Strikeforce: Kaufman vs Coenen Still Top PriorityWhile a superfight between dominant Strikeforce champions Sarah Kaufman and Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos may still be a possibility, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker remains focused on a 135-pound title fight between Kaufman and Marloes “Rumina” Coenen. Coker confirmed with that plans for the Kaufman-Coenen bout are still the top priority.

Recent speculation has suggested that Coenen may have trouble with the weight cut to 135, which led to rumours that Kaufman may face Santos later this year instead, but Coker maintains that that is not the case.

Kaufman (12-0-0) made an emphatic statement in her most recent fight when she knocked out top contender Roxanne Modafferi with a slam late in the third round of a competitive bout. Coenen (17-4-0) was then named as the next challenger for Kaufman’s title, but questions arose as to whether Coenen could safely make 135 pounds. Her camp maintains that she can, and that she will continue to fight at 145 as well, and Coenen will face Kaufman for the title in the coming months. No date has been set as of yet, but the most likely dates would be October 9th or an undetermined date in November.

As first reported here earlier this evening, Strikeforce Challengers 11 is targeted for October 23rd in Fresno, California. However, following her July 23rd victory over Modafferi, Kaufman campaigned to get off of Challengers Series cards and Coker later stated that Kaufman had earned that right. As a result, it is unlikely that the title bout with Coenen will take place on the Fresno card and Strikeforce has no plans to run events in September. According to Coker, further updates on upcoming fights will be made in the next two to three weeks.

Santos (10-1-0) most recently stopped Jan “Cuddles” Finney in June, but the list of challengers for her 145-pound title have run thin. Talk shifted to a potential 140-pound superfight with Kaufman, which Kaufman herself expressed interest in, but Coker stated that Coenen will face Kaufman before any superfights are considered. Coker said that Strikeforce has not yet lined up any future challengers for Santos, but felt that it was an issue that would be addressed after this weekend’s Strikeforce: Houston event. Santos has won eight of her last nine fights by a form of knockout, but has faced criticism for fighting undersized opposition.

Further updates on the status of all three fighters will follow in the coming weeks. Strikeforce: Houston, which does not feature any women’s bouts, takes place this Saturday night and airs live on Showtime and Super Channel.



(Photo Credit: Esther Lin, Strikeforce)