in shape,” Kaufman said. “She’s going to make weight no problem and she has cardio. She uses that to her advantage in a lot of her fights, but I also have good cardio. I’m in good shape and I’m strong for my weight. I think it’s going to be a good battle.”
Kaufman doesn’t expect Carmouche to have made any drastic improvements since the Coenen fight. However, she does think Carmouche will have done her homework.
“I would assume she’s watched tape on me, and she’s probably going to try to counter what I like to do and what I’m good at,” Kaufman said. “She says she’s going to strike and put on a good fight, and I think that’s what the fans need.”
With the future of women’s MMA somewhat in question, Kaufman said delivering entertaining fights is critical. Zuffa, which purchased Strikeforce in March, has shown little interest in promoting women’s bouts in the UFC. If Strikeforce doesn’t last, now could be the time to convince Zuffa executives that women need a home in a big-time promotion regardless.
“We put on good fights,” Kaufman said. “We’re technical, yet we’re exciting. We can have the knockouts. We can have the submissions. It’s not just two girls kind of flailing at each other. I really hope that we’re able to showcase that. I think every fight right now that’s showcased and every fight that’s fought for Strikeforce under that Zuffa banner is extremely important right now, over the next five, six months especially, to really solidify it.”
At this point, Kaufman remains hopeful for the future of women’s MMA. The former 135-pound champion is also hopeful for her own future.
Said Kaufman: “I definitely think that should I win this fight with Liz on the 22nd that it puts me right in place to fight for my title again.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:18:05).