Kansas City, Mo. — On Saturday, Dec. 15, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 33: Frey vs. Grusander II from the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Mo. The preliminary card streamed live on Facebook at 7:30 p.m. CT, with the five-fight main card airing on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 9 p.m. CT.
The Invicta atomweight belt is still around the waist of Jinh Yu Frey after another five-round war with Finland’s Minna Grusander. After a patient start, where both fighters threw leg kicks to find their range, Grusander dropped the champion with a right hand. Frey quickly recovered, but that allowed Grusander to take her to the ground. The Finnish fighter closed the round strong with punches from the top. In round two, Frey looked for a takedown, but could not secure it. The right hand of Grusander continued to land, wobbling Frey a second time. Frey responded with a stiff left of her own late in round two. The left hand of Frey did damage early in round three and she earned a takedown of her own. Grusander was able to get back to her feet and use her wrestling to make the round close. The pace slowed in the fourth round, but Frey was able to score with elbows from the clinch. The challenger stuck to her like glue, but she could not score another takedown. The nose of Grusander poured blood from the consistent left hands of Frey. The final stanza was largely even as both fighters were desperate to make a final impression on the judges. The final horn sounded and the decision was left to the judges at cageside. They were split in their verdict, but they rewarded Frey for her efforts, as she retained the belt.
UFC veteran Danielle Taylor handed Mexico’s Monserrat Ruiz her first career defeat after three, hard-fought rounds. Taylor’s striking attack kept Ruiz at bay in the fight’s first stanza. Ruiz frequently tried to clinch, but Taylor battered her lead leg with inside leg kicks. Taylor stayed at range, landing counter punches with regularity. The constant pressure from Ruiz was ineffective through the first two rounds, as Taylor’s leg kicks turned her leg purple. In the final round, Ruiz powered through Taylor’s punches, closing the distance. Taylor shrugged her off, but was forced to defend a leg lock attempt. That gave Ruiz an opening, and she took the fight to the canvas with a headlock. She was able to take Taylor’s back in the fight’s waning moments, but it was too little, too late, as Taylor was victorious.
Strawweight Kay Hansen pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in Invicta history, submitting Sharon Jacobson in the final seconds of the third round. Jacobson put on a clinic with her wrestling, largely controlling the 19-year-old Hansen for the entire fight. Stepping in on short notice, Hansen tried to push the pace, but Jacobson slammed her to the ground in the fight’s opening seconds. That set the tone for the fight, as Jacobson ragdolled Hansen throughout the first two rounds. She pounded on Hansen with ground and pound, but she could not put away the Californian. With less than a minute remaining in the fight, Jacobson looked for a throw, but Hansen latched onto an arm. Hansen went belly down and cranked, coercing the tap from Jacobson to pull off the unthinkable finish.
Michigan’s Alesha Zappitella is quickly moving up the atomweight ranks, as she dominated former title challenger Amber Brown over the course of three rounds. Zappitella used her wrestling prowess to put Brown on her back early and often. She frequently passed to side control and landed short shots. Brown tried to attack from her back, but Zappitella attacked with an arm-triangle choke and then a kimura. The experience of Brown was apparent, as she never panicked and frequently worked her way back to standing. Zappitella, however, was able to dictate where the fight took place, which proved to be the difference, as she captured the nod from all three judges.
The night’s main card kicked off with the return of Brianna Van Buren, who took on UFC veteran Jamie Moyle. Van Buren’s speed advantage was evident from the opening bell as she peppered Moyle with punching combinations. Moyle countered with forward pressure, prompting Van Buren to work the body. Late in the opening stanza, Van Buren flurried hard, backing Moyle against the fence and securing a takedown. The onslaught opened a large cut over the right eye of Moyle. Van Buren earned another takedown in round two, pinning Moyle against the fence. She scored with ground and pound, but could not find a finish. Van Buren kept her foot on the gas in the fight’s final frame, working Moyle’s body with kicks. When it was all said and done, Van Buren swept the judges’ scorecards.
Making her Invicta debut, bantamweight Brittney Victoria used her crisp boxing technique to get the best of veteran Sarah Kleczka on the scorecards to close out the preliminary card. Victoria scored with straight punches early in the fight, preventing Kleczka from getting into range. Kleczka was able to land counter shots and bloodied the nose of Victoria. Kleczka looked to bring the fight to the mat, but Victoria easily stuffed her shots and answered with punches. Kleczka’s nose also poured blood after Victoria delivered another series of right hands in the second round. The final frame was a back-and forth affair, but Victoria’s output was greater than Kleczka’s, earning her the decision win from all three judges.
Canadian newcomer Anastasia Nikolakakos sent a statement to the atomweight division, battering California’s Ashley Medina en route to a second-round TKO finish. Nikolakakos was the aggressor from the opening bell, forcing Medina to the mat and quickly taking her back. She rained punches before transitioning for an armbar. Medina was able to escape and return to her feet, but it was short lived as Nikolakakos again took her to the ground. Round two was more of the same, as Nikolakakos continued to pound away on Medina. After the barrage of strikes, the referee stepped in and Nikolakakos remained undefeated.
In a battle of debuting flyweights, Chantel Coates wasted little time dispatching of her fellow Kansas native Ashlynn Kleinbeck. Coates cracked Kleinbeck early with a right hand and Kleinbeck stumbled backwards. Coates smelled blood and went for the finish along the fence. Another massive right hand flush to the jaw sent Kleinbeck crashing to the mat unconscious, as Coates secures the fastest knockout in promotional history.
Jinh Yu Frey def. Minna Grusander by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) – for atomweight title
Danielle Taylor def. Monserrat Ruiz by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Kay Hansen def. Sharon Jacobson by submission (armbar). Round 3, 4:43
Alesha Zappitella def. Amber Brown by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Brianna Van Buren def. Jamie Moyle by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Brittney Victoria def. Sarah Kleczka by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Anastasia Nikolakakos def. Ashley Medina by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 3:26
Chantel Coates def. Ashlynn Kleinbeck by knockout (punch). Round 1, 0:28
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.