Sarah Kaufman (by Arnold Lim)Leading up to Saturday night’s Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey fight card at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, everyone was focused on the main event, but the preliminary card fighters weren’t to be neglected their moment in the spotlight.

Several fighters on the prelims displayed strong skills and provided exciting fights, but none more so than Sarah Kaufman and Alexis Davis.

Sarah Kaufman vs. Alexis Davis

Davis earned her fight with Kaufman by stringing together wins against three very tough opponents, and she wasn’t about to give in just because Kaufman was ranked the No. 2 women’s fighter on the planet coming into the fight.

Davis opened in a flurry, immediately taking the fight to Kaufman, going toe-to-toe with her on the feet. Kaufman, however, is the much more prolific striker, outpunching and overpowering Davis on the feet, though not by as much as would be expected coming in.

The fight get very interesting in round three, when Davis changed course, tripping Kaufman to the mat, where an excellent grappling battle ensued. Davis got the better of Kaufman in the waning moments, but she couldn’t find the finish that she needed to overcome the deficit that Kaufman created for her in the first two rounds.

Kaufman has made no secret of the fact that she felt she should have been challenging Miesha Tate for the title and not Ronda Rousey, and after winning a tough battle against Davis, she took aim at the belt.

“I’m gonna come, I’m gonna fight, and I’m gonna have that title,” she declared after the fight. “So look out whoever has it. I’ll face whoever comes to fight because they have the title and that’s my title.”

Roger Bowling vs. Brandon Saling

Strikeforce newcomer Brandon Saling tried to get Roger Bowling to get into an all-out brawl, and Bowling did for a time, but the veteran fighter wised up quickly.

Saling and Bowling rocked each other in the opening minutes of the first round, but Bowling took the smarter route, putting Saling on the mat, grounding and pounding him.

Bowling picked up in round two where he left off in round one, taking Saling down and applying a crucifix, ending the fight by TKO due to strikes.

Caros Fodor vs. Pat Healy

Pat Healy is known for being a slow starter, but Caros Fodor wouldn’t allow that. He immediately took the fight to Healy, establishing a strong striking attack early, even rocking Healy in the opening minutes of round one of their fight.

Healy, however, utilized his wrestling, turning the tide late in round one and never looking back. He ground and pounded Fodor for the better part of the fight, setting up and arm-triangle choke for the submission late in round three.

Ryan Couture vs. Conor Heun

Ryan Couture may share the same last name as his more famous father, Randy, but he’s quickly coming into his own as a mixed martial artist.

Just under six months removed from his last fight, Couture faced a tough test in Conor Heun on Saturday. He displayed a well-rounded striking game and an extremely aggressive submission attack from his back, but it was Couture’s ground and pound onslaught in round three that scored him the victory.

Taking Heun’s back, Couture let loose with a barrage of punches to finish the fight, upping his professional record to 4-1.

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