In Case You Missed It: Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza Floors Derek Brunson in 41 Seconds [VIDEO]

(Props: AllTheBestFights)

Ronaldo Souza‘s recent fights have proven that his standup skills are catching up with his tremendous ability on the mat — and his striking improvement reached an important milestone on Saturday night, when he scored the first lights-out K.O. of his nine-year fight career.

“Jacare” faced 9-1 Jackson’s MMA product Derek Brunson on the main card of Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman, and in Liddell-esque fashion, Souza found his chin with a back-pedaling counter-right that dumped Brunson on his face. A few more follow-up shots, and it was all over. Even more impressive than Souza’s finishing power was the fact that he stopped throwing as soon as he saw that Brunson was unconscious — even if referee Mike “Stache God” Beltran clearly wanted the fight to keep going.

But Souza vs. Brunson wasn’t the only great knockout from this weekend’s Strikeforce card. After the jump: Ovince St. Preux’s one-punch shutoff of T.J. Cook.


(Props: AllTheBestFights)

Ronaldo Souza‘s recent fights have proven that his standup skills are catching up with his tremendous ability on the mat — and his striking improvement reached an important milestone on Saturday night, when he scored the first lights-out K.O. of his nine-year fight career.

“Jacare” faced 9-1 Jackson’s MMA product Derek Brunson on the main card of Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman, and in Liddell-esque fashion, Souza found his chin with a back-pedaling counter-right that dumped Brunson on his face. A few more follow-up shots, and it was all over. Even more impressive than Souza’s finishing power was the fact that he stopped throwing as soon as he saw that Brunson was unconscious — even if referee Mike “Stache God” Beltran clearly wanted the fight to keep going.

But Souza vs. Brunson wasn’t the only great knockout from this weekend’s Strikeforce card. After the jump: Ovince St. Preux’s one-punch shutoff of T.J. Cook.


(OSP dummys up Cook at the 11:52 mark.)

Strikeforce Rousey vs. Kaufman: Post-Fight Breakdown

Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman Ronda Rousey continued to steamroll through the 135 lb division in exactly the same fashion as her previous fights. She used a less than technical flurry of strikes to bull.

Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman

Ronda Rousey continued to steamroll through the 135 lb division in exactly the same fashion as her previous fights. She used a less than technical flurry of strikes to bull rush Sarah Kaufman and close the distance. From there, she used her fundamental Judo to get Kaufman to the mat. She landed in the mount position and immediately attacked an arm. Kaufman managed to defend for about thirty seconds but had to tap once Rousey get her arm extended. Rousey erased any doubts as she completely overwhelmed another former champion and at the moment, I don’t know who else is out there for Rousey to fight at 135 lbs. Obviously, a fight with Christiane “Cyborg” Santos looms as the super fight of women’s MMA. But considering that Santos has struggled to make 145 lbs in the past and was just busted for PEDs, I’m not sure how realistic that fight would be. Rousey seems unlikely to back down from anyone but even she would have to consider the ramifications of going into a fight at that much of a size disadvantage against a known PED user. Meisha Tate’s performance against Julie Kedzie earlier in the night was unbelievable and it may have been enough to earn her a rematch with Rousey but I’m not sure that fight would go any different than it did the first time. Whatever happens, Rousey is at the top of the food chain in women’s MMA and that can only mean good things for the future of the sport. Unfortunately for Kaufman, this fight drops her out of title contention for the moment. But she’s still one of the best in the world and I’m sure she will continue to get big fights in Strikeforce.

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Derek Brunson

Derek Brunson is a promising prospect but he really should not have been fighting Jacare at this point in his career. Jacare made quick work of the relatively inexperienced fighter dropping him with a counter right hand in the first thirty seconds and following up with a few more punches for the finish. Brunson obviously needs to focus on his striking defense to make sure he doesn’t leave such huge openings when he throws. He still has a chance to develop into a contender and a loss like this to Jacare should not be seen as establishing his ceiling. For Jacare, this was the best striking he has ever shown. He landed a deadly accurate counter and followed up with two more that landed directly on the chin. He used the minimum amount of energy to do the maximum amount of damage. This performance should earn him a rematch against Luke Rockhold to regain the middleweight belt he lost to Rockhold last year. Strikeforce has no one else to offer at 185 lbs and they might as well make the best fights available for as long as the organization lasts.

