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SportsMixed Martial Arts

Strikeforce women's tournament has some intrigue

Here's a case where the undercard is far more intriguing than the main event.

Besides Randy Couture's son, Ryan Couture, making his professional debut, and before Joe Riggs and Louis Taylor fight at Strikeforce Challengers on Friday in Phoenix, we've got a pair of women's bouts.

Of course, we can't tell you which women will fight each other yet because the tournament draw won't be set until Thursday at the weigh-ins.

Yes, that's correct. It's a women's MMA tournament all scheduled for the same night. The winner of each semifinal will fight to decide the No. 2 contender at welterweight and a potential title shot against champ Sarah Kaufman.

The women scheduled to fight are Miesha Tate, Carina Damm, Hitomi Akano and Maiju Kujala. We'd offer up their nicknames but they feel too forced.

First, let's deal with the obvious. Anytime two women fight, men are somewhat intrigued for a number of reasons, most of which we can't talk about in a family newspaper website.

But the real intrigue here lies in the development of MMA for women, and the fact there's a tournament. In the days of PRIDE in Japan, same-night tournaments were common. Not so anymore.

Strikeforce is taking a big gamble here, but it could pay off. It's a smart way to introduce new fighters to the television and sporting audiences. People may not comprehend all that goes into MMA and thus shy away from it, but everyone understands a tournament format. Thank you, NCAA and March Madness.

Showtime may not offer the same exposure as CBS and its Road to the Final Four, but Strikeforce is already at the Final Four.

New York Sports