Following changes made late this week, MMARising.com can exclusively report that the one-night Strikeforce 135-pound women’s tournament will proceed on August 13th and all four participants are confirmed. A plan is in place to use a random draw format to determine first-round matchups.
As first reported here last month, Carina “Beauty But The Beast” Damm, Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano and Maiju Kujala will all compete in the tournament. Miesha “Takedown” Tate has now stepped in to replace original participant Marloes “Rumina” Coenen, who will no longer take part.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed on July 2nd that the 135-pound tournament would take place all in one night and that an eight-woman field was targeted, pending approval from the Arizona State Boxing Commission. The tournament format was later adjusted to a four-woman bracket, but will still take place over the course of a single evening. Along with the formatting change, Coenen, who had verbally agreed to take part, will no longer compete in the tournament and has been replaced by Tate.
MMARising.com first learned of the participation of Damm, Akano and Kujala on June 22nd. Manager Shu Hirata, who represents both Damm and Akano, confirmed today that Damm is still scheduled to debut for Strikeforce in the tournament and has not been replaced. She will make her first appearance in a major U.S. promotion since a 2008 positive test for steroids. Damm has remained active in Brazil and has now won ten straight fights. The jiu-jitsu ace will move up slightly from her natural weight class of 125 pounds.
Additional sources have confirmed with MMARising.com today that lead Strikeforce matchmaker Rich Chou is in Arizona to meet with the commission to establish whether a random drawing of names – to be conducted at the weigh-ins on August 12th – can be utilised to determine the first-round tournament matchups. As of this afternoon, no decisions have been made and the promotion will manually put together the matchups if approval is not received. Both rounds of the tournament will take place on August 13th at Strikeforce Challengers 10, which emanates from Phoenix, Arizona.
The tournament winner will receive a Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight (135-Pound) Championship title shot against the victor of the July 23rd bout between champion Sarah Kaufman and challenger Roxanne Modafferi. That fight takes place at Strikeforce Challengers 9 in Everett, Washington.
Strikeforce 135-Pound Women’s Tournament Participants: