Strikeforce’s WMMA Legacy

posted by Wombat Sports
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 8:09am EST

Wombat sports is dedicated to women in combat sports. Former news editor of “Fightergirls” MarQ Piocos has been covering Women’s MMA for over three years, having picked up coverage of wrestling, boxing, and grappling. It is his vision to bring some of the best coverage to help bring and promote the ever expanding popularity of women’s MMA, wrestling, and martial arts with some of the best writers and athletes.

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Saturday closed the door on what was the Strikeforce era of women’s mixed martial arts. Even though there was no female fights on the card; the promotion will always be remembered for bringing WMMA to a whole new level.


Carano vs. Maxwell


Gina Carano made her Strikeforce debut, getting a unanimous decision win over Elaina Maxwell (Video – Part 1 & Part 2). This marked the first time the promotion had a female MMA bout.



Strikeforce gets a TV deal to show highlights on NBC. With the deal, fighters Michelle Waterson and Kim Couture make their way to TV.


Showtime signs the promotion to a TV deal, after Strikeforce acquires EliteXC. As a part of the EliteXC deal, Cyborg Santos’s contract is acquired, and debuts in the promotion against Hitomi Akano. Akano would take Santos to the third round before Santos would get the TKO (Video here).

Cyborg vs. Carano Courtesy MMAJunkie

The win would propel Santos to a much anticipated match with Gina Carano for the first ever World Featherweight championship. The fight would be the highest rated female MMA fight to date with 576,000 viewers. Santos would get the belt via TKO with one second to spare in round 1. (Video here)

Kaufman vs. Tate

The bantamweights division would also be created in May with Sarah Kaufman and Miesha Tate facing each other to start their rise as superstars. Kaufman would get the decision, and only a month later, Kaufman would get a unanimous decision over Shayna Baszler.

Marloes Coenen would also make her promotional debut in Strikeforce, avenging a loss to Roxanne Modafferi. (Video here)


Santos would make her first defense of her 145 title against Marloes Coenen. Coenen would take the champ to round 3, but would come short getting a TKO loss. (Video here) Santos would soon make short work of Jan Finney in June in her second title defense. (Video – Part 1 & Part 2)

Hashi vs. Kaufman

Sarah Kaufman would get some gold around her waste in 2010, as she would defeat Takayo Hashi for the first ever World Bantamweight title. Kaufman’s first title defense would feature a highlight reel powerbomb KO of Roxanne Modafferi in the summer, which would make ESPN’s Plays of the Week (Video – Part 1 & Part 2). Kaufman would lose the title to Coenen in December via armbar.

Tate vs. Akano

A four woman tournament was set in August to help find a number one contender for Bantamweight title. Carina Damm, Maiju Kujala, Hitomi Akano, and Miesha Tate would take part, with Tate winning over Akano in the final (Video here).

Amanda Nunes would make her promotional debut this year with a 14 second TKO of Julia Budd. Nunes would soon be TKOed by promotional newcomer Alexis Davis, who start her rise to stardom (Video here).


Coenen vs. Carmouche

The Bantamweight Title would be a hot potato in 2011.

Coenen would make her first title defense against Liz Carmouche in what was a dominate performance by Carmouche. Coenen would come back and get a triangle choke in round 4 to retain the belt.

Tate Wins 135 Title

#1 contender Tate would come back from injury to take the belt away from Coenen with a arm triangle choke in round 4 (Video – Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3).

This year would also begin the rise of Ronda Rousey. She would make her promotional debut in August with a 25 second armbar submission over Sarah D’Alelio (Video here). She would sub Julia Budd in 39 seconds in December (Video here).

Santos would make her last appearance in Strikeforce in a match against Hiroko Yamanaka (Video here), which lasted only 16 seconds as Santos got a TKO. The match was overturned due to Santos testing positive for Stanozolol.


Tate vs, Rousey

Rousey would drop to 135 and immediately challenged Bantamweight champ Miesha Tate. Rousey would get the best of Tate and win the title in 4:27 with an armbar that is replayed time and time again (Video here). Rousey would so defeat Kaufman via armbar before signing to the UFC.

Davis versus Kaufman (Video – Part 1 & Part 2) and Julie Kedzie versus Miesha Tate (Video here) would duke it out for Match of the Year, in what would be their finals matches in Strikeforce.


With fighters such as Tate, Kaufman, Coenen, and Rousey moving on in their careers, it was Strikeforce that gave them the platform to rise from obscurity to superstars. The promotion would also expose the masses to the women’s division and help start InvictaFC and get female fighters in the UFC.

You may not have any more cards Strikeforce, but you have cemented your place in WMMA history.


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