I have used this saying before – after I kind of ripped it from J.J. Abrams – but a rivalry between two individuals or teams always has a way of coming full circle and the two parties end up meeting each other repeatedly. We’ve seen this in fiction with James T. Kirk and Khan Noonien Singh. We’ve also seen this in mixed martial arts with Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate.
The UFC announced the second rematch between former Stirkeforce champion Sarah Kaufman and title contender Alexis Davis at UFC 186, which is already a stacked card with two title matches and the return of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Although this fight is scheduled for the preliminaries, it has a lot of history behind it as the those who follow the sport will tell you. The two Canadians first squared off back in 2007 when Kaufman was 3-0 while Davis was making her professional debut. As she had done with her three previous opponents, Kaufman finished Davis in the third round.
Fast forward almost five years and the two fought again on the undercard of Tate vs. Rousey I. After three back-and-forth rounds, Kaufman once again was the victor via majority decision. It’s easy to say that this fight will end like the first two.
Besides being up 2-0, Kaufman has won four of her last six bouts. But let’s look at the progression of Davis since that second loss to Kaufman. She has won five of her last six fights, including wins over Eye, Liz Carmouche and Rosi Sexton. During her short Invicta run she submitted both Shayna Baszler and Hitomi Akano. Sure she lost her last fight to Rousey in 16 seconds but that was against a world champion.
So what about Kaufman vs. Davis III? Looking at it on paper it’s a classic striker vs. grappler match. Kaufman has some of the best boxing in the women’s division. She’s technical but is also not afraid to scrap it out with her opponents. She’s also durable – having never been knocked out – and I don’t think Davis has the power to knock her out on the feet.
That said, Davis is tough, having only been finished three times her career. Although she might not have the striking power, she certainly has the grappling credentials to take Kaufman to the ground and deliver some ground-and-pound or lock in a submission. Kaufman’s grappling has improved over the years but Davis’ ground game is on another level.
Although this fight can be overlooked by fans and critics, this is going to be a treat for mixed martial arts fans. I easily see these two going the distance with each other for a second time. The only bad thing about this fight is that it’s three rounds instead of five.