As far as the oddsmakers are concerned, there is virtually no way the Strikeforce women's bantamweight strap is changing hands this Saturday night (Aug. 18, 2012) at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California.
Prominent betting sites from around the Internet have Ronda Rousey pegged as anywhere from a -550 to a -800 favorite against knockout artist Sarah Kaufman, who is sitting in the +375 to +500 range. To get a sense of how little a shot Kaufman is being given, Mike Massenzio was at or around +400 against Rousimar Palhares back at UFC 142. Cody McKenzie was in the +425 range in what was considered the biggest mismatch of the year against Chad Mendes.
But are these odds fair?What Kaufman offers, more than anyone Rousey has fought before, is a dangerous striking attack. While her knockout output has dropped off lately, she stopped her first eight opponents via knockout. In addition, she's arguably the most experienced 135-pound female against the upper tier of the division, taking on (and defeating) the likes of Miesha Tate, Shayna Baszler, Roxanne Modafferi (kicking off a five-fight skid), Liz Carmouche and Alexis Davis.
The Carmouche fight is of particular interest, as despite the "Girl-Rilla's" great strength and wrestling prowess, the fight took place entirely on the feet and comprised Kaufman kicking Carmouche's booty for 15 minutes on the feet. Further, Kaufman has gone at least three rounds in every fight since May 2009, meaning her cardio is up to snuff.
Rousey, on the other hand, has zero experience past the five-minute mark.
On paper, that's a lot in Kaufman's favor. The issue is that, while she's tough to take down, she's not hard to clinch. Modafferi and Carmouche were both able to at least latch on to her, and against somebody with the Judo prowess of "Rowdy," that's suicide. Despite Kaufman's brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, she's dogmeat if the fight hits the mat.
Plus, her only loss is an armbar submission ... Rousey's specialty.
With all that said, though, her striking ability, takedown defense and experience strike me as worth about a $10 bet. In any case, this fight ought to be great and can potentially be even greater with a victory in the sportsbook.
Strikeforce: "Rousey vs. Kaufman" will also feature former middleweight champion and member of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu trinity, Ronaldo Souza, in action against Derek Brunson. Prospects Tarec Saffiedine and Ovince St. Prieux will also by in action.
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight night (Sat., Aug. 18, 2012), which is slated to air at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime. The latest quick updates of the under card action will begin to flow earlier than that around 8 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on SHO Extreme.
See you then, Maniacs!