Despite the lack of a UFC show this weekend, MMA fans have plenty of TV offerings in the next couple of nights, with a Bellator show headlined by Joe Soto vs. Diego Saraiva Thursday on Fox Sports Net, a Strikeforce show headlined by Matt Lindland vs. Kevin Casey Friday on Showtime and a Moosin show headlined by Tim Sylvia vs. Mariusz Pudzianowski Friday on pay-per-view.
But while you can watch more than a dozen men's fights on TV over the next couple of evenings, the best fight you can see is the only women's fight on offer, Tara LaRosa
vs. Roxanne Modafferi
I'm somewhat skeptical of Moosin, which is going the pay-per-view freak show route by offering up Sylvia (the past-his-prime former UFC heavyweight champion) fighting Pudzianowski (the former World's Strongest Man who's now trying his hand at MMA). I don't view pay-per-view freak shows as a good way of building a promotion.
But I do view good, high-quality fights as a good way of building a promotion, and that's absolutely what LaRosa vs. Modafferi, on the Moosin undercard, is.
Although she's been surpassed by Cris Cyborg in most rankings, LaRosa was long regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in women's MMA. She's 18-1, currently on a 15-fight winning streak, and is a finisher who has only gone to a decision five times in her career.
One of those five was a decision victory over Modafferi four years ago, and Modafferi has wanted a rematch ever since. Modafferi has suffered some losses to bigger fighters (including to Marloes Coenen at November's Strikeforce card), but fighting LaRosa at 130 pounds, she'll actually have a bit of a size advantage, and despite the sports books making LaRosa a huge favorite
, I wouldn't rule out Modafferi pulling the upset.
A few members of the MMA media, including Sergio Non at USA Today
and Leland Roling at Bloody Elbow
, have noted the significance of LaRosa vs. Modafferi, but I sense that there are very, very few MMA fans who realize that one of the biggest women's fights of the year is happening on Friday night. The handful of fans who do know about LaRosa vs. Modafferi will get their money's worth from the Moosin pay-per-view, and not because of Sylvia vs. Pudzianowski.