After her original opponent Shayna Baszler pulled out of a chance at settling the score with Sarah Kaufman, now another female will have the chance at doing just that. Leslie Smith will return to the women’s bantamweight division to fight Kaufman just over a year after her split decision loss to the Canadian at Invicta FC 5.
The first fight between the pair was an all-out war, and was widely considered one of the greatest female fights of 2013. Though Smith was on the wrong side of a split decision, she earned the respect of many – including Kaufman – with her grittiness and heart in a fun stand-up display between two talented 135lb-ers. Smith made the decision to move down to flyweight and defeated the tough Brazilian Jennifer Maia in her 125lbs debut, but was unsuccessful in her shot at Barb Honchak’s belt in December.
‘The Peacemaker’ has a deceiving record; at 6-4-1, she does not have the most impressive record, but has been involved in some of the most memorable fights in women’s MMA history. Particularly, her fights with Kaitlin Young and her first fight with Kaufman were some of the finest displays in WMMA, and now Smith has the chance to prove herself in the biggest MMA organisation in the world.
After losing her UFC debut in a controversial split decision to Jessica Eye, which was later overturned due to a failed drug test, Kaufman had equally bad luck in seeking an opponent for April 16’s TUF Nations Finale. After fights with both Shayna Baszler and Amanda Nunes fell through due to injury, Kaufman now receives her third opponent in a week in tough Californian Leslie Smith.
If the second fight between Smith and Kaufman is anywhere close to the first, this has Fight of the Night written all over it. The fight will take place on the preliminary card of the TUF Nations Finale on April 16 at Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The card is headlined by a middleweight battle between Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy.