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Rousey vs. Kaufman: Memorable Moments from Strikeforce in San Diego

Nick CaronAnalyst IJune 21, 2016

Rousey vs. Kaufman: Memorable Moments from Strikeforce in San Diego

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    When Gina Carano began her acting career, a hole opened up in the world of women’s MMA.

    For a short time, it appeared that former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Miesha Tate was the lady who would fill that void, but her reign on the top of the sport didn’t last long. She was quickly disposed of by perhaps the most skilled woman we have ever seen in the sport: Ronda Rousey.

    Rousey got a chance to do what Tate couldn’t earlier in her career do by defeating Sarah Kaufman.

    As the star that is Ronda Rousey continues to grow in 2012, would her hype be derailed just months after it started?

    Let’s look back at the most memorable moments from Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman from San Diego. 

An Illegal Strike Leads to a TKO

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    Adlan Amagov had something to prove on Saturday night.

    Coming off of his first loss since 2008, Amagov looked to get back in the win column in his fourth Strikeforce bout, this time against Keith "KO Kid" Berry. He wasted practically no time in doing so, getting a very quick TKO victory in less than one minute of action.

    After landing a spinning body kick that clearly caught Berry off guard, he immediately followed up with a push kick to the front of Berry's knee, buckling it in the process.

    The kick, an uncommon strike which the Strikeforce announcers deemed to be illegal, caused Berry to fall to the ground where Amagov landed some punches before referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the contest.

    A disappointed Berry immediately stood up after the stoppage and began protesting, but it was too late. 

    2012 just has not been Herb Dean's best year of refereeing. 

King Bobby Green

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    With Burger King crowns in hand to give out to fans in the crowd, and an American flag draped around his shoulders, Bobby Green made a memorable entrance in the opening bout.

    Years after the closing of Pride, fun entrances are becoming increasingly rare, but it’s always good to see fighters have some fun before they get in the cage and do something that involved such intensity.

    Green wasn’t all show, either, as he was able to achieve a unanimous decision victory against Matt Ricehouse.

Tate Back in the Win Column

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    Five months after nearly having her career ended in a terrible-looking arm injury against Ronda Rousey, former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Miesha Tate was back in the cage, this time against one of the more legendary females in the history of the sport: Julie Kedzie.

    Kedzie actually had Tate reeling early in the first round when she rocked her with a series of big punches before sprawling away from numerous takedowns. She even nearly had a couple different submissions on the former champ in the second round.

    But the third round was when Tate made her pay for a mistake.

    Kedzie landed a huge head kick to the face on Tate, sending her to the mat in what looked like it would be a TKO. Kedzie wasn't able to finish, though, and Tate threw up her legs for an armbar. The veteran battled it for as long as she could, but Tate was finally able to separate her arms and finish the submission.

    Even given the loss, Kedzie has nothing to be ashamed of in this performance. At 31 years old, she may very well have extended her career with her showing.

A Violent One-Punch Knockout

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    Winner of eight of his previous nine fights heading into Saturday night's Strikeforce event, Ovince St. Preux made it nine of his past 10 with an impressive knockout of T.J. Cook in the opening fight of the main card.

    After likely winning the first two rounds of the contest, St. Preux didn't let it go to the judges as he utilized his seven-inch reach advantage to knock out Cook with a huge left hook that instantly ended the fight. 

    The knockout was St. Preux's first since July 2010, but if he continues to improve, it certainly won't be his last. 

Mike Beltran’s Mustache

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    For those who have seen it before, it’s something of a legend already. If you’re new to MMA or just haven’t been fortunate enough to see Mike Beltran referee a fight, go back and watch Saturday night’s Strikeforce event if you want to see the most epic mustache in the history of mustaches.

    Just look at that thing! 

    Never in my life have I seen a mustache sway like hair in the wind, but Beltran's mustache does just that, following his movements around the cage.

    Only a true man could rock that mustache, and Mike Beltran is as manly as it gets.

Working off His Back

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    Most fighters with 25 professional fights have been competing for years and years, but at just 24 years old, Anthony "Lionheart" Smith hasn't yet reached his fifth year.

    Still, his experience and technique were on display on Saturday night as he submitted Lumumba Sayers in the first round of their Strikeforce bout from San Diego.

    Smith achieved a full mount early in the round and it looked as if the fight was going to end early, but when Sayers escaped and got back to his feet, the game changed. Smith slipped and ended up on his back where it looked as if Sayers might be able to do some damage.

    Smith was able to keep his composure, though, and used his technical skills to trap Sayers' arm before slapping on a triangle choke where he would get a quick submission. 

Two in a Row

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    Both Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Derek Brunson got their second straight of something during their co-main event fight on Saturday night, but only one fighter walked out happy.

    For Souza, a 41-second knockout was just what the doctor ordered. He has now very clearly reasserted himself as the top contender for Luke Rockhold's Strikeforce middleweight championship.

    It was Jacare's second impressive victory since his loss to Rockhold this past September, the first of which came in March against Bristol Marunde by way of an arm-triangle choke. 

    The impressive knockout was the first of Jacare's career, but he has been training with the likes of Anderson Silva and Junior dos Santos, so the jiu-jitsu legend is only getting scarier with every fight.

    Unfortunately, the night didn't go as well for Derek Brunson, who was dealt his second loss in a row after going off 9-0 to start his career.

Ronda Rousey Is Truly Unbelievable

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    When Ronda Rousey first came on to the scene, she was simply overwhelming her opponents with her pure judo skills that no one at the lower levels could really compete with.

    The doubters questioned whether someone with little MMA experience could actually compete against top-level talent, but Rousey answered that earlier in 2012 when she defeated Miesha Tate with a first-round armbar—the same way that she had won every fight before that.

    On paper, Sarah Kaufman brought new challenges to Rousey in her powerful striking. In the end, the Canadian fell just the same as every other opponent—a first-round armbar. 

    Analysts said that Kaufman's best chance in this fight was to keep it on the feet, but when Rousey came out swinging, it seemed to catch Kaufman off guard. By the time she could react, Kaufman had her back against the cage and Rousey was taking her to the mat. 

    From there, Rousey landed a few punches before exploding with an armbar attempt. Kaufman did her best to battle the submission, rolling all around, changing the angle and doing everything in her power to escape, but Rousey was relentless and finally got the tap to retain her title. 

The Challenge

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    After months of talk in the media, Ronda Rousey finally made her intentions known for her next fight when she stood in the center of the cage and publicly challenged Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos following her win over Sarah Kaufman.

    "First of all, I need to send out a challenge to Miss Cyborg out there," she said before answering any questions from Mauro Ranallo. "People want to see you have the first fair fight of your life. I'm the champ now. The champ doesn't come to you, you come to the champ. Come down to 135 (lbs) and let's settle this!"

    Cyborg, who is currently serving a suspension due to a positive steroid test stemming from her most recent fight, is the reigning Strikeforce women's featherweight (145-pound) champion. Given her muscular frame, it appears she has even had trouble making that weight on occasion.

    It will be interesting to see whether Cyborg even attempts to make 135, but there is no doubt that this is the fight that everyone wants to see. 

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