Women’s MMA is going through an important time in its evolution as Strikeforce Bantamweight Female champion Ronda Rousey leads the sport closer to the mainstream. This Saturday she will attempt to defend her title for the first time against the technical striking skills of Sarah Kaufman, and many eyes will be watching to see if she can handle her next MMA challenge.
Also on the Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman fight card, Ronaldo Souza faces Derek Brunson, while Roger Bowling will be in tough against Tarec Saffiedine. Action is available on all three fights at Bovada, and three heavy favorites have been clearly established.
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Can Kaufman defend against the takedown?
It’s no secret to MMA betting fans that Kaufman has to find a way to keep her fight against Rousey standing for as long as possible. She holds a sizable edge in a striking battle, and since Rousey has never really been hit in any of her fights thus far it could only take one well-placed punch or kick to bring the Rousey freight train to a screeching halt.
Rousey is currently a Bovada -600 favorite to deliver another submission outcome against Kaufman and show the world that she indeed belongs on the top of the heap of the 135-pound female fighters. The Kaufman upset will currently pay +400 and could be worth the risk if her movement is good enough to keep her off the mat and out of certain danger.
Saffiedine looks to record second 2012 win
Saffiedine will look to push his record to three straight wins – and get his second in 2012 - with a victory over Bowling. Oddsmakers at Bovada currently have Saffiedine as a heavy -300 favorite to get past Bowling, who has dropped two of his last five fights. Saffiedine’s kickboxing pedigree is expected to be too much for his opponent to handle, but with both fighters willing to stand-and-bang there’s always a chance for an upset outcome.
Bowling will be looking to record his third straight KO victory and will currently pay +240 at Bovada if he manages to do it. He will have a puncher’s chance but will likely have a better chance of winning the fight if he can get the battle to the ground and hold a dominant position to negate the striking onslaught he will surely face from Saffiedine.
Can Derek Brunson bounce back this week?
Before facing former UFC contender Kendall Grove this past June Brunson was 9-0 with four KOs and three submission victories. However, he will be in tough this weekend against another veteran fighter in Souza, and oddsmakers have Brunson handicapped as the +350 underdog. This big of a test for a young fighter coming off his first loss looks like a classic example of a fighter getting pushed into bouts for which he might not be quite ready.
Former Strikeforce Middleweight champion Souza has been one of the top Middleweights fighting outside of the UFC for over three years. The submission specialist will look to do what he always does and use his improved stand-up skills to work his way to a takedown and submission finish. His elite jiu-jitsu skills are enough to make him a -500 favorite over his younger, more inexperienced opponent.
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