INVICTA FC 8 behind the scenes from an athlete’s perspective

Maureen Riordon takes the camera and goes behind the scenes at Invicta FC 8 to give an inside look from an athlete’s perspective.

Waterson defends and Kankaanpaa secures gold at Invicta FC 8

On Saturday, Sept. 6, Invicta Fighting Championships made its long-awaited return as it hosted its eighth event from the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.

In the night’s main event, atomweight champion Michelle Waterson made the first defense of her belt as she took on Japan’s Yasuko Tamada. Waterson, or “The Karate Hottie,” rode a five-fight winning streak that dated back to 2010. The 28-year-old captured Invicta gold last April with a fourth-round armbar of Jessica Penne at Invicta FC 5. Tamada, meanwhile, made her promotional debut. The Megumi Fujii-trained fighter had picked up three straight wins under the Deep/Jewels banner heading into the title affair, which marked her first bout outside of her native Japan.

The co-main event also featured Invicta gold on the line. The promotion’s vacant strawweight title was up for grabs when Invicta vet Katja Kankaanpaa squared off with newcomer Stephanie Eggink. Finland’s Kankaanpaa was one of the few 115-pound fighters on the Invicta roster that wasn’t brought over to the UFC. “The Killer Bunny” suffered the first and only loss of her career to Joanne Calderwood at Invicta FC 7, but rebounded with a second-round armbar finish of Alyona Rassohyna in May. Eggink stepped into the Invicta cage riding a three-fight winning streak. The 26-year-old captured XFC gold in her last fight by submitting veteran Angela Magana with a triangle choke.

The 10-fight event kicked off Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. The entire fight card streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.

Invicta atomweight champion Michelle Waterson retained her 105-pound title by becoming the first to stop Japan’s Yasuko Tamada. Waterson opened with a flurry of kicks to set the tone for the opening round. When Tamada got close, Waterson clinched and fired knee after knee. The champion mixed in flurries of punches with an occasional head kick, but Tamada never went down. It was more of the same in round two as Waterson poured it on with more knees and kicks to the body. Tamada never stopped coming forward, despite the assault. In the third round, Waterson was more patient with her shots. She continued to land knees and Tamada’s face began to swell badly. Late in the round, Waterson delivered a kick to the face of Tamada that wobbled her for the first time along the fence. Waterson followed with punches and referee Greg Franklin stepped in to halt the bout.

Invicta crowned a new strawweight champion as Finland’s Katja Kankaanpaa scored a come-from-behind, fifth-round d’arce choke finish of Stephanie Eggink. In the opening round, Eggink used her jab to keep Kankaanpaa at bay, but the Finnish fighter was able to score a takedown. Eggink quickly attacked with a triangle attempt and swept to the mount. Kankaanpaa showed great submission defense and survived the round. Kankaanpaa’s takedown came much sooner in round two and she was more conservative with her movement to nullify Eggink’s attack off her back. Eggink was able to stand and scored with combinations late in the frame. The third stanza saw Eggink scoring early on the feet and along the cage with knees. Kankaanpaa was able to muscle the fight to the ground, but Eggink again attacked with a triangle choke. Eggink transitioned to an armbar, but Kankaanpaa escaped. Eggink used a leg lock attempt to sweep to the top position, but Kankaanpaa returned the leg lock attempt as the round closed. Kankaanpaa worked hard for a takedown in the fourth round and got it briefly. She then dove for another and Eggink was able to sit down into the mount. She rained heavy shots and Kankaanpaa gave up her back. Eggink pounded away for the remainder of the round, but could not get the finish. Kankaanpaa went for broke in the final round and set up a deep d’arce choke that forced Eggink to tap.

