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Invicta FC 45 Results: Delboni Gets Revenge, Unseats Zappitella in Dominant Performance

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — On Wednesday, Jan. 12, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 45: Zappitella vs. Delboni 2. The event was simulcast on Invicta FC’s YouTube channel and MMA Junkie.

In the night’s headliner, Alesha Zappitella and Jéssica Delboni met for a second time with Zappitella’s atomweight belt on the line. The Brazilian Delboni immediately fired a combination, but her aggression allowed Zappitella to drag the fight to the ground. Zappitella controlled the head and fired knees. Delboni reversed the position and looked for a single. Zappitella transitioned to a guillotine attempt, but Delboni escaped and separated. Zappitella tried for an arm-drag, then took Delboni down. Delboni briefly moved to the back of Zappitella as the two jostled for top position. The fight returned to the feet and Delboni landed punches. The second round began with a much more measured pace. Zappitella wasted little time looking for a takedown, but Delboni stayed upright. Another shot from Zappitella was answered with heavy elbows and punches from Delboni. An overhand right from Zappitella surprised Delboni for a moment. The takedown defense of Delboni was the difference as the round progressed. The confidence of Delboni grew in round three, as she unleashed combinations. The dynamics of the fight changed as the action consisted of striking exchanges. The Brazilian hurt Zappitella with a knee late in the frame. The championship rounds started with more strikes from Delboni. Zappitella looked to counter with right hands before shooting for the legs. Delboni punished Zappitella with punches as she remained latched to a leg. Another right hand from Delboni stunned the American, prompting her to grapple once more. The final round began with Delboni having a big lead on the scorecards. Zappitella went for broke with heavy punches. She changed levels and latched onto Delboni’s leg in the center of the cage. Delboni remained calm and continued to deliver hammerfists to the face of Zappitella. Late in the fight, Delboni looked to take Zappitella’s back. Zappitella escaped out the back, but Delboni transitioned to an armbar attempt. Zappitella worked free and gained top position. Delboni kept up her aggressive attack, working for a kneebar. The finish did not come, but there was no doubt on the scorecards as Delboni exacted revenge and claimed atomweight gold.

The co-main event of the evening featured Hong Kong’s Ramona Pascual opposite Shamir Peshewa in a 150-pound catchweight contest. A right hand from Pascual clipped Peshewa right off the opening bell and she followed it with a left straight. Pascual attacked the lead leg of Peshewa with low kicks. A knee from Pascual found the liver of Peshewa, who winced in pain and retreated to the cage. Pascual followed up with punches and the referee stepped in to halt the bout just 60 seconds into the first round.

Texas newcomer Hailey Cowan collided with Hawaii’s Monica Franco in a bantamweight affair. Cowan took the center of the cage and drove her way into the clinch. With double underhooks, Cowan held Franco against the fence. They traded short knees from close quarters, as Cowan looked for a trip takedown. The offense of Franco was negated by the strength of Cowan, who took the fight to the ground late in the round. A left hand from Cowan greeted Franco to open the second frame. The fight returned to the clinch and Cowan powered the fight back to the canvas along the fence. Cowan dropped heavy punches from the top as Franco struggled to escape. Cowan passed to mount, then took Franco’s back. She applied a rear-naked choke and Franco tapped.

Helen Peralta extended her success under the Invicta banner, handing fellow flyweight Elise Pone her first professional defeat. Peralta immediately started firing haymakers. She then threw a hook kick, but Pone was able to evade the flashy attack. Peralta pushed her way to the clinch, pinning Pone against the cage. Peralta delivered a steady stream of right hands from the clinch. Late in the round, Peralta dragged Pone to the ground and rained left hands. Pone was able to survive the onslaught. In round two, the fight quickly returned to the clinch and Peralta put Pone on her back. After a brief grappling exchange, Peralta allowed Pone to return to her feet. Peralta continued her relentless pressure in the clinch, scoring with a trip takedown late in the frame. Peralta opened round three with a powerful right hand that dropped Pone. Moments after Pone regained her footing, Peralta planted her on the canvas. When the fight returned to the feet, Pone connected with a heavy kick. Peralta returned to dominating in the clinch. A desperate Pone delivered an elbow that stunned Peralta, but it was too little, too late. All three judges scored the contest in favor of Peralta.

Atomweights squared off when Canada’s Katie Saull welcomed Tamika Jones to the promotion. The southpaw Saull fired her left hand like a piston. Jones struggled with the boxing prowess of Saull. The pair clinched against the fence and it was Saull who took down the wrestler Jones. Saull took the back of Jones and began to work for a rear-naked choke. Saull squeezed hard, but Jones never panicked and escaped to top position. Saull stayed aggressive, attacking with an armbar and coercing the tap from Jones late in the round.

The night kicked off in the bantamweight division as Sarah Kleczka returned to the Invicta cage to face off with Mexico’s Maria Jose Favela. The pair patiently gauged their range and looked for openings in the opening frame. Midway through the round, Favela connected with a solid right hand. Kleczka looked for a spinning backfist, but was countered by Favela. The Mexican fighter peppered the lead leg of Kleczka with kicks. Round two saw Kleczka flurry forward and pressure Favela. A right hand from Kleczka landed clean and she followed it with a combination along the fence. Favela switched stances to counter the forward advance of Kleczka. The final stanza began with the fight still up for grabs. The bantamweights traded heavy right hands late in the fight. The fight was sent to the judges, who were split in their verdict, rewarding Kleczka the victory.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
Jéssica Delboni def. Alesha Zappitella by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) – for atomweight title
Ramona Pascual def. Shamir Peshewa by TKO (knee and punches). Round 1, 1:00
Hailey Cowan def. Monica Franco by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 3:17
Helen Peralta def. Elise Pone by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
Katie Saull def. Tamika Jones by submission (armbar). Round 1, 4:30
Sarah Kleczka def. Maria Jose Favela by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 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 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 VenturesFight 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.

Invicta FC 45: Zappitella vs. Delboni 2 Official Weigh-in Results

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – On Tuesday, Jan. 11, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted the weigh-ins for Invicta FC 45: Zappitella vs. Delboni 2

In the night’s headliner, current champion Alesha “Half Pint” Zappitella (9-2, 1 NC) will put her 105-pound belt on the line against Brazilian challenger Jéssica Delboni (11-3). The pair met on the promotion’s debut on AXS TV last May, with the American Zappitella retaining her title after a closely contested five-round battle. Delboni quickly rebounded from the split-decision loss, winning three fights in one night to capture the Phoenix Tournament: Atomweights crown and re-establishing herself as the No. 1 contender.

The event will be the first on Invicta FC’s new night of Wednesday for 2022, taking place Jan. 12 in Kansas City. All the action will be simulcast on Invicta FC’s YouTube channel and MMA Junkie beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

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

Atomweight Title: Alesha Zappitella (104.8) vs. Jéssica Delboni (103.8)
Catchweight (150 pounds): Ramona Pascual (150) vs. Shamir Peshewa (153.4)*
Bantamweight: Monica Franco (135.4) vs. Hailey Cowan (135.4)
Flyweight: Helen Peralta (125.4) vs. Elise Pone (124.8)
Atomweight: Katie Saull (105.9) vs. Tamika Jones (105.3)
Bantamweight: Maria Favela (138.4)# vs. Sarah Kleczka (135)

* – Peshewa missed weight for the 150-pound catchweight and was fined 25 percent of her fight purse

# – Favela missed the bantamweight limit of 136 pounds and was fined 25 percent of her fight purse


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 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 VenturesFight 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.

Invicta FC 45 Streams Live on Invicta FC’s YouTube Channel and MMA Junkie

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Invicta Fighting Championships today announced the broadcast plans for its upcoming Invicta FC 45: Zappitella vs. Delboni 2 event.

The promotion is partnering with one of the biggest media outlets in MMA, five-time World MMA Awards winner MMA Junkie, part of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group. The fight card – which takes place Wednesday, Jan. 12 in Kansas City – will be simulcast on Invicta FC’s YouTube channel and MMA Junkie beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp commented on the broadcast deal, “What better way to expose our athletes to fight fans around the globe than MMA Junkie? For the last 15 years, they have been a staple of this industry and I am excited to work with them for this upcoming event.”

Invicta FC 45 is headlined by an atomweight grudge match between current titleholder Alesha “Half Pint” Zappitella (9-2, 1 NC) and Brazilian challenger Jéssica Delboni (11-3). The pair engaged in a back-and-forth battle in their first meeting in May, with Zappitella emerging with a split-decision victory to hold onto her belt. The No. 1 contender Delboni will be out to prove that the judges made a mistake in her previous title conquest.

In addition to the broadcast announcement, the scheduled strawweight contest between Hilarie Rose (5-3) and Emily “Spitfire” Whitmire (4-5) has been forced off the card and will be rescheduled for a future event.

The updated fight card for Invicta FC 45 can be found below:

Atomweight Title: Alesha Zappitella vs. Jéssica Delboni
Bantamweight: Claire Guthrie vs. Lauren Mueller
Featherweight: Courtney King vs. Ramona Pascual
Bantamweight: Monica Franco vs. Hailey Cowan
Bantamweight: Maria Favela vs. Sarah Kleczka


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 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 VenturesFight 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.

