Look Out, Cris Cyborg: Marloes Coenen Beats Roxanne Modafferi

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- Strikeforce has its next female MMA star: Marloes Coenen.

Coenen, a 145-pound submission whiz from the Netherlands, needed just 65 seconds to get Roxanne Modaferri to tap with an arm bar Saturday night on the undercard of the Fedor vs. Rogers show, and in that 65 seconds she showed everything a star needs: Presence, poise and the ability to dominate an opponent in the cage. It doesn't hurt that Coenen is a beautiful woman, but that's just an added bonus. The important part is that she can fight.
How well can she fight? Well enough that I believe the 28-year-old Coenen should get Strikeforce 145-pound women's champion Cris Cyborg in her next fight. Although Cyborg is stronger and a better striker, I would give Coenen a real chance of beating her, especially if she can get the fight to the ground.

Modafferi, who beat Coenen by split decision in 2007, is smaller than Coenen and never really looked like she was on Coenen's level as a fighter. Modaferri told me this week that her mom was in tears at the thought that she could face Cyborg next, and it's safe to say that Mrs. Modaferri need not worry. Strikeforce should keep Modafferi around, but at her natural weight class of 135 pounds. She's too small for Cyborg, Coenen or any other high-quality fighter at 145.

But Coenen can compete with anyone in her weight class. No matter what happens with Gina Carano in the future, women's MMA is flourishing, and Coenen should break out in 2010.

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