OKLAHOMA CITY — On Wednesday, Sept. 28, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 49: Delboni vs. DeCoursey from the Sugar Creek Casino in Hinton, Okla.
There’s a new atomweight champion as Jillian DeCoursey dethroned Brazilian Jéssica Delboni in the first round. The two atomweights gauged one another’s timing and range in the fight’s opening minutes. Delboni ripped multiple low kicks to the lead leg of DeCoursey. The Brazilian flurried forward and pushed DeCoursey to the fence. When Delboni dropped down for a takedown, DeCoursey capitalized and moved to mount in the scramble. She quickly took Delboni’s back and sunk in the fight-finishing rear-naked choke. With the victory, DeCoursey became the first atomweight fighter to have made her professional debut in the Invicta cage — at Invicta FC 25 in 2017 — and then capture an Invicta title.
Ketlen Souza made a case for a flyweight title shot with a decision win over veteran Maiju Suotama in the night’s co-feature. Souza aimed for Suotama’s chin early as the Finnish fighter kept her chin high. They traded leg kick before Suotama tried to clinch. Souza showcased great takedown defense to stay upright. She landed a spinning heel kick to the stomach of Suotama. Soon after, Suotama changed levels and latched onto a single leg. Souza again stayed on her feet. She closed the round with a flying knee attempt and a wheel kick from range. Souza was very aggressive in round two, firing a variety of strikes at range. Suotama ate the shots and timed another takedown attempt, but could not muscle the Brazilian to the floor. Souza’s speed and mix of attacks kept Suotama guessing. The left eye of Suotama swelled from the repeated shots of Souza. A heavy body kick from Souza found the liver of Suotama to begin the final round. Suotama dropped her arm to cover the spot and Souza followed up with power punches. Souza sought a finish, looking for flashy technique after technique. Suotama was game, absorbing the damage throughout. The judges were in unison, awarding Souza with a clear decision win.
Brazilian newcomer Valesca Machado made a statement in the strawweight division, outworking veteran Liz Tracy over the course of three rounds. Tracy came out with erratic movement, which allowed her to land some heavy low kicks. Machado remained patient and looked to find her timing. Tracy tried to clinch, but Machado shrugged her off. As the round progressed, Machado began to land with regularity. Tracy’s pace slowed and the power shots from Machado connected to the body and chin. In round two, Machado came forward more. The right hands from the Brazilian damaged the face of Tracy. Tracy was able to muscle Machado to the ground and tried to take her back. Machado scrambled to top position and returned to her feet. The last five minutes opened with an overhand right from Machado flush to Tracy’s chin. She then found a home for her right hand over and over before delivering an uppercut as Tracy marched into range. Tracy never stopped her advance, but Machado lit her up late in the fight with combinations. The judges were called upon and the newcomer snapped Tracy’s winning streak.
Utah flyweight Kaytlin Neil gave fellow Ultimate Fighter castmate Hannah Guy a rude welcome to the Invicta cage. Neil utilized her reach advantage early and often, digging teep kicks to the body of Guy. Guy looked to flurry forward, but ate an onslaught of punches. Guy latched onto a leg and tried to bring the fight to the mat, but Neil took her back in the scramble. Late in the round, Neil hurt Guy badly with a combination and followed her to the mat. She could not find the finish before the round expired. The kicks to the body from Neil continued to batter the body of Guy. Guy tried to hide her agony along the fence, but Neil pounced with a barrage of punches. Somehow Guy dug deep and looked for a takedown, giving her enough time to recover and make it to her stool. Guy’s struggles to get into the pocket continued in round three. She latched onto Neil’s leg, but couldn’t secure a takedown. Neil’s striking assault was relentless as she kept punishing Guy at range. It was a clean sweep on the scorecards for Neil after the dominant performance.
