Mixed Martial Arts returns to San Diego today with Strikeforce fights at the Valley View Casino Arena. I attended the weigh-in’s yesterday at the Arena, which was fun because you get to see the fighters from a fairly close distance and get a feel for the confidence levels of the various fighters. There will be a total of 9 fights, 6 with men and 3 with women.
I think there are two particularly interesting fights on the card.
The Main Event, featuring the current Strikrforce Woman’s Bantamweight (135 lbs) Champ, Rhonda Rousey (5-0)vs. Sarah Kaufman (15-1), who is a former Strikeforce Champ in this division. This fight was will be a classic contrast of styles, pitting Rousey’s high level judo (she won the Bronze Medal at the 2008 Olympics) and grappling against Kaufman’s high level boxing. Rousey has won every one of her pro fights by submission (armbar). Kaufman has only lost one fight and that was by an armbar, so it will be interesting to if she can prevent Rousey from submitting her. I’m going to give the edge to Rousey. I think if Rousey can take the fight to the ground Kaufman won’t be able to handle her Olympic level judo skills. But, and this is a big but, she has to careful about avoiding strikes that could KO her.
Rousey by submission, 2nd Rd.
Men’s middleweight fight:
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (15-3) vs. Derek Brunson (9-1)
Souza is the heavy favorite for this fight. The Brazilian is a 5-time World Jui Jitsu Champion Brunson and trains with the famous Black House team, which also includes Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida, among others. Brunson , OTOH, has some serious Wrestling credentials. Brunson is a former 3-time Div. II All-American (UNC-Pembroke). Brunson also trains at the highly regarded Jackson’s MMA in New Mexico. So, Brunson may give Jacare a battle, we’ll see.
In the end I think Souza’s ground game will be too much for Brunson.
Souza wins by submission, 2nd Rd.
This fight is a consequential because if Souza wins it is believed he will receive a rematch with current Strikeforce Middleweight Champ Luke Rockhold. Both Rockhold and Souza are very good fighters and it would be very interesting to see how one or both of them would fare against highly ranked UFC fighters. Now that Zuffa owns both promotions it may be possible that we will see Rockhold, Souza and a few others take on UFC fighters within the next year or two, at least I hope that happens. It would be great for the fans.
Post Fight Commentary
Well, I went for 2 for 2 with picks, but I honestly did not think that Rousey and Souza would make such short work of their respective opponents.
How awesome is Rousey’s ground game?!? At this point, all her opponents know she is going to try to secure an armbar and yet they can’t stop it. Took all of 54 seconds this time!
As for Jacare Souza, I guess I should have added he has pretty good hands too. Brunson found out about that the hard way, being KO’d in the first round. Strikeforce definitely has to set up a rematch fight between Rockhold and Souza. Let the winner take on a top 5 UFC middleweight.