On Wednesday, Jan. 18, Invicta Fighting Championships returns to the Mile High City with a championship doubleheader. The action takes place from Reelworks Denver and tickets are available now through Eventbrite. The event will kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. MT, with the main card airing on AXS TV in the U.S., Fight Network in Canada, and Invicta’s official YouTube Channel and Facebook Page at 9 p.m. ET/7 p.m. MT.
Let’s take a look at the match-ups for the upcoming card through the lens of a sports bettor:
Taneisha Tennant (-120) vs. Talita Bernardo (-105) – for bantamweight title
The bantamweight title fight between champion Taneisha Tennant and Talita Bernardo is a tight betting line and for good reason. This is a highly competitive fight between two high-quality individuals with good quality of competition and a high-success rate. The stylistic match-up is what will come into focus here.
In Tennant, you have a primary striker with good athleticism and quickness. She isn’t easy to take down, which is what Bernardo will be looking for as a grappler. Tennant is riding a two-fight winning streak right now, besting Olga Rubin and Lisa Verzosa in that time under the Invicta banner. Tennant’s only career loss came against former pro boxer Danyelle Wolf on the Contender Series.
As for Benardo, she faced quality opposition during a four-fight stint in the UFC. Although she went just 1-3 in that UFC tenure, she stepped in the cage with top-15 fighters Viviane Araujo, Irene Aldana and Marion Reneau, a testament to her competition level. She’s currently on a three-fight surge, with two coming by way of submission (both under the Invicta banner).
Given the tight moneyline, a more focused bet may be in order for this title clash. Bernardo at +585 to win by submission looks to be an intriguing bet given Bernardo’s strong submission skills as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Tennant by decision is another bet worth a look at +170, since her last two title victories have gone the distance.
Kristina Williams (-120) vs. Ketlen Souza (-115) – for vacant flyweight title
The other title fight on this card is a flyweight affair for the vacant belt between Kristina Williams and Ketlen Souza. This is an especially intriguing bout given both fighters styles and experience, and may be one of the bigger question marks on this card.
Williams may just be a nine-fight pro, but she is the slight favorite here given her experience under bright lights. She fought for Bellator six times and did not take any easy fights. Despite going 3-3 in that organization, she does own victories over former Invicta champ Emily Ducote and former boxing world champion Heather Hardy. She comes into this bout on a three-fight surge, including two victories under the Invicta banner.
For Souza, she has more fights in terms of numbers, but she doesn’t have the same level of competition as Williams. That’s not a knock on Souza as much as it’s a compliment to Williams. That said, Souza likes to strike, but her two most recent losses come by TKO from leg kicks and a body kick. Williams is a striker herself and will look to test Souza, who will have no problem putting on a show with her own striking.
That’s where the betting lines comes in. Again, this is super close, which may make it tough to score big money either way. Williams by knockout at +200 seems like a tough line, but one that could be a safe bet given Souza’s most recent losses compared to the style of Williams. A solid bet could be picking either fighter by decision, as both lines are plus money and could ultimately pay off, if you pick the right winner.
Serena DeJesus (-115) vs. Olga Rubin (-115)
The bantamweight bout between Serena DeJesus and Olga Rubin is looking at two fighters in very different positions in their career. In DeJesus, you have a fighter really hitting her stride as of lately, scoring four-straight wins and looking good in the process. For Rubin, you have a former Bellator title challenger that’s dropped three of her last four. However, her last bout was a narrow, split-decision defeat to current champion Taneisha Tennant. Momentum could be a key here when it comes to betting. Given that the moneyline is even, it may not be the best option if you’re willing to test your meddle with prop bets. Picking the winner by decision could be your best opportunity to cash big on this match-up. A dark horse pick given Rubin’s two TKO losses could be DeJesus via knockout at +650.
Claire Guthrie (-145) vs. Auttumn Norton (+115)
It’s a spotlight night for the bantamweight division as Ultimate Fighter veteran and Denver native Claire Guthrie collides with Auttumn Norton. This is going to be a battle of attrition, pitting the wrestling of Guthrie up against the power striking of Norton. Guthrie by decision at +120 looks to be the “safest bet” given the style she brings to this fight. If you are looking for a Hail Mary option with high risk and high reward, consider picking Norton to score a knockout. It’s currently at a whopping +1035 and she has demonstrated some pop in her punches in her previous fights.
Marisa Messer-Belenchia (-130) vs. Elisandra Ferreira (+100)
The atomweight scrap between Marisa Messer-Belenchia and Elisandra “Lili” Ferreira is also close through the eyes of the books. Messer-Belenchia has plenty of experience, including exhibition bouts that aren’t on her official record in the Invicta Phoenix Tournament. She also has pro boxing experience, which is something she will want to employ against Ferreira. Ferreira prefers to grapple and given her penchant for going the distance, the over 1.5 rounds line at -120 could still represent good value. Or, if you’re confident in picking the winner, choosing either fighter to win by decision could be smart money.
Katie Saull (-115) vs. Rayanne dos Santos (-115)
Another Contender Series veteran shows up on this card in the form of Rayanne dos Santos, who is dropping to atomweight in her Invicta debut against veteran Katie Saull. Dos Santos looked very good in her Contender Series loss to Denise Gomes, but it will be intriguing to see how she performs in her new weight class. That could be a factor that leans toward taking the over 1.5 rounds, even at -155. Other bets worth consideration are Saull by decision at +335 and dos Santos by submission at +460.
Fatima Kline (-130) vs. Laura Gallardo (+100)
The strawweight fight between Fatima Kline and Laura Gallardo is probably the most interesting fight from the standpoint of the two combatants and their respective styles and experience. Kline is an outstanding Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner with excellent submission skills. She is 2-0 in her career and has finishes in both of those bouts which took place under the Invicta banner. This is a big step up in MMA competition for her in Gallardo, a TUF veteran and strong wrestler. Her wrestling could counteract Kline’s BJJ, or if Kline is unable to secure a ground fight from top position, this could end up a kickboxing match. This may yet again represent a fight where the best value is picking the winner by decision. If it’s Kline, you’re looking at +385. For Gallardo, it’s at +420. Either way, if you pick the right fighter, it will be a nice return on investment.
Tanya Nijjar (-135) vs. Sayury Cañon (+105)
The opening bout on the card is two youngsters in the pro MMA game in Tanya Nijjar and Saury Cañon. Nijjar is the favorite here because she was an undefeated amateur and won her pro debut by submission over a more experienced opponent. Cañon has more pro wins, but they both came against relatively unknown competition in South America. The best value bet here is Nijjar by submission at +260. Though if you’re looking for a big-return bet, you could take Cañon and her wrestling pedigree by decision at +400.
Note: all betting lines referenced are subject to change and are not controlled by Invicta FC. Any suggested bets mentioned are purely suggestions of the author and do not reflect the opinions of the promotion.
This piece is a special contribution from Riley Kontek, a veteran combat sports writer whose work has appeared on Bleacher Report MMA, Combat Press and the MMA Intel Blog. You can follow Riley on Twitter.
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.