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Invicta FC Reveals the Phoenix Rising Series

Kansas City, Mo. – Invicta Fighting Championships is starting a new chapter.

Today, the world’s most decorated fighting promotion for women revealed the Phoenix Rising Series; a one-night, eight-woman tournament format that brings the sport of MMA back to its roots.

The single-elimination tournament will feature one-round fights in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, with the tournament final being a three-round affair to determine the tournament champion.

The eight tournament participants will be matched up during a random draw prior to the event.

The quarterfinal fighters will have incentive to finish their fights for multiple reasons. First, 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 first event of the Phoenix Rising Series will take place from Kansas City’s Memorial Hall on Friday, May 3 and stream exclusively on UFC Fight Pass. The inaugural tournament will take place in the strawweight division and the field of eight fighters features numerous title challengers and UFC veterans.

Japan’s MIZUKI (13-5) and Brazil’s Janaisa Morandin (10-2) have previously challenged for Invicta gold and will be out prove they are ready for another shot at the title. MIZUKI was last in the cage at Invicta FC 32, topping UFC veteran Viviane Pereira. Morandin is coming off a title challenge against Virna Jandiroba in September.

They are joined by UFC veterans Danielle Taylor (10-4), Juliana Lima (9-5) and Kailin Curran (4-6). Taylor’s first fight under the Invicta banner came in December, where she defeated Montserrat Ruiz. Lima returns to the promotion for the first time since Invicta FC 5 in 2013. Hawaii’s Curran will be making her Invicta debut.

Rounding out the participants will be Invicta veterans Brianna van Buren (5-2), Sharon Jacobson (5-4) and Sunna Davidsdottir (3-0). Van Buren dispatched of UFC veteran Jamie Moyle in her most recent appearance. Jacobson has been a staple of the Invicta cage, winning multiple post-fight bonuses for her aggressive wrestling style. Finally, Iceland’s Davidsdottir enters the tournament with an undefeated record.

The Phoenix Rising Series will also feature a new look for the broadcast team. Invicta FC post-fight correspondent and former Invicta fighter Laura Sanko will become the first woman to call play-by-play for a major promotion. Joining Sanko on the call will be veteran cageside analyst Jimmy Smith, who has called fights for many of the sport’s biggest promotions.

A tournament reserve match-up, as well as one, non-tournament bout—also in the 115-pound division—will be added to the fight card in the coming weeks.

Phoenix Rising Series 
MIZUKI (13-5)
Janaisa Morandin (10-2)
Danielle Taylor (10-4)
Juliana Lima (9-5)
Kailin Curran (4-6)
Brianna van Buren (5-2)
Sharon Jacobson (5-4)
Sunna Davidsdottir (3-0)


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. Follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights), Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights), and Instagram (@InvictaFC) for all the latest information.

Invicta FC 28 Results: Jandiroba Tops MIZUKI, Captures Strawweight Gold

Salt Lake City — On Saturday, March 24, Invicta Fighting Championships made its first trip to the state of Utah, hosting Invicta FC 28: MIZUKI vs. Jandiroba from the Union Event Center in the capital of the Beehive State. The event streamed live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

Undefeated Brazilian Virna Jandiroba is the new Invicta FC strawweight champion after largely dominating Japan’s MIZUKI from bell to bell. Jandiroba took the fight to the mat effortlessly throughout the entire five-round affair. A right hand from Jandiroba damaged the left eye of MIZUKI early in the fight and it swelled badly. Jandiroba was methodical with her top pressure, smothering MIZUKI from generating offense or returning to her feet. The best chance for MIZUKI came in round four, as she scored with a beautiful hip toss, but Jandiroba quickly reversed the position and continued her dominance. When the scorecards were revealed, it was the Brazilian who left with the win and the belt.

