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Strikeforce Challengers: 'Kaufman vs Hashi' recap and final thoughts


Strikeforce has now officially crowned it's second female champion as hard hitting Canadian Sarah Kaufman captured the promotion's inaugural welterweight title earlier tonight in the main event of "Challenger Series VI" from the Civic Auditorium in San Jose, California.

Here's how it all went down.

The Canadian brawler needed all five rounds and a judge's decision to claim her new crown, but make no mistake about it, she dominated Takeya Hashi tonight for all twenty five of those minutes.

The Japanese import proved to be resilient, showing a ton of heart by bouncing back numerous times from flooring right hands by Kaufman. But in the end, the grappler hand no answer for the striker.

Kaufman out-boxed Hashi all night long with jabs, combinations, and devastating right hands. She did a nice job mixing in the inside leg kick as well, which only helped in setting up her punches.

The undefeated Zugec Ultimate Martial Arts member's takedown defense deserves a mention as well. It was believed that Hashi would look to take Kaufman to the ground early and often in this fight, but Kaufman was able to keep the action standing for pretty much the entire fight by showing an excellent sprawl and by keeping good separation with her striking.

It wasn't the highlight reel knockout Kaufman was hoping for, but this win was still impressive for the new champion. After the fight she spoke about not being able to get the finish.

Here's a snip:

"She (Hashi) put up a great fight and was hard to finish because she was constantly moving. It was really hard to get a lot of clean shots consecutively on her, mostly because she did have good movement and she was kind of hard to pin in a corner and catch with the cage being as big as it was."

Regardless, Sarah Kaufman is the first ever Strikeforce female welterweight champion and the future looks bright for her in this sport.

In the co-main event of the night a promising slugfest between M-1 Global prospect Karl Amoussou and journeyman Trevor Prangley was brought to a premature and unfulfilling end when the Frenchman suffered an injury from an accidental eye poke by Prangley with less than a minute remaining in the first round.

The first four minutes of the fight weren't without some excitement and a few fireworks though. Both men, especially Amoussou, got off with some big punches. There's no doubt that the fight was on it's way to some sort of highlight reel finish.

Strikeforce will likely look to turn this unfortunate turn of events into a positive by booking the rematch for sometime in the very near future. Keep your ears open for that announcement. It seems like a no-brainer.

Highly touted American Kickboxing Academy product Luke Rockhold extended his streak of five straight wins inside the first round to six tonight with a technical knockout drubbing of former "Ultimate Fighter" contestant Paul Bradley. The AKA trainee used his height as an advantage by landing numerous kicks and punches that had the shorter and less skilled Bradley off balance right from the opening bell.

It was a dominating win for the San Jose resident who has now undoubtedly earned himself a step up in competition for his next fight. He appears to be the real deal and a potential force in the Strikeforce 185 pound class.

Expect to hear the name Luke Rockhold a lot more going forward.

Team Quest welterweight prospect Tarec Saffiedine had an impressive showing in his Showtime debut by picking apart San Jose native James Terry with a precise and technical stand-up attack. "Sponge" improved his overall MMA record to (8-2) and looks to be a solid addition to the Strikeforce roster.

And finally, in the opening bout of the Showtime telecast, undefeated fighers Yancy Medeiros and Raul Castillo went the distance in a three round middleweight contest. Medeiros dominated the fight with superior stand-up and excellent takedown defense, winning easily on the judge's scorecards.

That's a wrap from San Jose.

To check out the complete results and our coverage of the event click here.

Next up for Strikeforce is a return trip to the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California for Strikeforce Challengers 7: "Johnson vs Mahe" on Friday, March 26, 2010, at 11 p.m. ET on SHOWTIME. Lavarr "Big" Johnson and undefeated prospect Lolohea Mahe will headline the event in a heavyweight battle.

Brazilian jiu jitsu experts Luke Stewart and Andre Galvao are also booked to clash in a welterweight affair, and Ron "Abongo" Humphrey, Miesha "Takedown" Tate, Justin "The Silverback" Wilcox and others will also be in action in Fresno.

Keep it locked to for more on that developing fight card and all your Strikeforce news and notes. For Strikeforce Challengers: "Kaufman vs. Hasi" live results and play-by-play click here.

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