by Dann Stupp and Steven Marrocco
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sarah Kaufman should get a shot to reclaim her belt, but she had to survive a bloodbath to get it.
Strikeforce’s former women’s bantamweight champion engaged in a bloody slugfest and then fended off a late rally from Alexis Davis to pick up a majority-decision victory.
The fight was the featured preliminary-card attraction of “Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey” at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. It aired on Showime Extreme prior to the Showtime-televised main card.
Kaufman, who missed a shot at Miesha Tate’s title when big-talking Olympian Ronda Rousey leapfrogged her for tonight’s main event, had her hands full with a fellow Canadian.
Davis stood toe to toe and landed some effective punches from the clinch. Kaufman, though, slowed and then stunned her with a quick right. Davis remained in the pocket, but Kaufman landed frequently and did noticeable damage to her opponent’s face. In fact, midway through the round, the ref called for a timeout so the doctor could examine a nasty gash over Davis’ left eye.
Despite a four-inch slice, the fight was allowed to continue, and Davis worked with a sense of urgency. She continued trading heavy shots for the remainder of the round and even opened a facial cut of her own with a stiff forearm strike. The entertaining and bloody bout ended to a big ovation.
The second round continued with bloody exchanges. After trading punches, Kaufman clinched up and proved to be the stronger fighter in close quarters. Davis didn’t back down and mixed in some kicks, but Kaufman simply had the bigger output in the round.
In the third, Davis’ knees started to land more accurately, and she mixed in a trip-takedown to get the fight to the mat. A series of elbow strikes and short punches forced Kaufman into a defensive mode. Davis desperately worked for an armbar and then focused on dominant top positions to deliver a stream of punches. She dominated the round, but she didn’t get the stoppage she needed.
At the end of a bloodbath that won over the Columbus crowd, Kaufman picked up the majority decision via 29-29, 29-28 and 29-28 scores.