Former Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion Marloes “Rumina” Coenen returned to 145 pounds and scored a convincing win over French rival Romy Ruyssen on Saturday night at Invicta Fighting Championships 1 in Kansas City, Kansas. Coenen spoke with MMARising.com after her fight.
While the rivalry with Ruyssen was settled on Saturday, another remains for Coenen. The 31-year-old Dutch star still has eyes on a rematch with Cindy “Battlecat” Dandois, whom she was originally set to face on last night’s card, but she does not feel that Dandois will ever answer the challenge.
Coenen (20-5-0) employed a smart and effective game plan in the rematch with Ruyssen (5-2-0) and did not play into her opponent’s strengths as she had done in the first meeting in 2008. According to Coenen, primary components of the game plan set forth by Team Golden Glory coach Martijn de Jong on Saturday were to maintain a measured pace early on, avoid Ruyssen’s attempts to take the fight to the mat and to pick Ruyssen apart with knees and kicks to the legs.
“Martijn knows me so well and knows that I’m really fierce always, so he just told me not to get crazy in the first round, [and] to just take it simple and easy and then put on the pressure in the second round,” Coenen told MMARising.com. “So that went well in the first round, but I thought I broke my [left ring] finger and I had to change my game plan a little bit because I couldn’t use my left hand anymore. What Martijn also told me was to work the legs so that if she got it to the ground she wouldn’t have a good guard anymore. That’s why I was against the cage working with knees to her legs.”
Ruyssen attempted to pull guard on multiple occasions in Saturday’s rematch, but unlike in 2008, Coenen did not fall for it and did not allow her opponent to bring her to the mat for prolonged stretches. She recalls thinking back to what happened in her first fight with Ruyssen and using that knowledge to her advantage in the rematch.
“I knew that Romy wanted to push Marloes to the cage and work from there to get her to the ground,” de Jong said about the fight. “I just told Marloes to keep her head inside and keep pushing with her head so [Romy] couldn’t go under and take her down. I told Marloes to work the legs to slow [Romy] down so the takedowns wouldn’t be so good anymore. That was the thing that I wanted Marloes to do and she did it well.”
De Jong believes that it was crucial for Coenen to drag Ruyssen into the deep waters of rounds two and three, as all of Ruyssen’s wins have come inside the first round.
“I told Marloes from the beginning that that was our strategy,” he says. “Romy, in her MMA career, has won all of her fights in the first round, and then [originally] lost to Marloes in the second round. I told Marloes to try to take it to the second or third because Romy isn’t used to that and Marloes is much more experienced. The longer that the fight goes, the more that [Marloes] will grow and the more that Romy will fade. And towards the end, Marloes had hurt her finger so I told her to use the right hand and combine with the low kicks.”
The strategy worked, and after her successful performance in Saturday’s main event, Coenen looks to return to Invicta FC soon. She hopes to receive a chance to avenge a loss to Belgium’s Cindy Dandois, who defeated Coenen in early 2009, but even though that fight was originally set to take place on Saturday, Coenen is not confident that the rematch will ever come to fruition.
Coenen, who was severely ill leading up to the first fight, says that she offered the rematch to Dandois many times after Dandois spoke of not being able to get any fights. When confronted face to face, however, Dandois seemed to shy away from the prospect of facing Coenen for a second time.
Thought she lost out on the opportunity to face Dandois on Saturday, Coenen was not going to miss out on a chance to fight on the inaugural Invicta FC card. She had been filming a Survivor-esque reality show in Thailand, enduring difficult conditions during the competition, but opted to leave the show in order to get in a full training camp for Invicta FC 1.
Coenen’s contract with Invicta FC is exclusive within North America and her focus now is on staying with the promotion for the long-term. A move back to Strikeforce does not appear to be in the cards for Coenen, but both she and de Jong expressed interest in having Coenen compete on Glory MMA cards at home in The Netherlands when her schedule permits. Glory is working on securing new investors and an expanded television deal, which would provide Coenen and other fighters on the Glory cards with a chance to compete in front of larger audiences.
In the meantime, Coenen hopes to return to Kansas City on July 28th for Invicta FC 2.
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)