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Invicta FC Reveals the Phoenix 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 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 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 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.

Kay Hansen Replaces Kanako Murata, Faces Sharon Jacobson at Invicta FC 33

Kansas City, Mo. — The fight card for Invicta FC 33 has changed due to injury.

Strawweight newcomer Kanako Murata (8-1) has been forced out of her promotional debut against fellow wrestler Sharon Jacobson (5-3). Stepping in on short notice will be 19-year-old Kay Hansen (3-2).

Hansen was last in action in November, falling via hard-fought decision to Erin Blanchfield at Invicta FC 32. The Californian has finished all three of her career wins, including two inside the Invicta cage.

Jacobson has compiled a 3-1 record with the promotion, most recently defeating Ashley Nichols on the scorecards at Invicta FC 27 in January.

Invicta FC 33 takes place Saturday, Dec. 15, from the historic Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Mo. The card is headlined by an atomweight title rematch between champion Jinh Yu Frey (7-3) and Minna Grusander (6-2). The pair met previously in July, with the Texas fighter Frey edging Finland’s Grusander on the scorecards.

The updated fight card for Invicta FC 33 can be found below:

Atomweight Title: Jinh Yu Frey (7-3) vs. Minna Grusander (6-2)
Strawweight: Danielle Taylor (9-4) vs. Monserrat Ruiz (8-0)
Strawweight: Sharon Jacobson (5-3) vs. Kay Hansen (3-2)
Atomweight: Amber Brown (7-4) vs. Alesha Zappitella (4-0, 1 NC)
Strawweight: Jamie Moyle (4-3) vs. Brianna Van Buren (4-2)
Bantamweight: Sarah Kleczka (2-1) vs. Brittney Victoria (2-0)
Atomweight: Ashley Medina (0-1) vs. Anastasia Nikolakakos (2-0)
Flyweight: Chantel Coates (0-0) vs. Ashlynn Kleinbeck (0-0)

Tickets for Invicta FC 33 are on sale now and available for purchase at 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.

Invicta FC 25 Fight Card Complete With Seven New Bouts

Kansas City, Mo. — The fight card for Invicta Fighting Championships 25 is complete.

The event, which takes place from the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino on Thursday, Aug. 31, marks the promotion’s return to California. All of the action streams live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass at 6 p.m. PT.

Joining the previously announced championship doubleheader in the bantamweight and strawweight divisions will be seven additional match-ups.

South Carolina’s Alexa Conners (4-1) returns to the Invicta FC cage to welcome undefeated German bantamweight Katharina Lehner (5-0) to the promotion. Conners has reeled off four straight wins leading into the bout, including a decision win at Invicta FC 20. Lehner will make her promotional debut after beginning her career with five straight wins in her home country of Germany and capturing the Respect FC championship.

In the strawweight division, wrestling stalwart Sharon Jacobson (4-1) returns from a two-year absence to take on undefeated Kali Robbins (4-0). Jacobson, a two-time national champion wrestler and member of the Army Reserves, is coming off back-to-back “Fight of the Night” performances over Jamie Moyle and Delaney Owen. Robbins, dubbed “Pop Tart,” has yet to taste defeat in her professional or amateur career and has finished all four of her professional victories.

Atomweight Shino VanHoose (5-5) will make her second Invicta appearance when she faces off with newcomer Alyse Anderson (3-0). VanHoose most recently earned a second-round TKO win over Sarah Lagerstrom, while Michigan’s Anderson is undefeated thus far in her mixed martial arts career.

The bantamweight division will hold two additional bouts on the card, each featuring a pair of returning veterans. Kelly McGill-Velasco (2-1) squares off with Amberlynn Orr (0-1) in one match-up and California’s Yaya Rincón (1-0) takes on Swiss judoka Stephanie Egger (2-1) in the other pairing.

Flyweight newcomers clash when Colorado’s Cheri Muraski (3-0) meets Tracy Cortez (0-0) of Arizona. Cortez will be making her professional debut after going 6-0 as an amateur.

Finally, accomplished atomweight amateurs Ashley Medina (0-0) and Jillian DeCoursey (0-0) will each compete as professionals for the first time in the night’s opening bout.

The complete fight card for Invicta FC 25 can be found below:

Bantamweight Title: Raquel Pa’aluhi (6-5) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (9-3, 1 NC)
Strawweight Title: Livia Renata Souza (10-1) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-2)
Bantamweight: Alexa Conners (4-1) vs. Katharina Lehner (5-0)
Strawweight: Sharon Jacobson (4-1) vs. Kali Robbins (4-0)
Atomweight: Shino VanHoose (5-5) vs. Alyse Anderson (3-0)
Bantamweight: Kelly McGill-Velasco (2-1) vs. Amberlynn Orr (0-1)
Bantamweight: Yaya Rincón (1-0) vs. Stephanie Egger (2-1)
Flyweight: Cheri Muraski (3-0) vs. Tracy Cortez (0-0)
Atomweight: Ashley Medina (0-0) vs. Jillian DeCoursey (0-0)

Tickets for the event can be purchased now through the Tachi Palace website.


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.

Sharon Jacobson: Catching a Dream

Dreams do not only exist in your imagination. Although the ones that occur in your sleep may be far-fetched and unattainable, others require hard work and dedication to bring to fruition. However, not all dreams are created equal.

Strawweight Sharon Jacobson didn’t grow up aspiring for success in combat sports. The two-time national champion wrestler had no idea what the future held when she first stepped onto a wrestling mat at the age of 16.

“I thought I’d be avoiding PE class and that would be about it,” Jacobson said with a laugh. “I actually ended up having to take a weightlifting class my senior year because even though my coach gave me a letter [for wrestling], I was never actually on the men’s team. They had a women’s team, but it always fizzled out, so I never officially received a letter for it. For some reason, it didn’t count as a PE class. So it still came back to haunt me.”

There was more to the story, though. The active-duty Army Sergeant and Invicta FC fighter had other reasons for choosing wrestling over a normal gym class.

“I really didn’t like that I had to wear a uniform every day. Which sounds funny now that I’m in the Army, but I was a poor kid and I couldn’t afford more than one set. So bringing it back and forth every day was just a hassle. It would get stinky. It didn’t make sense to me that I had to pay money for a uniform,” explained the 32-year-old.

“That’s also why I chose wrestling. It’s a poor sport. Pretty much all you need is some wrestling shoes and a U.S. wrestling card.”

Whether she expected it or not, Jacobson’s wrestling career took off. Following high school, she wrestled at the University of Minnesota at Morris and captured the 2006 U.S. National Title at 121 pounds. In 2008, she enlisted in the Army as part of the World Class Athlete Program (WCAP).

“I definitely saw it as an opportunity to further my wrestling career, but you get paid while you train, which isn’t normal unless you have sponsors,” she revealed. “I take pride in wearing that uniform and representing the United States as an athlete and a soldier. I don’t just wrestle. I’m a Horizontal Construction Engineer.”

Now in her second stint with WCAP, Jacobson is enjoying herself more and still growing as an athlete.

“You have to have a job, and every three years you get released to do that job and you come back a year later. You have benchmarks you have to meet. You can look at it as a driving force or as a lot of pressure,” admitted the Colorado Springs resident.

“I feel like the first time I was in, there was so much pressure and it stressed me out. Now that I’m back, I’m just having fun with it.”

During Jacobson’s last break from WCAP, she discovered mixed martial arts. After spending most her life on the wrestling mats, the new sport was invigorating and, despite its own challenges, less taxing on the body.

“I don’t like to talk about my age, but I’m not 18, I’m not 21 anymore. The American mentality with wrestling is go, go, go, grind, grind, grind,” Jacobson explained. “I’ve wrestled for 16 years and to be able to go to boxing practice and focus on something new, it’s refreshing.

“When I only have wrestling, I feel the pressure. Now that I have MMA too, I don’t. I’m more than just a wrestler. I go to jiu-jitsu practice to mix it up. Then I go to wrestling practice and kick some butt. Before, I would think it was hard and I’d get it handed to me. But when I come back feeling refreshed, it’s more exciting and fun.”

The biggest challenge for Jacobson has been finding time. With a new passion for MMA, she had to balance her wrestling career and serving the country.

“It’s actually kind of hard,” Jacobson admitted. “Being in the Army and on the National Team, there’s so many requirements. My job in the Army is to wrestle.

“I have to do [MMA] on my own. I have to go and get a third or fourth workout in. But those are more fun. The boxing coach from WCAP is opening up a boxing and MMA gym. I work with them a lot. It’s good. I feel like I have a second family in them.

“I have a wrestling family and a boxing family. They’re all very supportive. They find time with me. I have to go above and beyond.”

Even with such a heavy workload, Jacobson managed a remarkable feat in 2015. Nine years after capturing her first U.S. Nationals title, she repeated it this spring.

“After I won Nationals, people asked if I was going to stop fighting and I was like, ‘No, why can’t I do both?’ I went and won a fight and two weeks later I won Nationals. It’s working,” declared Jacobson.

Just before Nationals, Jacobson made both her Invicta FC and strawweight debut against Delaney Owen after initially signing with the promotion as a flyweight.

“I was walking around at 130 [pounds], so it didn’t make sense for me to cut five pounds to fight girls that cut 15-20,” said Jacobson. “I have a smaller stature and I feel more comfortable. I’m lighter and faster. I still have my strength. I think Delaney thought I was a lot bigger than I was. I just feel like this is a better weight for me.”

Jacobson scored a unanimous decision win over Owen, but that wasn’t the only good part of her experience with the world’s largest all-women’s promotion.

“I love Invicta,” she exclaimed. “I was really excited about it. My teammate Randi Miller was on Invicta FC 1. Raquel [Pennington] was on it. Cat [Zingano] was on it. I knew what the process was like.

“I was excited about media day and taking pictures. It was all very positive. It was fun. Invicta embraces diversity. They embrace looks, personalities, whatever.”

Her win over Owen was her third professional win, as well as her third straight victory. However, it was the first time she went the distance.

“I was kind of pissed because I really wanted to finish. It’s a huge rush. It’s like a drug — once you taste it, you want more,” joked Jacobson. “It was a little bit disappointing. She got me good a few times, but I was able to come back from it. I don’t want to do that with every fight, but if I have to, I will.”

Now, the Colorado-based fighter will turn her attention to unbeaten Jamie Moyle at Invicta FC 14 on Sept. 12 in Kansas City, Mo. But she’s not stopping there. There’s another dream already in the back of her mind.

“I feel like every fight I take the same approach. I definitely have respect for them and their skill set, but I plan on going in there and beating them up. Doing my thing. If she gives me something, I’m going to take it. I hope to win in dominating fashion,” said Jacobson.

“Obviously, I want that belt. It’s not a like a tournament where you can just go through it in one day and get it. It’s a process; it’s different. I don’t see it as pressure. I don’t see it as ‘I have to win’ because of it. I see it as I’m going to win because I have the skill set and the determination.”

That determination is one of Jacobson’s biggest attributes and she’s out to prove through her performances in the cage and on the wrestling mat that others can follow in her footsteps.

“I hope to inspire people. I feel like it’s never too late if you still have it in you. I just hope they see me as a respectable role model for younger generations in wrestling and MMA,” she said.

“My name’s ‘Dreamcatcher’ and I want to catch those dreams. I’m tired of chasing them and coming up short. I’m in it to win.”

If Jacobson’s journey from trying to skip out on gym class to National champion to Invicta combatant is any indication, her dreams are well within reach.


Sharon would like to thank Heavenly Father, her family, the coaches and athletes at WCAP, Prime BJJ, Triple Threat MMA and Boxing, Lashifyme.com and One Yoga USA.

Invicta FC 12 Results: Livia Renata Souza Submits Katja Kankaanpää to Claim Strawweight Title

Kansas City, Mo. – Invicta Fighting Championships returned to the Municipal Auditorium on Friday, April 24 for Invicta FC 12: Kankaanpää vs. Souza. The event streamed live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.

A new champion was crowned in the strawweight division as Brazil’s Livia Renata Souza submitted Finland’s Katja Kankaanpää in the fourth round. Souza attacked the champion from the opening bell, taking the fight to the ground and taking Kankaanpää’s back. Kankaanpää showed heart and defended rear-naked choke attempts. The momentum swung toward Kankaanpää as the fight progressed. She used a smothering top game in the middle frames, delivering short shots and keeping Souza from mounting offense. In round four, Souza again found herself on her back, but she slapped on a triangle choke and Kankaanpää was forced to tap and relinquish her belt.

Brazilian Vanessa Porto exacted revenge on Roxanne Modafferi, claiming a decision win in the pair’s rematch. Porto used her leg kicks to slow Modafferi’s movement and mixed in takedowns in each of the first two rounds. Modafferi countered with flurries, bloodying the nose of Porto. A right hand from Porto clipped Modafferi in round two, but she survived and pushed hard in the third round. Modafferi’s efforts were not enough as Porto took the fight on the judges’ scorecards.

New Zealand’s Faith Van Duin earned a big win in her Invicta debut, submitting Amanda Bell in the second round with a schoolyard choke. Van Duin put Bell on the mat early in the fight and threatened with an armbar. Bell escaped and reversed the position, dropping big hammerfists on the Kiwi. In the second round, Van Duin caught a kick and took Bell down again. She locked onto Bell’s neck and coerced a tap.

Raquel Pa’aluhi continued her march up the bantamweight ladder, edging Brazilian Ediane Gomes by unanimous decision. The Hawaiian scored with right hands and a big throw in the opening stanza, but Gomes countered with a heel hook attempt. In round two, Pa’aluhi hurt Gomes badly with a body shot and flurried hard for a finish. Gomes managed to recover and put together a strong final round. It wasn’t enough; however, as Pa’aluhi took home the victory on the scorecards.

Featherweight Latoya Walker remained unbeaten, edging Peggy Morgan by unanimous decision. Morgan used her reach to keep Walker at bay early, but Walker found her range and connected repeatedly with her overhand right. She rocked Morgan badly in round two, but could not find the finish. Morgan’s face wore the damage from Walker’s heavy shots as the fight went the distance.

Lacey Schuckman returned to the Invicta cage and needed less than two minutes to score a TKO win over Jenny Liou. Schuckman was aggressive early with her strikes, wobbling Liou with a flurry. She was patient with her follow-up punches, battering Liou against the cage and forcing the stoppage.

In her Invicta debut, strawweight Sharon Jacobson used a mix of aggressive striking and powerful wrestling to defeat a scrappy Delaney Owen. Jacobson overpowered Owen early, but Owen showed resolve and clipped Jacobson with a heavy shot that damaged her right eye. Jacobson went to her wrestling game and was able to claim a sweep on the scorecards.

Former training partners Shannon Sinn and Maureen Riordon went to war, with Sinn claiming the unanimous decision win. The two flyweights traded heavy shots from the opening bell, with Sinn landing more frequently. Riordon never stopped marching forward, but Sinn’s combinations and clinch work were the difference on the scorecards.

In a battle of promotional newcomers, Sijara Eubanks used her grappling prowess to set up a finish with her hands, handing Gina Begley a first-round TKO loss. Begley scored early on the feet, but once Eubanks took the fight to the mat, Eubanks delivered heavy shots and forced the referee to intervene.

OFFICIAL RESULTS

Livia Renata Souza def. Katja Kankaanpää by submission (triangle choke). Round 4, 3:58 – for strawweight title
Vanessa Porto def. Roxanne Modafferi by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Faith Van Duin def. Amanda Bell by submission (schoolyard choke). Round 2, 0:38
Raquel Pa’aluhi def. Ediane Gomes by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Latoya Walker def. Peggy Morgan by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Lacey Schuckman def. Jenny Liou by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 1:53
Sharon Jacobson def. Delaney Owen by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Shannon Sinn def. Maureen Riordon by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Sijara Eubanks def. Gina Begley by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 4:59


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. For more information, visit InvictaFC.com, follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights) and like Invicta on Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights).

Sharon Jacobson Latest Addition to Invicta FC Flyweight Roster

Kansas City, Mo. — The flyweight division continues to expand as Invicta Fighting Championships has signed another 125-pound fighter.

Sharon Jacobson is the newest athlete to sign with the promotion. The 31-year-old is a former U.S. Nationals wrestling champion and Army Combatives veteran. She will enter the promotion on the heels of a dominant, 44-second TKO win in July.

A California native that attended Valhalla High School, Jacobson moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., in pursuit of Olympic glory. Her desire for competition led the wrestling stalwart to mixed martial arts. In her two-fight professional career she has competed against the likes of current Invicta contender DeAnna Bennett.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said Jacobson. “I’m proud to be a part of Invicta. It’s a good milestone for me.

“I’m here and I’m ready to fight.”

Jacobson is expected to make her Invicta debut in early 2015.


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. For more information, visit InvictaFC.com, follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights) and like Invicta on Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights).