Strikeforce’s Ronda Rousey is set to defend her 135-pound women’s title against Sarah Kaufman on Aug. 18 in San Diego, according to MMAFighting.com.
Rousey’s title defense will come five months after she defeated then-titleholder Miesha Tate in a bout that left Tate with a broken arm, surrounded Rousey with media attention and made women’s MMA an entirely new state of attraction.
Since then, hype has only built around Rousey, who has become a figurehead for both the female presence in MMA and the effectiveness of judo as one of the mixed martial arts. She’s also placed herself among the best fighters and will enter the cage in August with a 5-0 professional record.
But the Canadian Sarah Kaufman comes to the fight with much more experience; her professional record stands at 15-1.
Kaufman was expected to fight for the title after her win last July over Liz Carmouche, but Rousey’s quick and exciting run to the top ultimately placed her in a stronger and perhaps more marketable position to contend.
The upcoming fight, then, will be a proving ground for both fighters from many angles. Rousey will be expected to again show that the hype around her is warranted. She’ll also have to demonstrate the success of her judo against the strong striking of Kaufman, who has taken 10 of her 15 victories by KO or TKO.
On the other hand, Kaufman must show her ability to utilize striking as a strength over Rousey’s ground game. Kaufman’s only loss came in 2010 to Marloes Coenen in Round 3 when Coenen worked through Kaufman’s ground and pound and caught Kaufman in an armbar—the same move often employed by Rousey.
Regardless of the result, the fight promises to be an exciting first title defense for Rousey and telling for the futures of both fighters.