Posts

Invicta FC 28: MIZUKI vs. Jandiroba Official Weigh-in Results

Salt Lake City — On Friday, March 23, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted the weigh-ins for Invicta FC 28: MIZUKI vs. Jandiroba. The event takes place from the Union Event Center in Utah, on Saturday, March 24, and streams live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

In the night’s main event, Japan’s MIZUKI (12-4) returns to the Invicta cage to face undefeated Brazilian Virna Jandiroba (12-0) for the strawweight title. The 23-year-old MIZUKI enters the contest having won four straight, including a second-round armbar finish of Lynn Alvarez in her most recent Invicta appearance. Jandiroba impressed in her promotional debut, submitting veteran Amy Montenegro in the first round via armbar to earn her shot at gold.

The co-main event features a flyweight match-up between UFC veteran DeAnna Bennett (8-3-1) and Mexico’s Karina Rodríguez (6-2).

Below are the results of the event’s weigh-ins.

Strawweight Title: MIZUKI (113.9) vs. Virna Jandiroba (115)
Flyweight: DeAnna Bennett (127.9)* vs. Karina Rodríguez (125.2)
Flyweight: Milana Dudieva (125.9) vs. Christina Marks (124.8)
Strawweight: Kali Robbins (115.4) vs. Pearl Gonzalez (115.9)
Atomweight: Minna Grusander (105.8) vs. Fernanda Barros (105.9)
Strawweight: Kal Schwartz (115.6) vs. Kay Hansen (115.3)
Bantamweight: Kerri Kenneson (135.7) vs. Chelsea Chandler (135.7)
Atomweight: Jillian DeCoursey (106) vs. Rebekah Levine (104.9)
Flyweight: Tracy Cortez (124.7) vs. Kaytlin Neil (125.5)

* – Bennett was fined 25 percent of her fight purse for missing the flyweight limit of 126 pounds


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.

Janaisa Morandin vs. Virna Jandiroba Title Fight Headlines Invicta FC 28 on March 24

Kansas City, Mo. — Invicta Fighting Championships is heading to Utah.

The promotion’s 28th event will take place Saturday, March 24 from the Union Event Center in Salt Lake City. The card will stream live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass at 6 p.m. MT.

In the night’s main event, Brazilians Janaisa Morandin (10-1) and Virna Jandiroba (12-0) clash for the strawweight title. Morandin made her Invicta debut in a “Fight of the Night” battle against former champion Livia Renata Souza last August and followed it up with dominant win over Kinberly Novaes at Invicta FC 26 in December. Jandiroba also impressed in her first bout with the promotion, submitting veteran Amy Montenegro in the first round via armbar.

The co-main event features the return of Japan’s MIZUKI (12-4) against UFC veteran Milana Dudieva (11-7). The 23-year-old MIZUKI enters the contest having won four straight, including a second-round armbar finish of Lynn Alvarez in her most recent Invicta appearance. Dudieva will be making her third appearance inside the Invicta cage, but this will be her first bout in the strawweight division.

UFC veteran DeAnna Bennett (8-3-1) rejoins the promotion to take on Mexico’s Karina Rodríguez (6-2). Bennett, a former strawweight title challenger, fought to a draw against Melinda Fabian in December. Rodríguez has earned back-to-back wins over Bárbara Acioly and Christine Ferea since joining the promotion last summer.

Also on the card, undefeated strawweight Kali Robbins (5-0) takes on UFC veteran Pearl Gonzalez (6-3), Finland’s Minna Grusander (5-1) meets fellow atomweight newcomer Fernanda Priscila (3-1) of Brazil, Kal Schwartz faces a yet-to-be-named opponent in a strawweight affair, undefeated bantamweight Kerri Kenneson (2-0) of New Hampshire takes on the debuting Chelsea Chandler (0-0), and Jillian DeCoursey (1-0) battles Rebekah Levine (1-0) at atomweight.