About USA TODAY Sports Media Group
The USA TODAY Sports Media Group encompasses all sports initiatives across USA TODAY Sports and Gannett’s more than 250 well-known local media brands. It includes the popular social news hub For The Win, and vertical sports sites Golfweek, MMAJunkie.com, NFL and NBA team wire sites, and leading high school sports destination USA TODAY High School Sports, among others. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc.

Invicta FC 45: Zappitella vs. Delboni 2 Slated for Jan. 12

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Invicta Fighting Championships will start the New Year with a highly anticipated atomweight title rematch.

Current champion Alesha “Half Pint” Zappitella (9-2, 1 NC) will put her 105-pound belt on the line against Brazilian challenger Jéssica Delboni (11-3). The pair met on the promotion’s debut on AXS TV in May, with the American Zappitella retaining her title after a closely contested five-round battle. Delboni quickly rebounded from the split-decision loss, winning three fights in one night to capture the Phoenix Tournament: Atomweights crown and re-establishing herself as the No. 1 contender.

Invicta FC 45: Zappitella vs. Delboni 2 will be the first event on Invicta FC’s new night of Wednesday for 2022, taking place Jan. 12 in Kansas City. Broadcast information will be announced in the coming weeks.

Invicta President Shannon Knapp explained, “We are always looking for new ways to showcase our athletes and having events on Wednesdays will put the spotlight directly on them. The rematch between Zappitella and Delboni is a perfect way to kick off the action on our new night.”

In the co-main event, Colorado’s “Grizzly” Claire Guthrie (3-1) collides with Lauren “Princess Tiger” Mueller (5-4) in a bantamweight match-up. Guthrie will compete under the Invicta banner for the fifth time, with Mueller returning after her thrilling promotional debut at Invicta FC 44.

Also on the card, featherweight Courtney “The Lion” King (4-2) competes for the first time since her headlining clash with two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison at Invicta FC 43. King will take on Hong Kong native Ramona Pascual (5-2), who currently rides a three-fight winning streak.

Rounding out the fight card, Hawaiian “Fearless” Monica Franco (2-0) welcomes “All Hail” Hailey Cowan (5-2) to the Invicta cage in a 135-pound affair, strawweight veterans Hilarie Rose (5-3) and Emily “Spitfire” Whitmire (4-5) aim to infuse fresh contenders into the 115-pound division, and Mexico’s Maria Favela (2-1) moves up to bantamweight against returning veteran Sarah “Chucky” Kleczka (2-3).

The event will be overseen by the Kansas Athletic Commission and will feature open scoring. With the ongoing pandemic, the fights will take place behind closed doors — sans fans and media. As with any Invicta event, the safety of its athletes, their corners, its staff and commission officials is of the utmost priority. All participants will be tested for COVID-19 prior to the event.

The full fight card can be found below:

Atomweight Title: Alesha Zappitella vs. Jéssica Delboni
Bantamweight: Claire Guthrie vs. Lauren Mueller
Featherweight: Courtney King vs. Ramona Pascual
Bantamweight: Monica Franco vs. Hailey Cowan
Strawweight: Hilarie Rose vs. Emily Whitmire
Bantamweight: Maria Favela vs. Sarah Kleczka


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 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 VenturesFight 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.

Phoenix Tournament Atomweights Results: Delboni Earns Title Rematch After Three Wins in One Night

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — On Friday, June 11, Invicta FC hosted the fourth installment of its Phoenix Tournament from Memorial Hall in Kansas City. The event featured eight atomweight athletes competing for a shot at reigning Invicta FC atomweight champion Alesha Zappitella. Phoenix Tournament: Atomweights aired live on AXS TV in the U.S. and worldwide on Invicta FC’s YouTube Channel.

The tournament action kicked off with recent title challenger Jéssica Delboni against current champion Alesha Zappitella’s training partner Tabatha “Batgirl” Watkins, who was making her promotional debut. Watkins threw a variety of kicks to open the contest, but Delboni was able to catch one and power her to the mat. Watkins was aggressive from the bottom, attacking with an armbar. Delboni was patient and escaped the submission threat. From side control, Delboni rained punches and hammerfists. When the judges were called upon, it was Brazil’s Delboni who advanced to the semifinals.

