Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey is expected to make the first defence of her title against former champ Sarah Kaufman on August 18th in San Diego, California. MMAFighting.com first reported on the matchup this week. A venue has not yet been confirmed.
Rousey captured the 135-pound title with a first-round armbar submission victory over Miesha “Takedown” Tate in March. She has yet to taste defeat and all eight of her pro and amateur bouts have ended in the first round. Kaufman has won three straight since losing the title in October 2010.
Rousey (5-0-0) has attracted a significant fan following during her short time in MMA and engaged in a war of words leading up to the title bout with Tate earlier this year. The 2008 Olympic bronze medallist judoka backed up her pre-fight trash talk by vanquishing Tate in just under four and a half minutes to capture the belt in her bantamweight debut. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has recently entertained thoughts of a future bout between Rousey and former Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, who remains under suspension until December, but Rousey will first have to get past Kaufman in August. Rousey has used armbars to submit all five of her pro opponents in a combined time of just 6:45.
Kaufman (15-1-0) made a name for herself by opening her career with seven straight knockout wins in her native Canada and became the first and only Hardcore Fighting Championship women’s champion in 2007. She made one defence of the title before moving on to new opportunities south of the border, where she debuted for Strikeforce with a victory over Tate in May 2009. Kaufman became the inaugural Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion with a five-round decision victory over Takayo Hashi in February 2010 and defended the belt with a third-round slam knockout of Roxanne Modafferi five months later. She suffered her first and only loss to Marloes Coenen later that year and relinquished her title, but has bounced back strong with three victories, including a big win over compatriot Alexis Davis in an action-packed rematch in March.
Despite her relative inexperience in MMA, Rousey has thus far made the sport look easy and she aims to make another statement by defeating the former champion in August. Kaufman, meanwhile, has eyes on reclaiming the title and her former spot atop the women’s 135-pound division.
Rousey and Kaufman are expected to face off on August 18th in San Diego, California. The event may take place at the Valley View Casino Center and the women’s title tilt could headline the card.