Invicta 5

InvictaFC  V: Fight Like a Girl

Felicia Spencer

April 3, 2013, Kansas City, Mo.  It’s time again for InvictaFC!  This exciting card has two title fights and is full of many popular and well known fighters.  It’s an inspiring time for Women’s MMA as an athlete and as a fan.

Friday night will start with Strawweight match-up Rose Namajunas (1-0-0) vs. Kathina Catron (2-1-0).  Though Catron has spent more time in the cage, Namajunas burst out on the MMA scene recently in her pro debut at the last InvictaFC and became a fan favorite in media.

The non-title Atomweight (105lbs) bouts include Alex Chambers (3-1-0) vs. Jodie Esquibel (3-0-0) and Simona Soukupova (3-2-0) vs. Cassie Rodish (4-3-0).    Strawweight (115lbs) fights include Katja Kankaanpaa (7-0-1) vs. Juliana Carneiro Lima (5-0-0), as well as Bec Hyatt (4-2-0) vs. Jasminka Cive (5-0-0).  At the last InvictaFC, Hyatt stepped up on short notice to face the first ever Strawweight Champion, Carla Esparza.  Even with the loss, Hyatt took a leap in competition and proved to be a top competitor by taking the champ through all the rounds of fighting.

Moving up in weight to the Flyweight Division (125lbs) we have Bellator Champion Zoila Frausto Gurgel (12-2-0) facing off with Muay Thai fighter, Jennifer Maia (6-2-0).  Also, Vanessa Porto (15-5-0) vs. Barb Honchak (7-2-0) adds another page in InvictaFC history by being an inaugural title fight.  Porto made her biggest impression with a remarkable win over Tara LaRosa, one of the first big stars of Women’s MMA.  Honchak has won her last six fights and looks to keep her momentum going by winning the belt.

For the stacked Bantamweight division, Jessamyn Duke (2-0-0) squares off with Miriam Nakamoto (1-0-0).  Nakamoto is recognized as a high level striker and boasts a 15-0 Muay Thai record.  In Duke’s two InvictaFC fights she has shown her finishing abilities with a KO/TKO as well as an arm bar in her last fight.  Veteran fighter Kaitlin Young (7-7-1) faces Lauren Taylor (5-0-0).  Don’t let Young’s record fool you, she has been in the cage with highly ranked opponents and is consistently an exciting fighter to watch.  Taylor herself is no joke either finishing all five of her opponents by way of KO/TKO.   Taylor is a replacement for Young’s original opponent, Amanda Nunes.  This may just be the fight of the night and is guaranteed to be an electrifying battle.

Sarah Kaufman (15-2-0) versus Leslie Smith (5-2-1) is one fight I have been looking forward to-when I found out Kaufman would be fighting I was hopeful that Smith would be named her opponent.  These fighters are among the most experienced not only on this card, but in general as women in MMA and have fought women with experience and high levels of talent.   Kaufman of course recently faced Ronda Rousey for the Bantamweight title in StrikeForce and is even currently signed with the UFC.  Smith stands out mainly for her epic bouts with Kaitlin Young in InvictaFC, even earning a Fight of the Night award for the first fight, which was a split draw.

The Featherweights (145lbs) Julia Budd (4-2-0) and Mollie Estes (1-1-0) have been victims of the opponent swapping too.  The original plan for Estes was to face Veronica Rothenhausler before she got injured.  Budd was supposed to face Ediane Gomes until the promotion decided to have Gomes face the well-known (and controversial figure) Cris Cyborg in her return to MMA instead.  Budd’s new challenger was Fiona Muxlow, until Muxlow was pulled and used as a replacement for Gomes who got injured.  Now, Fiona Muxlow (6-2-0) will fight Cris Cyborg (10-1-0).

Atomweight match-up Jessica Penne (10-1-0) vs. Michelle Waterson (10-3-0) brings Penne to defend her title for the first time.  Waterson is possibly a more well-known fighter having been on the MMA scene for a long time, even appearing on the MTV show called Bully Beatdown.  But Waterson has of course proven herself a worthy opponent against highly skilled athletes and mixed martial artists.  She has a background in the traditional martial art of TaeKwonDo and trains at Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Penne trains with UFC fighter Mark Munoz and is a rare, but extraordinary, finisher in the woman’s Atomweight division.

On Friday night go to to watch 13 action packed female MMA fights.  See who will showcase their skills, power through obstacles, and who has the heart to wear the crowns.


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