There is a lot of hype around that idea that Women’s MMA needs Cyborg Santos and Gina Carano in order to be successful in Strikerforce. Though both are top fighters in the 145 pound division, Zuffa is hedging their bets by hiring some of the best in the 135 pound division.
In what will be the most competitive and heated women’s match so far under the Zuffa banner, Strikeforce champion Marloes Coenen (#1 in the Unified Rankings) will face Strikeforce Grand Prix champion Miesha Tate (#5 in the Unified Rankings). Coenen, coming off one of the biggest comebacks in women’s MMA history, has been in a war of words with Tate, who pulled out of their match back in March due to a knee injury. A lot of people are telling us to expect an angry Coenen – something that Tate must be weary of.
Even after this fight is over, several contenders are waiting in the wings as Strikeforce has two other 135 pound matches scheduled for July. July 22nd’s Strikeforce Challengers in Vegas features a match of two former title challengers.
Sarah Kaufman (#2 in the Unified Rankings) lost her title to Coenen this past October, but was able to fight in her home country of Canada on the AFC card in April, defeating journeywoman fighter Megumi Yabushita by TKO.
Her opponent is Liz Carmouche (#6 in the Unified Rankings) is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Coenen this past March. Carmouche dominated Coenen for most of the match, but Coenen was able to get triangle choke to get the victory. This should be an exciting, well booked match, and the winner will be back in the hunt for a title shot.
Strikeforce in Chicago July 30 will also feature a top contenders’ match. One of the legends in the sport Julie Kedzie (# in the Unified Rankings) will make her Strikeforce debut against Alexis Davis (#7 in the Unified Rankings). Kedzie has faced a who’s who of the WMMA, including Carasno, Kaitlin Young, Shayna Baszler, and Tonya Evinger. Davis is the former Raging Wolf champion, facing Evinger, Baszler, and Elaina Maxwell. The winner should be next in line for a title shot.
The list continues with Germaine de Randamie and Amanda Nunes (#3 in the 145 pound division in the Unified Rankings), who both fight at 145 and 135 pounds. One fight who is not signed to Strikeforce is Shayna Baszer (#3 in the Unified Rankings), who has been on a 4-0 win streak since her loss to Kaufman, but is expected to get an offer in the next few months.
With several other fighters also on the verge of being signed to the division, the 135 pound division is the most competitive division in Strikeforce male or female. Watch them to make an impact in the next few months.