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History in the Making: Sarah Kaufman fights her way back to a Strikeforce title shot

March 3, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Sarah Kaufman lands a right on a bloodied Alexis Davis  during the Strikeforce Grand Prix final at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
March 3, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Sarah Kaufman lands a right on a bloodied Alexis Davis during the Strikeforce Grand Prix final at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

Sometimes losses can define someone's career more than their wins.

Chuck Liddell has come dangerously close to this point as his last three appearances inside the Octagon -- all knockout losses -- overshadow his dominant run as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight kingpin.

And this weekend, Sarah Kaufman will stand at the same crossroads.

There's been a lot of trash talk back and forth between her and her champion opponent Ronda Rousey. Kaufman, a 16 fight veteran over a six year period has stated she doesn't feel "Rowdy" earned her spot and simply received a title shot by being a pretty face.

Rousey responds with her spotless record, each of her five victories coming within the distance by way of armbar.

When the cage door closes this Saturday (August 18) for the main event of Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman, there will be no more talking, no more jawing back and forth between these two Bantamweight beauties.

Before the big fight, we'll take a look at the last of Kaufman's latest three victories -- a brutal war with Alexis Davis -- which gave the Canadian the opportunity to fight for the belt which once rested around her waist.

Let's go.

Ironically enough, Kaufman and Davis offered support for Rousey's title fight with Miesha Tate back in March. Most of the attention was on the two ladies in the main event but both Kaufman and Davis were eager to steal some of that spotlight.

The first stanza opens up with both ladies more than willing to slug it out. The two tie up and Davis begins bludgeoning the former champion with uppercuts and short hooks. The British Columbia native responds with a stifling straight which visibly wobbles her opponent.

Kaufman begins to brutalize Davis in the stand up and not even midway through the opening round, Davis is busted open over her left eye which is also beginning to swell. The gash is bad enough to warrant a temporary stoppage.

Once the fight restarts, Kaufman continues to utilize her crisper striking while Davis seems to operate on toughness and guile. Whatever it is, it's enough that a nice elbow cracks the former champ across the temple, busting Kaufman open as well.

Five minutes into the fight and both bantamweights are bloody messes.

In the second round, the former champion controls the bout when there is distance between her and her opponent while Davis does better for herself when she's clinching the King of the Cage veteran up and utilizing a dirty boxing gameplan.

But as the seconds begin to tick away, Kaufman proves why she was once on the mountaintop of Strikeforce's women's division as she begins to pull away with her superior stand up. She begins to find her range and counter Davis' strikes on a regular basis.

The final heat begins as more of the same from the former champ who seems intent on winning the bout and getting a second crack at the title she lost to Marloes Coenen. Davis is looking overmatched until she grabs hold of her opponent and drags her to the canvas, drawing cheers from the Columbus, OH crowd.

Kaufman weathers a ground and pound storm and survives an armbar attempt from Davis before finally sweeping Davis. But her fellow Canadian returns the favor almost immediately and bombards the former champion with ground and pound to end the bout.

But it wasn't enough.

Kaufman took away the majority decision that night and with it, earned a shot the title Rousey would win later in the night.

With all the hype and build up to Saturday's main event, a loss for either fighter could potentially define their career.

A loss for Kaufman would likely keep her out of the title picture for the foreseeable future while a loss for "Rowdy" would prove everything the former champ said about her was correct.

More than any other, this is a fight neither lady can afford to lose.

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