Former title challenger DeAnna Bennett returned to the promotion and snapped the winning streak of Mexico’s Karina Rodríguez. Bennett surprised the Mexican fighter with a steady forward advance, landing punches and initiating the clinch. Bennett scored with a big takedown, but Rodríguez quickly bounced back to her feet. The second round was more of the same as Bennett’s frequent level changes and feints prevented Rodríguez from putting together her boxing combinations. Rodríguez increased her output in the final round, but Bennett’s wrestling and clinch game was too much. The judges were split, but it was Bennett who left with the win.

Veteran Milana Dudieva gave Christina Marks a rude welcome to the Invicta cage, earning a second-round TKO victory. The flyweights spent the first round in a feeling-out process, trading single strikes and gauging range. It was more of the same in round two, but late in the frame, Dudieva delivered a massive right hand that sent Marks crashing to the ground. Dudieva followed with a series of right hands to finish the fight.

Pearl Gonzalez outworked Kali Robbins in a three-round war to introduce herself to the strawweight division. The previously undefeated Robbins waded through the strikes of Gonzalez to impose her grappling attack in the opening round. Gonzalez was able to defend from her back and reverse position multiple times. As the fight progressed, Robbins began to give Gonzalez more openings for scrambles and Gonzalez capitalized. She spent the better part of the last two rounds in the top position, cruising to the decision win.

Finnish atomweight Minna Grusander impressed in her promotional debut, stopping her fellow newcomer Fernanda Barros by TKO. Barros was very aggressive to start, coming forward with looping punches and kicks. Grusander survived the onslaught and the pair traded guillotine attempts. In the second round, the Finn found her range on the feet, dropping Barros with a flurry midway through the round. She increased her output, pounding out the Brazilian along the cage to earn the TKO win.

Strawweight Kal Schwartz put on a wrestling clinic before violently finishing Kay Hansen in the second round. Schwartz controlled the clinch throughout the first round, scoring with short punches and knees. Hansen broke free for a moment, but was quickly slammed to the canvas. That was a precursor to what would come in round two as Schwartz opened a huge cut on Hansen’s face with an elbow before suplexing her to the ground. Schwartz sensed the finish was near and flurried hard to force the referee to intervene.

In a pairing of bantamweight newcomers, New Hampshire’s Kerri Kenneson edged Chelsea Chandler after three thrilling rounds. Chandler’s grappling arsenal was the story early in the fight as she repeatedly attacked Kenneson with choke attempts, but Kenneson turned the tide with a massive left hand to close the opening round. Chandler continued to attack the limbs of Kenneson, but she left herself exposed to ground and pound. Kenneson was forced to defend a deep triangle choke in the third round, but her offensive output was more than enough to secure the decision nod.

Jillian DeCoursey remained undefeated, handing Invicta newcomer Rebekah Levine her first defeat in their atomweight match-up. LeVine sought the takedown early in the fight, but quickly fell into the dangerous guard of DeCoursey. The BJJ brown belt attacked with numerous armbars from her back, forcing LeVine to defend. As the fight progressed, DeCoursey showcased her superior grappling game, frequently moving to mount and dropping punches. LeVine proved her toughness by making it to the final bell, but DeCoursey claimed the clear-cut decision victory.

Flyweights Tracy Cortez and Kaytlin Neil kicked off the action with a back-and-forth battle that went to the scorecards. Cortez was aggressive throughout, pressing forward and keeping Neil with her back to the fence. Neil was able to score with a hip toss in the middle stanza, but she struggled to maintain top position. The final frame was full of scrambles and submission attempts, but it was the relentless pressure of Cortez that was rewarded by the judges.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
Virna Jandiroba def. MIZUKI by split decision (49-46, 46-49, 49-46) – for strawweight title
DeAnna Bennett def. Karina Rodríguez by split decision (30-27, 27-30, 30-27)
Milana Dudieva def. Christina Marks by TKO (punches). Round 2, 3:57
Pearl Gonzalez def. Kali Robbins by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)
Minna Grusander def. Fernanda Barros by TKO (punches). Round 2, 4:26
Kal Schwartz def. Kay Hansen by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 4:27
Kerri Kenneson def. Chelsea Chandler by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Jillian DeCoursey def. Rebekah Levine by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Tracy Cortez def. Kaytlin Neil by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)


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 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.

