After two lackluster rounds, Sarah Kaufman and Marloes Coenen put together a spectacular finish for the Strikeforce women's championship fight in San Jose on Saturday night. Coenen won the belt with an armbar at 1:59 in the third round.
The women had a cautious first round, spending much of it in the clinch. Twice, they were broken up by the referee. Coenen used her reach advantage to keep Kaufman at a distance. This continued in the second round. Both women threw more knees in the second, but were still broken apart. Kaufmann finished the second round well, reversing a Coenen hip toss, landing on top and throwing vicious ground strikes as the round came to a close.
The third round started almost as exactly as the second ended. Coenen took Kaufman down, but Kaufman reversed her easily. She followed up with huge strikes. It appeared that Kaufman was close to finishing off Coenen until Coenen grabbed an arm and turned it for an armbar. Kaufman tapped quickly, handing over the Strikeforce women's championship to Coenen.
There was a bit of controversy after the fight, as Kaufman claimed that Coenen held onto the armbar after Kaufman had tapped. Coenen apologized profusely, diffusing what could have been a bad situation.
"I really didn't know. The referee came in too late, and I apologize, Sarah," Coenen said about the armbar after the fight.
Miesha Tate is up next for Coenen. After the fight, Coenen had a short, simple message for her next opponent. "Let's get it on."