Photo Esther Lin
SAN JOSE, Calif. (Feb. 27, 2010) – Before a sold out crowd of 2,322, former ballet dancer turned undefeated professional mixed martial arts (MMA) star Sarah Kaufman (11-0) became the first STRIKEFORCE Women’s Welterweight (135 pounds) Champion in history by powering her way to a five-round unanimous decision over Japan’s Takayo Hashi (12-2) in the STRIKEFORCE Challengers main event at San Jose’s Civic Auditorium on Friday, Feb. 26, on SHOWTIME®.
Luke Rockhold (7-1) continued his climb up the middleweight (185 pounds) ladder with a stunning first-round (2:24) TKO over Paul Bradley (12-2). A middleweight contest between former South African national wrestling champion Trevor Prangley (22-5-1) and France’s Karl Amoussou (11-2-2) ended prematurely after Prangley accidentally poked Amoussou in the eye, leading to a doctor stoppage and technical draw being declared.
From the outset, Kaufman pressed the action with a stiff jab and one-two punch combinations, but was unable to finish Hashi who repeatedly backpedaled her way out of trouble. Kaufman landed her best shots in the first round, dropping Hashi with a straight right hand.
In the third stanza, Kaufman sent Hashi reeling back and nearly put down the Japanese fighter for a second time in the bout with a straight right hand. After a Kaufman jab snapped Hashi’s head back, Hashi responded by shooting for a takedown that Kaufman stuffed.
A chess match ensued for the remainder of the bout. Kaufman continued to score with her hands and right leg kick while Hashi retreated to avoid imminent danger. All three judges scored all five rounds in favor of Kaufman.
In the first round of their much anticipated matchup, Rockhold dropped Bradley with a right hand to the side of the head. Bradley fought his way back to his feet, but Rockhold quickly went on the attack, scoring a head kick and following up with three straight knee strikes to the body.
Badly battered from the series of blows, Bradley turned his back, prompting the referee to immediately stop the action.
As expected, Amoussou came out of the gates firing punches at Prangley, who covered up and countered the Frenchman’s assault with his own hands. Prangley scored a takedown, but was unable to advance his position from half guard.
After the referee stood up the fighters, Prangley, with an open left hand, accidentally poked Amoussou in the right eye. The ringside physician immediately entered the cage and examined Amoussou, who was unable to open his eye, and declared the fighter unable to continue at the 4:14 mark of the first round (According to MMA rules in the state of California, the ringside physician has the discretion to stop a bout in the event that an accidental foul causes an injury).
In other action Yancy Medeiros (5-0) of Waianae, Hawaii dominated Raul Castillo (6-1) at middleweight with continuous flurries throughout the matchup between the unbeaten fighters.
Medeiros stuffed Castillo’s repeated takedown attempts and continued to pour on the punishment with both hands, putting Castillo on the canvas with a right hand in the third round. After an exchange of shots brought the bout to a close, all three judges awarded the fight to Medeiros.
Like Medeiros, Tarec Saffiedine (8-2) maintained an all-out stand up offensive in a welterweight (170 pounds) fight with James Terry (7-2) for three straight rounds, opening a cut on Terry’s lower lip and bringing about a welt under Terry’s left eye.
Terry repeatedly attempted to bring the fight to the mat, but Saffiedine defended the takedowns well and responded with more strikes. After three rounds, Saffiedine was declared a unanimous points winner.
Amongst those in attendance at Civic Auditorium, was MMA's newest star, football legend Herschel Walker, as well as STRIKEFORCE World Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz, and STRIKEFORCE World Lightweight Champion Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez.
During an interview with STRIKEFORCE Challengers host Mauro Ranallo, Walker said, "(MMA) is the toughest sport there is. To step in the cage and go mano-a-mano, there's nothing like it. It is the toughest training I've ever done."
Regarding his future in the sport, the 47-year-old Walker said, "I will leave that up to my team at AKA (American Kickboxing Academy, San Jose) when I get back in the gym. We'll see if they say I am capable of going again. (If they do), we'll do it again."
Complete STRIKEFORCE Challengers Results:
Yancy Medeiros def. Raul Castillo – Unanimous Decision (3 Rounds) (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Tarec Saffiedine def. James Terry – Unanimous Decision (3 Rounds) (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Luke Rockhold def. Paul Bradley – TKO (knees to the body) – 1st Round (2:24)
Trevor Prangley - Technical Draw - Karl Amoussou (doctor stoppage after unintentional foul ) – 1st Round (4:14)
Sarah Kaufman def. Takayo Hashi – Unanimous Decision (3 Rounds) (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
Ronald Carillo def. Anthony De Los Santos – submission (armbar) – 2nd Round (1:20)
Steve Dickie def. Alan Lummel – TKO (punches) –1st Round (:33)
Renee Robinson def. Lilia Salas – TKO (punches) – 1st Round (1:06)
Jesse Tobar def. Johnson Nguyen – Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) – 2nd Round (1:24)
Tristan Arenal def. George Miller – TKO (punches) – 2nd Round (:30)
Samuel Bracamnonte def. Chris Stewart – TKO (punches) – 3rd Round (:59)
Wayne Phillips def. Eric Lawson – Submission (armbar) – 1st Round (4:27)