Sarah Kaufman retained her woman’s welterweight title in spectacular fashion last night at Strikeforce Challengers 9, but she didn’t have it all her own way against a game Roxanne Modafferi.
Kaufman is undoubtedly the bigger and stronger of the two fighters, but as the two clinched up against the cage early in the round it was Modafferi who used superior technique to leverage herself into a dominant position.
The American based out of Tokyo, Japan also used her judo background to trip Kaufman, scoring the first takedown of the night. It’s clear the Canadian wants no part of the ground game though and stifles her opponent’s offense until the referee stands them up.
It’s at this point, towards the end of the round, that Kaufman’s dominance in the stand-up realm becomes apparent as the two fighters exchange for the first time in the bout. Kaufman’s straight are crisper and more power, connecting with several blows, though Modafferi stands her ground until the bell, and appears to have done enough to put her one round up on the scorecards.
In the second Kaufman starts strongly with a flurry of punches that find their mark but ‘The Happy Warrior’ proves once again that she’s got a solid chin. Realizing she’s outgunned Modafferi then looks to move to safer territory and so the two fighters again spend much of the round in a back and forth battle against the cage.
Modafferi is still coping surprisingly well with the size difference between the two, but Kaufman does well to stop her takedown attempts. Another opportunity to break free from the clinch and throw leather later in the round helps the champion secure the second round in her favor.
It’s not long into the third round before the fighters are back up against the cage as the fight plays out similar to the previous two rounds. Modafferi scores another takedown but again Kaufman limits her offense and eventually gets back to her feet.
As the fight reaches it’s final stages Modafferi opts to pull guard in the center of the cage and begins frantically searching for a submission as the clock runs down. Kaufman is having none of it though and shows her strength by picking her up and then slamming her down onto the back of her head, providing a sudden and spectacular end to the fight as Modafferi lies KO’d on the canvas.
It’s the kind of impressive finish that Kaufman would have been dreaming about before the encounter, and afterwards she took to the mike to ask for a promotion.
“Get me on a main card on Showtime guys. I think I deserve it,” she said, and rightly so.
Her next fight certainly seems like a good candidate for such a spot, as she gets set to take on Marloes Coenen.