In the second quarterfinal match-up New York native Lindsey “Damsel” VanZandt squared off with Invicta newcomer Katie “Maquina Asesina” Perez. VanZandt attacked with kicks to start the bout, hurting Perez to the body. Perez sought a takedown, but ended up on her back. VanZandt allowed the fight to return to the feet. She stunned Perez with a series of left hands that forced her to shoot yet again. VanZandt sprawled, then took the back of Perez. VanZandt slapped on a triangle-armbar. Perez defended initially, but eventually was forced to succumb to the armbar as VanZandt moved to the next round.

Jillian “Lionheart” DeCoursey and Linda “F109” Mihalec met in a rematch of their Invicta FC 39 clash in the night’s third tournament pairing. The pair traded combinations early before DeCoursey caught a leg kick and earned a brief takedown. Mihalec sprung back to her feet and peppered DeCoursey with jabs and inside leg kicks. A big right hand from DeCoursey found its mark. The volume of Mihalec was the difference as she busted the nose of DeCoursey. The judges were split in their verdict, but it was Mihalec who got revenge and earned a trip to the semifinals.

The final quarterfinal bout featured the Invicta debut of Paulina “Firefox” Granados who took on Connecticut’s Marisa “Spider Monkey” Messer-Belenchia. The pace was fast and furious to start the contest as Messer-Belenchia barreled forward and secured the clinch. Granados was able to power into top position, but Messer-Belenchia swept and secured top position. She then transitioned to the back of Granados and looked for a rear-naked choke. Granados was able to defend and work back to her feet. Once back on the feet, both fighters went for broke, landing heavy punches. A right hand from Messer-Belenchia sent Granados to the mat at one point, but Granados was able to recover. The judges were again split in their scores, with Messer-Belenchia claiming the final slot in the semifinals.

In the lone tournament reserve bout, Samantha Seff edged fellow newcomer Kara Vislosky via split decision. Seff marched forward and latched onto Vislosky. She secured a single leg and laced it to bring the fight to the mat. Once on top, Seff was smothering. She stayed busy with short punches to keep Vislosky on her back. Eventually Vislosky was able to return to the feet, but she was unable to mount any significant offense. Seff’s grappling was the difference as she claimed the decision victory.

The semifinals opened with Lindsey VanZandt and Linda Mihalec after VanZandt was able to pick her opponent following her quarterfinal armbar finish. VanZandt was very aggressive, spamming high kicks from both sides to keep Mihalec at range. The variety of techniques made Mihalec tentative and it allowed VanZandt to unload with combinations. As the round progressed, VanZandt found more and more success. Mihalec was desperate for a takedown in the final minute, as she changed levels multiple times. VanZandt easily evaded the attempts and nearly landed a highlight-reel flying knee late in the frame. There was little doubt about the result as VanZandt swept the scorecards and advanced to the tournament final.

Jéssica Delboni inched one step closer to another title shot in the semifinals as she outworked Marisa Messer-Belenchia. Delboni was patient on the outside, landing heavy kicks to the lead leg of Messer-Belenchia. They took their toll as Messer-Belenchia was limited in her movement. Delboni was methodical in her combinations, preventing Messer-Belenchia from generating any striking output. The nose of Messer-Belenchia bled profusely from the steady shots from the Brazilian. Messer-Belenchia looked to clinch late, but it was too little, too late. Delboni punched her ticket to the final with the unanimous-decision win.

In the tournament final, Jéssica Delboni and Lindsey VanZandt faced off for a second time. The pair met at Invicta FC 36 with the Brazilian Delboni winning via split decision. This time, however, the stakes were much higher. The rematch began with Delboni marching forward, but VanZandt scored with strikes from range. Delboni flurried with combinations and backed VanZandt to the fence. VanZandt countered by attacking the body with kicks and punches. The second round was razor-close as both fighters landed with regularity. VanZandt did well to counter off the back foot, hurting Delboni to the body. In the last stanza, it was Delboni who dug deep and pushed the pace. She caught VanZandt with a series of punches along the cage that forced VanZandt to cover up. VanZandt sought a late takedown, but Delboni kept the fight upright. The judges were called upon for a final time and they rewarded Delboni for her efforts, setting up a title rematch with Zappitella.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
Jéssica Delboni def. Lindsey VanZandt by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) – atomweight tournament final
Jéssica Delboni def. Marisa Messer-Belenchia by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – atomweight tournament semifinal
Lindsey VanZandt def. Linda Mihalec by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – atomweight tournament semifinal
Samantha Seff def. Kara Vislosky by split decision (9-10, 10-9, 10-9) – atomweight tournament reserve bout
Marisa Messer-Belenchia def. Paulina Granados by split decision (10-9, 9-10, 10-9) – atomweight tournament quarterfinal
Linda Mihalec def. Jillian DeCoursey by split decision (9-10, 10-9, 10-9) – atomweight tournament quarterfinal
Lindsey VanZandt def. Katie Perez by submission (armbar). Round 1, 3:10 – atomweight tournament quarterfinal
Jéssica Delboni def. Tabatha Watkins by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – atomweight tournament quarterfinal


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 globally integrated multi-platform media company with offices and studios in Los Angeles, Denver, Nashville, New York, Kansas City and Toronto. Anthem’s portfolio includes AXS TV, a leading music, entertainment and lifestyle television channel and digital media company; 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.

