by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com (Photo courtesy of Arnold Lim)
(Photo courtesy of Arnold Lim)
It didn’t pack the firepower that most expected, but Sarah Kaufman dominated her way to being crowned the first ever Strikeforce women’s welterweight (135-pound) champion on Friday night at Strikeforce Challengers 6 in San Jose, Calif.
Kaufman established her jab early and kept it going throughout the bout to keep Takayo Hashi at bay. The Canadian bomber dropped her Japanese opponent several times over the course of the bout, but never with the follow up flurry that fans have come to expect out of Kaufman.
“It was really hard to get a lot of clean shots consecutively on her, mostly because she had good movement,” said Kaufman after the fight. “I’m sorry to the fans if it wasn’t as fast-paced as my fights normally are. I just couldn’t do any more than I did.”
Hashi, who said she was going to wait until the later rounds to go for a submission finish, did attempt to get the fight to mat in the later rounds, but Kaufman would have none of it. She continually fended off Hashi’s takedown attempts, following with her relentless jabbing and frequent counter straight right hand.
“I want to finish fights; they’re so exciting with those big finishes,” added Kaufman. “Some people really are just hard to finish.”
Hashi is one of those people, but the unanimous decision easily went to Kaufman, who is now the Strikeforce women’s welterweight champion.
What was shaping up to be an entertaining battle between Trevor Prangley and Karl Amoussou was cut short late in round one. Just as Amoussou was showing his hand speed and Prangley establishing the timing on his powerful punches, Prangley accidently poked Amoussou in the eye. Upon examination, the ringside doctor determined that Amoussou couldn’t immediately continue. Since the fight was stopped due to an injury caused by an accidental foul, the bout was ruled a technical draw.
One of the hottest prospects in the Strikeforce promotion, middleweight Luke Rockhold proved he has a lot more than submissions, though six of his wins have come that way, with his first round victory over Paul Bradley.
Relishing the chance to display his striking, Rockhold did just that, dropping Bradley several times in the bout, the final time via a head kick followed by a knee to the body that had the referee calling a halt to the fight.
“I was surprised. I thought he was gonna come in a little harder for the takedown,” said Rockhold after the fight.
Looking to keep making his way up the ladder of Strikeforce’s most stacked division, he said, “I want to get some tough competition, a well-rounded, big fighter. I’d like to move up.”
Belgian fighter Tarec Saffiedine derailed Cung Le trained James Terry early in the Showtime telecast. Fighting out of Team Quest with Dan Henderson, Saffiedine picked Terry apart with a wide array of strikes, but regularly with an effective jab, throughout their three-round bout. Terry was bleeding freely from a gash under his left eye by the end of the fight, losing a unanimous decision to Saffiedine.
Much like Saffiedine did with Terry, Hawaiian Yancy Medeiros used a superior striking attack to outpoint Raul Castillo over the 15-minute duration of their bout. Castillo shot for the takedown several times, but Medeiros answered nearly all of them with a strong takedown defense then countered with his strong striking attack to score a unanimous decision.
STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS 6: FEBRUARY 26, 2010 ON SHOWTIME
venue: The Civic Auditorium in San Jose, California
Main Bouts (On Showtime):
-Sarah Kaufman def. Takayo Hashi by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45), R5
-Trevor Prangley vs. Karl Amoussou ruled a Technical Draw (Accidental Foul) at 4:14, R1
-Luke Rockhold def. Paul Bradley by TKO (Strikes) at 2:24, R1
-Tarec Saffiedine def. James Terry by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), R3
-Yancy Medeiros def. Raul Castillo by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), R3