The fight card for Invicta FC 28 can be found below:

Strawweight Title: Janaisa Morandin (10-1) vs. Virna Jandiroba (12-0)
Strawweight: MIZUKI (12-4) vs. Milana Dudieva (11-7)
Flyweight: DeAnna Bennett (8-3-1) vs. Karina Rodríguez (6-2)
Strawweight: Kali Robbins (5-0) vs. Pearl Gonzalez (6-3)
Atomweight: Minna Grusander (5-1) vs. Fernanda Priscila (3-1)
Strawweight: Kal Schwartz (1-1) vs. TBA
Bantamweight: Kerri Kenneson (2-0) vs. Chelsea Chandler (0-0)
Atomweight: Jillian DeCoursey (1-0) vs. Rebekah Levine (1-0)

Tickets for Invicta FC 28 will go on sale Saturday, Feb. 17 at 10 a.m. MT via Ticketfly.com.


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.

Five Additional Bouts Added to Invicta FC 22

Kansas City, Mo. — Invicta Fighting Championships 22 has added five new bouts.

The night’s co-main event will feature atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki (14-1) moving up a weight class to take on former strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza (9-1). Hamasaki will enter the contest having won five straight fights, including back-to-back title defenses against Jinh Yu Frey and Amber Brown. Souza will compete for the first time since her Invicta FC 17 battle with Angela Hill.

Also at strawweight, former title challenger DeAnna Bennett (8-2) takes on Jodie Esquibel (5-2). The pair were originally slated to collide at Invicta FC 21, but the bout had to be rescheduled. Bennett will return for the first time since Invicta FC 16, where she engaged in a back-and-forth battle with veteran Roxanne Modafferi. Esquibel headlined Invicta FC 18 in July against Mexico’s Alexa Grasso.

Recent atomweight title challenger Jinh Yu Frey (5-2) battles undefeated Brazilian newcomer Janaisa Morandin (9-0). Frey came up short in her quest for gold at Invicta FC 19 after doctors stopped her bout due to a cut. Morandin has reeled off nine straight wins in her home country, including five by way of strikes.

Finally, two additional strawweight match-ups are slated for the event. Iceland’s Sunna Rannveig Davidsdottir (1-0), fresh off her decision win over Ashley Greenway at Invicta FC 19, welcomes newcomer Mallory Martin (1-0) to the Invicta cage, while unbeaten Kal Holliday (1-0) looks to build off her submission victory over Tiffany Van Soest when she takes on 19-year-old sensation Miranda Maverick (1-0).

The bouts join the previously announced bantamweight title rematch between champion Tonya Evinger (18-5, 1 NC) and Russian challenger Yana Kunitskaya (9-2, 1 NC).

The event takes place Saturday, March 25 from the historic Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Mo. The event streams live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass at 8 p.m. ET.

The current Invicta FC 22 fight card can be found below:

Bantamweight Title: Tonya Evinger (18-5, 1 NC) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (9-2, 1 NC)
Strawweight: Ayaka Hamasaki (14-1) vs. Livia Renata Souza (9-1)
Strawweight: DeAnna Bennett (8-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (5-2)
Atomweight: Jinh Yu Frey (5-2) vs. Janaisa Morandin (9-0)
Strawweight: Sunna Rannveig Davidsdottir (1-0) vs. Mallory Martin (1-0)
Strawweight: Kal Holliday (1-0) vs. Miranda Maverick (1-0)

Tickets for Invicta FC 22 go on sale Saturday, Feb. 11 at 10 a.m. CT via Ticketfly.com. Additional bouts for the event will be announced at a later date.


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.

Invicta FC 21 Adds Four Additional Bouts

Kansas City, Mo. — Invicta Fighting Championships 21 has added four bouts.

Swedish bantamweight Pannie Kianzad (8-1) will return to action against Hawaii’s Raquel Pa’aluhi (5-5), undefeated Aspen Ladd (4-0) will take on grappling ace Sijara Eubanks (2-1), also at 135 pounds, veteran strawweights DeAnna Bennett (8-2) and Jodie Esquibel (5-2) square off, and newcomer Brieta Carpenter (0-0) will welcome boxing champion Heather Hardy (0-0) to the Invicta cage.