Tarec Saffiedine vs. Roger Bowling

Roger Bowling came to the cage with improved cardio and a better overall approach but it wasn’t enough to defeat Tarec Saffiedine who is beginning to look like a contender in the welterweight division. Saffiedine won the first round by controlling the distance and counter striking effectively. He landed several solid knees to the head and body of Bowling. Although Bowling was the aggressor throughout the fight, Saffiedine was actually the one in control and never allowed Bowling to do any real damage. The second round was similar to the first. Bowling continued to be the aggressor throwing boxing combinations and mixing in kicks to the legs and body. Saffiedine was less effective with his counterstriking in the second round, which made it a more difficult round to score. Saffiedine was still the more accurate and technical striker but because Bowling pushed the action and threw a higher volume of strikes, I scored the round in favor of him. The third round was progressing similarly to the second until Bowling decided to try to shoot for a takedown to win the round. Instead, Saffiedine stuffed the takedown and immediately climbed onto Bowling’s back securing the round and fight for himself. Even in a loss, Bowling showed a huge improvement in cardio. He still has dangerous power but he was overmatched technically against Saffiedine. I expect to see him in more fights against similar minded strikers and hopefully, he will continue the approach that he brought to this fight. With this win, Saffiedine likely earns a shot at Strikeforce champion Nate Marquardt in the depleted welterweight division. I’m not sure Saffiedine has much to offer a fighter of Marquardt’s caliber but it seems like the only logical fight for the promotion to make.

Anthony Smith vs. Lumumba Sayers

One-dimensional fighters can no longer survive in MMA and while Lumumba Sayers has heavy hands, he doesn’t have a ground game and it showed in this fight. In the first scramble of the opening round, Smith moved into full mount easily. From there, he landed ground and pound cutting Sayers before he was eventually able to escape and get back to his feet. But soon after, Smith slipped while throwing a punch and Sayers followed him to the ground. Within a few seconds of climbing into Smith’s guard, Sayers was tapping to a triangle choke. Smith showed near technical perfection in locking up the submission but Sayers offered almost no resistance. For Sayers, this establishes him as a fighter who is basically only capable of engaging in striking matches. Anyone with a ground game will dominate him. Smith’s performance was difficult to gauge because of the little resistance offered by his opponent but he did show some strong technique on the ground and deserves a step up in competition for his next fight.

Ovince St. Preux vs. T.J. Cook

The opening fight of Strikeforce Rousey vs. Kaufman played out exactly the way the promotion planned with Ovince St. Preux earning a scary one punch KO victory over T.J. Cook. To Cook’s credit, he managed to survive until the third round but doing so only set him up for a highlight reel loss. The fight started with Cook landing a couple big power shots to the body and legs but St. Preux quickly returned fire and dropped Cook with a left hand. He pounced for the finish but was unable to get it as Cook recovered and came back throwing big punches. Both fighters showed an excellent chin in the first round but St. Preux won it relatively easily. The pace slowed in the second round as St. Preux recovered some of the energy he expended in the first but he eventually landed an explosive double leg takedown and controlled the round from that point. He passed to side control and then moved into full mount. Cook gave his back and St. Preux ended the round in a dominant position. Before the start of the third round, Cook waited until the last second to insert his mouth piece and was visibly tired. St. Preux’s first punch of the round was a huge left hand that shut Cook down completely. Thankfully, St. Preux realized what happened and didn’t try to land any more strikes. Cook was out for a while but did recover and leave the cage under his own power. And unfortunately, this fight probably means he won’t be in Strikeforce much longer. By his own admission, he is not training full time and part time training just isn’t enough to compete at this level. St. Preux will likely get a second chance against a high level fighter in his next fight after losing to Gegard Mousasi in his previous fight. He obviously has the athleticism to compete in the light heavyweight division but he needs to continue to improve his technique if he hopes to challenge for a belt in the future.

Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman — Live Results & Commentary


(“You want to go somewhere else? That creepy fat guy has been staring at us all night.” / Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle. For more pics from this set, click here.)

