Costa Mesa, Calif. — On Saturday, Jan. 16, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 15: Cyborg vs. Ibragimova from the The Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center. The event streamed live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass at 9 p.m. ET.
In a match-up that featured two dominant finishers, Brazilian Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino stopped Russia’s Daria Ibragimova with just two seconds left in the opening stanza to retain her featherweight title. Ibragimova swung for the fences from the opening bell, then changed levels for a takedown attempt. Cyborg showcased great balance, but the Russian was relentless. Cyborg delivered short punches and elbows that damaged the left eye of Ibragimova. Ibragimova continued to try to get the fight to the mat, but Cyborg’s punishment took its toll. Late in the round, a right hand from Cyborg dropped the Russian and a pair of follow-up punches halted the contest.
Invicta strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza wasted little time in her first title defense, ending the unbeaten run of challenger DeAnna Bennett with a violent, first-round TKO finish. Bennett came forward with flurries to open the bout, but Souza defended well. A body kick from Souza landed flush to Bennett’s liver and sent her falling the ground. Souza rained hammerfists, forcing the stoppage just 90 seconds into the fight.
Bantamweight Colleen Schneider put together the most complete performance of her Invicta tenure, edging the ever-tough Raquel Pa’aluhi by split decision. Schneider’s counter striking was on display throughout the affair, as she quickly opened a cut between the eyes of Pa’aluhi. Pa’aluhi tried to take the fight to the mat over and over, but Schneider showcased great balance and scrambling. An elbow from Schneider caused blood to leak from the nose of Pa’aluhi. Midway through the fight, the left eye of the Hawaiian swelled badly as Schneider began to target it with punches. Pa’aluhi never stopped coming forward and looking for takedowns, but in the end, it was Schneider who claimed the win on the scorecards.
Amber Brown continued to move up the atomweight ladder with quick finish of promotional newcomer Shino VanHoose. Brown landed a left hand early and backed the 20-year-old against the cage. VanHoose left her neck exposed and Brown latched onto it. VanHoose scored with a trip and landed on top, but Brown maintained her grip on the neck. As Brown recovered her full guard, VanHoose was forced to tap.
Strawweights Mizuki Inoue and Lacey Schuckman engaged in a back-and-forth affair, with Japan’s Mizuki claiming a third-round submission via armbar. Schuckman earned a big takedown in the first round and even briefly took Mizuki’s back. Mizuki escaped and gained top position. She attacked with an armbar, but Schuckman countered with an inverted triangle attempt from her back. In the second and third rounds, Mizuki took control, tossing Schuckman to the mat and delivering heavy ground and pound. She repeatedly looked for the armbar finish and late in the final frame, she coerced the tap from Schuckman.
In her Invicta FC debut, UFC veteran Angela Hill wasted little time sending a message to the rest of the division, stopping Alida Gray in under two minutes. The pair traded single shots early, but a right hand from Hill stunned Gray. She smelled blood in the water and went for the finish. A series of knees and punches connected, but it was a knee to the body that sent Gray crashing to the canvas.
Kicking off the action, featherweights Megan Anderson and Amber Leibrock went to war. Leibrock rocked Anderson early with a right hand, but the Australian responded by initiating the clinch and punishing Leibrock with knees and elbows. Anderson’s pressure along the cage took its toll on Leibrock, as did repeated kicks to her lead leg. Midway through the third round, Anderson delivered a big knee that dropped Leibrock and she swarmed with punches to earn the TKO.
Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino def. Daria Ibragimova by knockout (punches). Round 1, 4:58 – for featherweight title
Livia Renata Souza def. DeAnna Bennett by TKO (body kick and punches). Round 1, 1:30 – for strawweight title
Colleen Schneider def. Raquel Pa’aluhi by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Amber Brown def. Shino VanHoose by submission (guillotine choke). Round 1, 2:36
Mizuki Inoue def. Lacey Schuckman by submission (armbar). Round 3, 3:41
Angela Hill def. Alida Gray by knockout (knee to the body). Round 1, 1:39
Megan Anderson def. Amber Leibrock by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 2:33
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).