Kianzad returns to the Invicta cage after falling short against champion Tonya Evinger are Invicta FC 14 last year. Pa’aluhi, meanwhile, has won three of her last four, including wins over veterans Ediane Gomes and Kaitlin Young.

The 21-year-old Ladd has continued her winning ways since moving up to bantamweight, defeating Jessica Hoy and Kelly McGill in her last two appearances. Eubanks, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, earned her second career win via strikes at Invicta FC 18, stopping Amberlynn Orr in the first round.

Bennett, a former strawweight title challenger, will return for the first time since Invicta FC 16, where she engaged in a back-and-forth battle with veteran Roxanne Modafferi. Esquibel headlined Invicta FC 18 in July against Mexico’s Alexa Grasso.

Hardy, 34, carries an undefeated record of 18-0 in the boxing ring and currently holds the WBC international featherweight and super bantamweight titles. Carpenter signed with the promotion in June after compiling an 8-2 amateur record, including a 10-second knockout in her most recent outing.

Invicta FC 21 will take place Saturday, Jan. 14 from the historic Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Mo. The event will air live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass. The night’s main event will feature a featherweight clash between Megan Anderson (7-2) and Charmaine Tweet (9-5).

The current fight card for Invicta FC 21 can be found below:

Featherweight: Megan Anderson (7-2) vs. Charmaine Tweet (9-5)
Bantamweight: Pannie Kianzad (8-1) vs. Raquel Pa’aluhi (5-5)
Strawweight: DeAnna Bennett (8-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (5-2)
Bantamweight: Aspen Ladd (4-0) vs. Sijara Eubanks (2-1)
Flyweight: Heather Hardy (0-0) vs. Brieta Carpenter (0-0)

Tickets for Invicta FC 21 go on sale Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. CT via Ticketfly.com. Additional bouts for the event will be announced at a later date.


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.

Invicta FC 15 Results: Cyborg, Souza Retain Belts With First-Round Finishes

Costa Mesa, Calif. — On Saturday, Jan. 16, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 15: Cyborg vs. Ibragimova from the The Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center. The event streamed live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass at 9 p.m. ET.

In a match-up that featured two dominant finishers, Brazilian Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino stopped Russia’s Daria Ibragimova with just two seconds left in the opening stanza to retain her featherweight title. Ibragimova swung for the fences from the opening bell, then changed levels for a takedown attempt. Cyborg showcased great balance, but the Russian was relentless. Cyborg delivered short punches and elbows that damaged the left eye of Ibragimova. Ibragimova continued to try to get the fight to the mat, but Cyborg’s punishment took its toll. Late in the round, a right hand from Cyborg dropped the Russian and a pair of follow-up punches halted the contest.

Invicta strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza wasted little time in her first title defense, ending the unbeaten run of challenger DeAnna Bennett with a violent, first-round TKO finish. Bennett came forward with flurries to open the bout, but Souza defended well. A body kick from Souza landed flush to Bennett’s liver and sent her falling the ground. Souza rained hammerfists, forcing the stoppage just 90 seconds into the fight.

Bantamweight Colleen Schneider put together the most complete performance of her Invicta tenure, edging the ever-tough Raquel Pa’aluhi by split decision. Schneider’s counter striking was on display throughout the affair, as she quickly opened a cut between the eyes of Pa’aluhi. Pa’aluhi tried to take the fight to the mat over and over, but Schneider showcased great balance and scrambling. An elbow from Schneider caused blood to leak from the nose of Pa’aluhi. Midway through the fight, the left eye of the Hawaiian swelled badly as Schneider began to target it with punches. Pa’aluhi never stopped coming forward and looking for takedowns, but in the end, it was Schneider who claimed the win on the scorecards.

Amber Brown continued to move up the atomweight ladder with quick finish of promotional newcomer Shino VanHoose. Brown landed a left hand early and backed the 20-year-old against the cage. VanHoose left her neck exposed and Brown latched onto it. VanHoose scored with a trip and landed on top, but Brown maintained her grip on the neck. As Brown recovered her full guard, VanHoose was forced to tap.