Tonight, we’re gonna have ourselves a real good time, we feel ali-hi-hi-hiiiive. Ronda Rousey — the lightning-rod heel-champion of women’s MMA — will attempt to defend her Strikeforce 135-pound title against former champ Sarah Kaufman, most likely by first-round armbar. (The winner will face Cris Cyborg immediately afterwards in the parking lot.) Before that, we’ve got a bunch of men’s fights that seem way less interesting by comparison. For instance, former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is in the co-main event spot against 9-1 middleweight Derek “The Human Blanket (!)” Brunson, while Tarec Saffiedine, Roger Bowling, Lumumba Sayers, and Ovince St. Preux round out the crew of featured fighters who you might have heard of before.

Handling the thankless job of spelling out all these names in tonight’s liveblog is CagePotato weekend warrior Anthony Gannon, who will be providing round-by-round results from the Showtime main card broadcast after the jump, beginning at 10 p.m. ET. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest and please make your presence known in the comments section.


(“You want to go somewhere else? That creepy fat guy has been staring at us all night.” / Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle. For more pics from this set, click here.)

Tonight, we’re gonna have ourselves a real good time, we feel ali-hi-hi-hiiiive. Ronda Rousey — the lightning-rod heel-champion of women’s MMA — will attempt to defend her Strikeforce 135-pound title against former champ Sarah Kaufman, most likely by first-round armbar. (The winner will face Cris Cyborg immediately afterwards in the parking lot.) Before that, we’ve got a bunch of men’s fights that seem way less interesting by comparison. For instance, former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is in the co-main event spot against 9-1 middleweight Derek “The Human Blanket (!)” Brunson, while Tarec Saffiedine, Roger Bowling, Lumumba Sayers, and Ovince St. Preux round out the crew of featured fighters who you might have heard of before.

Handling the thankless job of spelling out all these names in tonight’s liveblog is CagePotato weekend warrior Anthony Gannon, who will be providing round-by-round results from the Showtime main card broadcast after the jump, beginning at 10 p.m. ET. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest and please make your presence known in the comments section.

Sup, taters. It’s liveblog time again. Break out the wings, the pretzel nubs, and unscrew the cap off that fine Merlot because this could be a big night for women’s MMA.

The evolution of mixed martial arts in North America has been an amazing thing. In just under two decades we’ve seen the sport expand from BJJ to wrestling, to striking, to all-around athletes who can beat your punk ass down while maintaining the sensitivity to cook you a nice tomato and feta omelet, and with the educational background to prepare your taxes.

We witnessed the mastery of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when Art “One-Glove” Jimmerson entered the Octagon against Royce Gracie and tapped out the second he got mounted. We marveled at the rise of wrestling when Ken Shamrock fought to a draw with the seemingly invincible Gracie by taking him down and lying on top of him for 36 excruciating minutes.  And we saw the devastation of elite striking when Anderson Silva came along and blatantly violated every Geneva Convention with what he did to poor Rich Franklin. The ascent of our beloved sport has been truly awe-inspiring.

Evolution is infinite though, so that begs the question: What’s next for MMA? How can it possibly get any better? I thought I had found the answer in slap boxing after witnessing two menacing looking yoots smack the ever-loving shit out of each other for four glorious minutes, but it lacked technique and was more comedy than skill. Now I believe the true answer is in women’s MMA.

Yep, Ronda Rousey has made me see the light. Not only do I have sick fantasies of her loving me long time, which is really just the immature jerk in me, but I have this weird feeling about her, and I’m thinking it may actually be ~gasp~ respect. Ronda can carry women’s MMA into the Octagon. If you saw her brutal YouTube video impersonating a Sarah Kaufman fan you know we no longer have to worry about some Hollywood asshole stealing her away. The sad state of cinema today doesn’t exactly demand solid acting skills, but that video closes the door on even the “C” level Indy flicks, which are only a slight step above snuff porn. Nope, Ronda is here to stay, and I will proudly swing from her floral-scented taint for the entire journey.

Gotta hand it to Strikeforce. They opted to put Meisha Tate and Julie Kedzie on the undercard and it turned out to be a great fight, which ironically Meisha won by armbar. Could have been a nice appetizer for the main course.

Here’s the rest of the undercard results, if you even care.

Bobby Green beat Matt Rice by unanimous decision.

Germaine de Randamie beat Hiroko Yamanaka by unanimous decision.

And Adlan Amagov beat Keith by TKO at 0:48 of round one, weird scene though, Herb Dean stopped the fight for no apparent reason.

