Sarah Kaufman had to prepare for three potential opponents in the span of just more than two weeks.
After all that commotion, when the former Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion stepped into the Ocatgon on Wednesday, she wasted no time getting down to business.
Kaufman overwhelmed late replacement Leslie Smith at the TUF Nations Finale in Quebec City, scoring a one-sided victory over her game but overmatched foe. Kaufman won via unanimous decision on across the board 30-27 scores.
One of the best pure boxers in women's MMA, Kaufman used her technical precision to overwhelm Smith in an energetic first round. When Smith did try to get her offense untracked, Kaufman would clinch and overpower her foe.
Smith (6-5-1), a Team Cesar Gracie fighter from Northern California, started leaning cleaner combos as the pace settled down in the second, but Kaufman persisted and landed more solid blows. With the first two rounds in her back pocket, Kaufman cruised through the final round, scoring the fight's only takedown in the final minute for emphasis.
The bout was a rematch of a 2013 Invicta fight considered one of the company's best of the year, a split decision won by Kaufman. Kaufman was originally slated to meet veteran Shayna Baszler, but she had to drop out on April 1 due to an injury. Amanda Nunes was tabbed to replace Baszler, but she, too, had to drop out. Finally, Smith took the call on a week and a half's notice.
Not including a no-contest, Kaufman (17-2) has won five of her past six fights, with the only loss in that stretch to Ronda Rousey in a Strikeforce title fight.
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