Strawweights Mizuki Inoue and Lacey Schuckman engaged in a back-and-forth affair, with Japan’s Mizuki claiming a third-round submission via armbar. Schuckman earned a big takedown in the first round and even briefly took Mizuki’s back. Mizuki escaped and gained top position. She attacked with an armbar, but Schuckman countered with an inverted triangle attempt from her back. In the second and third rounds, Mizuki took control, tossing Schuckman to the mat and delivering heavy ground and pound. She repeatedly looked for the armbar finish and late in the final frame, she coerced the tap from Schuckman.

In her Invicta FC debut, UFC veteran Angela Hill wasted little time sending a message to the rest of the division, stopping Alida Gray in under two minutes. The pair traded single shots early, but a right hand from Hill stunned Gray. She smelled blood in the water and went for the finish. A series of knees and punches connected, but it was a knee to the body that sent Gray crashing to the canvas.

Kicking off the action, featherweights Megan Anderson and Amber Leibrock went to war. Leibrock rocked Anderson early with a right hand, but the Australian responded by initiating the clinch and punishing Leibrock with knees and elbows. Anderson’s pressure along the cage took its toll on Leibrock, as did repeated kicks to her lead leg. Midway through the third round, Anderson delivered a big knee that dropped Leibrock and she swarmed with punches to earn the TKO.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino def. Daria Ibragimova by knockout (punches). Round 1, 4:58 – for featherweight title
Livia Renata Souza def. DeAnna Bennett by TKO (body kick and punches). Round 1, 1:30 – for strawweight title
Colleen Schneider def. Raquel Pa’aluhi by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Amber Brown def. Shino VanHoose by submission (guillotine choke). Round 1, 2:36
Mizuki Inoue def. Lacey Schuckman by submission (armbar). Round 3, 3:41
Angela Hill def. Alida Gray by knockout (knee to the body). Round 1, 1:39
Megan Anderson def. Amber Leibrock by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 2:33


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. For more information, visit InvictaFC.com, follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights) and like Invicta on Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights).

Invicta FC 15: ‘Cyborg’ vs. Ibragimova Official Weigh-in Results

Costa Mesa, Calif. — On Friday, Jan. 15, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted the weigh-ins for Invicta FC 15: Cyborg vs. Ibragimova, which takes place Saturday, Jan. 16, from the The Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center. The event will stream live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass at 9 p.m. ET.

Headlining the event will be featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (14-1, 1 NC), who will put her belt on the line against Russian newcomer Daria Ibragimova (9-1). Cyborg successfully defended her 145-pound title at Invicta FC 13 in July, stopping New Zealand’s Faith Van Duin in under a minute. Ibragimova will make her promotional debut riding a seven-fight winning streak. Seven of her nine career victories have come via submission and six of her wins have come inside the first round.

In the co-main event, the strawweight title will be up for grabs between champion Livia Renata Souza (8-0) and fellow unbeaten DeAnna Bennett (8-0). The Brazilian Souza captured the 115-pound title with a fourth-round finish of Katja Kankaanpää at Invicta FC 12. Seven of the 24-year-old’s wins have come via submission, including five in the first round. Utah’s Bennett has won four straight inside the Invicta cage. Since dropping to 115 pounds, she has topped Norma Rueda Center, as well as the aforementioned Kankaanpää, in her last two outings.

Below are the results of the event’s weigh-ins, which were held at the Team Punishment Gym.

Featherweight Title: Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (144.6) vs. Daria Ibragimova (143.7)
Strawweight Title: Livia Renata Souza (113.9) vs. DeAnna Bennett (114.6)
Bantamweight: Raquel Pa’aluhi (135.5) vs. Colleen Schneider (136.2)*
Atomweight: Amber Brown (105.7) vs. Shino VanHoose (105.3)
Strawweight: Lacey Schuckman (114.9) vs. Mizuki Inoue (114.3)
Strawweight: Angela Hill (115.1) vs. Alida Gray (115.9)
Featherweight: Megan Anderson (145.3) vs. Amber Leibrock (145.7)

* – Schneider weighed in at 136.4 pounds on her initial attempt. She was fined 25 percent of her fight purse for missing weight


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. For more information, visit InvictaFC.com, follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights) and like Invicta on Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights).