For some strange reason the main card doesn’t start until 10:07 so I’d like to take advantage of this break to pour out a slug of my ole E to my boy Mayhem for losing his shit and getting arrested nude. In a church. Nothing good ever came from someone getting arrested nude. Could have been worse, I suppose. He could have been arrested in a sundress. When I was in the Marines, one day I was on duty and I got a call from some Podunk police department in some Podunk North Carolina town. Turns out my buddy, for the sake of anonymity we’ll just call him “Dry Tongue,” well he went and got himself arrested for waking up in a woman’s closet wearing a sundress. Turns out Dry Tongue got a little liquored up, broke into a woman’s home, disrobed, then decided to try on one of her sundresses, and concluded his lurid evening by passing out in her closet. A series of unfortunate events followed: gender identification mockery, mandatory rehab, etc, but let’s just say Dry Tongue’s place in the annals of Marine Corps lore is firmly ensconced. If he’s reading right now, hey man I did not use your name, so keep the fuck away from my daughter. Anyway, Mayhem, keep your head up brother. Could happen to anybody.

God, Mauro looks creepy with his buzz cut. Shamrock is looking dapper since losing the braces, now he just has to do something about that fucked up nose.

First up is Ovince St. Preux vs T.J. Cook

TJ rolls up old school with a hoody. OSP comes out looking about as relaxed as a man can be when he’s about to get into a cage and fight another man.

RD 1: The ref has the coolest beard ever. It looks like drapes. He must pull some serious trim at Sturgis with that. OSP with a high kick. TJ whiffs a huge right. OSP looks like he’s four weight divisions bigger than TJ. Huge left kick by OSP, countered by TJ. They clinch and they’re free. OSP misses another kick. Nice body hook by TJ. OSP lands big, and is swarming him. He’s rocked! And TJ comes back, slugging the shit out of OSP. Damn no one got knocked out there. Nice exchange though. Overhand right misses by TJ. Big kick from OSP, then rocks TJ. They clinch up again, OSP going for a takedown. He lands it, and is in half guard. He’s going for a Kimura, let it go. OSP finally throws a strike down there, misses. Cook escapes, and he’s up. Close round, probbaly goes to OSP.

Rd 2: OSP misses a left. Lands a body kick. The pace has slowed considerably. OSP misses another head kick, TJ lands a right. Jab by OSP misses. TJ lands a couple nice shots, stuns OSP momentarily. OSP answers back with a straight left, then a kick to the nads. Oh damn, replay shows a nasty kick to the nads. He’s ok, and they’re set to go again. OSP misses a HUGE head kick, TJ counters with a left. OSP shoots and gets TJ down. He’s in guard dropping some lefts. OSP passes to side control. Lands an elbow. Going for a north/south choke, lets it go. Back in side control. OSP mounts, way too easily too. He’s got his right hand on TJ’s throat and is slamming him with lefts. TJ survives, but loses that round.

Rd 3:OSP opens with a straight left, then a huge overhand left that drops TJ and KNOCKS HIM THE FUCK OUT! Damn!

That was like a movie punch, it was perfect. OSP scores the third round KO.

Heidi interviews Sarah Kaufman, and it’s actually a little less brutal than her interviews usually are. She’s getting better. Now it’s Ronda’s turn, and damn she’s looking fine. The champion is in no mood for talk, she looks perturbed at the questions.

Lumumba Sayers and Anthony Smith are next.

Lumumba has that lunatic look. Sometimes you can just tell when someone is not to be trifled with, like not even in a bustin’ nuts kinda way. They just look, or act like they will misread playful kidding as an act of war and cut your fucking tongue out, put it on a roll and consume it with a creepy smile on their face. I used to work directly next to a fellow who would sing Christmas songs in the summer. And not even the classics, but like the Mariah Carey type shit. Had it been Rudolph or Frosty, I could have convinced myself this was just some weird guy who loved Christmas, but that pop Christmas shit? Oh no, this was clearly a man unhinged. And the one time a co-worker tried to joke with him his response was,” Oh yeah, buddy.” That’s when I knew for sure this guy probably had some sort of secluded hideaway where no one could hear the screams and was not to be fucked with in any way, shape, or form.

