Sarah Kaufman stands but one win away from a crack at the title she once held. Popular opinion is on her side.
An overwhelming 97 percent of users with the Sherdog MMA Pick’Em fantasy game expect Kaufman to defeat Alexis Davis as part of the Strikeforce “Tate vs. Rousey” prelims on Saturday at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The winner of their three-round encounter figures to emerge as the top contender for the women’s bantamweight championship.
Kaufman (14-1, 5-1 SF) will carry a two-fight winning streak into the bout. The 26-year-old Canadian last appeared at Strikeforce Challengers 17 in July, when she captured a unanimous decision from Liz Carmouche at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Kaufman has delivered 10 of her 14 professional victories by knockout or technical knockout, including her triumph over Davis five years ago. She won the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight crown in February 2010, only to relinquish it in a submission loss to Marloes Coenen eight months later.
A champion inside the Raging Wolf promotion, Davis (11-4, 2-0 SF) has rattled off three consecutive wins. The 27-year-old Canadian last fought at Strikeforce “Barnett vs. Kharitonov” in September, when she stopped Amanda Nunes on second-round punches at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. Anchored at Dayboll Jiu-Jitsu, Davis has delivered nearly half (five) of her 11 career victories by submission.
Other Sherdog MMA Pick’Em trends for the Strikeforce “Tate vs. Rousey” prelims:
• By a strong 68-percent majority, players expect Team Quest veteran Pat Healy to slow the ascent of fast-rising lightweight Caros Fodor. Healy has won six of his last seven bouts, including three straight;
• Ryan Couture, son of UFC hall of famer Randy Couture, will enter his lightweight showdown with Conor Heun as a slight favorite: 52 percent of participants foresee a victory for the 29-year-old. Couture has won three of his first four professional fights;
• No one on the preliminary lineup has more support than Roger Bowling. A whopping 96 percent of users have pegged the Ohio welterweight as the favorite in his matchup with Bellator Fighting Championships veteran Brandon Saling.