Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012 | 10:10 p.m.
Note: Full results from the rest of the card are available at the bottom of the page.
SAN DIEGO — Dangerous inevitability can breed towering interest in combat sports.
When Mike Tyson reached the pinnacle of his boxing career more than 20 years ago, for example, fans would tune in without thinking of the possibility of a loss. They just wanted to see, for the most part, how fast the knockout came.
Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is well on her way to establishing a similar feeling of certainty every time she enters the cage. Rousey submitted Sarah Kaufman, a worthy opponent and feared striker, 54 seconds into their championship bout Saturday at the Valley View Casino Center.
“I’m always going to revert to what comes naturally,” Rousey said.
Rousey has now fought nine times — six professional bouts and three amateur matches — and has nine first-round arm bars to show for it.
Opponents like Kaufman spend months preparing for Rousey’s world-class judo. But once locked inside the cage with the former Olympic bronze medalist, there’s no stopping what’s coming.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” veteran MMA announcer Mauro Ranallo said while in the cage after the fight.
Rousey sprinted towards Kaufman at the opening bell of Saturday’s main event and engaged. “Rowdy” hit Kaufman with a quick one-two combination and clinched.
Less than 15 seconds later, Rousey tossed Kaufman to the ground and everyone in the arena knew what was next. Kaufman resisted for a while, but Rousey pried her arm away and cranked to the point that the challenger either had to tap or suffer serious injury.
She tapped and sighed a minute later as the referee separated the two women.
“I’m embarrassed by my performance,” Kaufman said.
But there was no reason to be. Every woman brave enough to compete with Rousey in MMA has met the same fate.
Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos looks to be next for the budding star. Rousey called out Cyborg, who is currently serving a year-long suspension for failing a drug test, after her victory.
“People want to see you have the first fair fight of your life,” Rousey said. “I’m the champ now. The champ doesn’t go to you. You go to the champ.”
Cyborg remains the champion in the 145-pound division and some question whether she can cut an additional 10 pounds to fight at Rousey’s weight. A year ago, no one would have imagined any woman being favored over Cyborg.
But Rousey’s unprecedented run of arm bars has changed everything.
Check below for full results from the rest of Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza showed why he’s the best for option for middleweight champion Luke Rockhold’s next opponent. Jacare knocked out Derek Brunson with a combination of punches 41 seconds into the first round.
Tarec Saffiedine moved closer to a shot at the Strikeforce welterweight title with a dominating performance against a tough opponent. Saffiedine put Roger Bowling away with a unanimous decision that saw him win every round on every scorecard.
Anthony Smith forced Lumumba Sayers to tap out at 3:52 of the first round in their middleweight bout. “Lionheart” was able to pull off by the major upset by locking in a triangle choke from his back after Sayers followed him to the ground.
If Strikeforce awarded Knockout of the Night bonuses like its UFC counterparts, Ovince St. Preux would have taken the honors Saturday. St. Preux put T.J. Cook out cold in a light-heavyweight bout with an overhand left 20 seconds into the third round.
In a bout that will make some Fight of the Year lists in a few months, Miesha Tate submitted Julie Kedzie at 3:28 of the third round with an arm bar. Kedzie appeared ahead in the fight, and had knocked Tate down with a head kick earlier in the round, before the late comeback.
Randamie de Germaine won a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over Hiroko Yamanaka in a women’s featherweight bout.
Adlan Amagov stopped Keith Berry 48 seconds into their middleweight bout with a TKO. The finish was controversial, as Berry protested and said he was fine as Amagov landed shots from on top of him.
Lightweight Bobby Green opened the card by snapping Matt Ricehouse’s undefeated record. Green won a unanimous decision over Ricehouse by taking every round on all three judges’ scorecards.