The Strikeforce: "Tate vs. Rousey" event blew the roof off the Nationwide Arena tonight (March 3, 2012) in Columbus, Ohio, but before Miesha Tate put her bantamweight title on the line against Ronda Rousey on Showtime, there was plenty of preliminary action going down over on Showtime Extreme.
Alexis Davis and Sarah Kaufman put on quite a show for the Ohio crowd, in what was a potential number one contender's bout to earn the right to battle against the winner of tonight's main event, while the son of a mixed martial arts (MMA) legend also looked to make his own star shine brighter in Ryan Couture.
Lightweights Caros Fodor and Pat Healy looked to climb the 155-pound ladder while welterweights Roger Bowling and promotion newcomer Brandon Saling fought to make statements of their own. There was plenty of action to warm you up for the star-studded main card.
Make the jump for a complete recap of the undercard action for Strikeforce: "Tate vs. Rousey."
Ryan Couture looked to restart his win streak after his perfect MMA record was ruined by Matt Ricehouse last June. Conor Heun was standing in his way as he was trying to make a little bit of noise himself in a very shallow Strikeforce lightweight division, where a fighter is one impressive win away from possible title shot contention.
After two rounds of back-and-forth action that was mostly dominated by Couture, Ryan picked up his intensity in the final frame as he looked to be the fresher of the two fighters heading into the third round. Couture used his grappling skills to take the fight to the ground and once it hit the mat, it was all she wrote for Heun.
Ryan landed punch after punch that had no answer in return from Heun. The referee stepped in and put a halt to the bout, giving Couture a very impressive technical knockout victory.
Caros Fodor entered his lightweight clash against Pat Healy on a five-fight win streak under the Strikeforce banner, while Healy was coming off an impressive rear-naked choke victory over Maximo Blanco and a three fight win streak of his own.
Fodor stormed out of the gates early looking for a quick finish, but Healy was able to fend of the initial attack and make it a competitive fight. The two 155-pound fighters exchanged strikes and takedowns in what was a pretty even fight heading into the third round. However, Healy made sure this one wasn't going to the judges as he slapped on a tight arm-triangle choke after a failed submission attempt from Fodor, which forced the tap late in the third and final frame.
Outstanding work from "Bam Bam," who ended Caro's five-fight win streak and put himself on the lightweight map.
Welterweights Roger Bowling and Strikeforce newcomer Brandon Saling took center stage next looking to put on a show. Both men came out swinging in the first round, rocking one another with powerful strikes. Bowling controlled the exciting first round, but newcomer Saling was not backing down one bit and proved to be a game opponent.
Unfortunately for Saling, he left all of his energy in the opening frame as Bowling took advantage of an exhausted opponent and trapped him in a crucifix position and proceeded to land a series of right hands that gave the official no choice but to put a halt and save Brandon from taking anymore unnecessary punishment.
Has a new 170-pound contender emerged?
Tate and Rousey weren't the only women looking to show off their fighting skills tonight as a possible number one contender's bantamweight bout capped the undercard action between two of the best as Sarah Kaufman and Alexis Davis battled it out.
And show of their skills they did.
Both women came out swinging from the get-go with Kaufman cutting the eye of Davis early with some clean shots, but Kaufman returned the favor with a nice elbow of her own. Both fighters continued their steady pace of exchanging combinations and by the end of the first round, both were covered in their own blood, in what was a very exciting first round.
Round two was no different, both ladies picked up where they left off, exchanging kicks and strikes, though both were visibly winded from the furious opening frame.
Heading into the third round, Davis was down on the scorecards and need a finish to pull out the victory and nearly mounted what would have been a nice comeback, as she took Kaufman down and inflicted some ground-and-pound, but unfortunately for Davis, it was too little, too late.
The judges awarded the unanimous decision victory to Sarah Kaufman in what was truly an exciting fight. Tate and Rousey will have to put on a great performance in order to top these two.
That's a wrap for all the undercard action, for complete Strikeforce results and play-by-play action of the main card fisticuffs click here.
Full preliminary cards results:
135 lbs.: Sarah Kaufman def. Alexis Davis via majority decision.
170 lbs.: Roger Bowling def. Brandon Saling via TKO at 1:15 of round 2
155 lbs.: Pat Healy def. Caros Fodor via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 3:35 of round 3
155 lbs.: Ryan Couture def. Conor Heun via TKO at 2:52 of round 3