Invicta FC 38 Results: Murata Edges Ducote, Porto Tops Rodríguez

Kansas City, Kan. — On Friday, Nov. 1, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 38: Murata vs. Ducote from Memorial Hall. The entire fight card aired exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.

There’s a new strawweight champion as Japan’s Kanako Murata edged Oklahoma’s Emily Ducote over the course of five rounds. Ducote opened the title match-up with low kicks to the calf of Murata. The Japanese fighter faked a superwoman punch and secured a body lock, but Ducote remained upright. Murata then ducked under a punch and powered the fight to the ground. Ducote quickly latched onto an arm and forced Murata to defend the armbar. Ducote worked back to her feet, but it was short lived as Murata dragged her back to the mat late in the round. The low kick of Ducote continued to land in round two, frustrating Murata. A deep single-leg attempt by Murata was shrugged off by Ducote. The Oklahoma fighter used her reach to land punches to Murata’s midsection. Murata powered into a takedown as the round neared its end, but Ducote again forced her to defend an armbar attempt. In the third round, Ducote was able to land straight punches with regularity. Murata landed a nice combination from boxing range, but struggled to get inside with any consistency. Ducote shrugged off multiple takedown attempts, but Murata got her to the canvas late in the round. Ducote pushed forward in round four, driving Murata against the fence with her punches. A lead-leg head kick from Ducote caught Murata flush. She followed it with a second head kick that appeared to stun Murata. Ducote attacked with more punches, forcing Murata to look for a takedown. She latched onto Ducote’s arm and pulled her to the ground. Ducote locked onto an arm, but Murata escaped. Murata tried to cartwheel past Ducote’s guard as the round expired. Ducote peppered the face of Murata with punches in the final round. Murata scored with a takedown midway through the round, but found herself in another armbar attempt. The fight was sent to the judges for the decision, who were split in favor of Murata.

In what was originally scheduled to be the night’s headliner, flyweight champion Vanessa Porto took on Mexico’s Karina Rodríguez in an all-out war. Unfortunately, Rodríguez missed weight for the bout and fight became a non-title affair. The reach advantage of Rodríguez came into play early, as she was able to connect with Porto from range. The Brazilian answered with a strong right hand and then changed levels for a big slam. Rodríguez showed great scrambling ability to get back to her feet, but Porto was able to secure more takedowns. The latter part of the round was controlled by Porto and her wrestling. The left eye of Rodríguez swelled badly to open round two. The Mexican fighter was unfazed, securing the clinch and kneeing Porto multiple times in the face. Blood poured from Porto’s nose, but she moved forward aggressively. A right hand from Porto damaged Rodríguez’s nose midway through the frame. Another big knee from Rodríguez landed, prompting a late takedown from Porto. Both fighters wore plenty of damage entering the final round. Rodríguez became more confident, moving forward and firing punches. Porto tried repeatedly to bring the fight to the ground, but was met with more knees. The nose of Porto leaked blood and her right eye swelled, but she was able to secure a late takedown. The fight was sent to the judges for a verdict and it was Porto who walked away with the victory.

Strawweight Mallory Martin continued her winning ways, defeating Cynthia Arceo on the scorecards. Arceo scored with a short left hand early as she bounced on her feet. Martin closed the distance and secured a takedown with an outside trip. After a series of left hands, Arceo worked back to her feet. The Texas fighter used her kicking arsenal to control the range late in the round. The second round started well for Arceo as she cracked Martin with a straight right hand. However, she threw a kick that Martin caught and was planted on the ground once again. Martin patiently passed to side control and eventually the mount. Once in mount, Martin delivered heavy ground and pound, battering the promotional newcomer with elbows and punches. Arceo showed heart to survive the round. Arceo found success early in round three by using her kicks to stay on the outside. Martin countered with her lead hook, but eventually changed levels and returned the fight to the mat. She again earned the mount and rained more elbows, but could not find the finish. Martin moved to 6-2 with the decision win.

Flyweights Shanna Young and Maiju Suotama met for a second time, with Young again coming out victorious. The opening round was a flashback to the pair’s previous bout at Phoenix Rising 2, as Finland’s Suotama was able to get Young to the canvas and take her back. Suotama tried to soften up Young with punches and looked for a rear-naked choke. Young was able to survive and the fight went to a second round. Young took control with her striking, dropping Suotama with a massive left hand. She continued to damage Suotama with punches, bloodying her nose. Suotama tried to get the fight back to the ground, but Young showcased a great sprawl. Young gained top position late in the round and delivered heavy punishment. Suotama pulled guard early in round three, attacking with an armbar. Young punched her way free and pounded on the Finn from side control. Late in the round, Young moved to mount and unleashed punch after punch. Suotama made it to the final bell, but Young walked away with the decision nod.

