Ronda Rousey took the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight championship by force. Next comes the considerably more difficult task of retaining it.
Rousey tipped the scales at 135 pounds for her five-round title defense against former champion Sarah Kaufman (134) in the Strikeforce “Rousey vs. Kaufman” headliner on Saturday at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. The eight other fighters booked for duty on the main card -- co-headliners Ronald “Jacare” Souza (186) and Derek Brunson (186) among them -- also met their contracted weight requirements without incident at Friday’s official weigh-in.
A protégé of “Judo” Gene LeBell, Gokor Chivichyan and Jimmy Pedro, Rousey captured Olympic bronze in judo at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. The 25-year-old Californian has transitioned seamlessly to the cage, as she has compiled a perfect 5-0 mark, with all five wins via first-round armbar, four of them in less than a minute. Rousey has not competed since she won the Strikeforce bantamweight crown five months ago.
Kaufman will carry a three-fight winning streak into the cage. The 26-year-old Canadian last appeared at Strikeforce “Rousey vs. Tate” in March, when she defeated Alexis Davis by majority decision at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. A durable and rugged standup fighter, Kaufman has delivered 10 of her 15 professional victories by knockout or technical knockout. She owns a 6-1 mark inside Strikeforce.
Strikeforce “Rousey vs. Kaufman” -- which airs on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT -- also features a welterweight duel pairing Team Quest’s Tarec Saffiedine (169.5) with Roger Bowling (170), a middleweight scrap pitting Lumumba Sayers (185) against Anthony Smith (186) and a light heavyweight tilt matching Ovince St. Preux (205.5) with T.J. Cook (203).
Two hours prior, Showtime Extreme will carry the four preliminary bouts: Miesha Tate (136) vs. Julie Kedzie (135), Matt Ricehouse (155) vs. Bobby Green (155), Keith Berry (186) vs. Adlan Amagov (186) and Germaine de Randamie (144) vs. Hiroko Yamanaka (145).
Strikeforce “Rousey vs. Kaufman” Weigh-In Results:
Ronda Rousey (135) vs. Sarah Kaufman (134)
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (186) vs. Derek Brunson (186)
Tarec Saffiedine (169.5) vs. Roger Bowling (170)
Lumumba Sayers (185) vs. Anthony Smith (186)
Ovince St. Preux (205.5) vs. T.J. Cook (203)
Miesha Tate (136) vs. Julie Kedzie (135)
Matt Ricehouse (155) vs. Bobby Green (155)
Keith Berry (186) vs. Adlan Amagov (186)
Germaine de Randamie (144) vs. Hiroko Yamanaka (145)