Invicta FC Phoenix Tournament: Atomweights Official Weigh-in and Fan Voting Results

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — On Thursday, June 10, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted the weigh-ins for Phoenix Tournament: Atomweights. The event takes place Friday, June 11, from Memorial Hall in Kansas City and airs live on AXS TV in the United States and will be available worldwide on Invicta FC’s YouTube Channel.

A shot at reigning Invicta FC atomweight champion Alesha Zappitella is on the line as the fastest-paced format in combat sports makes its return. For the first time in MMA history, online fan voting determined the match-ups for the quarterfinal stage of the tournament.

Recent title challenger Jéssica Delboni (10-3) opens her quest for another crack at gold against Zappitella’s training partner Tabatha “Batgirl” Watkins (3-3), who will make her promotional debut. New York native Lindsey “Damsel” VanZandt (7-4) will square off with Invicta newcomer Katie “Maquina Asesina” Perez (2-1). Jillian “Lionheart” DeCoursey (4-3) and Linda “F109” Mihalec (2-1) meet in a rematch of their Invicta FC 39 clash, which DeCoursey won via decision. Finally, Paulina “Firefox” Granados (4-4) steps into the Invicta cage for the first time against Connecticut’s Marisa “Spider Monkey” Messer-Belenchia (3-1).

Additionally, a tournament reserve match-up will take place between Kara Vislosky (1-1) and Samantha Seff (0-1).

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

Atomweight Tournament Quarterfinal No. 4: Paulina Granados (105.9) vs. Marisa Messer-Belenchia (105.4)
Atomweight Tournament Quarterfinal No. 3: Jillian DeCoursey (105.5) vs. Linda Mihalec (105.9)
Atomweight Tournament Quarterfinal No. 2: Lindsey VanZandt (105.8) vs. Katie Perez (105.3)
Atomweight Tournament Quarterfinal No. 1: Jéssica Delboni (105.6) vs. Tabatha Watkins (105.8)
Atomweight Tournament Reserve Bout: Kara Vislosky (104.4) vs. Samantha Seff (105.9)


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 globally integrated multi-platform media company with offices and studios in Los Angeles, Denver, Nashville, New York, Kansas City and Toronto. Anthem’s portfolio includes AXS TV, a leading music, entertainment and lifestyle television channel and digital media company; 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.

Fans to Determine Phoenix Tournament Quarterfinal Match-Ups

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – In yet another fan-friendly innovation from Invicta Fighting Championships, the world’s premier all-women MMA promotion is empowering fans to become matchmakers for Invicta FC Phoenix Tournament: Atomweights which takes place Friday, June 11.

Eight atomweight contenders will step into the Invicta cage with one emerging as the new No. 1 contender – but who they fight in the first of potentially three fights in one explosive night will be decided by the fans!

For the first time in MMA history, online fan voting will determine the match-ups for the quarterfinal stage of the tournament. In the previous three Phoenix events, a random draw was used to determine the fighter pairings.

Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp said, “Invicta continues to innovate with the introduction of a fan-matchmaking element for our next Phoenix Tournament. Playing fantasy matchmaker is a big part of MMA fandom, and we’re giving fans the chance to weigh-in on the opening round of a one-night tournament that will crown the new No. 1 Invicta atomweight contender.”

Much like when Invicta experimented with open scoring back in 2019 before committing to it, the promotion is adopting a ‘look-and-see’ approach to the fan voting component for the Phoenix Tournament.

She said, “The Phoenix Tournament format itself is perhaps the biggest MMA innovation in years: the return of single-night tournaments, open scoring, five-minute fights in the quarters and semis before the two finalists meet in a three-rounder. It is a unique format and having fans vote on the initial bracketing is just another wrinkle to what we feel is the most exciting format in combat sports.”

HOW DOES VOTING WORK?

Fans can visit the Phoenix Tournament Voting Portal and vote for the four quarterfinal bouts they want to see. Whichever pairings receive the most votes will be the opening four fights of the tournament, comprising the entire quarterfinal round. Fans can vote multiple times for their favorite match-ups.