Bantamweight Lisa Verzosa remained unbeaten after a three-round war with New Hampshire’s Kerri Kenneson. Verzosa pressured forward from the opening bell, delivering a right hand along the cage. She looked to follow it up with more punches, but Kenneson caught her with a clean right hand that sent her crashing to the canvas. Verzosa recovered and continued to march forward. Kenneson scored with a left hook to the body and closed the round with a takedown attempt. The pair exchanged early in round two, with Verzosa attacking the body of Kenneson in the clinch. Kenneson threw a variety of kicks, trying to slow the unrelenting advance of Verzosa. In the last five minutes, both fighters had their moments. Verzosa stayed in the face of Kenneson, causing her nose to bleed with punches. A left hook to right straight combination from Verzosa forced Kenneson to shoot for a takedown, but Verzosa countered with a guillotine choke attempt. The back-and-forth battle went the distance, with Verzosa claiming victory.

Auttumn Norton picked up her first career win after battering Shaianna Rincón over three rounds in their featherweight match-up. After taking turns landing heavy shots in the fight’s first stanza, Norton stunned Rincón with a right hand. The fight swung heavily in Norton’s favor in round two as Norton caught a kick and dumped Rincón to the ground. Once on top, Norton unleashed a barrage of punches and elbows that split open Rincón. Despite the onslaught, Rincón survived the round. Round three was largely a carbon copy of the second, as Norton put Rincón on the mat and landed more ground and pound. The fight saw the final bell, but it was a clean sweep for Norton on the scorecards.

The night kicked off with a clash of bantamweight newcomers as New York’s Taneisha Tennant met Las Vegas-based Serena DeJesus. After a brief feeling-out process, Tennant dropped DeJesus with right hand. DeJesus would survive and fire back with kicks. In round two, DeJesus turned the tables, stunning Tennant with a left hand and landing numerous low kicks. With the fight in the balance in the final frame, Tennant bloodied the nose of DeJesus with a big left hook. She finished strong with a right hand that hurt DeJesus. All three judges rewarded Tennant the decision victory.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
Kanako Murata def. Emily Ducote by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46) – for strawweight title
Vanessa Porto def. Karina Rodríguez by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Mallory Martin def. Cynthia Arceo by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Shanna Young def. Maiju Suotama by unanimous decision (29-27, 28-27, 28-26)
Lisa Verzosa def. Kerri Kenneson by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Auttumn Norton def. Shaianna Rincón by unanimous decision (30-26 x3)
Taneisha Tennant def. Serena DeJesus by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)


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 38: Murata vs. Ducote Official Weigh-in Results

Kansas City, Mo. — On Thursday, Oct. 31, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted the weigh-ins for Invicta FC 38: Murata vs. Ducote. The event takes place from from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., on Friday, Nov.1 , with the entire card streaming live on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

In the night’s main event, Japan’s Kanako Murata (10-1) battles veteran Emily Ducote (8-5) for the vacant strawweight championship. Murata submitted Liana Pirosin in her promotional debut at Invicta FC 35. Oklahoma’s Ducote impressed in her first Invicta appearance, stopping former title challenger Janaisa Morandin in the first round.

The co-main event pits flyweight champion Vanessa Porto (21-8) against contender tournament winner Karina Rodríguez (8-3) in a non-title affair, after Rodríguez failed to make weight. The Brazilian Porto captured gold at Invicta FC 34, defeating UFC veteran Pearl Gonzalez. Mexico’s Rodriguez most recently earned a hard-fought decision victory over UFC alum DeAnna Bennett at Invicta FC 36.

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

Strawweight Title: Kanako Murata (114.9) vs. Emily Ducote (114.2)
Flyweight: Vanessa Porto (124.2) vs. Karina Rodríguez (126.1)*
Strawweight:
Mallory Martin (115.8) vs. Cynthia Arceo (116)
Flyweight:
Shanna Young (125.7) vs. Maiju Suotama (124.2)
Bantamweight: Lisa Verzosa (135.5) vs. Kerri Kenneson (135.6)
Featherweight: 
Shaianna Rincón (143.8) vs. Auttumn Norton (146)
Bantamweight: 
Serena DeJesus (135.7) vs. Taneisha Tennant (135.9)

* – Rodríguez missed the flyweight championship limit of 125 pounds and was fined 25 percent of her fight purse. Her bout against Porto is now a three-round, non-title 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.