UFC veteran Poliana Botelho made her promotional debut opposite Helen Peralta in a flyweight contest. Botelho threw a head kick that Peralta walked through and closed the distance. From there, the pair clinched along the cage and the round became a war of attrition. They jostled for position and frequently spun one another’s back to the fence. Each fighter delivered knees and short punches, but neither could find an advantage. Round two started similarly, as Peralta powered Botelho to the cage and secured a body lock. As she tried to muscle the Brazilian to the canvas, Botelho scored with a great toss to earn top position. It was short lived as Peralta was able to get back to her feet. They continued to engage in a clinch battle before Botelho earned another takedown to close the round. The over-under position continued to be where the majority of the fight took place in the final frame. When they did separate, Peralta delivered a heavy liver shot, but Botelho responded with a big knee. Her knees would land with frequency late in the fight and that proved to be the difference as Botelho claimed the hard-fought decision win.
Mexico’s Montserrat Rendon eked out a close split decision win over bantamweight veteran Brittney Cloudy in her Invicta debut. Rendon marched forward to start the bout, as she looked to close range. Cloudy showcased excellent footwork to stay on the outside and counter Rendon. Rendon tried to clinch, but Cloudy brushed her aside. That would be the story of the round, as Cloudy’s movement frustrated Rendon throughout. It was more of the same in round two, as Cloudy continued to score from range while Rendon pushed forward aggressively. A heavy left knee from Cloudy found the midsection of Rendon and backed her up for the first time. The Mexican fighter wowed the crowd with a spinning backfist late in the round. Cloudy continued to throw with volume in the third stanza. Rendon became desperate late, trying to get Cloudy to the ground. Her first takedown did not come until 30 seconds were left in the fight. However, that was enough to convince two of the judges at cageside to hand her the victory.
The night kicked off in the strawweight division as Ireland’s Shauna Bannon kept her perfect record intact with an impressive win over Mexico’s Nadia Vera. Bannon’s karate background was on display early as she peppered Vera with right hands. She connected with a lead-leg head kick and closed the distance. Vera looked to bring the fight to the mat and ended up on top. She dropped short shots from full guard, but was forced to defend an armbar attempt from Bannon. Vera was able to escape, but fell into a deep triangle from the Irish fighter. Vera did not panic, but needed the bell to survive the round. In the second, Bannon landed her right hand at will. Vera baited her into boxing range and looked to brawl. Bannon was able to muscle her way to the top position and looked to mount. She gave up the position to attempt another triangle choke from her back. Vera again was saved by the horn. The Mexican prospect was aggressive to open the final frame, charging forward and pinning Bannon to the fence. She put Bannon on her back and the two traded a flurry of punches on the canvas. Bannon returned to her feet late in the round and went for a finish, but Vera’s toughness helped her see the scorecards. There was no doubt from the judges, who rewarded Bannon for her efforts.
Jillian DeCoursey def. Jéssica Delboni by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 4:49 – for atomweight title
Ketlen Souza def. Maiju Suotama by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Valesca Machado def. Liz Tracy by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Kaytlin Neil def. Hannah Guy by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-27, 30-27)
Poliana Botelho def. Helen Peralta by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Montserrat Rendon def. Brittney Cloudy by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Shauna Bannon def. Nadia Vera by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
About Invicta FC:
Invicta Fighting Championships (invictafc.com) 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.
About Anthem Sports & Entertainment, Inc.
Anthem Sports & Entertainment Inc. is a global multi-platform media company with offices and studios in Los Angeles, Denver, Nashville, New York, Kansas City, Cleveland and Toronto. Anthem’s portfolio includes AXS TV, a leading music, entertainment and lifestyle television channel and digital media company; global film distribution company Gravitas Ventures; Fight Network, the world’s premier combat sports channel; IMPACT Wrestling, one of the world’s leading wrestling organizations specializing in original programming and live events; Invicta Fighting Championships, the world’s premier all-women mixed martial arts promotion; Game+, the leader in Esports and gaming content; GameTV, the home of game shows and competition-based reality series; and HDNet Movies, which features theatrically released films and documentaries. Anthem also has a significant ownership interest in Pursuit Channel, one of the top outdoor channels in the U.S.