For the semifinals, whichever athlete scores the fastest finish in the quarterfinals will get to decide who she faces. As with previous Phoenix Tournaments, if there are no stoppages in the quarterfinals, a random draw will decide which winners face off in the semis.

Voting will be open until one hour before the event’s ceremonial weigh-ins on Thursday, June 10.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE’S A LAST-MINUTE WITHDRAWAL?

In the case of an athlete dropping out of the competition before she has a chance to compete, an alternate will take her place in both the tournament and the voting portal. 

ANY CONCERNS FIGHTERS/CAMPS WILL TRY TO INFLUENCE VOTE?

No. Every athlete who accepts an invitation to compete in a Phoenix Tournament is agreeing to fight three times in one night – that is absolute proof these women will fight anyone, short notice or not. Even if they have a preferred opponent in the quarterfinals, there’s no way influence who wins the fights and makes it to the semifinals and, ultimately, the final. The tournament winner will have to beat three opponents on June 11.

WHAT DOES THE TOURNAMENT WINNER GET?

The winner of the atomweight tournament will wins not only a Phoenix Trophy, but a cash prize and, most importantly, a guaranteed shot at reigning Invicta FC atomweight champion Alesha Zappitella.

HOW CAN I WATCH THE ACTION?

The event will be broadcast on U.S. cable network AXS TV, the Fight Network in Canada and also stream worldwide on Invicta FC’s YouTube Channel.

Phoenix Tournament: Atomweight Athletes
Jéssica Delboni
Jillian DeCoursey
Katie Perez
Katie Saull
Lindsey VanZandt
Linda Mihalec
Paulina Granados
Tabatha Watkins


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 globally integrated multi-platform media company with offices and studios in Los Angeles, Denver, Nashville, New York, Kansas City and Toronto. Anthem’s portfolio includes AXS TV, a leading music, entertainment and lifestyle television channel and digital media company; 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.

Phoenix Tournament to Crown New Atomweight Contender on June 11

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A shot at reigning Invicta FC atomweight champion Alesha Zappitella is on the line as the fastest-paced format in combat sports – The Phoenix Tournament – returns next Friday, June 11. The fourth installment of Invicta FC’s Phoenix Tournament will emanate from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, as eight atomweight contenders will try to win three fights in one explosive night.

Invicta FC Phoenix Tournament©: Atomweights will air live on AXS TV in the United States and will be available worldwide on Invicta FC’s YouTube Channel. To find how to watch the action in your area, click here.

“The Phoenix Tournament is a unique set of challenges to our athletes,” said Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp. “The rapid-fire pace of the one-round quarter- and semifinal matches is totally different to anything else in mixed martial arts. Having to peak not once, not twice but potentially three times against three different opponents is the kind of mental stress only a handful of fighters in MMA history have overcome.

“Whichever fighter comes out victorious on June 11 will have truly earned her shot at the Invicta FC world title.”

Perhaps the favorite to do that is Jéssica Delboni (10-3), who – incredibly – will be back in action just three weeks after pushing the champion Zappitella to split decision. The Brazilian feels she defeated Zappitella and is prepared to fight her way through three other contenders in order to get another crack at the 105-pound queen.

Joining Delboni in the Phoenix Tournament is a pair of New Yorkers in Lindsey “Damsel” VanZandt (7-4) and Jillian “Lionheart” DeCoursey (4-3). The 27-year-old VanZandt – who now trains in Arizona – will be making her fifth Invicta appearance, having battled both Zappitella and Delboni previously. DeCoursey steps into the Invicta cage for the sixth time.

Rounding out the group of promotional veterans, Linda “F109” Mihalec (2-1) and Canada’s “Queen of the North” Katie Saull (3-4) each look to slingshot their way to the top of the 105-pound ladder.

A trio of newcomers complete the tournament athletes as Paulina “Firefox” Granados (4-4), Tabatha “Batgirl” Watkins (3-3) and Katie “Maquina Asesina” Perez (2-1) look to make a name for themselves in their promotional debuts.

As with the previous Phoenix Tournament events, the single-elimination format will feature one-round fights in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, with the tournament final being a three-round affair to determine the champion. The eight participants will be matched up during a random draw prior to the event.

Quarterfinal fighters will have plenty of incentive to finish their fights. Each finish will earn the winning fighter a monetary bonus, but more importantly, the fastest finisher in the quarterfinal round will have the luxury of picking their opponent for the semifinals based on the remaining three combatants. If there are no finishes in the quarterfinals, the semifinal match-ups will again be determined by random draw.

The event will be overseen by the Kansas Athletic Commission and will feature open scoring. With the ongoing pandemic, the fights will take place behind closed doors — sans fans — but will be open to a limited number of media. As with any Invicta event, the safety of its athletes, their corners, its staff and commission officials is of the utmost priority. All participants will be tested for COVID-19 prior to the event.

