Strikeforce Women’s Tourneys Launch in April

By Loretta Hunt Jan 20, 2010
The ladies have not been forgotten.

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said two previously announced eight-woman tournaments, at 135- and 145-pounds, will kick off at the promotion’s Challengers event in April.

Strikeforce 145-pound champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and Gina Carano, whom Santos defeated by first-round technical knockout last August in San Jose, Calif., will not compete in the tournaments, said Coker.

“We’re looking for the next women to fight the Gina Caranos and the Cris Cyborgs of the world,” Coker said.

Coker said the tournaments’ quarterfinals and semifinals would be “sprinkled” over a few events.

Sarah Kaufman, an undefeated Canadian striker who’s shined in her two Challengers appearances against Miesha Tate and Shayna Baszler, will not compete in the 135-pound tournament bracket.

“I think we’re going to be promoting Sarah against (Takayo) Hashi for our (vacant) 135-pound title,” said Coker. “I think that fight’s happening sooner than later -- February or March, for sure.”

Hashi, a Smackgirl veteran, has been victorious in her last eight outings. Her only career loss came to Strikeforce veteran Hitomi Akano at a Smackgirl event in August 2005.

Coker said the tournament winners would likely face the promotion’s champions in their next bouts.

The tournaments, originally announced to launch at the end of 2009, were postponed into the new year for logistical reasons.

“With the Fedor (Emelianenko) deal, the (Dan) Henderson deal, the EA deal, we just started getting bombarded with these large acquisitions and transactions,” said Coker. “The female tournaments kept getting pushed back, which is fine, because we wanted time to get them right.”

Meanwhile, Freestyle Cage Fighting will host its own eight-woman 135-pound tournament beginning on Jan. 30 in Shawnee, Okla., according to its Web site. Kaitlin Young, Shayna Baszler, and Jan Finney are among those expected to compete in the tournament scheduled over three events.
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