Kansas City, Mo. — On Saturday, March 25, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 22: Evinger vs. Kunitskaya 2 from the historic Scottish Rite Temple. The event streamed live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger erased any doubt from her first meeting with Yana Kunitskaya, earning a second-round submission victory to retain her 135-pound title. The opening round featured Evinger earning a takedown, but was quickly forced to defense submission attempts. Kunitskaya attacked with a guillotine choke, then an armbar and finally, a myriad of leg lock attempts. Evinger defended and dropped heavy punches from the top position. In the second stanza, Evinger again worked hard to get the fight to the mat. She gained top position and methodically worked to dominant positions. She passed to side control and then took the back of Kunitskaya. Once there, Evinger slapped on the fight-finishing rear-naked choke and coerced the tap from the Russian challenger
Former strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza needed less two minutes to remind the 115-pound division she’s still among the best. The Brazilian crushed current atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki with a right hand. Hamasaki crashed to the mat and Souza flurried hard to earn the first-round stoppage.
Veterans Jodie Esquibel and DeAnna Bennett engaged in a tactical, three-round fight that resulted in Esquibel taking home a narrow, split decision victory. Esquibel’s boxing on display early, but the first round swung toward Bennett’s favor after a deep armbar attempt. Esquibel survived the submission attempt and began to open up with her striking. She remained on the outside, scoring with punches to the body of Bennett and kicking the lead leg. The pair battled it out until the final bell, with Esquibel doing enough to convince two of the three judges at cageside to hand her the win.
After nearly three years away from the Invicta cage, atomweight Ashley Cummins returned and scored a big win over former title challenger Amber Brown. Cummins raced to the center of the cage and fired combination after combination. Brown answered with a takedown and moved to mount. Cummins recovered her guard and threatened with an inverted triangle choke. Brown countered with an inverted triangle choke of her own, but neither fighter found a finish. Round two was all Cummins as she earned a takedown and threatened to finish Brown with an arm-triangle choke. Brown gutted it out, but again found herself on her heels in round three. Cummins closed the fight by attacking with a rear-naked choke and cruising on the scorecards.
Iceland’s Sunna Davíðsdóttir survived a three-round war with newcomer Mallory Martin, scoring a unanimous decision win. Davíðsdóttir was active early with her punches, but Martin pressed forward. Martin ate a heavy shot and her left eye began to swell, but turned the tide in round two, rocking Davíðsdóttir with punches and opening a cut over her left eye. Both fighters dug deep in the final frame, but Davíðsdóttir was able to take’s Martin’s back for a moment, sealing the win with the judges.
Missouri’s Miranda Maverick remained undefeated, scoring a first-round submission of Kal Holliday. Holliday marched forward to open the contest, but Maverick fired strikes to keep the distance. Holliday closed the distance and scooped Maverick to the canvas. Once there, Maverick showcased an active guard, throwing up a triangle choke attempt before transitioning to an armbar. Holliday fought hard to escape, but Maverick coerced the tap, three minutes into the bout.
The night kicked off with a featherweight battle between Felicia Spencer and Madison McElhaney. The pair skipped the feeling out process and began trading heavy shots from the opening bell. Spencer’s pressure and clinch work were the story early, as she was able to put McElhaney on her back multiple times. She attacked with armbar attempts, but McElhaney was able to defend. The hard-fought bout went the distance, with Spencer remaining unbeaten with the unanimous decision victory.
Tonya Evinger def. Yana Kunitskaya by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 4:32 – for bantamweight title
Livia Renata Souza def. Ayaka Hamasaki by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 1:41
Jodie Esquibel def. DeAnna Bennett by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Ashley Cummins def. Amber Brown by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Sunna Davíðsdóttir def. Mallory Martin by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Miranda Maverick def. Kal Holliday by submission (armbar). Round 1, 3:01
Felicia Spencer def. Madison McElhaney by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
About Invicta FC:
Invicta Fighting Championships is a world championship, all-pro mixed martial arts (MMA) fight series dedicated to providing female athletes with a major platform to hone their skills on a consistent basis. Founded in 2012 by longtime MMA executive Shannon Knapp, Invicta is committed to pioneering the future growth of women’s MMA by promoting the best possible match-ups between female competitors and identifying and developing future superstars of the sport. Follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights), Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights), and Instagram (@InvictaFC) for all the latest information.