From left to right: Akano, Tate, Damm, Kujala | Photo: Esther
Matchups were set Thursday in Phoenix for Strikeforce’s women’s
Akano will face Carina Damm
in the opening round, and Miesha Tate
will fight Maiju
Kujala. All four women made weight ahead of the
single-elimination one-night tournament, which is part of the
Strikeforce Challengers card airing live Friday on Showtime from
the Dodge Theatre.
The fighters did not know their first-round matchups until they
were drawn Thursday.
“We will go over (Kujala’s) weaknesses and make them fresh in my
mind,” Tate said in a news release. “I don’t feel stressed. I feel
great. I’ll get a little nervous, but I came here to do a job so
it’s all business right now.”
Damm seemed content with her pairing against Akano.
“We have the same style, so it should be a good one,” Damm said. “I
didn’t really care who I fight. Now that I know, I can focus more.
The next 24 hours I will think only of fighting Akano.”
Strikeforce women’s welterweight champion Sarah
Kaufman picked Tate and Akano to advance to the final.
“I think Miesha’s ground game is too strong and that she gets past
Kujala,” Kaufman said. “In the first match I think it’s a toss-up,
but I think Akano has a little bit more experience, so I think I’ll
“In the final it just really depends on what they do in their first
fights. If it’s Akano vs. Tate, it’s a tough fight to call. It’s
just too tough to call.”
In the main event, Joe Riggs and
Taylor will square off in a 182-pound catchweight bout.
Couture, son of UFC great Randy
Couture, is also on the card. He meets Lucas Stark
in a lightweight bout.
(181.6) vs. Louis
Couture (155.6) vs. Lucas Stark
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Tate (134.2) vs. Maiju
Damm (134.8) vs. Hitomi