Victoria’s Sarah Kaufman ready for new challenge in Professional Fighters League

With titles in Strikeforce and Invicta, Sarah Kaufman is a trailblazer for Canadian mixed martial arts.

But bouts have been hard to find recently for the former UFC fighter. That has changed with the 33-year-old from Victoria embarking on a new challenge in the Professional Fighters League.

Kaufman (20-4-0 with one no contest) takes on American Morgan Frier (4-1-0) in PFL 1 on Thursday in Long Island, N.Y., in the opening event of the PFL’s second season. Bobbi Jo Dalziel (4-0-0) of Sarnia, Ont., faces Australian Genah Fabian (1-0-0) on the preliminary card.

The PFL, formerly the World Series of Fighting (WSOF), offers MMA in a season format with fighters in six weight classes going after a world title and US$1 million payday.

Season 2 features the first-ever lightweight (155-pound) women’s division, with Kaufman moving up from her normal bantamweight (135-pound) class.

Kaufman, who says she will likely weigh around 155 fight night, enters the season full of excitement and confidence. “I will be winning a million dollars,” she said.

She welcomes the PFL model, which rewards performance rather than looks, reputation, trash-talking or social media popularity.

“It’s a really neat opportunity — and to have this equal playing field and have the males and the females all getting paid the same on the same stage is of course an added bonus to just bring PFL even more ahead of the game when it comes to pushing the sport and trying to advance the sport and be innovative.”

The women’s lightweights and men’s welterweights kick off Season 2 at the Nassau Coliseum.

In other fights on the main card, it’s Ray Cooper III versus Zane Kamaka, Magomed Magomedkerimov versus John Howard, Kayla Harrison versus Svetlana Khautova and Louis Taylor versus Chris Curtis.

Each of the athletes will have two fights during the PFL regular season which runs through August. The top eight fighters in each weight class advance to the single-elimination playoffs in October with a championship card set for New Year’s Eve.

Kaufman’s next bout will be July 11 at PFL 4 in Atlantic City, N.J. Two more fights await in the playoffs for the women, three for the men who are in a larger bracket.

Kaufman’s pro career dates back to 2006. Four years later, she won the inaugural Strikeforce bantamweight title, making a successful title defence before losing the title to Marloes Coenen.

In 2012, she lost to (Rowdy) Ronda Rousey in a bid to regain her crown.

From 2013 to 2105, she went 1-2-0 with one no contest in the UFC. Her last fight in the organization was a split-decision loss to Valentina Shevchenko, the current UFC flyweight (125-pound) champion.

Five of her 25 bouts came in her first year as a pro. She says in the years since, fights were often hard to come by with rivals reluctant to meet her.

That shouldn’t happen in the PFL, given its format.

“There’s no opportunity to say ‘No’ or ‘No thank you,’ or ‘I’m injured,’ or’ I just need a rest and I’ll take a fight.’ This is opponents who are already signed on to take on any of the other seven women in the division.”

She has fought just three times since leaving the UFC. It took more than a year for her to get paid for a 2017 fight in Seoul.

As for a return to the UFC, she says she believes she can fight to the top of the 135-pound ranks.

“But right now that wasn’t coming my way and I wasn’t getting the opportunities. This PFL opportunity really came a little out of nowhere.”

Next up is Frier, whose four wins have totalled two minutes 30 seconds.

“There isn’t a lot of footage on her,” said Kaufman, who at five foot five will be giving up three inches.

The PFL points system features three points for a win and one for a draw with bonus points awarded for stoppages (three in the first round, two in the second and one in the third). Points will determine playoff seeding.

Just Posted

Trudeau’s cabinet choices have domino effect on House of Commons work

OTTAWA — As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau settles on his choices for… Continue reading

Protesters say Alberta bill would make it harder to access some medical services

EDMONTON — Opponents of a private member’s bill that calls for more… Continue reading

Freeland’s imprint of foreign affairs remains even if she’s shuffled: analysts

OTTAWA — Whether or not Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffles her to… Continue reading

Saskatchewan government considers funding first supervised consumption site

SASKATOON — Saskatchewan’s health minister says the government will consider whether to… Continue reading

Thousands fill City Hall Park for Red Deer Lights the Night

With the flip of a switch, downtown Red Deer was filled with… Continue reading

Central Albertans help families during holidays with Christmas Wish Breakfast

It takes a community to help a community. And Sunday morning at… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Nov. 19 The Mountview Sunnybrook Community Association will hold its AGM at… Continue reading

‘Ford v Ferrari’ speeds to No. 1; ‘Charlie’s Angels’ fizzles

NEW YORK — “Ford v Ferrari” put its competition in the rearview,… Continue reading

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

WINNIPEG — A terminally ill cancer patient who recorded a video from… Continue reading

Five things to watch for when Trudeau shuffles his cabinet this week

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to unveil his new… Continue reading

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

VANCOUVER — A framed iconic photo in Dr. Brian Day’s office shows… Continue reading

Rowing Canada, university investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

VANCOUVER — Lily Copeland felt she had found her purpose in life… Continue reading

MacKinnon scores OT winner, Avs recover from blowing late lead to beat Canucks

VANCOUVER — Nathan MacKinnon scored his second goal of the game 27… Continue reading

White House urgently ramps up push for drug cost legislation

WASHINGTON — The White House is ramping up its push to get… Continue reading

Most Read