Rd 1: Herb Dean gets booed for a bad stoppage earlier. Sayers charges forward, takes Smith down, but Smith ends up in full mount! Sayers trying to control the posture, but this is early on to be in such a shitty position. Smith with an elbow. And a punch. He needs to start dropping down some hell here, take advantage of this position. Sayers lands a decent shot from the bottom. Sayers escapes, but Smith goes for a choke, now Sayers has Smith’s back. Smith gets out, now Sayers has a choke, Smith gets out and lands a big shot on the exit. This is nuts. Smith misses a left, Sayers misses an uppercut. Sayers lands to the body, Smith falls down, but locks on a triangle. He gets the tap!

Anthony Smith wins via triangle.

Lumumba declares Jesus his personal savior, doesn’t seem fazed by the loss whatsoever.

Smith talks about being older and more mature as he wears his hat sideways like a teenager.

Roger Bowling and Tarec Saffiedine are on deck.This should be a good scrap.

Bowling looks like the popular guy in a cheesy teen movie. Tarec looks like a Russian gangster.

Rd 1: Bowling opens with a hook to the body, then a leg kick. Charges forward again, connects to the body. Tarec with a hard leg kick. Damn, hard to the body again by Bowling. And again. Tarec with another leg kickm misses a right. Clinches Bowling, lands a knee. Bowling with another nice hook to the body. Tarec has Bowling against the cage, Bowling looks for a takedown. They separate. Tarec goes for another clinch, settles for a leg kick. High kick by Bowling, blocked. Bowling going for a takedown, Tarec defending well. And they’re against the cage battling for position. They separate. Bowling with a nice left hook to the head. Bowling ties up again looking for a takedown, not happening. They’re trading knees in the clinch. Tarec lands an elbow on the exit, Bowling responds with a punch to the dome. Close round, I’d give it to Bowling.

The camera catches Meisha Tate eating a cupcake, and there’s some icing in her hair.

Rd 2: Tarec with a leg kick, Bowling with another body shot. Eye poke by Tarec halts the action. Ready to roll. They trade shots cenetr cage to start up again. Then they trade kicks. Nice exchange, both guys get cracked. Tarec with a front kick, and a leg kick, answered by Bowling. Tarec with a nice combination. He’s taking control of the stand up. Clinch, Tarec looking for a knee, pushes Bowling against the cage, delivering some knees to the thigh, which don;t get the credit they deserve. Those suck. Bowling going for another takedown, Tarec has excellent takedown defense. Fails again on an attempt. Tarec with a body kick, Bowling lands a counter right. Leg kick by Tarec. They both miss with hooks, then Tarec lands a right. Leg kick by Bowling checked. Tarec took that round.

Rd 3: They trade body kicks. Bowling throws hard overhand, partially lands. Tarec with another clinch, knee just misses. Big body shot by Bowling, eats a knee. Huge leg kicks by Tarec. And another. Bowling leans in, eats another knee. Body kick by Bowling, not much on it. Tarec goes for a spinning kick, Bowling catches it and goes for the takedown, still can’t get it. They’re against the cage trading knees again. Tarec goes upstairs and lands one to the forehead. Tarec unloads in the clinch with body shots. Nice jab by Tarec, Bowling keeps hooking to the body. They hit the mat, Tarec takes his back, pounding the side of Bowling’s head, now going for a rear naked choke, won’t get it but finishes in great form. Tarec should take this one.

The decision is in and it’s unanimous, 30-27 across the board for Tarec Saffiedine.

Mauro interviews Gil Melendez, and Gil is pretty busted up in the face. Musta been sparring with Nick Diaz. Gil tries to convince us, and himself, that’s he’s actually excited to defend his title against Pat Healy.

Up next is Jacare Souza vs Derek Brunson

Jacare rolls up in a gi and flip flops, and he’s getting his swerve on.

Rd 1: The ref with the awesome beard is back. Brunson goes high, misses by a mile. Throws another kick, blocked by Jacare. Jacare drops Brunson, lets him up, then busts him up again to score the finish. Nice.

That didn’t take long. It was a counter right hook that dropped Brunson. Always the gentleman, Jacare thought the fight was over and stopped, but Brunson got back up, so Jacare tagged him again and finished him off.

The main event is next, Ronda Rousey vs Sarah Kaufman.

Ok, so let’s go through this by the numbers. Five professional fights, five first round armbars. Three amateur fights, three first round armbars. Ronda is good at armbars. It just doesn’t get any simpler than that. Kaufman needs to avoid the ground like that fresh fish on the yard needs to avoid the Tossed Salad Guy.