MIZUKI Replaces Janaisa Morandin, Faces Virna Jandiroba for Strawweight Title at Invicta FC 28

Kansas City, Mo. — The lineup for Invicta Fighting Championships 28 has a new main event.

Brazilian Janaisa Morandin (10-1) has been forced out of her strawweight title tilt against countrywoman Virna Jandiroba (12-0). Stepping in for Morandin will be Japan’s MIZUKI (12-4). The 23-year-old enters the contest having won four straight, including a second-round armbar finish of Lynn Alvarez in her most recent Invicta appearance.

A replacement opponent is being sought to face UFC veteran Milana Dudieva (11-7).

Invicta FC 28 takes place Saturday, March 24, from the Union Event Center in Salt Lake City. The event will stream live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass at 6 p.m. MT.

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

Strawweight Title: MIZUKI (12-4) vs. Virna Jandiroba (12-0)
Strawweight: Milana Dudieva (11-7) vs. TBD
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. Kay Hansen (1-0)
Bantamweight: Kerri Kenneson (2-0) vs. Chelsea Chandler (0-0)
Atomweight: Jillian DeCoursey (1-0) vs. Rebekah Levine (1-0)
Flyweight: Tracy Cortez (1-1) vs. Kaytlin Neil (1-2)

Tickets for Invicta FC 28 are available now 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.

MIZUKI Joins Invicta FC 18 Lineup

Kansas City, Mo. — Invicta Fighting Championships 18 has added a familiar face to its fight card.

Visa issues have forced undefeated Indian fighter Manjit Kolekar (8-0) from her strawweight match-up with Lynn Alvarez (6-3). Replacing Kolekar will be Japan’s MIZUKI (11-4).

The 21-year-old MIZUKI enters the contest having won three straight, including back-to-back wins via armbar. She was last in the Invicta cage in January at Invicta FC 15, where she submitted veteran Lacey Schuckman and earned “Performance of the Night” honors.

Invicta FC 18 is headlined by a strawweight battle between Mexico’s Alexa Grasso (7-0) and veteran Jodie Esquibel (5-1). In the co-main event, Grasso’s teammate, former title challenger Irene Aldana (6-2), will welcome undefeated Brazilian Taila Santos (13-0) to the promotion in a bantamweight affair.

The updated fight card for Invicta FC 18 can be found below:

Strawweight: Alexa Grasso (7-0) vs. Jodie Esquibel (5-1)
Bantamweight: Irene Aldana (6-2) vs. Taila Santos (13-0)
Flyweight: Agnieszka Niedzwiedz (7-0) vs Claudia Rey (6-0)
Bantamweight: Cindy Dandois (6-2) vs. Jessamyn Duke (3-4, 1 NC)
Featherweight: Megan Anderson (6-2) vs. Peggy Morgan (4-3)
Atomweight: Tessa Simpson (4-1) vs. Simona Soukupova (5-3-1)
Strawweight: MIZUKI (11-4) vs. Lynn Alvarez (6-3)
Bantamweight: Aspen Ladd (3-0) vs. Jessica Hoy (1-0)
Bantamweight: Sijara Eubanks (1-1) vs. Amberlynn Orr (0-0)

Tickets for Invicta FC 18: Grasso vs. Esquibel, available for $100, $75, $50, $40, and $30, are on sale now at CageTix.com.

Follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights), Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights), or Instagram (@InvictaFC) for all the latest details on the event.


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.

FIGHTING WORDS: MIZUKI INOUE

Japanese prodigy Mizuki Inoue makes her American MMA debut July 13thagainst fan favorite Bec Hyatt at Invicta FC. Roughly one month before her 19th birthday, Inoue will have the chance to prove she is a true warrior.

With a desire to win world championships in MMA, Shoot Boxing, and Kick Boxing, Inoue will try to take a large leap towards that goal on July 13th. Having already won a world title in Shoot Boxing, Inoue believes the only way to be a true martial artist is to be great at all disciplines.

