Invicta FC 44: A New Era Hits Pay-Per-View on Aug. 27 with Two Title Fights

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Invicta Fighting Championships will host a historic night of women’s mixed martial arts action for Friday, Aug. 27. The world’s premier combat sports organization for women returns to pay-per-view for the first time in eight years for Invicta FC 44: A New Era. The event will take place from Memorial Hall in Kansas City and is headlined by two championship match-ups.

A new Invicta FC strawweight champion will be crowned as top contenders Emily “Gordinha” Ducote (9-6) and “Dynamite” Danielle Taylor (11-5) square off for the 115-pound belt. The second half of Invicta FC 44’s double main event will see Lisa “Battle Angel” Verzosa (6-1) take on Phoenix Tournament winner Taneisha “Triple Threat” Tennant (3-1) to decide the new queen of Invicta’s bantamweight division.

Beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Friday, Aug. 27, Invicta FC 44: A New Era will be distributed on pay-per-view via traditional cable and satellite carriers. Digital customers around the world can pre-order the event immediately from FITE for $19.99 in the United States, $14.99 in Canada and $9.99 in the rest of the world.

The live Invicta FC 44 Prelims will be broadcast in the U.S. on AXS TV and streamed for free worldwide on Invicta FC’s YouTube channel beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Both platforms will also premiere a special Countdown to Invicta FC 44 documentary the week before the live event.

Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp said, “I’m excited for our athletes to showcase their skills on pay-per-view again. These title fights feature some of the most talented women in mixed martial arts and I can’t wait to watch these amazing match-ups.”

Haunted by two near misses in challenges for the Bellator MMA and Invicta crowns in the past, Oklahoma strawweight Ducote is determined to become a world champion in her third opportunity.

She said, “It’s my time to show off everything I’ve been working on. Danielle’s tough. We’ve both fought the best and this is a good match-up – but I will walk through whatever I need to walk through to get this championship.”

Meanwhile Taylor, who has beaten contenders including Jessica Aguilar, Jessica Penne and Seo Hee Ham, responded, “At the end of day she has never faced my speed and power. I believe I can stop everything she throws at me then put her out. They will announce me as the new Invicta strawweight champion.”

Portland, Oregon-based bantamweight Verzosa has spent the majority of her professional career under the Invicta banner, earning her fifth promotional win over Raquel Canuto in her last outing. The lone loss of her career came in a heartbreaking split decision in her previous Invicta title challenge in 2020, and “Battle Angel” is determined to go one better on Aug. 27.

“I’m super excited to have another title shot and prove to myself I can be champion,” expressed the 25-year-old. “Nobody has the heart that I do — that’s why I win.”

Having earned her title shot by beating three opponents one night, New York’s Tennant is equally confident. “My style of fighting will have her looking like an amateur. She’s never been hit like I hit before.”

Also featured on the five-fight main card will be a flyweight bout between Guam’s Brogan “Killer Bee” Sanchez (6-2) and UFC veteran Mara Romero Borella (11-9) of Italy, strawweight Jodie Esquibel (6-6) returns to the promotion following a four-fight run in the UFC to face off with fellow firefighter Kelly “Wildfire” D’Angelo (4-4), and unbeaten Hawaiian bantamweight “Fearless” Monica Franco (2-0) meets another Octagon alum in Californian Lauren “Princess Tiger” Mueller (5-3).

Prior to the pay-per-view card, the Invicta FC 44 Prelims will be headlined by a flyweight clash featuring Florida’s Caitlin “Ginger” Sammons (3-1) and knockout artist Helen “Iansã” Peralta (3-2). Also on the preliminary card, Canada’s “Queen of the North” Katie Saull (3-4) meets Brazil’s Monique Adriane (4-2) in an atomweight affair and New Mexico featherweight Kayla “Danger” Yontef (debut) makes her professional debut opposite fellow newcomer Carlene Chandler (debut) of Stockton, Calif.

The fight card for Invicta FC 44: A New Era can be found below:

Strawweight Title: Emily Ducote vs. Danielle Taylor
Bantamweight Title: Lisa Verzosa vs. Taneisha Tennant
Flyweight: Brogan Sanchez vs. Mara Romero Borella
Strawweight: Jodie Esquibel vs. Kelly D’Angelo
Bantamweight: Monica Franco vs. Lauren Mueller
Flyweight: Caitlin Sammons vs. Helen Peralta
Atomweight: Katie Saull vs. Monique Adriane
Featherweight: Kayla Yontef vs. Carlene Chandler


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 globally integrated 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; 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.

Phoenix Tournament Atomweights Results: Delboni Earns Title Rematch After Three Wins in One Night

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — On Friday, June 11, Invicta FC hosted the fourth installment of its Phoenix Tournament from Memorial Hall in Kansas City. The event featured eight atomweight athletes competing for a shot at reigning Invicta FC atomweight champion Alesha Zappitella. Phoenix Tournament: Atomweights aired live on AXS TV in the U.S. and worldwide on Invicta FC’s YouTube Channel.

The tournament action kicked off with recent title challenger Jéssica Delboni against current champion Alesha Zappitella’s training partner Tabatha “Batgirl” Watkins, who was making her promotional debut. Watkins threw a variety of kicks to open the contest, but Delboni was able to catch one and power her to the mat. Watkins was aggressive from the bottom, attacking with an armbar. Delboni was patient and escaped the submission threat. From side control, Delboni rained punches and hammerfists. When the judges were called upon, it was Brazil’s Delboni who advanced to the semifinals.