Invicta FC 15 Set For Southern California on Jan. 16

Kansas City, Mo. — Invicta Fighting Championships is returning to California.

The promotion will visit The Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa on Saturday, Jan. 16. The event will stream live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

Headlining the event will be featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (14-1, 1 NC), who will put her belt on the line against Russian newcomer Daria Ibragimova (9-1). Cyborg successfully defended her 145-pound title at Invicta FC 13 in July, stopping New Zealand’s Faith Van Duin in under a minute. Ibragimova will make her promotional debut riding a seven-fight winning streak. Seven of her nine career victories have come via submission and six of her wins have come inside the first round.

In the co-main event, the strawweight title will be up for grabs between champion Livia Renata Souza (8-0) and fellow unbeaten DeAnna Bennett (8-0). The Brazilian Souza captured the 115-pound title with a fourth-round finish of Katja Kankaanpää at Invicta FC 12. Seven of the 24-year-old’s wins have come via submission, including five in the first round. Utah’s Bennett has won four straight inside the Invicta cage. Since dropping to 115 pounds, she has topped Norma Rueda Center, as well as the aforementioned Kankaanpää, in her last two outings.

Also announced for the event will be another strawweight bout between recently signed UFC veteran Angela Hill (2-2) and veteran striker Jodie Esquibel (5-1). Esquibel will move up from atomweight riding a two-fight winning streak.

The current fight card for Invicta FC 15 can be found below:

Featherweight Title: Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (14-1, 1 NC) vs. Daria Ibragimova (9-1)
Strawweight Title: Livia Renata Souza (8-0) vs. DeAnna Bennett (8-0)
Atomweight: Amber Brown (5-1) vs. Lisa Ellis (15-10)
Strawweight: Jodie Esquibel (5-1) vs. Angela Hill (2-2)

Additional bouts for the event will be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets for Invicta FC 15 go on sale starting today at 10 a.m. PT and can be purchased at fightcluboc.tix.com.


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. For more information, visit InvictaFC.com, follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights) and like Invicta on Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights).

DeAnna Bennett: The Tip of the Iceberg

Mixed martial arts is a serious sport.

It requires a level of focus and dedication beyond the limits of most athletes. With two combatants locked inside a cage aiming to separate each other from consciousness or twist each other’s limbs apart, the life of a fighter isn’t for the lighthearted.

And then there’s DeAnna Bennett.

“You know, I’m a little bit off,” declared the 30-year-old Utah fighter. “I’m okay with it. People are going to know it eventually if I keep fighting.

“I always tell people I want to hug them and it creeps them out apparently. Free hugs, all day, every day.

“But if I’m cutting weight and you want to keep all of your fingers, you should probably step back. I’ve got a snaggletooth and that thing is sharp. It’s a risk you take.”

If you manage to survive around Bennett long enough — with all of your digits — you’ll discover a level of honesty and directness unmatched by anyone in the sport. Although she’s already admitted a number of truths in the past, there are still more details to be unearthed.

“I’m like an iceberg,” she proclaimed. “You’re only seeing so much and there’s a lot more beneath the surface. I don’t think the world’s ready for it. No one can handle that. Brains would explode. Or people would run for their lives.”

Bennett’s demeanor is a stark contrast to most in the sport, but her journey to the cage is not. After her high school water polo coach convinced her to try wrestling, it wasn’t long before she was hooked on competition.

“If I hadn’t wrestled, I wouldn’t have made it into MMA,” explained the Pit Elevated product. “I wrestled for a few years during high school and absolutely loved it.

“[Later] I took a kickboxing class, liked it and figured I could do that for exercise — so I could not be a fat kid. I joined a gym, found jiu-jitsu and it reminded me of wrestling. It tied everything together.”

Now six fights into her professional career, Bennett has yet to taste defeat. With two straight wins under the Invicta banner, she was being mentioned as a potential threat to flyweight champion Barb Honchak.