Invicta FC 38 Features Two Title Fights on Nov. 1

Kansas City, Mo. – The fight card for Invicta FC 38 will feature a pair of title bouts.

Flyweight champion Vanessa Porto (21-8) will make the first defense of her 125-pound title against contender tournament winner Karina Rodríguez (8-3). The Brazilian Porto captured gold at Invicta FC 34, defeating UFC veteran Pearl Gonzalez by decision. Mexico’s Rodriguez earned her shot at gold with a hard-fought decision victory over UFC alum DeAnna Bennett in the Invicta FC 36 main event.

The co-main event also features gold on the line as Japan’s Kanako Murata (10-1) battles veteran Emily Ducote (8-5) for the vacant strawweight championship. Murata, a decorated wrestler, submitted Liana Pirosin in her promotional debut at Invicta FC 35. Oklahoma’s Ducote has faced some of the toughest flyweights in the world and now seeks a title at 115 pounds after stopping former title challenger Janaisa Morandin at Invicta FC 36.

Joining the two title fights will be a strawweight clash between Contender Series veteran Mallory Martin (5-2) and Texas newcomer Cynthia “Sin” Arceo (5-1-1), a flyweight rematch between recent Phoenix Series 2 quarterfinalists Shanna Young (6-2) and Maiju Suotama (8-4), a bantamweight bout featuring undefeated Lisa “Battle Angel” Verzosa (4-0) — formerly Spangler — and “Scary” Kerri Kenneson (3-1), the return of California’s Shaianna “Yaya” Rincón (2-0) against Nevada’s Auttumn Norton (0-1) at featherweight, and the debut of Las Vegas bantamweight Serena de Jesus (1-0), who takes on fellow newcomer Taneisha “Triple Threat” Tennant (1-0) of New York.

Invicta FC 38 takes place Friday, Nov. 1, from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. The event will stream live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 7 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event can be purchased now through Eventbrite.

The current Invicta FC 38 fight card can be found below:

Flyweight Title: Vanessa Porto vs. Karina Rodríguez
Strawweight Title: Kanako Murata vs. Emily Ducote
Strawweight: Mallory Martin vs. Cynthia Arceo
Flyweight: Shanna Young vs. Maiju Suotama
Bantamweight: Lisa Verzosa vs. Kerri Kenneson
Featherweight: Shaianna Rincón vs. Auttumn Norton
Bantamweight: Serena DeJesus vs. Taneisha Tennant


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 (Facebook.com/InvictaFights), and Instagram (@InvictaFC) for all the latest information.

Invicta FC 37 Results: Gonzalez Outworks Sanchez, Agapova Stops Santos

Kansas City, Kan. — On Friday, Oct. 4, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 37: Gonzalez vs. Sanchez from Memorial Hall. The entire fight card aired exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.

Former flyweight title challenger Pearl Gonzalez returned to the win column, putting the first blemish on the record of Guam’s Brogan Sanchez in the nights’ headliner. Sanchez was the aggressor early, peppering Gonzalez with kicks and scoring with a left hand. Gonzalez looked for a head-and-arm throw, but Sanchez reversed it and attempted to take her back. Gonzalez was patient and secured top position. Sanchez worked hard to get back to the feet, but Gonzalez again used the head-and-arm throw, this time landing in side control. Gonzalez would spend the final minute of the frame on top of Sanchez. Round two was much more tactical. Sanchez controlled the range with a variety of kicks. Gonzalez returned fire, as both fighters landed with heavy body blows. Gonzalez looked for the same throw a third time and ended up on bottom after Sanchez anticipated the technique. Sanchez worked to take the back, but Gonzalez spun to top position in the round’s waning seconds. The final round saw the fighters jostle for position in the clinch. Gonzalez separated and landed a solid right hand. Sanchez sought a takedown and ended up giving up one as Gonzalez capitalized on her desperation late in the fight. The fight would go the distance, but all three judges at cageside rewarded Gonzalez for her efforts.

In a battle of Contender Series veterans, Mariya Agapova scored a TKO win over Marilia Santos. The two went straight to work, exchanging heavy punches in the pocket. Santos ducked under a punch from Agapova and secured a body lock. She attempted a lateral drop, but Agapova was wise to it and landed in the top position. After a pair of right hands from the Kazakhstan native, Santos looked for an armbar. Agapova defended and escaped the position. Late in the round, Agapova delivered multiple elbows to the Brazilian’s head. She smelled the finish and flurried with punches, forcing the referee to intervene.

California’s Kay Hansen gave Brazilian Nicolle Caliari a rude welcome to the Invicta cage in their strawweight affair. The pair traded kicks before Hansen muscled Caliari to the ground and quickly took her back. Hansen worked hard for a rear-naked choke, but Caliari was able to defend. Caliari eventually made her way back to her feet, then looked for a takedown. Hansen countered with a guillotine, but Caliari survived the round. Hansen took the fight to the canvas early in round two, producing an omoplata attempt from the Brazilian. Hansen scrambled and took Caliari’s back, then transitioned to mount. Caliari remained calm and got back to her feet, only to be slammed by Hansen moments later. Round three began with another takedown by Hansen. She moved to mount and attacked with another guillotine choke. This time, Caliari was forced to tap.

The atomweight contest between veterans Lindsey VanZandt and Shino VanHoose came to quick and unfortunate end. After a couple of short exchanges on the feet, VanZandt landed a devastating low kick to the lead leg of VanHoose. The kick buckled VanHoose’s left knee and she fell to the canvas in pain. The referee immediately stepped in and handed VanZandt the TKO victory.

Undefeated atomweights clashed as Kentucky’s Linda Mihalec faced off with Marisa Messer-Belenchia. The first round was largely a war of attrition in the clinch. Messer-Belenchia pushed Mihalec to the fence and worked hard for a takedown. Mihalec defended with knees, but eventually the fight found the ground with Messer-Belenchia controlling from the top. A late reversal from Mihalec saw her deliver heavy strikes. Messer-Belenchia secured a quick throw in round two, and she looked to set up a north-south choke. Mihalec reversed position and mounted Messer-Belenchia. She rained heavy strikes, but Messer-Belenchia was able to survive the round. An inadvertent clash of heads early in round three caused a large cut on Mihalec, but it didn’t affect her performance as she outworked Messer-Belenchia for the decision win.

Bantamweight Hope Chase made a strong impression during her first Invicta appearance, submitting Megan Cawley inside the first round. After a brief feeling-out process, Chase powered Cawley to the ground and unleashed a barrage of punches. Cawley attacked with an armbar, but Chase escaped and passed to side control. Following more strikes, Cawley gave up her back and Chase locked in a fight-finishing rear-naked choke.

In a battle of flyweight newcomers, Colorado’s Claire Johnson submitted Minnesota’s Jordan Kaaze. The first round saw Johnson take control in the clinch and bring the fight to the mat. Once on top, Johnson was able to control the round and score with punches from the top. Round two was nearly a carbon-copy of the first, as Johnson was able to get in close and take Kaaze to the ground. She passed to side control and delivered a barrage of elbows. Kaaze absorbed the shots, but was unable to work back to her feet. In the final frame, Johnson scored with a trip takedown and worked to Kaaze’s back. She attacked with a reverse triangle before latching onto an armbar and coercing the tap from Kaaze.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
Pearl Gonzalez def. Brogan Sanchez by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Mariya Agapova def. Marilia Santos by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 4:55
Kay Hansen def. Nicolle Caliari by submission (guillotine choke). Round 3, 1:14
Lindsey VanZandt def. Shino VanHoose by TKO (knee injury). Round 1, 0:39
Linda Mihalec def. Marisa Messer-Belenchia by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Hope Chase def. Megan Cawley by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:28
Claire Johnson def. Jordan Kaaze by submission (armbar). Round 3, 2:20


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 37: Gonzalez vs. Sanchez Official Weigh-in Results

Kansas City, Mo. — On Thursday, Oct. 3, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted the weigh-ins for Invicta FC 37: Gonzalez vs. Sanchez. The event takes place from from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 4, with the entire card streaming live on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

Flyweights headline the event as Pearl Gonzalez (9-4) takes on Brogan “Killer Bee” Sanchez (6-0). The Chicago native Gonzalez is a UFC veteran and former flyweight title challenger. Guam’s Sanchez — formerly Walker — has opened her career with six straight victories, including two straight inside the Invicta cage.

The card will also feature a pair of Contender Series veterans as Kazakhstan’s Mariya Agapova (7-1) makes a quick turnaround following her first-round submission win over Alexa Conners at Phoenix Series 2 to battle Brazilian Marilia Santos (10-3).

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

Flyweight: Pearl Gonzalez (125.7) vs. Brogan Sanchez (125.5)
Flyweight: 
Mariya Agapova (125.9) vs. Marilia Santos (125.5)
Strawweight:
Kay Hansen (116) vs. Nicolle Caliari (116.2)*
Atomweight:
Shino VanHoose (106) vs. Lindsey VanZandt (105.3)
Atomweight: 
Linda Mihalec (105.5) vs. Marisa Messer-Belenchia (106)
Bantamweight: 
Megan Cawley (135.6) vs. Hope Chase (135.8)
Flyweight: 
Jordan Kaaze (125.4) vs. Claire Johnson (125.6)

* – Caliari missed the strawweight limit of 116 pounds and was fined 25 percent of her fight purse


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.

Flyweights Pearl Gonzalez and Brogan Sanchez Now Headline Invicta FC 37

Kansas City, Mo. – Invicta FC 37 has a new headliner.

Atomweight champion Jinh Yu Frey (8-4) has been forced out of her scheduled title defense against No. 1 contender Ashley Cummins (7-4) due to injury. The bout will be rescheduled for Invicta FC 39.

Stepping into the main event spotlight will be the flyweight contest between Pearl Gonzalez (9-4) and Brogan “Killer Bee” Sanchez (6-0). The Chicago native Gonzalez is a UFC veteran and former flyweight title challenger. Guam’s Sanchez — formerly Walker — has opened her career with six straight victories, including two straight inside the Invicta cage.

In addition to the new headliner, a bantamweight bout has joined the fight card as Florida’s Megan “Killa” Cawley (0-1) returns to the Invicta cage against newcomer “Hurricane” Hope Chase (1-1) of Pennsylvania.

Invicta FC 37 takes place Friday, Oct. 4, from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. The event will stream live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 7 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event can be purchased now through Eventbrite.

The updated Invicta FC 37 fight card can be found below:

Flyweight: Pearl Gonzalez vs. Brogan Sanchez
Flyweight: Mariya Agapova vs. Marilia Santos
Strawweight: Kay Hansen vs. Nicolle Caliari
Atomweight: Shino VanHoose vs. Lindsey VanZandt
Atomweight: Linda Mihalec vs. Marisa Messer-Belenchia
Bantamweight: Megan Cawley vs. Hope Chase
Flyweight: Jordan Kaaze vs. Claire Johnson


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.

Jinh Yu Frey vs. Ashley Cummins Title Clash Headlines Invicta FC 37 Fight Card

Kansas City, Mo. – The lineup for Invicta FC 37 has been finalized.

The event, which takes place Friday, Oct. 4, from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., will be headlined by an atomweight title clash between current champion Jinh Yu Frey (8-4) and challenger Ashley “Smashley” Cummins (7-4). The pair met previously at Invicta FC 24 in 2017 with the Texas-based Frey taking a decision victory in the three-round affair. Frey would go on to capture the 105-pound title against Finland’s Minna Grusander and defend the belt in a rematch at Invicta FC 33. Cummins has won two straight since her prior meeting with Frey, most recently defeating Brazil’s Jéssica Delboni at Invicta FC 32.

In the night’s co-main event, UFC veteran and former flyweight title challenger Pearl Gonzalez (9-4) takes on unbeaten Brogan “Killer Bee” Walker-Sanchez (6-0) of Guam. The Chicago native Gonzalez will look to rebound after coming up short against current champion Vanessa Porto in her last outing. Walker-Sanchez will be making her third appearance in the Invicta cage and aims to build off her decision win over recent Phoenix Series tournament winner Miranda Maverick.

The card will also feature a pair of Contender Series veterans as Kazakhstan’s Mariya Agapova (7-1) makes a quick turnaround following her first-round submission win over Alexa Conners at Phoenix Series 2 to battle Brazilian Marilia Santos (10-3). Fresh off a win in a Phoenix Series tournament reserve bout, California’s Kay Hansen (4-3) returns to welcome 22-year-old Brazilian Nicolle Caliari (4-1) to the Invicta cage. Veterans atomweights meet when Idaho’s Shino VanHoose (6-5) takes on New York’s Lindsey “Damsel” VanZandt (6-2). Newcomers Linda “F109” Mihalec (1-0) of Kentucky and Marisa “Spider Monkey” Messer-Belenchia (3-0) of Connecticut collide, also at 105 pounds. Finally, in a match-up of debuting flyweights, Minnesota’s Jordan “KamiKaaze” Kaaze (0-0) faces Colorado’s Claire Johnson (0-0).

The Invicta FC 37 fight card can be found below:

Atomweight Title: Jinh Yu Frey vs. Ashley Cummins
Flyweight: Pearl Gonzalez vs. Brogan Walker-Sanchez
Flyweight: Mariya Agapova vs. Marilia Santos
Strawweight: Kay Hansen vs. Nicolle Caliari
Atomweight: Shino VanHoose vs. Lindsey VanZandt
Atomweight: Linda Mihalec vs. Marisa Messer-Belenchia
Flyweight: Jordan Kaaze vs. Claire Johnson

Invicta FC 37 will stream live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 7 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event can be purchased now through Eventbrite.


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 Series 2 Results: Maverick Submits Bennett to Capture Tournament Crown

Kansas City, Kan. — On Friday, Sept. 6, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted its second Phoenix Series tournament from Memorial Hall. The event aired exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.

The tournament final featured a rematch between Miranda Maverick and DeAnna Bennett. Bennett pressed forward on the feet in the opening stanza as Maverick looked to counter. After trading leg kicks, Maverick scored with a front kick to Bennett’s midsection. The fighters opened up with their hands as the round progressed, with Maverick landing a heavy counter in the pocket. Bennett sought a takedown late in the round, but Maverick stayed on her feet. The second frame featured a number of flurries from both fighters, but each was able to evade significant damage. Bennett changed levels for a takedown, but Maverick reversed it and took her to the ground briefly. Bennett quickly worked back to her feet and finished the round in the top position. In the fight’s final round, Maverick secured a single leg along the fence and tripped Bennett to the ground. As Bennett worked to stand, Maverick transitioned to her back. Bennett was able to defend numerous choke attempts, but as the round came closer to an end, Maverick was able to get her arm under the chin. The tap from Bennett came with less than two minutes left as Maverick took home the tournament championship and exacted revenge for her previous defeat to Bennett.

The night’s co-main event pitted Kazakhstan’s Mariya Agapova against Invicta veteran Alexa Conners. After trading body kicks, Agapova started to open up with combinations. A superwoman punch prompted Conners to shoot for a takedown, but she could not get Agapova to the ground. A heavy kick to the liver stunned Conners and Agapova followed with a massive right hand. Smelling blood, Agapova pounced on Conners, taking her back. She applied a rear-naked choke and Conners submitted.

In non-tournament action, Josee Storts impressed in her Invicta debut, submitting fellow newcomer Helen Lucero in the fight’s first round. Storts went straight to work, pushing Lucero to the fence and bringing her to the ground. She gained mount and began battering Lucero. Lucero swept to top position, but Storts used an armbar attempt to regain mount. The 21-year-old set up a topside triangle choke attempt. Lucero spun to top position, but the choke was sunk in and Storts unleashed a barrage of elbows to split open Lucero’s forehead. Lucero was forced to tap, handing Storts her second career victory.

DeAnna Bennett earned the second spot in the tournament final with a submission win over Brazilian Daiana Torquato. Torquato jumped on Bennett’s back right away and then transitioned for a standing arm-triangle choke. Bennett remained calm and escaped the submission attempt. She pushed Torquato to the fence before scoring with a powerful double-leg takedown. Bennett took the back of Torquato and secured both hooks. She patiently got her arm under Torquato’s chin and coerced the tap.

In the tournament semifinals, Miranda Maverick clashed with Shanna Young. The pair stayed at range initially. Young caught Maverick with a heavy left hand, forcing the tournament’s youngest fighter to shoot. She latched onto a single and dragged Young to the ground. Young tried to use the fence to work back to her feet, but gave up her back in the process. Maverick capitalized, taking Young’s back. She flattened her out and applied a fight-finishing rear-naked choke to punch her ticket to the final.

The second tournament reserve bout featured Invicta staple Kay Hansen against unbeaten Venezuelan prospect Carolina Jimenez. Hansen was quick to look for a takedown and took the fight to the canvas. Jimenez showcased her grappling prowess, sweeping to the top position. The pair traded positions repeatedly, with Hansen slowly taking control of the contest. In the fight’s final minute, Hansen took the back of Jimenez and worked for a rear-naked choke. The finish did not come, but Hansen exited the cage with the clear-cut win.

In the night’s first tournament reserve bout, Kansas native Chantel Coates walked home with a split decision over newcomer Flore Hani. Coates cracked Hani with a right hand, prompting the French Polynesian fighter to shoot. Coates timed it perfectly, catching Hani with a flush head kick on the entry. Hani was able to survive and bring the fight to the ground. Coates worked back to her feet and the pair spent the rest of the bout in the clinch. The back-and-forth action was like a chess match and two of the judges scored the bout in favor of Coates.

The final quarterfinal fight was a clash of styles as Tennessee’s Shanna Young edged out Finland’s Maiju Suotama. Suotama wasted little time closing the distance after blocking a head kick attempt from Young. Suotama was able to change levels and get Young to the ground. She was able to smother Young with her control, but Young did not panic and was able to work to top position. Once on top, Young unleashed a barrage of punches. That onslaught was the difference as Young moved on to the semifinal round.

Missouri native Miranda Maverick picked up her second win over Victoria Leonardo to move onto the tournament semifinals. Leonardo was relentless with her pressure, forcing Maverick to her back foot. Maverick was patient at range, scoring with counters. Maverick initiated the clinch and looked to bring the fight to the mat. Leonardo was able to separate, but Maverick’s ability to control the distance was enough to convince the judges to hand her the victory.

Veteran DeAnna Bennett edged out Liz Tracy in a back-and-forth battle in the second quarterfinal bout. Tracy closed the distance early, but Bennett muscled her to the mat for a moment. After jostling for position in the clinch, Tracy earned the fight’s first takedown. It was short-lived as Bennett worked back to the feet. Bennett opened up with her striking late and cracked Tracy with multiple shots. She followed it with a late takedown to earn the unanimous decision nod and her spot in the semifinals.

The quarterfinal action kicked off with a match-up between UFC veteran Milana Dudieva and Brazilian newcomer Daiana Torquato. Torquato was aggressive early, pinning her Russian foe against the cage. From the clinch, Torquato scored with short knees and elbows. Dudieva looked to use her judo, but Torquato was wise to it and kept the fight upright. Torquato’s pressure proved to be the difference on the scorecards as two of the judges at cageside awarded her the decision and a spot in the semifinals.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
Miranda Maverick def. DeAnna Bennett by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 3, 3:38 – flyweight tournament final
Mariya Agapova def. Alexa Conners by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:03
Josee Storts def. Helen Lucero by submission (triangle-armbar). Round 1, 4:21
DeAnna Bennett def. Daiana Torquato by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:34 – flyweight tournament semifinal
Miranda Maverick def. Shanna Young by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:35 – flyweight tournament semifinal
Kay Hansen def. Carolina Jimenez by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – flyweight tournament reserve bout
Chantel Coates def. Flore Hani by split decision (10-9, 9-10, 10-9) – flyweight tournament reserve bout
Shanna Young def. Maiju Suotama by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – flyweight tournament quarterfinal
Miranda Maverick def. Victoria Leonardo by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – flyweight tournament quarterfinal
DeAnna Bennett def. Liz Tracy by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – flyweight tournament quarterfinal
Daiana Torquato def. Milana Dudieva by split decision (10-9, 9-10, 10-9) – flyweight 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 Series 2 Official Weigh-in and Tournament Draw Results

Kansas City, Kan. — On Thursday, Sept. 5, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted the weigh-ins for its Phoenix Series 2 tournament. The event takes place from from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., on Friday, Sept. 6, with the entire card streaming live on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

The one-night, eight-woman tournament will take place in the flyweight division. 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 during the event’s weigh-ins.

In the first quarterfinal bout, UFC veteran Milana Dudieva meets Brazilian newcomer Daiana Torquato. The second match-up pits UFC veteran and former strawweight title challenger DeAnna Bennett against veteran Liz Tracy. In the third pairing, the red-hot Victoria Leonardo looks to avenge her only career defeat against submission ace Miranda Maverick. Finally, Contender Series veteran Shanna Young meets Strikeforce veteran Maiju Suotama.

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.

Flyweight Co-Main Event: Alexa Conners (125.8) vs. Mariya Agapova (125.7)
Flyweight Bout: Josee Storts (125.9) vs. Helen Lucero (125.1)
Flyweight Reserve Bout No. 2: Kay Hansen (125.5) vs. Carolina Jimenez (124.5)
Flyweight Reserve Bout No. 1: Chantel Coates (129)* vs. Flore Hani (124.7)
Flyweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Maiju Suotama (123.6) vs. Shanna Young (126)
Flyweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Miranda Maverick (125.9) vs. Victoria Leonardo (126)
Flyweight Tournament Quarterfinal: DeAnna Bennett (125.8) vs. Liz Tracy (125.7)
Flyweight Tournament Quarterfinal: Daiana Torquato (125.4) vs. Milana Dudieva (125.9)

* – Coates was fined 25 percent of her fight purse for missing weight and is no longer eligible to step in as an injury replacement in the tournament.


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 Series 2: Get to Know the Fighters Competing for Tournament Glory

After an incredible first tournament in May that saw Brianna Van Buren crowned the Invicta strawweight champion, the Phoenix Series is back for its second tournament. With it comes eight flyweights all set to compete on Sept. 6 in a one-night, single-elimination tournament at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan.

The competition will follow the same rules as the first installment of the series and similar to that event back in May, it features a mix of top competitors including Invicta veterans, exciting prospects and newcomers to the Invicta FC cage.

Without further ado, it’s time to meet the eight women involved in the return of the Phoenix Series:

DeAnna Bennett (10-5-1):

The first of three fighters who step into this tournament after competing in a four-woman title contender tournament earlier in the year, Bennett is no stranger to being at the top of her division in Invicta. Bennett challenged Livia Renata Souza back in 2016 for the Invicta FC strawweight championship, coming up short on that occasion.

After beginning her career 8-0, Bennett has been a top contender in the sport for many years. She will be going into the tournament in search of a title shot after just missing out on one when she lost a very close decision to Karina Rodriguez in her last fight.

Milana Dudieva (12-8):

Dudieva is the second fighter in the tournament who comes in after competing in the four-woman tournament earlier this year, losing her initial fight — a “Fight of the Night” performance — to Karina Rodriguez who went on to beat Bennett in the final and win the tournament.

She comes into Sept. 6 as the woman with the most fights in the competition and an impressive record of 12 wins with 10 coming via stoppage. Dudieva has experience fighting in the UFC and against some of the biggest names in the sport such as former UFC champion Jessica Andrade. Her experience and strong Judo background make her a tough match-up for any of the other seven women.

Miranda Maverick (5-2):

The third and final woman who competed in the flyweight tournament earlier in the year is Maverick. She comes in as the youngest of the eight women at 22 years old but is showing promising signs as a prospect in the sport.

Maverick lost her fight in the four-woman tournament to DeAnna Bennett but held her own against her the whole fight showing that despite only being seven fights into her professional career, she is ready to take on the very best in Invicta. Whilst studying and aiming for a PhD in psychology, she has picked up a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and earned four of her five wins via submission.

Shanna Young (6-2):

Stepping into the competition to replace the injured Cheri Muraski doesn’t mean that Young isn’t prepared for this tournament. Fighting on Dana White’s Contender Series in August, Young will be hoping to capitalize on this quick turn around and make the most out of the opportunity.

This will be Young’s second time in the Invicta cage following a split decision loss to Lisa Spangler at Invicta FC 31, a fight which was in contention for “Fight of the Year.” A black belt in Karate, Young has finished four of her six wins and is a skillful distance striker.

Liz Tracy (5-3):

“The Titan” Tracy comes into the second tournament of the Phoenix Series with confidence in her own abilities. Bringing strong wrestling fundamentals and high-level training at 10th Planet Portland, Tracy has showed that she has the ability to neutralize her opponents with her technique.

Stepping into the cage for the first time in 2019, Tracy’s last fight at Invicta FC 32 was voted the best “Fight of the Year” in 2018 by the fans. Her performance against Stephanie Geltmacher showed that Tracy is not just a grappler and that she can and will stand and trade punches with anyone standing across the cage from her.

Victoria Leonardo (6-1):

Making a short turnaround after a “Fight of the Night” performance at Invicta FC 36 that extended her winning streak to four straight, Louisiana’s Leonardo will be out to prove she’s a contender at 125 pounds.

The 29-year-old will make her fourth Invicta appearance and looks to add to her resume that includes four submission finishes. She has tangled with fellow tournament competitor Miranda Maverick and holds wins over Stephanie Geltmacher and Jamie Milanowski under the Invicta banner.

Daiana Torquato (9-3):

The first of two fighters in the tournament who will be stepping into the Invicta cage for the first time, Torquato is bringing lots of momentum with her into the tournament.

Following seven straight wins in her native Brazil, Torquato is a black belt in Muay Thai and has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She trains out of Thai Brasil Floripa alongside the UFC’s Marina Rodriguez and will be ready to test her striking skills against whoever she is matched up against.

Maiju Suotama (8-4):

The final entrant in the eight-woman flyweight tournament is Finnish grappling specialist Maiju Suotama. An ADCC European champion and a NAGA expert champion, Suotama’s grappling accomplishments speak for themselves.

With all but one of her professional wins coming via finish — with five TKOs and two submissions — Suotama rounds out the eight competitors as an exciting finisher and a former Strikeforce fighter.


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