Veteran Tonya Evinger spoiled the bantamweight debut of Brazil’s Ediane Gomes, earning a first-round armbar finish. Evinger came out firing with her jab, but Gomes secured a body lock along the fence. Gomes looked to bring the fight to the ground, but Evinger reversed the position and ended up on top. Gomes attacked with a heel hook, prompting Evinger to look for a toe hold. The pair worked back to their feet, but Evinger again brought the fight to the ground. Gomes looked for an armbar and then a guillotine choke, but Evinger moved to mount. From the dominant position, Evinger locked up the fight-ending armbar.

Two of the sport’s pioneers closed out their trilogy as Roxanne Modafferi used a vastly improved striking attack to best Tara LaRosa via unanimous decision. Modafferi put her footwork and head movement to work from the opening bell, keeping LaRosa guessing on the feet. LaRosa swung with wild power shots, but failed to connect. Modafferi increased her output in round two as LaRosa’s pace slowed down. Modafferi landed numerous kicks to the body and clean, one-two combinations. In the final round, Modafferi dropped LaRosa with a beautiful shot down the middle, but coaxed her back to the feet for more punishment. When it was all said and done, Modafferi walked away with clear-cut victory.

Flyweight DeAnna Bennett made opponent Michelle Ould pay for missing weight, scoring a violent, second-round TKO via liver shot. Bennett pushed the action early, forcing Ould against the cage. The pair jostled for position with Bennett scoring with knees. Midway through the round, Bennett caught an Ould kick and brought the fight to the ground briefly. Late in the round, Bennett again scored with knees. In round two, Bennett continued her advance, landing a liver kick and punches that saw Ould buckle along the cage.

In the first lightweight bout in Invicta history, Canada’s Charmaine Tweet used her experience and superior technique to get the better of her younger foe, Veronica Rothenhausler. The power-punching Rothenhausler was swinging for the fences early, but Tweet countered well with her jab. Tweet was able to back Rotherhausler against the cage and briefly looked for a standing rear-naked choke, but abandoned it. Tweet caught a kick from Rothenhausler and brought the fight to the mat. She quickly moved to the mount and then took Rothenhausler’s back. She flattened out Rothenhausler and rained punches. When Rothenhausler rolled to her back, Tweet finished her with punches from the top.

Bantamweight Irene Aldana made quick work of UFC veteran Peggy Morgan, scoring a first-round, rear-naked choke finish. Mexico’s Aldana dropped Morgan early with a big shot and flurried for a finish along the fence. Morgan was able to recover and get back to her feet, but it wasn’t long before Aldana delivered another heavy right hand that crumpled Morgan. Aldana moved to mount and rained punches, forcing Morgan to give up her back. The Mexican fighter quickly attacked Morgan’s neck to coerce the tap.

Mexico’s Alexa Grasso kept her unbeaten record intact with a unanimous decision over fellow strawweight Ashley Cummins. Cummins started the fight strong, peppering Grasso with punches and scoring with a big takedown. But once the fight hit the mat, Grasso latched onto a deep armbar attempt and delivered punches from her back. Cummins survived the round, but her pace slowed in round two. Both fighters scored with combinations in round two, but Cummins was unable to bring the fight to the mat. Grasso opened up with her hands in the last round, helping her claim the decision win.

Atomweight Jodie Esquibel started slow, but finished strong, edging out newcomer Jinh Yu Frey by split decision. Frey rocked Esquibel badly in the opening frame with a left kick. She quickly took Esquibel’s back and looked for a rear-naked choke, but Esquibel escaped and finished the round on top. The second stanza was very close as both fighters struggled to find their range. Esquibel went for broke in the final frame, battering Frey with combinations and bloodying her face. The late effort was enough to convince two of the judges to hand Esquibel the win.

Colorado strawweight J.J. Aldrich impressed in her professional debut, dominating Florida’s Delaney Owen on her way to a unanimous decision. Aldrich was the aggressor early, prompting Owen to look for a takedown. Aldrich showcased excellent takedown defense to keep the fight standing and peppered Owen with knees. Owen did score with a nice hip toss in round two, but Aldrich transitioned to her back and threatened with a rear-naked choke. Owen survived the round, but her pace slowed in the final frame, allowing Aldrich to score a takedown. Aldrich rained punches and elbows from the top as Owen desperately looked for a heel hook late, and the judges rewarded Aldrich for her efforts.