“Honestly, that’s just crazy talk to me,” said Bennett. “The thought that things are going so great, I have to attribute that to my coaches. Jason Mertlich is amazing. I would never be where I’m at without his guidance and help in practice everyday and during fights. Without him, I wouldn’t have been as successful as I have been.

“I just love the sport. It’s my happy place to go to the gym and train and work hard for it. To do something I love, it’s just amazing.”

Although the gym might be Bennett’s sanctuary from day-to-day life, being locked inside a cage is another story. As she stood across the cage from Michelle Ould at Invicta FC 8 in September, she was forced to fight nerves, as well as her opponent.

“The fact that it was going to be streamed online [via UFC Fight Pass] for people to watch was frightening,” admitted Bennett with a laugh. “But I’m kind of a stress case. I play through every angle in my head of what can happen. If you’re not nervous going into it, you’re probably a crazy person. It keeps you on edge and motivated to go out there.”

Bennett earned her fourth career finish that night against Ould and set up a clash with Brazil’s Jennifer Maia at Invicta FC 10 in December. After three grueling rounds with Maia, she walked away with a decision win. However, immediately following the bout, her attention turned elsewhere: the strawweight division.

“In my last fight camp, I found myself walking around at 130 pounds, which was five pounds less than what I would normally cut from to make 125,” explained the fighter. “I thought if I’m walking around that low, that’s a small 125er. I could make 115. I want to be in the weight class where I’ll be the most competitive.

“I never thought it was a possibility for me… until now. Take that, fat DeAnna.”

Unfortunately for Bennett (and her teammates), dropping an additional 10 pounds meant more days of being hungry… and angry… or, as Bennett has dubbed it, “hangry.”

“Oh, man. It’s bad,” she joked. “I have a teammate that always slaps me on the shoulder, and I yelled, ‘Don’t touch me!’ and started screaming at him. Then I realized it was exaggeration and I probably shouldn’t have done that. I find myself getting a little snappy. I’m about to start biting people if they touch me.

“It’s all part of the sport, right? Maybe?”

If Bennett (and her team) survives the weight cut, she’ll make her 115-pound debut at Invicta FC 11 in Los Angeles on Feb. 27 against Norma Rueda Center. With a tough match-up in front of her, don’t expect “The Argentine Assassin” to say anything negative about her opponent. After all, that’s how she ended up with her nickname in the first place.

In her second pro bout, she squared off with eventual The Ultimate Fighter winner Julianna Pena — also known as “The Venezuelan Vixen” — and Bennett jokingly told the promoter about her mother’s Argentine roots.

“It’s a cautionary tale,” she stated with a laugh. “It’s terrible, but it’s never going away.”

It could be much, much worse. Bennett could be stuck with a moniker like “Free Hugs” or, even more deplorable, the product of an online nickname generator. Yet, her nickname serves as a warning to anyone trying to nonchalantly talk trash to an opponent.

“I’m physically not capable of trash talking,” Bennett acknowledged. “I get into that and I start giggling. No one would ever take me seriously, let alone myself. I’ve tried to trash talk my teammates and it ends badly for me. You’re not going to see that from me anytime soon.”

Instead of intimidating her foes with her words, Bennett is happy to let her in-cage performances do the talking. Or, she’ll settle for making them slightly uncomfortable.

“I’d love to be know as an entertaining fighter,” said a suddenly serious Bennett. “But if you take two seconds to talk to me and realize that I’m just a giant weirdo that wants to hug everybody, it kind of outweighs that.

“Awkward and weird… I’m pretty sure those are the two top descriptors that anyone who knows me uses. My teammates and closest friends would say that sounds about right.”

No matter what words you use to describe DeAnna Bennett, it doesn’t change what she’s capable of in the cage. And in a sport filled with an aura of seriousness, her quirks are welcomed. Let’s just hope the world gets to see the rest of the iceberg.


