The first female bout of the evening has former Strikeforce ass-kicker Sarah Kaufman taking on late-replacement Valentina Sevchenko, who may not have Kaufman’s depth of MMA experience, but apparently is a Muay Thai champ.
None of that Muay Thai expertise shows through in the opening round. Instead, Sevchenko deftly throws her opponent to the canvas twice. Kaufman works her way back to her feet, but the message is clear: Mess with the Pole, your butt is getting tossed.
Kaufman manages one heelhook attempt, but otherwise, the first round is all clinch work and throws.
Sevchenko lets some of that kickboxing skill come out in the form of a spinning backfist and a spinning back-kick in Round 2, and when Kaufman reacts by closing the distance – BOOM! – another throw puts her on her back. Though at no point is the Canadian hurt, it’s clear she’s behind on the scorecards against someone who was supposed to be easy.
Two minutes into third and Kaufman finally gets her down, and does her best to go to work from side-control. Sevchenko struggles and squirms, but Kaufman is resolute, and when the opening presents itself she slides into mount – her first moment of dominance throughout the whole bout. Unfortunately for her, she needs a finish, and it proves elusive – and time runs out with Sevchenko finally scrambling to her feet.
It goes to the judges.
Result: Valentina Sevchenko def. Sarah Kaufman via Split Decision