Corey Smith: Outside of the United States, Japan has one of the strongest female mixed martial arts scenes in the world. How did you first enter into mixed martial arts?

Mizuki Inoue: I began karate when I was in fourth grade, and I made my pro debut at age 15 as a kick boxer. But Chairman Yamaguchi (of Hakushin-kai) had this philosophy that “if you want to be the best fighter in the world then you have to do MMA” so, I actually have been training MMA for a while now. Probably over five years.

MIJapan does have a strong women’s MMA scene but from watching fights outside Japan I feel we are behind in the strength department so I have been working on gaining more power.

CS: You have quickly amassed a MMA record of 5-1 to go along with a kickboxing record of 4-1. What has been the moment you are most proud of so far?

MIFrom the very beginning I have been saying this in public; I want to win titles in three different disciplines which is MMA, kick boxing and Shoot Boxing.

MIAnd by winning Shoot Boxing’s S-Cup tourney last year I achieved one goal, so that has to be my biggest achievement so far.

CS: You are also 4-1 in your Shoot Boxing career. For those unfamiliar with Shoot Boxing, what are the major differences between it and MMA? How are they similar?

MIShoot Boxing is so-called “Standing Vale Tudo”. It’s like kick boxing plus throws and standing submissions.

MISince I am from karate, many fans think I am a kick boxer or a Shoot Boxing fighter but I consider myself a MMA fighter.  I decided to fight in Shoot Boxing as part of my path to become a better MMA fighter.

CS: Have the varied rules you have competed under been a result of a lack of willing opponents in MMA, or do you have a desire to test yourself in all disciplines?

MIMy master, Chairman Yamaguchi (of Hakushin-kai) believes that the best fighters in the combat sports are MMA fighters. Meaning, if you are a fighter then you have to be able to win MMA fights otherwise you are not the best fighter, and I agree with that. So, in order for to become a MMA champion I am willing to train any discipline.

CS: This will be your debut fighting outside of Japan. Do you anticipate any extra difficulties fighting in another country? What are you doing to prepare for the travel?

MIHonestly right now I am too busy training so I am not really thinking about a long flight or jet lag or anything like that. Not yet (laugh).

MIBut this is going to be my first trip outside Japan, so I am excited.

CS: You will be making your Invicta FC debut against fan favorite, Bec Hyatt. How familiar are you with Hyatt? What areas will you focus on in your training camp?

MII’ve seen her fights in Invicta FC. I think she is very aggressive. I can tell she has got a very strong heart, and she is a very good striker.

MISo, I think she is going to attack me with her punches, and I am prepared to go toe-to-toe with her.

CS: What does a typical day in training camp consist of for you?

MII do a couple hours of weight, strength straining in the afternoon and I do about five to six hours at night. Mainly sparring though.

CS: What is your mindset on the night of the fight? What type of routine do you have before the fight?

MIBefore the fight, in my head, I just go over the strategies and also, I tell myself things I cannot do, etc.

MII am usually pretty calm before the fight. I am just concentrating most of the time.

CS: When you are in the cage, what do you expect from your corners? Do you allow all your corners to coach, or do you have a main voice that you look to?

MIWell, in Japan I can hear Chairman Yamaguchi’s voice clearly because usually the audience is quiet, but in the US I guess that is not the case right?

MISo, I am prepared for that.

CS: When you aren’t in the gym or the cage, what types of activities do you enjoy? How do you mentally unwind after a long day of camp?

MIOn my day offs, I go out to karaoke with my friends.

MIBut I train all the time so during the training camp, I just train and sleep.

CS: Lastly, MMA is as much an individual sport, as it is a team sport. Who would you like to thank?

MII would like to thank Invicta FC and JEWELS for giving me this opportunity.

MII would like to thank Chairman Yamaguchi and all of my team mates to believing in me.

MII also would like to thank my sponsors Bull Terrier, Alienware Computers, Helmet, and HALEO.