DeAnna would like to thank her coach, Jason, her team, and all of the staff at Pit Elevated, including gym owner Will Farrar, her chiropractor, Dr. Russell, her strength and conditioning coach, Austin Carter, Quest Training, Warrior Fuel and her boyfriend, Trevor Mellen.

Lynn Alvarez Injured, DeAnna Bennett Now Meets Norma Rueda Center at Invicta FC 11

Kansas City, Mo. — Invicta Fighting Championships today announced that strawweight Lynn Alvarez (6-3) has suffered an injury in training and is out of Invicta FC 11, which takes place Friday, Feb. 27 in Los Angeles.

Alvarez was slated to make her return to the promotion, having last fought in the Invicta cage in 2012.

Stepping in for Alvarez against the undefeated DeAnna Bennett (6-0) is another Invicta veteran, Norma Rueda Center (3-1). The 27-year-old was last in action in October, notching a decision win over Michelle Nicolini.

Invicta FC 11 will stream live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass from the Shrine Auditorium. In the night’s headline bout, Invicta FC featherweight champion Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino (12-1, 1 NC) will return to action and defend her title against Canadian challenger Charmaine ‘Not So Sweet’ Tweet (6-4).

The updated fight card for can be found below:

Featherweight Title: Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino (12-1, 1 NC) vs. Charmaine Tweet (6-4)
Strawweight: Alexa Grasso (6-0) vs. Mizuki Inoue (8-3)
Strawweight: DeAnna Bennett (6-0) vs. Norma Rueda Center (3-1)
Bantamweight: Irene Aldana (4-1) vs. Melanie LaCroix (3-2)
Strawweight: Jamie Moyle (1-0) vs. J.J. Aldrich (1-0)
Strawweight: Brianna Van Buren (3-1) vs. Amy Montenegro (5-1)
Flyweight: Christine Stanley (3-1) vs. Rachael Cummins (2-2)
Flyweight: Ana Carolina Vidal (0-0) vs. Aspen Ladd (0-0)


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. For more information, visit InvictaFC.com, follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights) and like Invicta on Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights).

Fighting Words: DeAnna Bennett

Undefeated newcomer DeAnna Bennett looks to continue her upward trend, when she scuffles with Michelle Ould September 6th at Invicta FC 8.

 

Corey Smith: What initially attracted you to the world of martial arts? At what point did you decide it was something you wanted to pursue professionally?
DeAnna Bennett: In high school I was on the water polo team and one of the assistant coaches was also an assistant coach for the wresting team. He convinced me to join the team and I am so glad I did. I absolutely loved it.
DB: Then a few years later I found myself in Utah and took a kickboxing class in college (I needed the credit) and I liked it so much I joined the local boxing gym. That gym closed when a bigger one opened next door to it and I went over there.
DB: I did Muay Thai for a few years and really enjoyed that, but after watching the Jiu Jitsu classes out of the corner of my eye for so long, I finally braved my first class and never looked back. I’m not sure when I decided to do it professionally…
DB: If I have to say, it was probably when I entered the cage for my first amateur fight. I fought Ariel Endsley on Jeremy Horns Elite Fight Night card and I was hooked.

 

CS: Most MMA athletes have a home gym in which they spend the majority of their time. What gym are you currently training out of, and what makes you call it home?
DB: I train out of the Pit Elevated in Orem, UT. And, as cliché as it is, my team makes me call it home. And even beyond just my team, the people who work there and even just the general members make it my home.
DB: Everyone there is great. My team really is like my family and they are always so supportive and do everything they can to help everyone succeed.

 

CS: You are currently undefeated, with wins over several TUF alumni. How important is it to you to remain undefeated versus facing higher caliber competition in order to improve?
DB: I wouldn’t choose one over the other. I don’t want to hand pick my opponents just to maintain an undefeated record. I’d much rather push myself and fight high caliber opponents all while keeping my record intact.
DB: Even if I did happen to find myself not on the winning side of a fight against someone high caliber, at least I know that I can take that as a learning experience and use that to push myself in my next fight.

