For a while, it seemed as though the Strikeforce 135-pound women's division was being overshadowed by the 145-pound weight class and its champion, Cris Cyborg. But all of a sudden, and not to mention on the eve of Strikeforce's 135-pound women's title fight between champion Sarah Kaufman and Roxanne Modaferri, the welterweight division has become a lot more stable and clear, as the organization announced Thursday a four-woman single elimination tournament, which will crown a new No. 2 contender for that weight class.
Strikeforce also announced that Marloes Coenen
, who most recently lost a 145-pound title fight to Cris Cyborg in January, has been named the new No. 1 contender and will face the winner of Modafferi-Kaufman at a later date.
The tournament, which will begin and end on the same night, will take place at the Aug. 13 Strikeforce Challengers event at the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix, Ariz. The three, 3-minute round fights will air on the undercard of the Joe Riggs vs. Louis Taylor main event show.
The four woman who will compete in the tournament are:Miesha Tate
(9-2) -- "Takedown" is on a three-fight winning streak since losing to Kaufman last May.Carina Damm
(15-3) -- The Brazilian has won her last 10 fights in a row.Hitomi Akano
(15-7) -- "Girlfight Monster" most famously lost to an overweight Cyborg in April 2009, but will be more comfortable at this weight. Maiju Kujala
(4-1) -- The Finnish fighter is no stranger to one-night tournaments, as she just won a four-woman tournament in March.
According to a Strikeforce press release, the draw to determine the semifinal matchups for the two-round tournament will take place at the Challengers weigh-ins on Thursday, Aug. 12, while a complete list of tournament rules will be provided in the coming days.
"We are going to fast-track these four talented prospects in a quest to determine the best in this deep women's division," Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said in the release. "Having all four women square off on one night with the chance to separate themselves from the pack is what Strikeforce Challengers is all about."
Strikeforce has often been blamed for missing opportunities to promote upcoming fights, but considering tomorrow night's title fight, it's hard to argue with the timing of this announcement.