Tournament reserve match-ups will be announced prior to the event.

Phoenix Tournament: Atomweight Participants
Jéssica Delboni
Jillian DeCoursey
Katie Perez
Katie Saull
Lindsey VanZandt
Linda Mihalec
Paulina Granados
Tabatha Watkins

Vote


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 globally integrated multi-platform media company with offices and studios in Los Angeles, Denver, Nashville, New York, Kansas City and Toronto. Anthem’s portfolio includes AXS TV, a leading music, entertainment and lifestyle television channel and digital media company; 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.

Invicta FC on AXS Results: Rodriguez Becomes First Mexican Champion, Zappitella Retains Atomweight Belt

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — On Friday, May 21, Invicta Fighting Championships kicked off a new era, hosting Invicta FC: Rodriguez vs. Torquato. The event marked the promotion’s debut on AXS TV in the United States and Fight Network in Canada. It also aired live and free on YouTube and is available for replay on demand.

In the night’s headliner, a new flyweight champion was crowned as Karina Rodriguez outworked Daiana Torquato over the course of five rounds. The Brazilian Torquato kicked the legs of Rodriguez to open the bout. Rodriguez countered with crisp boxing. A combination from Torquato backed Rodriguez to the fence and she landed a big uppercut. A heavy right hand from Torquato landed flush and she continued to pepper Rodriguez. Round two featured more low kicks from Torquato. Rodriguez continued to use her hands and dropped Torquato with a massive right hand as the bell sounded. The third frame was a back-and-forth affair as the low kicks from Torquato did not faze Rodriguez. The Mexican fighter increased her output and marched forward. As the fight entered the final rounds, the forward pressure and volume of Rodriguez was the difference. She opened a large cut under the right eye of Torquato with the constant barrage of punches. Torquato looked to grapple late in the fight, searching for the fight’s first takedown. Rodriguez stayed upright and pushed the action until the final bell. Rodriguez became the first Mexican champion in Invicta history with the unanimous decision nod from the judges.

The co-main event saw atomweight titleholder Alesha Zappitella defend her belt against Brazilian challenger Jéssica Delboni. The fight began with a feeling-out process on the feet as Delboni kept the fight at range. Zappitella shot for takedowns twice in the opening frame, but was stuffed on each attempt. A late head-and-arm throw scored for Zappitella. In round two, Zappitella again shot, then landed a heavy left hook after being stuffed yet again. The champion missed with a superwoman punch and the right hand of Delboni landed at will late in the frame. The third stanza was grueling. A big exchange late saw Zappitella land a knee, but Delboni countered with a left hand and she flurried to close the round. In the championship rounds, Delboni attacked the lead leg of Zappitella with kicks. She continued to push the action as Zappitella aimed to counter. The champion’s overhand right found its mark, but Delboni repeatedly fired back. With the open scoring system used by the Kansas commission, the scores were even across the board heading into the final round. Zappitella started the last round strong, pushing the challenger to the cage and scoring with short strikes. Delboni separated and landed from distance. She continued to batter the lead leg of Zappitella late in the frame. The fight would go the distance and the judges were called upon for a verdict. They were split in the result, but it was Zappitella who retained her belt.

Colorado’s Claire Guthrie spoiled the perfect record of Juliana Miller with a unanimous decision victory in their flyweight affair. Miller was aggressive from the onset, looking to take the fight to the ground. Guthrie showed great balance and scored with knees and elbows along the fence. Miller was relentless with her pressure, but she struggled to get the fight to the ground. It was more of the same in the second stanza, but Miller was able to latch onto a kimura and drag Guthrie to the mat. She scrambled well and took Guthrie’s back. It was short lived, as Guthrie was able to escape and land clean strikes. The final frame was a back-and-forth affair as both fighters had their moments. A heavy right hand from Guthrie appeared to wobble Miller, who was able to get the fight to the ground. Miller looked for numerous submissions, but was unable to find a finish. Guthrie celebrated as the judges rewarded her efforts.

Invicta veteran Josee Storts handed Mexico’s Maria Favela her first defeat after a back-and-forth battle to open the night’s main card. Storts used feints in round one to close the distance and initiate the clinch position. Favela countered with heavy knees as Storts worked for a takedown. A nice scramble from Favela allowed her to move to the back of Storts, but she was too aggressive and ended up on her back. The second round saw Storts march forward looking for takedowns. Favela showcased good takedown defense and landed heavy strikes to keep the Missouri native at bay. The final round began with a massive right hand from Storts that sent Favela reeling. The pair then jostled for position along the cage before Storts eventually drove the fight to the ground. Once there, she passed to mount and looked for an arm-triangle choke. Favela was able to escape, but the heavy top game of Storts was the difference on the judges’ scorecards.