 

CS: Your nickname is the “Argentine Assassin,” yet you currently reside in Utah. Is the nickname a result of your heritage or were you born and raised in Argentina?
DB: Yes, about that. Haha. Well, to preface this story it is a result of my heritage. My mother was born and raised in Cordoba, Argentina and lived there until her late 20’s. The nickname came from when I was fighting Julianna Pena.
DB: So I was joking around with Scott Bowler, the promoter for the show we were fight on. I said “haha, well, since she is the Venezuelan Vixen, maybe I should be the Argentine Assassin.”
DB: Moral of the story, don’t joke with fight promoters because the next thing I knew he used it for the show and it ended up everywhere so I am stuck with it.
DB: I won’t complain too much though because I love Argentina. It’s a beautiful country and the heritage I predominately identify with.

 

CS: On September 6th at Invicta FC 8, you face off against the very experienced Michelle Ould. What are your expectations of yourself for the bout?
DB: I know this is going to be a tough fight and I definitely look forward to it. She has had a lot of fights and has been doing this for a long time and I am excited for the challenge.
DB: No matter the opponent or venue I always tell myself this is going to be my hardest fight to date and this one is no exception. (And this time it is probably 100% accurate.)
DB: I am just going to train my hardest and go out there to do my best. Make it a good show for everyone.

 

CS: What is your mood on fight night? Do you have any routines or superstitions that you have to perform?
DB: Is excitement a mood? My only routine is that I take my really long prefight bath and have my friend Brittany braid my hair.

 

CS: Who generally accompanies you to the cage? What type of feedback and coaching do you prefer from your corners?
DB: My head Coach Jason Mertlich is always in my corner as well as my boyfriend/training partner Trever Mellen.
DB: I will take any feedback from my coach Jason because I know he will never steer me wrong and is hands down the best coach anyone could ask for. If he tells me to do something, I trust him and will do it.

 

CS: Aside from fight preparation, how much MMA do you watch purely for enjoyment?
DB: I watch a lot of MMA. I love this sport and love to see different fighting techniques and see what I can take to help myself be a better fighter.

 

CS: Outside of the gym and MMA, what types of activities do you enjoy for fun? What helps you to relax?
DB: Wait; there is an outside of MMA and the gym? Just kidding. I love hockey. I’ve played since I was 11 year old, unfortunately I haven’t been able to play in a while, but I still love it. I keep hoping to free up some time to play one of these days.
DB: If I can’t play it, I can still love my team, the San Jose Sharks. They made me real sad this last year in the playoffs, but I still love them.
DB: I also love mountain biking. There are a ton of great places in Utah to go mountain biking. I also love to swim. I’ve done it my whole life and I can swim for days.
DB:  I find reading relaxing and I love to sit back with a good book, no specific genre, I love fiction, non-fiction, whatever I’m really feeling at the moment.

 

CS: Lastly, MMA takes a team to succeed alone inside the cage. Who would you like to thank?
DB: I would like to thank my coaches, Jason Mertlich and Arnold Anderton. They spend so much time away from their families working to help us get better and succeed and words can’t describe how grateful I am for everything they do.
DB: I also want to thank all of the Pit Elevated fight team, all the guys and girls there; I wouldn’t be who I am without them.
DB: Will Ferrar for giving all of us there a beautiful gym to train out of and always supporting us.
DB: Dr. Dustin Drussel for helping to keep me in one piece, Arthur Kleinfelder as well.  Rob Roveta and Scott Bowler for helping me out so much.
DB: The guys at Pro Formulations Labs for supporting me too and feeding me Warrior Fuel.
DB: Bas Rutten, Dynamic Fastener, and Vivint Home Security (my day job) for supporting me in this fight camp as well.
DB: Also all of my friends, family, and supporters, y’all make it possible to keep going even when I get a bit discouraged.
DB: And lastly, but definitely not least Trever for putting up with me when I’m hangry (hungry+angry), it’s a difficult feat, but he manages it.

 

Invicta FC 8 takes place September 6th live from the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. The full card will air live via UFC Fight Pass. Click below for tickets, or to subscribe to UFC FightPass.

 

ticketmasterlogo

 

UFC-Fight-Pass