Sunday, February 20, 2011

To crush or be crushed

Possible opponents for Gina Carano’s return match to MMA

Xtreme Couture announced that women’s MMA fighter Gina Carano (7-1) had returned to their gym to train.  Carano officially announced her return to the sport at the last Strikeforce event. 

Carano has not fought since August 2009, and the number of women fighters on Strikeforce’s roster has grown. 

Although Strikeforce may throw someone to Carano for a quick win for her return match, there are others who could - and probably be willing - to step up to face Carano.

Sarah Kaufman (12-1)

Not too long after Carano made the announcement, Sarah Kaufman, former Strikeforce Women’s Welterweight champion, had  tweeted that she would welcome the opportunity to face Carano in a fight.

"I would give Gina a fight that would force her to "leave it all in the cage,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman and Carano are known strikers with some ground game.  While fans might relish in the fact of these two women going at it, Carano, who in the past has struggled to make the 145 lb weight, would have much harder time to cut down to 135. 

Kaufman could always move up the weight class, or they could make it a catch weight bout.

Marloes Coenen (18-4)

Marloes Coenen, who is the Strikeforce’s Women’s Welterweight champion, would most likely have to move up in weight to face Carano.  However, this would not be as difficult, as she previously fought at 145 in her match against Christiane Santos. 

Coenen is a well rounded fighter, who has earned many knock out and submission victories.  Her experience would also give her an advantage over Carano.

If Strikeforce did decide to put Coenen against Carano, it may take place in late 2011, she Coenen is scheduled to defend her championship against Meisha Tate in March.

Kim Couture (3-4)

Kim Couture, who is the ex-wife of UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, was not interested in joining mixed martial arts until Carano had joined Xtreme Couture, according to an interview with MMA Junkie.

While there may or may not be any bad blood between the two, a match with Carano may be just the the fight Kim needs to get her career on the right track.

Julia Budd (1-1)

Although Julia Budd’s mixed martial arts career is beginning, she a muay thai fighter who has earned many accolades, including a victory over Carano in the ring.

Carano may ask for this fight, just to get a chance to exact some amount of vengeance for the loss she suffered at Budd’s hands. 

However, a victory over Carano would give Budd the jump start to what could be a very successful career in mixed martial arts.

Miesha Tate (11-2)
Miesha Tate is becoming one of Strikeforce’s well known faces.  Her model looks and fighting prowess could very easily make her the new “Face of Women’s MMA.”

It was a year after Carano’s loss that Tate had won a four women 135 lb tournament and earned a title shot, which will take place in the next month. 

Like Coenen and Kaufman, Tate would most likely have to move up weight to fight Carano.

Other possible match-ups

Christiane Santos (10-1) - Carano may ask for this match just to see if she can avenge the first MMA loss she suffered at the hands of Santos.  Still a rematch with Santos may seem like a few years away.

Tonya Evinger (8-5) - Strikeforce may be able to get Evinger to return if gives her a chance to avenge her loss to Carano in September 2007.

Megumi Fujii (23-1) - for all of the fans who hate Carano, this would probably be a dream match for them, as Fujii would be a tough opponent for someone who has taken a long time away from the cage like Carano.  Still, anything could happen in MMA, and Carano could pull out a victory.

Stephanie McMahon (0-0) - only in my fantasies.

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