We’ll deal with the Featherweight championship main event separately, but lets take a second to highlight the twenty four other insanely talented female fighters who are right now the only people in the Western Hemisphere unable to enjoy a barbecue in this stunning summer weather.
They are gonna be SO PISSED by Saturday. No ice cream, no beer, no pulled pork…
Anyways, as usual Invicta have assembled a card of stunning depth, so much so I’m gonna have a real hard time whittling it down to five fights for this week’s predictor. Lets start at the top.
While the original co-main event called for Carla Esparza to defend her Straweight title against Ayaka Hamasaki, an injury to the champ led to Claudia Gadelha – who had been in line for a title shot before – being pulled up from the undercard. As such, this is all but officially a no.1 contenders bout between two girls with near identical 9-0 records and a common bent towards the submission side of the game.
Somebody’s streak is coming to an end, and the winner will likely face Esparza when she’s back… oh, and it’s Japan vs. Brazil, yet again.
Next down the list, we have exciting Bantamweights Sarah D’Alelio (7-3) taking on the unbeaten knockout artist Lauren Taylor (6-0) both coming off impressive decision wins over experienced campaigners Amanda Nunes and Kaitlin Young respectively.
D’Alelio has the edge in experienced and is the more well rounded fighter, but Taylor’s standup is very scary. Invicta still don’t have a 135lb champion, but the winner of this would be very much in contention.
The popular Leslie Smith (5-3-1) makes her drop to Flyweight following a loss to Sarah Kaufmann, facing submission specialist Jennifer Maia (7-2-1) who is coming off two career defining wins against Zoila Frausto Gurgel and now-UFC signed Jessica Andrade.
Smith has some heavy fists and this is a classic clash of styles, again possibly producing the next contender in waiting for a title shot, this time for Barb Honchak’s 125lb belt.
Fresh from losing her Atomweight title to Michelle Waterson, Jessica Penne (10-2) returns to the cage looking to get back in a winning way against Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (8-6) in what will surely be a fast paced technical encounter, again pitting a submission specialist against a knockout artist – Janet Martin loves booking these style clashes, doesn’t she? I approve.
To be honest, I can’t see past Penne for this, as Rivera-Calanoc has lost to the likes of Felice Herrig and Sally Krumdiak in the past and I think Penne is a level above. That said, thin IS MMA.
For the second time in a row at Invicta, Scotland’s Joanne Calderwood (6-0) has had her opponent changed mid-camp, as her original opponent, Claudia Gadelha was boosted to the co-main event.
Instead, she is to face Jackson’s MMA fighter Norma Rueda Center (2-0) who is a formidable challenge for all her stopgap nature, as she usually competes a weight class up at Flyweight, adds an undefeated 5-0 amateur record and where better to train to face a striker like Calderwood than with Mike Winklejohn?
Nevertheless, I can’t even pretend to be neutral here and I have every faith that our Scottish lass will walk away with the win. After all, Center has a liver, just like every one else, doesn’t she?
Next sees yet another fight with championship implications as Ediane ‘India’ Gomes (10-2) who is the de facto #3 featherweight in the world faces the well travelled Charmaine Tweet (4-3) in what promises to be an intense contest between two submission specialists.
Tweet’s record might not be too impressive on the surface but she’s on a 3-0 run and a win over a fighter such as Gomes would elevate her into the title picture. With the pool at 145lbs being easily the shallowest, I’d expect the winner here to face the winner of Cyborg-Coenen with the only other options really being Julia Budd or in the improvement of young European talent like Romy Ruyssen or Yana Kunitskaya.
Following her very impressive and heated submission victory over Jasminka Cive, Australia’s ‘Rowdy’ Bec Hyatt (5-2) is aiming at the top of the rankings by taking out Mizuki Inoue who has earned her entire (5-1) record in Japan’s RINGS promotion.
With all five of her wins via submission before the end of the second round, Inoue is a dangerous prospect but Hyatt is unlikely to be phased, having shown great heart and composure in her two Invicta performances so far.
Ridiculously stylish violence is guaranteed.
That should also be true of our next bout as kickboxer Miriam Nakamoto (1-0) looks to recover from scrubbing of a decisive first round knockout victory over Jessamyn Duke due to it coming from an illegal strike. IMHO, that was unfortunate as I think Duke was on the way out after the first, totally legal knee to the face but rules is rules.
Set to face up to Nakamoto’s educated knees and probable rage is Brazil’s Duda Yankovich (1-1) who brings the submission skills of Team Nogueira to the cage. Another styles clash between two fighters who’s low number of MMA fights cannot be taken to assume a lack of experience or facility with martial arts.
Opening the notional (pay per view) portion of the card is a very exciting fight between two of the rising stars of the stacked Strawweight division as American Top Team kickboxer Tecia ‘Tiny Tornado’ Torres (2-0) puts her undefeated record against the perfect record of Ms Pat Barry, ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas (2-0) who is still well in the running for submission of the year.
Still not convinced?
Well, check out the three free prelims at http://www.invictafc.com and witness the power of Veronica Rothenhausler, a guaranteed scrap between Ashley Cummins and Emily Kagan and Livia Von Plettenberg looking to face someone her own size, dropping to Atomweight after getting creatively beaten up by Joanne Calderwood.
Then, I am totally sure that you’ll gleefully pay up the $14.95 (that’s about £10) for the full evenings entertainment. You can do that here.
After all, a top class night of MMA is well worth the price of a few beers or half a takeout?
MAIN (Pay-per-view, http://www.invictafc.com)
• Marloes Coenen vs. Cristiane Santos – for inaugural featherweight title
• Claudia Gadelha vs. Ayaka Hamasaki
• Sarah D’alelio vs. Lauren Taylor
• Jennifer Maia vs. Leslie Smith
• Jessica Penne vs. Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc
• Joanne Calderwood vs. Norma Rueda Center
• Ediane Gomes vs. Charmaine Tweet
• Bec Hyatt vs. Mizuki Inoue
• Miriam Nakamoto vs. Duda Yankovich
• Rose Namajunas vs. Tecia Torres
• Ashley Cummins vs. Emily Kagan
• Mollie Estes vs. Veronica Rothenhausler
• Cassie Robb vs. Livia Von Plettenberg