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Strikeforce Books Sarah Kaufman vs. Takayo Hashi Title Fight

Less than four weeks after Strikeforce 145-pound women's champion Cris Cyborg defends her title against Marloes Coenen, the promotion will crown its second women's champion with a 135-pound bout between Sarah Kaufman and Takayo Hashi.

Kaufman vs. Hashi has been penciled in for the February 26 Strikeforce Challengers show. Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker told Loretta Hunt of Sherdog that he expected to promote a Kaufman-Hashi 135-pound title fight, and Showtime later announced the February 26 bout on its web site.

Hashi has never fought in Strikeforce and is known to only the hardest of hard-core MMA fans in the United States, but she's compiled a 12-1 record while fighting mostly for Japan's Smackgirl promotion. Kaufman fought for Strikeforce twice in 2009 and has a 10-0 record overall. On paper, the fight looks like a good clash of styles between Kaufman's superior striking and Hashi's strong ground game.

In addition to the 135-pound title fight, Strikeforce is planning two separate eight-woman tournaments that will begin in April. For Strikeforce, it's a sign that after failing to book fights for some of their female fighters, they're finally starting to take advantage of their wealth of women's talent.

February 26 is shaping up as a big day in MMA, with the Strikeforce card on Showtime slated to go head-to-head with a Maximum Fighting Championships card on HDNet.