Kansas City, Kan. — On Friday, Oct. 4, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 37: Gonzalez vs. Sanchez from Memorial Hall. The entire fight card aired exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
Former flyweight title challenger Pearl Gonzalez returned to the win column, putting the first blemish on the record of Guam’s Brogan Sanchez in the nights’ headliner. Sanchez was the aggressor early, peppering Gonzalez with kicks and scoring with a left hand. Gonzalez looked for a head-and-arm throw, but Sanchez reversed it and attempted to take her back. Gonzalez was patient and secured top position. Sanchez worked hard to get back to the feet, but Gonzalez again used the head-and-arm throw, this time landing in side control. Gonzalez would spend the final minute of the frame on top of Sanchez. Round two was much more tactical. Sanchez controlled the range with a variety of kicks. Gonzalez returned fire, as both fighters landed with heavy body blows. Gonzalez looked for the same throw a third time and ended up on bottom after Sanchez anticipated the technique. Sanchez worked to take the back, but Gonzalez spun to top position in the round’s waning seconds. The final round saw the fighters jostle for position in the clinch. Gonzalez separated and landed a solid right hand. Sanchez sought a takedown and ended up giving up one as Gonzalez capitalized on her desperation late in the fight. The fight would go the distance, but all three judges at cageside rewarded Gonzalez for her efforts.
In a battle of Contender Series veterans, Mariya Agapova scored a TKO win over Marilia Santos. The two went straight to work, exchanging heavy punches in the pocket. Santos ducked under a punch from Agapova and secured a body lock. She attempted a lateral drop, but Agapova was wise to it and landed in the top position. After a pair of right hands from the Kazakhstan native, Santos looked for an armbar. Agapova defended and escaped the position. Late in the round, Agapova delivered multiple elbows to the Brazilian’s head. She smelled the finish and flurried with punches, forcing the referee to intervene.
California’s Kay Hansen gave Brazilian Nicolle Caliari a rude welcome to the Invicta cage in their strawweight affair. The pair traded kicks before Hansen muscled Caliari to the ground and quickly took her back. Hansen worked hard for a rear-naked choke, but Caliari was able to defend. Caliari eventually made her way back to her feet, then looked for a takedown. Hansen countered with a guillotine, but Caliari survived the round. Hansen took the fight to the canvas early in round two, producing an omoplata attempt from the Brazilian. Hansen scrambled and took Caliari’s back, then transitioned to mount. Caliari remained calm and got back to her feet, only to be slammed by Hansen moments later. Round three began with another takedown by Hansen. She moved to mount and attacked with another guillotine choke. This time, Caliari was forced to tap.
The atomweight contest between veterans Lindsey VanZandt and Shino VanHoose came to quick and unfortunate end. After a couple of short exchanges on the feet, VanZandt landed a devastating low kick to the lead leg of VanHoose. The kick buckled VanHoose’s left knee and she fell to the canvas in pain. The referee immediately stepped in and handed VanZandt the TKO victory.
Undefeated atomweights clashed as Kentucky’s Linda Mihalec faced off with Marisa Messer-Belenchia. The first round was largely a war of attrition in the clinch. Messer-Belenchia pushed Mihalec to the fence and worked hard for a takedown. Mihalec defended with knees, but eventually the fight found the ground with Messer-Belenchia controlling from the top. A late reversal from Mihalec saw her deliver heavy strikes. Messer-Belenchia secured a quick throw in round two, and she looked to set up a north-south choke. Mihalec reversed position and mounted Messer-Belenchia. She rained heavy strikes, but Messer-Belenchia was able to survive the round. An inadvertent clash of heads early in round three caused a large cut on Mihalec, but it didn’t affect her performance as she outworked Messer-Belenchia for the decision win.
Bantamweight Hope Chase made a strong impression during her first Invicta appearance, submitting Megan Cawley inside the first round. After a brief feeling-out process, Chase powered Cawley to the ground and unleashed a barrage of punches. Cawley attacked with an armbar, but Chase escaped and passed to side control. Following more strikes, Cawley gave up her back and Chase locked in a fight-finishing rear-naked choke.
In a battle of flyweight newcomers, Colorado’s Claire Johnson submitted Minnesota’s Jordan Kaaze. The first round saw Johnson take control in the clinch and bring the fight to the mat. Once on top, Johnson was able to control the round and score with punches from the top. Round two was nearly a carbon-copy of the first, as Johnson was able to get in close and take Kaaze to the ground. She passed to side control and delivered a barrage of elbows. Kaaze absorbed the shots, but was unable to work back to her feet. In the final frame, Johnson scored with a trip takedown and worked to Kaaze’s back. She attacked with a reverse triangle before latching onto an armbar and coercing the tap from Kaaze.
Pearl Gonzalez def. Brogan Sanchez by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Mariya Agapova def. Marilia Santos by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 4:55
Kay Hansen def. Nicolle Caliari by submission (guillotine choke). Round 3, 1:14
Lindsey VanZandt def. Shino VanHoose by TKO (knee injury). Round 1, 0:39
Linda Mihalec def. Marisa Messer-Belenchia by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Hope Chase def. Megan Cawley by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:28
Claire Johnson def. Jordan Kaaze by submission (armbar). Round 3, 2:20
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.