Ronda has been training with the 209. Don’t knock that shit, bitch. The 209 is no joke, and Ronda has taken a liking to that crew. When the Diaz Brothers come on our front porch mama just chase em off with a broom, but some people don’t. Some people invite them in and offer them a cold drink. Ronda is one of them.

Rd 1: Rousey charges forward, ties her up, gets the takedown. uh-oh! Rousey mounts, going for an armbar already. Oh Jesus! Kaufman is putting up a good fight, but she’s in a real shitty position. That’s it, she gets the tap by armbar. AMAZING!

This chick is for real man. They need to make that Cyborg fight happen.

Sweet, Ronda calls out Cyborg.

Well that’s that, folks. We’ll analyze this shit tomorrow.

MMAFix Staff Picks: Strikeforce Rousey vs. Kaufman

Ronda Rousey (-650) vs. Sarah Kaufman (+475) Ryan Poli: Kaufman is a good striker, the best Rousey has faced, but Rousey will have no problem closing the distance and making Kaufman fighter her game. Rousey.

Ronda Rousey (-650) vs. Sarah Kaufman (+475)

Ryan Poli: Kaufman is a good striker, the best Rousey has faced, but Rousey will have no problem closing the distance and making Kaufman fighter her game. Rousey by submission. Winner: Ronda Rousey

Alan Wells: I know Rousey has looked unstoppable but give me the +475 on the former champion all day. Rousey has never been hit hard and Kaufman has been training non-stop on keeping this fight standing. Not only do I love these odds but I’m picking Kaufman straight up to win. Winner: Sarah Kaufman

Ronaldo Souza (-485) vs. Derek Brunson (+385)

Ryan Poli: Souza is one of the best middleweights in the world and people seem to have forgotten that since his loss to Luke Rockhold. Souza’s grappling is top notch and will get Souza another submission. Souza by submission. Winner: Ronaldo Souza

Alan Wells: Brunson isn’t ready for Souza at this point in his career and unless Jacare comes in disinterested, he’ll earn the victory. I don’t see any value in betting either way on this fight. Winner: Ronaldo Souza

Tarec Saffiedine (-300) vs. Roger Bowling (+250)

Ryan Poli: Both fighters won there last 2 fights but Bowling has finished both his opponents while Saffiedine had 2 decision wins, with one of them being a split decision. Bowling has more momentum going for him, and that should get him the win. Bowling by KO. Winner: Roger Bowling

Alan Wells: This fight will be decided early. Either Bowling will land a knockout punch or Saffiedine will survive the early flurry and go on to earn the decision. I’m picking a winner, I’m going with Saffiedine but if I’m betting, give me the +250 on Bowling’s hands.. Winner: Tarec Saffiedine

Ovince St. Preux (-610) vs. T.J. Cook (+425)

Ryan Poli: Close fight to call, but Cook has lost several times by submission, while St. Preux has won several times by submission. St. Preux by submission. Winner: St. Preux

Alan Wells: The opening fight of Strikeforce Rousey vs. Kaufman is obviously designed to get St. Preux a win. But if you’re jonesing to put some money on the main card opener, why not put it on Cook’s right hand? Winner: St. Preux

Strikeforce Rousey vs. Kaufman: Pre-Fight Analysis

Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman As a huge fan of women’s MMA, I’m always excited to see the women get the headlining spot and I’m happy to see Strikeforce giving these athletes their due. Since.

Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman

As a huge fan of women’s MMA, I’m always excited to see the women get the headlining spot and I’m happy to see Strikeforce giving these athletes their due. Since medaling in Judo at the 2008 Olympics, Rousey has burst onto the MMA scene finishing all five of her fights via armbar in the first round. She has some of the best and most explosive grappling in the world of women’s MMA having proved it over and over again. She grapples to finish and not to just control the fight. However, her inexperience in the striking game has been apparent and that could be a problem for her against former champion Sarah Kaufman. Kaufman is one of the best technical strikers in the world and she has shown that repeatedly throughout her career. Her only loss came when she relinquished her title to Marles Coenen via armbar submission in the third round.

