(All photos courtesy Ester Lin/InvictaFC)
InvictaFC may have had some challenges this week, but the card, for the most part, was the best booked event yet in terms of solid match-ups. In the end, a new champion was crowned and new contenders formed.
In the main event, Cris Cyborg Justino was able to reclaim her spot as baddest woman on the planet by besting Marloes Coenen in a rematch of their 2010 encounter.
Cyborg used her usual game plan of swarming her opponent with punches, but Coenen was able to fend them off and use the cage to pummel. Cyborg’s strength would be evident, however, with her ability to suplex and take down Coenen at will. There were times that Coenen looked in deep trouble, but referee John McCarty let her fight her way out of the situation. Exceeding expectation, Coenen was able to go to round 4, where Cyborg finally got the mount and landed a flurry of punches and elbows, which McCarthy had no choice but to stop the match at 4:02.
Cyborg is the first ever InvictaFC featherweight champion.
In the co-main event, Claudia Gadelha improves to 11-0 and becomes the first fighter to defeat former JEWELS champ Ayaka Hamasaki.
Gadelha was able to control the ground game early on, using her strength to pin Hamasaki down. An illegal knee in round 1 would see a point deducted from Gadelha, which made the rest of the match interesting in terms of scoring.
Round 2 saw much of the same as round 1 with Gadelha controlling the ground and almost getting the arm triangle choke, but Hamasaki was saved by the bell. Gadelha would take the mount in round 3 and get the TKO win at 3:58.
With the win, Gadelha earned a shot at strawweight champion Carla Esparza.
In one of two bantamweight fights on the card, Lauren Taylor edged out Sarah D’Alelio by unanimous decision. After an interest scramble with D’Alelio looking for submissions, it was Taylor’s striking in rounds two and three that gives Taylor her seventh win, and keeps her record unblemished.
In what was her third fight of the night performance, Leslie Smith made a successful debut at flyweight, getting the unanimous decision win over Jennifer Maia.
Smith and Maia traded punches and submissions through the three round war, but it was Smith’s striking and ground control in the later rounds that would see her get the win and the future title shot against flyweight champ Barb Honchak.
Former atomweight champ Jessica Penne got back in the win column as she defeated veteran fighter Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc by rear naked choke. The two felt out each other on the feet, with a right hand by Calanoc giving Penne a wake up call. Penne soon took down Calanoc and took the back. After some hand fighting, Penne was able to secure the rear naked choke with three seconds left before the end of round 1.
The undefeated Joanne Calderwood gains another win, this time against a game Norma Center by unanimous decision.
Calderwood’s striking was on point, but Center’s wrestling gave her some trouble, especially in the third round. Center was able to fend off an armbar attempt in the third, but Calderwood’s strong first two rounds would make the difference. Calderwood moves to 7-0.
18 year old Mizuki Inoue looked like a seasoned pro using her boxing to defeat Bec Hyatt by unanimous decision.
Shootbox champ Inoue (6-1) would use kicks, punches, and short elbows on Hyatt, getting control in the clinch and on the ground in the first two stanzas. Hyatt would step up a notch and start throwing heavy leather in the third, but teenage would hold out to get the win.
Kickboxing’s pound for pound Queen Miriam Nakamoto again proved why she is also “The Queen of Mean” by taking out Duda Yankovich in round 1.
Nakamoto (2-0; 1 NC) would use her trademark knees to down Yankovich, and land some ground and pound to win at the 2:08 mark. Nakamoto would get the KO of the Night award.
In the opening bout of the pay-per-view portion of the card, Tecia Torres picks up her third win with an unanimous decision victory over Rose Namajunas.
As expected, the fight was a great way to open the main card, as Torres used her striking to edge Namajunas in the first two rounds. Namjunas tried for her trademark flying armbar several times, but Torres easily fended them off. Namajunas would finally get it to the ground in the third and try to utilize her skills, but it was too little too late. Torres hands Namjunas her first loss.
In was seemed to have been a nearly cursed preliminary card, Tamikka Brents (who was filling in for Chamaine Tweet who couldn’t get into the country due to a visa issue – who was to fill in for a injured Julia Budd) injured her knee during warm-ups and had to back out of her fight with top ranked Ediane Gomes.
Two fights did happen in the prelims, as Emily Kagan recovered from her first loss to defeat a returning Ashley Cummins by a razor thin split decision.
The card started with Livia Von Plettenberg defeating last minute Kathina Catron by unanimous decision in a flyweight bout.
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