KANSAS CITY, Kan. — On Thursday, Sept. 17, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 42: Cummins vs. Zappitella. The entire fight card aired exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
Alesha Zappitella is the new atomweight champion after a fourth-round submission victory over Ashley Cummins in the night’s headliner. After a feeling-out process on the feet, Cummins connected with a massive right hand that wobbled Zappitella. Cummins followed it with two more right hands, prompting Zappitella to shoot for a takedown. After initially stuffing the shot, Cummins ended up on her back. She attacked the neck of Zappitella with a guillotine choke, but Zappitella was able to finish the round on top. Cummins scored with a counter right hand early in round two and Zappitella took the fight to the fence. She worked hard for a takedown, but Cummins used double underhooks to keep the fight standing. Zappitella came forward more frequently, but the counter punches from Cummins kept her at bay. The third round opened with a low single-leg takedown from Zappitella. She passed to half guard and then to side control. Using her wrestling prowess, Zappitella controlled Cummins for the majority of the round. Early in the fourth round, Zappitella took the fight to the ground and Cummins again looked for a guillotine choke. Zappitella was able to pass and turn the tides on Cummins. She applied a Von Flue choke in the center of the cage. Cummins tried to defend, but was ultimately forced to submit and give Zappitella the title.
Former bantamweight title challengers Lisa Verzosa and Raquel Canuto squared off in the night’s co-main event. The veteran Canuto was patient with her attack, keeping Verzosa at range. Canuto mixed up her strikes, landing body kicks and frequent right hands. Verzosa did not panic, landing counters from the outside. The opening round was razor-close and the judges were split after the first five minutes. In the second round, Verzosa exhibited clean technique, landing jab-cross combinations with regularity. Canuto found a home for her right hand, but was matched repeatedly by her younger opponent. The decorated grappler Canuto looked to bring the fight to the ground in the final frame. Verzosa was able to keep the fight on the feet, but Canuto recaptured her vintage form, battering Verzosa with punches. She really pushed the action, firing head kicks and looking for a finish. It would not come and the fight was sent to the judges. They were split in their verdict, but it was Verzosa who walked away victorious.
Brazilians Jéssica Delboni and Herica Tiburcio squared off in a strawweight bout. The former atomweights showcased their speed right away, trading combination after combination. Delboni was the aggressor, frequently flurrying forward with punches. Tiburcio looked to counter and caught her countrywoman with some heavy shots. The volume of Delboni was the story of the opening frame. Delboni continued to press forward in round two, firing punches. Tiburcio initiated the clinch and scored with knees. A takedown attempt from Tiburcio was stuffed, but she started to pick up the pace as the round progressed. The pair answered one another’s strikes until the round came to a close. Tiburcio came out firing in the final round. She marched forward and took the fight to Delboni. Tiburcio worked hard to bring the fight to the ground, but she couldn’t put Delboni on the mat. Despite her late efforts, it wasn’t enough, as all three judges tallied the bout for Delboni.
Flyweights Victoria Leonardo and Liz Tracy clashed in the night’s second bout. Leonardo landed a front kick to the face of Tracy to open the action. The pair exchanged combinations for the majority of the round, with Tracy starting to find a home for her right hand as the round progressed. She changed levels and put Leonardo on her back late in the round, but Leonardo was able to sweep and return to her feet. In round two, Tracy sought another takedown, but Leonardo was able to spring back up and move to Tracy’s back while standing. She used the position to score a takedown of her own. Tracy used a heel hook attempt to work back to her feet. Leonardo finished the round strong with a late flurry. The final round was a back-and-forth affair. Both fighters sought takedowns, but could not complete them. Leonardo was a little busier on the feet and that would prove to be the difference as all three judges scored it in her favor.
The night kicked off with a 120-pound catchweight bout featuring Invicta vet Helen Peralta and the promotional debut of boxing Olympian Jennifer Chieng. Peralta came out kicking, attacking the lead leg of the boxer Chieng. The fight found the clinch and Peralta showcased her strength, landing a big elbow on the break. Chieng made a mistake and found herself with Peralta on top to close out the first frame. The second stanza was largely spent in the clinch, as Peralta bullied Chieng around the cage. She scored with short elbows and knees. Chieng struggled to break free and was hurt by heavy shots late in the round, causing a hematoma on her forehead. The final round was again all Peralta, who muscled her less experienced opponent around the cage. She worked the body with punches and convinced all three judges to reward her the victory.
Alesha Zappitella def. Ashley Cummins by submission (Von Flue choke). Round 4, 1:20 – for atomweight title
Lisa Verzosa def. Raquel Canuto by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Jéssica Delboni def. Herica Tiburcio by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Victoria Leonardo def. Liz Tracy by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Helen Peralta def. Jennifer Chieng by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
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 (InvictaFights), and Instagram (@InvictaFC) for all the latest information.