Michelle Waterson def. Yasuko Tamada by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 4:58 – for atomweight title
Katja Kankaanpaa def. Stephanie Eggink by submission (d’arce choke). Round 5, 2:03 – for vacant strawweight title
Tonya Evinger def. Ediane Gomes by submission (armbar). Round 1, 3:31
Roxanne Modafferi def. Tara LaRosa by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
DeAnna Bennett def. Michelle Ould by TKO (liver kick and punches). Round 2, 1:34
Charmaine Tweet def. Veronica Rothenhausler by TKO (punches). Round 1, 4:05
Irene Aldana def. Peggy Morgan by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:50
Alexa Grasso def. Ashley Cummins by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Jodie Esquibel def, Jinh Yu Frey by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-27)
J.J. Aldrich def. Delaney Owen by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Rob Tatum has been covering the sport of MMA since 2009. He currently serves as the Assistant Editor of COMBATPRESS and staff writer.


KANSAS CITY, MO. (August 12, 2014) – Broadcaster extraordinaire Michael Schiavello will join longtime Invicta FC analyst Julie Kedzie as the announcing team for Invicta FC 8, airing live on September 6th from the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City, MO.

Schiavello, a prolific play-by-play announcer with close to two decades of experience calling combat sports, will work alongside Invicta FC matchmaker Julie Kedzie for the first time. Schiavello previously called Invicta FC 7 in December 2013. Invicta FC 8 will feature 10 total bouts of world class all female professional mixed martial arts.

Kedzie has previously provided analysis for all but one Invicta FC event. Kedzie, a UFC veteran, retired from active competition in December of 2013 before accepting the role of Invicta FC matchmaker.

Kedzie said: “I am thrilled to be commentating for Invicta FC once more, and I look forward to not only seeing the fights themselves, but also having UFC FightPass viewers around the world get a chance to see some of the best female fighters in the world perform.”

Invicta Fighting Championships 8 will be available exclusively on subscribers beginning at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. UFC FIGHT PASS offers a variety of subscription options, with one option being a month by month subscription price of $9.99.

“Our athletes and I are excited to bring their talent to,” said Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp. “Our athletes consistently put on exhilarating and action packed bouts for the fans, and we are excited that even more fans will be able to view the action.”

In the first of two world title fights on a stacked card, UFC FIGHT PASS subscribers will be treated to the return of Invicta FC Atomweight (105lbs) champion Michelle Waterson, 11-3 in MMA, who defends her title for the first time against grizzled Japanese veteran Yasuko Tamada, 15-8-3, in the main event. In the co-main event of Invcita FC’s eighth event, the vacant Invicta FC Strawweight (115lbs) will be on the line when Invicta veteran Katja “The Killer Bunny” Kankaanpää, 9-1, will take on Invicta newcomer Stephanie Eggink, 4-1.

Eight further bouts will air live from the Muncipal Auditorium on September 6th, 2014, and tickets may be purchased through all TicketMaster outlets, including TicketMaster.Com.

For additional information please visit, and get your free seven-day free trail at

For tickets to Invicta FC 8, please visit

About Invicta Fighting Championships: Invicta Fighting Championships ( is a world championship 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 matchups between female competitors and identifying and developing future superstars of the sport. Currently Invicta FC has promoted eight all female fight cards.


(PRESS RELEASE) — KANSAS CITY, Mo. (August 1st, 2014) – Tickets for Invicta Fighting Championships’ return to action September 6th, will be available for sale beginning August 1st at 10am via TicketMaster, all local Kansas City TicketMaster locations, and the box office at the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City.


“We could not be more excited to be back! Invicta FC is ready to continue our tradition of providing a platform for female mixed martial artists to showcase their skills,” said Invicta FC President, Shannon Knapp. “Top to bottom, this is one of our most exciting cards to date. Every athlete on this card is ready to show the world that Invicta FC will continue to put on cards full of world class talent and thrilling action.”

Tickets for the world championship doubleheader on Saturday September 6th at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City range from $35 to $100. Ten total bouts mark Invicta FC’s eighth event since it began promoting world class women’s mixed martial arts in 2012.

The main event of the evening will see Invicta FC Atomweight World Champion Michelle Waterson (11-3) of Albuquerque, New Mexico, make her first title defense against Japanese veteran Yasuko Tamada (15-8-3) of Tokyo, Japan.

The bout will mark the first title defense for Waterson after a stunning submission of champion Jessica Penne in April 2013. The Jackson’s MMA trained Waterson owns 7 of her career 11 victories via submission.

Trained by the legendary Megumi Fuji, Tamada currently owns a three fight win streak in Japan, where she regularly competes for DEEP and JEWELS.

The co-main event will bring a second world championship bout to Kansas City, when Finland’s Katja Kankaanpää, (9-1-1), and South Dakota’s Sephanie Eggink, (4-1), will compete for the vacant Invicta FC Strawweight World Championship.

Invicta veteran Kankaanpää will bring a strong and varied attack across the Atlantic with her. She is coming off a second round armbar win over Alyona Rassohyna in May, and fights for the title in her third appearance in Invicta.

With a strong background in amateur boxing Eggink will look to add a second championship belt to her resume when she returns to the cage exactly one year since her last bout.

Other bouts on the card include Brazil’s Ediane Gomes, (10-2), making her 135lb debut against the ever aggressive Tonya Evinger, (13-5), of Missouri. The bout will mark the third and second appearance for Invicta FC for each athlete.

In the rubber match of one of Women’s MMA’s oldest, albeit friendliest rivalries, UFC veteran Roxanne Modafferi, (15-11), of Nevada will take on well respected veteran Tara Larosa, (21-4), of New Mexico. Larosa won the first bout via decision in March of 2006, before Modafferi evened the score via split decision in May of 2010.

In a 125lbs (Flyweight) bout Michelle Ould, (7-3), of California is set to oppose the undefeated DeAnna Bennett, (4-0), of Utah. Both women will be making their Invicta FC debuts.

UFC veteran Peggy Morgan, (2-1), of New Hampshire will step into the cage with hard hitting Irene Aldana, (3-1), who hails from Mexico. All three of Aldana’s wins have come via knockout.

Set to square off in the first bout of the newly minted Invicta FC 155lb division, Charmaine Tweet, (5-4), of Canada will compete against California’s Veronica Rothenhausler, (1-0). The bout will mark the debut of both athletes at 155lbs.

Missouri’s own Ashley Cummins, (3-2), will challenge Mexico’s Alexa Grasso, (4-0), in a 115lb bout. Grasso owns three of her four victories via knockout or technical knockout.

Jackson’s MMA trained Jodie Esquibel, (3-1), of New Mexico will make her third appearance for Invicta FC across from Texas knockout sensation Jinh Yu Frey, (2-0), in a 105lb bout. Frey’s knockout of Darla Harris in July of 2013 received over 2.3 million views on YouTube.

Kicking off the eighth Invicta FC card will be JJ Aldrich (0-0) of Colorado versus Florida’s Delaney Owen, (2-0). Aldrich will be making her professional debut after winning a four woman amateur tournament for an Invicta FC roster spot.


About Invicta Fighting Championships: Invicta Fighting Championships ( is a world championship 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 matchups between female competitors and identifying and developing future superstars of the sport. Currently Invicta FC has promoted eight all female fight cards.

About Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, Missouri: Located at 301 West 13th Street, in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, Municipal Auditorium was built in 1934, and opened in 1935. Fully renovated in 2007, the Municipal as it is commonly known, has hosted all manner of events, including concerts, NBA basketball, and college athletics. The Municipal has a maximum seating capacity of nearly 11,000 seats.