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Phoenix Rising Results: Brianna Van Buren Crowned New Strawweight Champion

Kansas City, Kan. — On Friday, May 3, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted its inaugural Phoenix Rising tournament from Memorial Hall. The event aired exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.

There’s a new strawweight champion as Brianna Van Buren won three fights in one night, submitting Kailin Curran in the Phoenix Rising tournament final. The opening stanza featured Van Buren scoring with inside leg kicks. Curran tried to keep the fight at range, but Van Buren changed levels and slammed her to the mat. Once on top, Van Buren was dominant. She controlled the Hawaiian with short shots, but could not find a finish. In the second frame, Van Buren again secured a takedown and immediately passed to mount. She delivered heavy shots, forcing Curran to give up her back along the fence. Curran defended briefly, but it wasn’t enough, as Van Buren locked in the choke and claimed the title.

The evening’s lone non-tournament bout featured Kay Hansen vs. Magdaléna Šormová. Hansen was relentless in the first round, putting the Czech newcomer on the mat and pounding on her with elbows. Šormová was undeterred, looking for armbars from her back and throwing upkicks. In round two, Šormová was able to gain the top position for the first time and she did not relinquish it until just before the horn sounded at the end of the round. She patiently attacked Hansen and nearly passed to mount. The final round saw Hansen look for a throw, but Šormová countered it and took her back. She worked hard for a choke, but Hansen was able to escape and gain top position late in the frame. Hansen went for an armbar with just seconds remaining in the fight, but Šormová was able to survive to the final bell. When the scorecards were read, the judges again dissented, but Šormová scored the split decision win in her promotional debut.

The second half of the semifinals saw Kailin Curran go to war with Sharon Jacobson. After a brief feeling-out process, Jacobson looked for a takedown. Curran countered with a big throw that put her in top position. Jacobson was able to work back to her feet and land big knees along the fence. When the pair separated, Curran was able to land her jab and bloody the nose of Jacobson. The Colorado fighter was able to execute a throw of her own and put Curran on the ground. She passed to side control and landed short shots. Curran powered back to her feet late in the fight and the fight was sent to the judges. All three judges rewarded Curran for her efforts, giving her the second spot in the tournament final.

In the night’s first semifinal match-up, California’s Brianna Van Buren called her shot, selecting Juliana Lima as her opponent with the only finish in the quarterfinals. Lima used her length to stay on the outside early. Van Buren scored with heavy punches before ducking under and scooping up the Brazilian for a huge slam. She worked from the top position, keeping Lima on her back. Lima used an armbar attempt to get back to her feet, but it was short lived as Van Buren slammed her violently to the mat yet again. There was little doubt on the scorecards as Van Buren advanced to the finals.

The tournament’s reserve match-up featured newcomers Alyssa Krahn and Itzel Esquivel. It was the Texas fighter Esquivel who started with heavy kicks, prompting Krahn to work for a takedown. The Canadian Krahn had to work hard to bring the fight to the ground, but she got it there midway through the round. Once in top position, she was able to control Esquivel and score with punches. When it was over, the judges again rendered a split decision, with Krahn edging Esquivel.

The final tournament quarterfinal featured high-powered wrestler Sharon Jacobson against former atomweight title challenger Amber Brown. Jacobson grabbed a single and took the fight to the ground, but Brown used a heel hook attempt to gain the top position. Jacobson scrambled to her feet and the pair traded clinch knees. An arm-drag takedown from Jacobson turned the tide, as she overwhelmed Brown with punches and secured the mount. She delivered elbows and took Brown’s back late to secure the unanimous decision victory and move to the semifinal round.

Brianna Van Buren scored the night’s first finish as she submitted India’s Manjit Kolekar with an armbar. Van Buren scooped up Kolekar and slammed her to the canvas in the opening minute of the fight. She passed to mount and then looked to take Kolekar’s back. A series of punches from Van Buren forced Kolekar to cover up and expose an arm. Van Buren latched on and coerced the tap at the 3:20 mark to move on to the semifinals.

A pair of UFC veterans squared off as Brazil’s Juliana Lima took on Danielle Taylor. Taylor quickly closed the distance and put Lima against the fence. The taller Lima reversed the position and attacked with knees from the clinch. The pair jostled for position as the round progressed. Taylor briefly scored a takedown, but she couldn’t hold Lima on the mat. Lima powered back to the clinch and the fight went the distance. The judges were again split, but Lima moved on to the semifinals.

The tournament action kicked off with a battle between UFC veteran Kailin Curran and Iceland’s Sunna Davíðsdóttir. Curran dropped Davíðsdóttir with a massive right hand early in the fight and looked to secure a choke. Davíðsdóttir fought out of the submission attempt and mounted Curran. She rained punches and elbows, but Curran was able to work back to her feet. Once back to the feet, Curran scored another knockdown. Davíðsdóttir worked back to the top position late in the fight, but the judges were called upon to decide the outcome. They were split in their verdict, but it was Curran who advanced to the semifinals.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
Brianna Van Buren def. Kailin Curran by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 3:49 – strawweight tournament final
Magdaléna Šormová def. Kay Hansen by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Kailin Curran def. Sharon Jacobson by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – strawweight tournament semifinal
Brianna Van Buren def. Juliana Lima by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – strawweight tournament semifinal
Alyssa Krahn def. Itzel Esquivel by split decision (9-10, 10-9, 10-9) – strawweight tournament reserve bout
Sharon Jacobson def. Amber Brown by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – strawweight tournament quarterfinal
Brianna Van Buren def. Manjit Kolekar by submission (armbar). Round 1, 3:20 – strawweight tournament quarterfinal
Juliana Lima def. Danielle Taylor by split decision (9-10, 10-9, 10-9) – strawweight tournament quarterfinal
Kailin Curran def. Sunna Davíðsdóttir by split decision (10-9, 9-10, 10-9) – strawweight tournament quarterfinal


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.

Phoenix Rising 1 Official Weigh-in Results

Kansas City, Mo. — On Thursday, May 2, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted the weigh-ins for its inaugural Phoenix Rising tournament. The event takes place from from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., on Friday, May 3, with the entire card streaming live on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

The one-night, eight-woman tournament will crown a new 115-pound champion. 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 tournament participants were matched up during a random draw prior to the event. UFC veterans square off as Danielle Taylor (10-4) clashes with Juliana Lima (9-5) and Hawaii’s Kailin Curran (4-6) faces Iceland’s Sunna Davíðsdóttir (3-0).

Former title challenger MIZUKI (13-5) was scheduled to face wrestling stalwart Sharon Jacobson (5-4), but due to complications with her weight cut, MIZUKI was forced to withdraw for safety reasons. Reserve bout combatant Amber Brown (7-5) has been elevated to face Jacobson.

Brazilian Janaisa Morandin (10-2) missed weight for her bout with California’s Brianna Van Buren (5-2) and was pulled from the tournament. India’s Manjit Kolekar (11-2) will replace Morandin in the tournament quarterfinals.

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.

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

Strawweight Co-Main Event: Kay Hansen (115.4) vs. Magdaléna Šormová (115.4)
Strawweight Tournament Reserve Bout: Alyssa Krahn (115.8) vs. Itzel Esquivel (115.7)
Strawweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Amber Brown (115.7) vs. Sharon Jacobson (115.7)
Strawweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Manjit Kolekar (115.7) vs. Brianna Van Buren (115.8)
Strawweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Danielle Taylor (115.7) vs. Juliana Lima (115.5)
Strawweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Kailin Curran (116) vs. Sunna Davíðsdóttir (115.9)


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.

Phoenix Rising: Get to Know the Fighters Competing for Strawweight Gold

With the first installment of the Invicta FC Phoenix Rising Series on the horizon, eight of the strawweight divisions finest are preparing for battle on May 3.

With the eight competitors being randomly matched up ahead of the event, in one night we will find out who is the winner of the tournament and new strawweight champion. The action will take place from Kansas City’s Memorial Hall.

The very first tournament of the series features a mix of former title challengers, UFC veterans and staples of the strawweight division in Invicta FC.

Let’s take take a deeper look at the eight women involved in the dawn of a new chapter for the promotion.

MIZUKI (13-5):

Japan’s MIZUKI has been a well-known face in women’s MMA for some time and a true veteran of the Invicta cage. She has fought seven times under the Invicta banner fighting the likes of UFC veterans Bec Rawlings and Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

In her last fight, MIZUKI defeated Viviane Pereira at Invicta FC 32. Pereira is also an ex-UFC fighter, competing four times in the promotion. MIZUKI also challenged for the strawweight title last year, coming up short to then-champion Virna Jandiroba and losing via split decision. MIZUKI’s experience and quality anywhere the fight goes makes her a favorite going into the tournament.

Janaisa Morandin (10-2):

Brazil’s Janaisa Morandin has made a big impact in her short time as a professional fighter. Still only 24 years old, Morandin is the most recent person to challenge former titleholder Virna Jandiroba for the strawweight belt.

She lost the fight due to an arm-triangle submission in the second round but this was only her third fight in Invicta. With six of her ten wins coming via finish, Morandin will be looking to beat her opponent quickly, giving her a bonus and the advantage of getting to pick her opponent in the semifinals.

Danielle Taylor (10-4):

Making her second appearance in Invicta, Danielle Taylor showed her class in her debut beating the undefeated Montserrat Ruiz at Invicta FC 33.

Competing against the likes of Weili Zhang and defeating former Invicta champion Jessica Penne during her UFC run, Taylor has shown she can compete at the highest level. Her dominant debut put the division on notice and now Taylor is ready to separate herself from the rest.

Juliana Lima (9-5):

With seven fights in the UFC, Brazil’s Juliana Lima is ready for everything you can throw at her. She has stood across the cage from the likes of Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Tecia Torres and Carla Esparza. During her time in the UFC she picked up wins over Nina Ansaroff, Ericka Almeida and JJ Aldrich.

She is returning to Invicta for the first time since 2013. At the age of 37, Lima may be the most experienced woman in the tournament which could help her progress into the later stages.

Kailin Curran (4-6):

The last of the UFC veterans in the tournament, Kailin Curran entered the UFC at 3-0 in her pro career. Curran has not fought since the end of 2017 and will be looking to make a big impact on her return which will also be her debut in Invicta.

Curran has a history of being in entertaining fights and won a “Fight of the Night” bonus for her UFC debut against Paige VanZant in 2014.

Brianna Van Buren (5-2):

After a great performance in her second Invicta appearance, Brianna Van Buren comes into the tournament with plenty of momentum behind her.

“Tha Bull” defeated ex-UFC fighter Jamie Moyle in her previous fight and asked for the winner of the co-main event of the evening which was won by Danielle Taylor. Van Buren is a fast and creative striker that will be able to go toe-to-toe with any of the women in the tournament when in striking range.

Sharon Jacobson (5-4):

Sharon Jacobson is a staple of the strawweight division in Invicta. She has five previous fights in the division with three wins, all via unanimous decision.

A veteran of the U.S. Army, Jacobson uses her determination and athletic ability to take opponents down and nullify their offense. Her grappling abilities make her a dangerous match up for anyone in the tournament.

Sunna Davíðsdóttir (3-0):

Despite having the least experience on the surface, Sunna Davíðsdóttir’s three wins have all come in Invicta FC. Debuting at Invicta FC 19 in 2016, she has picked up unanimous decision wins over Ashley Greenway, Mallory Martin and Kelly D’Angelo.

Davíðsdóttir is solid wherever the fight takes place. Her last fight was at Invicta 24 in 2017. With this break in action, she’ll be eager to show off what she has been working on whilst training at Mjolinir in her home country of Iceland.


This piece is a special contribution from Kyle Dimond, a journalism major in Gloucester, England. You can follow Kyle on Twitter.

Phoenix Rising 1 Will Crown New Strawweight Champion

Kansas City, Mo. – The stakes have been raised for the first installment of the Invicta Fighting Championships Phoenix Rising Series.

The promotion’s first one-night, eight-woman tournament will crown a new 115-pound champion as Brazilian Virna Jandiroba has vacated the strawweight title to sign with the UFC.

In addition to the new prize awaiting the night’s winner, the quarterfinal match-ups — determined by random draw — have been revealed.

Former title challenger MIZUKI (13-5) will take on with wrestling stalwart Sharon Jacobson (5-4), Brazilian contender Janaisa Morandin (10-2) meets California’s Brianna Van Buren (5-2), UFC veterans square off as Danielle Taylor (10-4) clashes with Juliana Lima (9-5), and Hawaii’s Kailin Curran (4-6) faces Iceland’s Sunna Davíðsdóttir (3-0).

Joining the tournament bouts will be one non-tournament bout and two tournament reserve match-ups.

In the non-tournament fight, 19-year-old Kay Hansen (4-2) collides with promotional newcomer Magdaléna Šormová (7-1) of the Czech Republic. The bout will serve as the night’s co-main event between the tournament semifinals and championship headliner.

The two tournament reserve bouts will be one-round affairs and be considered exhibition fights. However, should any of the fighters be tabbed as injury replacements in the tournament, any subsequent fights will count on the fighter’s professional record. In the first reserve match-up, former atomweight title challenger Amber Brown (7-5) returns to 115 pounds to face off with India’s Manjit Kolekar (11-2). The other pairing features Invicta newcomers as Canada’s Alyssa “Pumpkin Spice” Krahn (5-2) meets Texas fighter Itzel Esquivel (4-2).

Finally, joining play-by-play announcer Laura Sanko and color analyst Jimmy Smith, the third member of the Phoenix Rising broadcast team will be Taryn Tempel, who will handle in-cage interviews for the event.

Phoenix Rising 1 takes place from Kansas City’s Memorial Hall on Friday, May 3. The event streams exclusively on UFC Fight Pass at 7 p.m. CT. Tickets to the event are on sale now through Eventbrite.

TBD vs. TBD – strawweight tournament final
Kay Hansen (4-2) vs. Magdaléna Šormová (7-1)
TBD vs. TBD – strawweight tournament semifinal
TBD vs. TBD – strawweight tournament semifinal
Amber Brown (7-5) vs. Manjit Kolekar (11-2) – strawweight tournament reserve bout
MIZUKI (13-5) vs. Sharon Jacobson (5-4) – strawweight tournament quarterfinal
Janaisa Morandin (10-2) vs. Brianna Van Buren (5-2) – strawweight tournament quarterfinal
Danielle Taylor (10-4) vs. Juliana Lima (9-5) – strawweight tournament quarterfinal
Kailin Curran (4-6) vs. Sunna Davidsdottir (3-0) – strawweight tournament quarterfinal
Alyssa Krahn (5-2) vs. Itzel Esquivel (4-2) – strawweight tournament reserve bout


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.