Kansas City, Mo. — On Saturday, May 20, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 23: Porto vs. Niedźwiedź from the historic Scottish Rite Temple. The event streamed live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Agnieszka Niedźwiedź remained undefeated, besting Brazilian Vanessa Porto. The former title challenger Porto fired leg kick after leg kick to open the bout, but Niedźwiedź was able to take her to the ground. The Polish fighter could not maintain top position as Porto scrambled free. Niedźwiedź looked for a guillotine choke, but could not coerce the tap. Late in the round, Niedźwiedź looked for a D’arce choke, but time expired. Round two saw Porto again score with strikes, and she gained top position. She aggressively dove into the guard of Niedźwiedź and fell into a triangle choke. Porto did not panic, but she was forced to defend the choke and an armbar until the round closed. Porto’s striking was very effective in the final round, battering the lead leg of Niedźwiedź. The nose of Niedźwiedź bled heavily, but her early takedowns and submission attempts were the difference, as she earned the decision victory.
Roxanne Modafferi continued her march back toward title contention with the most complete performance of her Invicta career. “The Happy Warrior” was knocked down by opponent Sarah D’Alelio just seconds into the fight, but she was able to recover. Modafferi was able to clip D’Alelio later in the round. She took the back of D’Alelio and threatened with choke attempts, but D’Alelio was able to defend. In round two, Modafferi scored with a combinations, before taking the fight to the canvas. D’Alelio looked for a heel hook, but Modafferi defended and passed to her back. D’Alelio spun into the guard of Modafferi, but was forced to fend off a triangle choke attempt. Round three was all Modafferi, as she quickly put D’Alelio on her back and moved to mount. Modafferi landed a huge elbow that split open the forehead of D’Alelio, prompting the referee to halt the contest.
Former atomweight champion Herica Tiburcio survived a closely contested war with Tessa Simpson. Simpson caught a kick early and put the Brazilian on the ground. Tiburcio muscled her way on top, but was tied up inside the guard of Simpson. Simpson eventually worked her way back to the feet and the pair traded kicks. In round two, Simpson displayed her boxing prowess, but Tiburcio was able to earn a takedown. She looked for a guillotine choke and then a heel hook, but Simpson was able to escape. The third round was equally competitive, with Tiburcio scoring a takedown and Simpson attacking with a leg lock off her back. The back-and-forth bout resulted in a split verdict from the judges, with Tiburcio coming out with the win.
Making her Invicta debut, bantamweight Kelly Faszholz cruised past Elizabeth Phillips with fluid combinations. Faszholz marched forward from the opening bell, frequently landing her right hand. Phillips looked to clinch and score with throws, but Faszholz was able to avoid being put on her back. The cage work of Faszholz was grueling, as she scored with short punches and knees along the fence. Faszholz continued her assault in the second and third rounds, forcing Phillips to backpedal and counter. Late in the fight, Phillips scored with a takedown, but it was too little, too late, as Faszholz swept the judges’ scorecards.
Flyweight Andrea Lee faced a tough battle against newcomer Liz Tracy, eking out a split decision win. Lee’s striking was methodical at range in the first stanza, but Tracy’s wrestling game turned the tides. Every time Lee tried to open up, Tracy would shoot or initiate the clinch. When the fight hit the ground, the pair scrambled for position, with Tracy spending more time on top. The forward march of Tracy was relentless, but Lee was able to score with knees in the clinch and stuff multiple takedown attempts. Tracy’s hip toss was her most effective weapon, but she struggled to keep Lee on the mat. Lee twice looked to take the back of Tracy, and attacked with an armbar, but to no avail. The hard-fought bought went the distance, with Lee emerging victorious.
Returning to the featherweight division, Brazil’s Ediane Gomes edged out a very tough Pam Sorenson by split decision. Gomes pressured forward recklessly to open the bout, forcing Sorenson against the cage and then to the ground. From inside the guard, Gomes scored with short shots from top position. It was more of the same to open the second round, as Gomes battered Sorenson with punches before earning a takedown. Gomes was less active from the top, prompting the referee to stand up the fight. Back on the feet, Sorenson pushed the pace, clipping Gomes with counter right hands. In the final round, Sorenson’s striking was on display as the pace of Gomes dwindled. It wasn’t enough though, as Gomes earned the win.
Striking stalwarts Tiffany Van Soest and Christine Ferea put on a show in their strawweight affair. Van Soest was crisp with her kicks in the opening stanza as both fighters gauged their range. In the middle round, Ferea came forward aggressively and both fighters scored from the clinch with elbows and punches. The final frame was largely spent on the ground as Ferea looked for a takedown, but Van Soest initially landed on top. Ferea powered to top position and eventually moved to mount. She rained strikes from the top, but could not find the finish, as Van Soest claimed the victory on the scorecards.
Kicking off the night’s action, bantamweights Yaya Rincón and Brooksie Bayard engaged in a three-round battle. Rincón, who was making her professional debut, quickly took the fight to the ground and took the back of Bayard. Bayard defended the choke attempts and was able to get the fight back to the feet. The story of the fight was the crisp counter striking of Rincón. She peppered the face of Bayard with straight right hands. Bayard was game, coming forward and firing overhand rights. It wasn’t enough, however, as Rincón captured the decision win.
Agnieszka Niedźwiedź def. Vanessa Porto by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Roxanne Modafferi def. Sarah D’Alelio by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 1:37
Herica Tiburcio def. Tessa Simpson by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Kelly Faszholz def. Elizabeth Phillips by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Andrea Lee def. Liz Tracy by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Ediane Gomes def. Pam Sorenson by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Tiffany Van Soest def. Christine Ferea by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Yaya Rincón def. Brooksie Bayard by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
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.