This fight has a couple of clear paths it can follow. Rousey will undoubtedly be looking to get this fight to the ground and use her world class Judo to finish the fight. The key will be whether or not her takedowns and throws will be enough to get the fight where she wants it. If she can get Kaufman down, the fight will likely be over quickly as even accomplished grappler Meisha Tate was no match for Rousey on the ground. But Kaufman has worked hard to develop an excellent defensive wrestling game in order to keep her fights standing. As a striker, she obviously has to be able to stay on her feet to execute her gameplan. If she can avoid Rousey’s throws and stuff the takedowns, this fight will get interesting very quickly. Kaufman will have as much of an advantage on the feet as Rousey has on the ground. Rousey has never been hit hard enough to put her in trouble and Kaufman definitely has the ability to do that. It will be very interesting to see what happens if Kaufman can test Rousey’s chin.

The bookmakers have Rousey as a huge favorite at -600 with Kaufman at +450. I know that Rousey has looked unstoppable thus far but she hasn’t faced anyone with the technical striking and defensive wrestling of Sarah Kaufman. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think Kaufman has a real chance to win this fight. This is they type of fight where we will find out early which course the fight will follow. Either Rousey will be able to get Kaufman to the mat and dominate from there or Kaufman will be able to keep the fight standing and show why she is considered one of the best technical boxers in women’s MMA. Either way, this fight is going to be a landmark. If Rousey dominates Kaufman the way she has every other opponent thus far, she will be solidly established as one of the best pound for pound female fighters in the world. But if Kaufman can pull off the upset, Rousey will be exposed and forced to go back to work on developing a full MMA game instead of just relying on her Judo.

Ronaldo Souza vs. Derek Brunson

In another seemingly significant mismatch, veteran and former middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza faces prospect Derek Brunson. Souza’s only loss in Strikeforce came when he dropped the belt to Luke Rockhold and he rebounded from that loss by defeating Bristol Marunde via submission in the third round in his last appearance. Souza has long been one of the best middleweights in the world and might be the best grappler at 185 lbs. His striking is decent but he has always been at his best when he can take his opponents down and work his submission game, which could make this a more interesting fight than expected because his opponent is an excellent wrestler. Brunson is a former collegiate wrestler who achieved at a high level in Division II. His striking has improved since entering MMA and he was undefeated before accepting a last minute fight against veteran Kendall Grove in ShoFight two months ago. He lost that fight via a questionable split decision and one has to question the logic behind a prospect accepting that type of fight. But regardless, he gets a huge opportunity to rebound against Souza.

This fight presents an interesting matchup of styles. Souza will likely struggle to get Brunson to the mat given the latter’s amateur wrestling pedigree. And Brunson will be hesitant to use his best weapon because he won’t want to spend too much time on the ground with Souza. That combination of factors could result in a striking match, which still benefits Souza but eliminates his best offensive attack. Souza comes into this fight as a huge favorite at -485 with Brunson at +385 and that seems appropriate given the gap in experience. But any time fighters are forced to avoid their strengths, upsets can occur. That said, Souza should have a comfortable advantage on the feet and will likely earn the victory but Brunson does have the power to land a knockout punch if given the opportunity. Either way, it will be interesting to see how this fight plays out given the fighters’ styles.

Tarec Saffiedine vs. Roger Bowling

The second fight of the night is likely to be one of the better fights on the card as Tarec Saffiedine and Roger Bowling face off in the welterweight division. With Tyron Woodley losing to Nate Marquardt for the vacant middleweight title, the winner of this fight could move into the title picture with an impressive performance. Saffiedine brings a well-rounded game to the cage and he will look to use that against Bowling. His most recent victories have both come via decision against Scott Smith and Tyler Stinson. He is a capable stand up fighter with solid Muay Thai enhanced by his length and reach advantage. As a Team Quest fighter, he also has excellent wrestling is capable of taking the fight to ground if he doesn’t like the way the striking is going. Bowling has a similar skill set except that his stand up game is mostly boxing and he has more power in his hands than Saffiedine. He can also take the fight to the ground if necessary but prefers to box.

Saffiedine is a significant favorite coming into this fight at -290 with Bowling the underdog at +245. That line seems to be a little too far in favor of Saffiedine. Bowling has the power to end any fight and Saffiedine has show susceptibility to punching power in the past. He was hurt bad by Tyler Stinson in the first round during his last fight and if Bowling is able to land as cleanly as Stinson did, the fight will be over. But Saffiedine does have the more well-rounded game both on the feet and on the ground and that should be enough to earn him a decision victory. The key will be to use his length to control the distance and avoid Bowling’s power. But if he lets Bowling get inside, we could see an upset.

Ovince St. Preux vs. T.J. Cook

To get Strikeforce Rousey vs. Kaufman started, two light heavyweights coming off of losses look to rebound as Ovince St. Preux faces off with T.J. Cook. St. Preux has long been one of Strikeforce’s prized prospects but lost in his last appearance against Gegard Mousasi, which was his first big test. This fight seems to be an effort to get St. Preux back on the winning side as Cook has just two Strikeforce appearances and was less than impressive in losing his last fight to Trevor Smith. Cook had no answers for Smith’s wrestling attack and that plays directly to St. Preux’s strength. Expect St. Preux to use his wrestling to ground Cook and attack with ground and pound from there. St. Preux will be looking for the finish or at least a dominating decision to show that he is still a serious prospect at 205 lbs.

None of the major books have a line on this fight but it’s safe to say that if they did, St. Preux would be a huge favorite. This is a bounce back fight set up for him to win and win impressively. But Cook won’t go along willingly and he has the ability to land some dangerous strikes. The struggle for him will be keeping the fight standing and that will likely be his downfall. Once St. Preux gets the takedown, he will look to pass and strike his way to victory.

Booking Roundup: ‘Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman’ Edition


“It’s okay. He probably didn’t know you were a Strikeforce fighter when he told that last joke…”

Strikeforce is continuing to add fights to its August 18th card, which will go down at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California. Headlined by Ronda Rousey’s first title defense against Sarah Kaufman, the promotion has announced three more bouts for the event.

It may be an exercise in futility to rank Strikeforce bouts in terms of significance, but there are still some interesting matchups on this card. Perhaps the most intriguing of the three recently announced matches is a middleweight showdown between former champion Ronaldo Souza and Derek Brunson. Since losing the strap to Luke Rockhold last September, ‘Jacare’ scored a third round arm-triangle choke over Bristol Marunde in March. Jacare looks to maintain momentum with a win over NCAA D2 All-American wrestler Derek Brunson, which is far easier said than done. Brunson is coming off of an extremely close loss to Kendall Grove at ShoFIGHT 20 two weeks ago after accepting the fight on four days’ notice. That fight, which was the first loss of Brunson’s career, could have easily gone his way. Expect a close fight here.


“It’s okay. He probably didn’t know you were a Strikeforce fighter when he told that last joke…”

Strikeforce is continuing to add fights to its August 18th card, which will go down at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California. Headlined by Ronda Rousey’s first title defense against Sarah Kaufman, the promotion has announced three more bouts for the event.

It may be an exercise in futility to rank Strikeforce bouts in terms of significance, but there are still some interesting matchups on this card. Perhaps the most intriguing of the three recently announced matches is a middleweight showdown between former champion Ronaldo Souza and Derek Brunson. Since losing the strap to Luke Rockhold last September, ‘Jacare’ scored a third round arm-triangle choke over Bristol Marunde in March. Jacare looks to maintain momentum with a win over NCAA D2 All-American wrestler Derek Brunson, which is far easier said than done. Brunson is coming off of an extremely close loss to Kendall Grove at ShoFIGHT 20 two weeks ago after accepting the fight on four days’ notice. That fight, which was the first loss of Brunson’s career, could have easily gone his way. Expect a close fight here.

In welterweight action, Team Quest product Tarec Saffiedine will meet Roger Bowling on this card. Saffiedine has won five of his last six outings, with his most recent fight being a split-decision over Tyler Stinson at January’s ‘Strikeforce – Rockhold vs. Jardine’. Likewise, Bowling will look to make it three straight victories when he steps in the cage against Tarec Saffiedine. His last two bouts, against Jerron Peoples and Brandon Saling, have both ended in knockouts. Will Bowling be able to make it three straight knockouts, or will Saffiedine prove to be too much of a test for “Relentless” Roger?

Also of note, a light-heavyweight tilt between Ovince St. Preux and TJ Cook is also set for the event. St. Preux was on an eight fight win streak until Gegard Mousasi momentarily derailed his hype train with a unanimous decision victory over the former University of Tennessee linebacker at Strikeforce – Melendez vs. Masvidal in December. Likewise, Cook is coming off of a loss by way of a first round guillotine choke at the hands of Trevor Smith at November’s Strikeforce Challengers 20.

We’ll keep you up to date as this card continues to fill out. For the time being, who ya got for these bouts?