KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Invicta Fighting Championships will start the New Year with a highly anticipated atomweight title rematch.
Current champion Alesha “Half Pint” Zappitella (9-2, 1 NC) will put her 105-pound belt on the line against Brazilian challenger Jéssica Delboni (11-3). The pair met on the promotion’s debut on AXS TV in May, with the American Zappitella retaining her title after a closely contested five-round battle. Delboni quickly rebounded from the split-decision loss, winning three fights in one night to capture the Phoenix Tournament: Atomweights crown and re-establishing herself as the No. 1 contender.
Invicta FC 45: Zappitella vs. Delboni 2 will be the first event on Invicta FC’s new night of Wednesday for 2022, taking place Jan. 12 in Kansas City. Broadcast information will be announced in the coming weeks.
Invicta President Shannon Knapp explained, “We are always looking for new ways to showcase our athletes and having events on Wednesdays will put the spotlight directly on them. The rematch between Zappitella and Delboni is a perfect way to kick off the action on our new night.”
In the co-main event, Colorado’s “Grizzly” Claire Guthrie (3-1) collides with Lauren “Princess Tiger” Mueller (5-4) in a bantamweight match-up. Guthrie will compete under the Invicta banner for the fifth time, with Mueller returning after her thrilling promotional debut at Invicta FC 44.
Also on the card, featherweight Courtney “The Lion” King (4-2) competes for the first time since her headlining clash with two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison at Invicta FC 43. King will take on Hong Kong native Ramona Pascual (5-2), who currently rides a three-fight winning streak.
Rounding out the fight card, Hawaiian “Fearless” Monica Franco (2-0) welcomes “All Hail” Hailey Cowan (5-2) to the Invicta cage in a 135-pound affair, strawweight veterans Hilarie Rose (5-3) and Emily “Spitfire” Whitmire (4-5) aim to infuse fresh contenders into the 115-pound division, and Mexico’s Maria Favela (2-1) moves up to bantamweight against returning veteran Sarah “Chucky” Kleczka (2-3).
The event will be overseen by the Kansas Athletic Commission and will feature open scoring. With the ongoing pandemic, the fights will take place behind closed doors — sans fans and media. As with any Invicta event, the safety of its athletes, their corners, its staff and commission officials is of the utmost priority. All participants will be tested for COVID-19 prior to the event.
The full fight card can be found below:
Atomweight Title: Alesha Zappitella vs. Jéssica Delboni
Bantamweight: Claire Guthrie vs. Lauren Mueller
Featherweight: Courtney King vs. Ramona Pascual
Bantamweight: Monica Franco vs. Hailey Cowan
Strawweight: Hilarie Rose vs. Emily Whitmire
Bantamweight: Maria Favela vs. Sarah Kleczka
About Invicta FC:
Invicta Fighting Championships (invictafc.com) 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 (InvictaFights) and Instagram (@InvictaFC) for all the latest information.
About Anthem Sports & Entertainment, Inc.
Anthem Sports & Entertainment Inc. is a global multi-platform media company with offices and studios in Los Angeles, Denver, Nashville, New York, Kansas City and Toronto. Anthem’s portfolio includes AXS TV, a leading music, entertainment and lifestyle television channel and digital media company; global film distribution company Gravitas Ventures; Fight Network, the world’s premier combat sports channel; IMPACT Wrestling, one of the world’s leading wrestling organizations specializing in original programming and live events; Invicta Fighting Championships, the world’s premier all-women mixed martial arts promotion; Game+, the leader in Esports and gaming content; GameTV, the home of game shows and competition-based reality series; and HDNet Movies, which features theatrically released films and documentaries. Anthem also has a significant ownership interest in Pursuit Channel, one of the top outdoor channels in the U.S.