QUEBEC CITY – Sarah Kaufman battered late-replacement Leslie Smith for three full rounds on Wednesday, and the best Smith could do in response was grin through the bruises as her attempts to fire back fell short.
In the end, it amounted to a clear unanimous decision victory for Kaufman (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), who controlled the fight from start to finish.
The women’s bantamweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s TUF Nations Finale event at Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. It aired on FOX Sports 1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of a main card on FOX Sports 1.
Kaufman was initially slated to face Shayna Baszler, who withdrew with an injury and was replaced by Amanda Nunes, who later also withdrew due to injury.
That led to Smith stepping up on roughly a week’s notice, and while she proved her toughness over the course of three hard rounds with a very active Kaufman, she never found her rhythm in the fight. Kaufman’s non-stop pace and unrelenting punch combos kept Smith on the defensive for much of the 15-minute bout, and things only got worse as Smith started to tire late in the fight.
By the time it was over, the judges’ decision was a mere formality. It proved to be a dominant win for Kaufman, though also a gutsy showing on short notice from Smith.