Grappling ace Fatima Kline put on a clinic in her strawweight match-up with Ariana Melendez. The 20-year-old Kline quickly took the fight to the mat and immediately passed to half guard. She attacked the left arm of Melendez, which forced a scramble. Kline used it to secure the back of Melendez and locked on a body triangle. Once in the dominant position, Kline flattened out Melendez and slapped on a fight-finishing rear-naked choke.

The night’s action kicked off in the flyweight division as striking stalwarts Elise Pone and Chrissy Yandolli made their professional and promotional debuts. The pair were patient in the opening round, gauging their range. They exchanged a variety of kicks, but it was Pone who edged out the round with a steady stream of low kicks. In round two, the pace picked up and both fighters fired combinations. The pressure of Pone overwhelmed Yandolli and she hurt her along the fence. Once there, Pone unleashed a barrage of strikes that forced the referee to step in and halt the contest.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
Karina Rodriguez def. Daiana Torquato by unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 49-46) – for flyweight title
Alesha Zappitella def. Jéssica Delboni by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) – for atomweight title
Claire Guthrie def. Juliana Miller by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Josee Storts def. Maria Favela by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Fatima Kline def. Ariana Melendez by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:00
Elise Pone def. Chrissy Yandolli by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 2:07


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 globally integrated multi-platform media company with offices and studios in Los Angeles, Denver, Nashville, New York, Kansas City and Toronto. Anthem’s portfolio includes AXS TV, a leading music, entertainment and lifestyle television channel and digital media company; 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.

Invicta FC: Rodriguez vs. Torquato Official Weigh-in Results

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — On Thursday, May 20, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted the weigh-ins for Invicta FC: Rodriguez vs. Torquato. The event takes place Friday, May 21, with the entire card streaming live on YouTube beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The main card will also be broadcast live on AXS TV in the United States and Fight Network in Canada beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

In the headliner, Mexico’s Karina Rodriguez (8-4) faces off with Brazilian Daiana Torquato (10-3) for the vacant 125-pound title. Rodriguez is no stranger to the spotlight, having gone the distance with former champion Vanessa Porto and defeating UFC veterans DeAnna Bennett and Milana Dudieva inside the Invicta cage. Torquato rides a six-fight winning streak in the title affair, having also faced Bennett and Dudieva in the Phoenix Series 2 tournament.

“I know it’s going to be a great fight,” said Rodriguez of the title clash. “[Torquato’s] aggressive. She’s a striker. We’re going to try to kill each other over five rounds.”

Torquato responded, “This is the best I’ve ever been. It’s going to be a war. Whoever has the biggest heart is going to win.”

The co-main event will see newly crowned atomweight queen Alesha “Half Pint” Zappitella (8-2, 1 NC) defend her 105-pound belt against Brazilian challenger Jéssica Delboni (10-2). Michigan’s Zappitella captured gold at Invicta FC 42 last year, scoring the promotion’s first Von Flue choke finish against Ashley Cummins. Delboni was in action on the same card, defeating former champion Herica Tiburico on the scorecards.

“She’s been preparing for the old Alesha and she’s not going to be ready for what I bring to the table,” declared the champion Zappitella. “I’m ever-evolving and becoming the best mixed martial artist I can be. I’m better than the last ‘Half Pint’ you saw in the cage.”

The challenger Delboni retorted, “It’s going to be a very tough fight, the toughest of my life. I asked for the belt and I have to be ready when opportunity knocks. If I win, I’m the best in the world.”

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

Flyweight Title: Karina Rodriguez (124.7) vs. Daiana Torquato (124.9)
Atomweight Title: Alesha Zappitella (104.9) vs. Jéssica Delboni (104.8)
Flyweight: Juliana Miller (125.3) vs. Claire Guthrie (126)
Flyweight: Josee Storts (128.7)* vs. Maria Favela (125.5)
Strawweight: Fatima Kline (115.6) vs. Ariana Melendez (114.8)
Flyweight: Elise Pone (124.7) vs. Chrissy Yandolli (125.9)

* – Storts missed the flyweight limit of 126 pounds and was fined 25 percent of her fight purse


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 globally integrated multi-platform media company with offices and studios in Los Angeles, Denver, Nashville, New York, Kansas City and Toronto. Anthem’s portfolio includes AXS TV, a leading music, entertainment and lifestyle television channel and digital media company; 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.