In the second quarterfinal match-up New York native Lindsey “Damsel” VanZandt squared off with Invicta newcomer Katie “Maquina Asesina” Perez. VanZandt attacked with kicks to start the bout, hurting Perez to the body. Perez sought a takedown, but ended up on her back. VanZandt allowed the fight to return to the feet. She stunned Perez with a series of left hands that forced her to shoot yet again. VanZandt sprawled, then took the back of Perez. VanZandt slapped on a triangle-armbar. Perez defended initially, but eventually was forced to succumb to the armbar as VanZandt moved to the next round.

Jillian “Lionheart” DeCoursey and Linda “F109” Mihalec met in a rematch of their Invicta FC 39 clash in the night’s third tournament pairing. The pair traded combinations early before DeCoursey caught a leg kick and earned a brief takedown. Mihalec sprung back to her feet and peppered DeCoursey with jabs and inside leg kicks. A big right hand from DeCoursey found its mark. The volume of Mihalec was the difference as she busted the nose of DeCoursey. The judges were split in their verdict, but it was Mihalec who got revenge and earned a trip to the semifinals.

The final quarterfinal bout featured the Invicta debut of Paulina “Firefox” Granados who took on Connecticut’s Marisa “Spider Monkey” Messer-Belenchia. The pace was fast and furious to start the contest as Messer-Belenchia barreled forward and secured the clinch. Granados was able to power into top position, but Messer-Belenchia swept and secured top position. She then transitioned to the back of Granados and looked for a rear-naked choke. Granados was able to defend and work back to her feet. Once back on the feet, both fighters went for broke, landing heavy punches. A right hand from Messer-Belenchia sent Granados to the mat at one point, but Granados was able to recover. The judges were again split in their scores, with Messer-Belenchia claiming the final slot in the semifinals.

In the lone tournament reserve bout, Samantha Seff edged fellow newcomer Kara Vislosky via split decision. Seff marched forward and latched onto Vislosky. She secured a single leg and laced it to bring the fight to the mat. Once on top, Seff was smothering. She stayed busy with short punches to keep Vislosky on her back. Eventually Vislosky was able to return to the feet, but she was unable to mount any significant offense. Seff’s grappling was the difference as she claimed the decision victory.

The semifinals opened with Lindsey VanZandt and Linda Mihalec after VanZandt was able to pick her opponent following her quarterfinal armbar finish. VanZandt was very aggressive, spamming high kicks from both sides to keep Mihalec at range. The variety of techniques made Mihalec tentative and it allowed VanZandt to unload with combinations. As the round progressed, VanZandt found more and more success. Mihalec was desperate for a takedown in the final minute, as she changed levels multiple times. VanZandt easily evaded the attempts and nearly landed a highlight-reel flying knee late in the frame. There was little doubt about the result as VanZandt swept the scorecards and advanced to the tournament final.

Jéssica Delboni inched one step closer to another title shot in the semifinals as she outworked Marisa Messer-Belenchia. Delboni was patient on the outside, landing heavy kicks to the lead leg of Messer-Belenchia. They took their toll as Messer-Belenchia was limited in her movement. Delboni was methodical in her combinations, preventing Messer-Belenchia from generating any striking output. The nose of Messer-Belenchia bled profusely from the steady shots from the Brazilian. Messer-Belenchia looked to clinch late, but it was too little, too late. Delboni punched her ticket to the final with the unanimous-decision win.

In the tournament final, Jéssica Delboni and Lindsey VanZandt faced off for a second time. The pair met at Invicta FC 36 with the Brazilian Delboni winning via split decision. This time, however, the stakes were much higher. The rematch began with Delboni marching forward, but VanZandt scored with strikes from range. Delboni flurried with combinations and backed VanZandt to the fence. VanZandt countered by attacking the body with kicks and punches. The second round was razor-close as both fighters landed with regularity. VanZandt did well to counter off the back foot, hurting Delboni to the body. In the last stanza, it was Delboni who dug deep and pushed the pace. She caught VanZandt with a series of punches along the cage that forced VanZandt to cover up. VanZandt sought a late takedown, but Delboni kept the fight upright. The judges were called upon for a final time and they rewarded Delboni for her efforts, setting up a title rematch with Zappitella.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
Jéssica Delboni def. Lindsey VanZandt by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) – atomweight tournament final
Jéssica Delboni def. Marisa Messer-Belenchia by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – atomweight tournament semifinal
Lindsey VanZandt def. Linda Mihalec by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – atomweight tournament semifinal
Samantha Seff def. Kara Vislosky by split decision (9-10, 10-9, 10-9) – atomweight tournament reserve bout
Marisa Messer-Belenchia def. Paulina Granados by split decision (10-9, 9-10, 10-9) – atomweight tournament quarterfinal
Linda Mihalec def. Jillian DeCoursey by split decision (9-10, 10-9, 10-9) – atomweight tournament quarterfinal
Lindsey VanZandt def. Katie Perez by submission (armbar). Round 1, 3:10 – atomweight tournament quarterfinal
Jéssica Delboni def. Tabatha Watkins by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – atomweight tournament quarterfinal


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 globally integrated 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; 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.

Invicta FC Phoenix Tournament: Atomweights Official Weigh-in and Fan Voting Results

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — On Thursday, June 10, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted the weigh-ins for Phoenix Tournament: Atomweights. The event takes place Friday, June 11, from Memorial Hall in Kansas City and airs live on AXS TV in the United States and will be available worldwide on Invicta FC’s YouTube Channel.

A shot at reigning Invicta FC atomweight champion Alesha Zappitella is on the line as the fastest-paced format in combat sports makes its return. For the first time in MMA history, online fan voting determined the match-ups for the quarterfinal stage of the tournament.

Recent title challenger Jéssica Delboni (10-3) opens her quest for another crack at gold against Zappitella’s training partner Tabatha “Batgirl” Watkins (3-3), who will make her promotional debut. New York native Lindsey “Damsel” VanZandt (7-4) will square off with Invicta newcomer Katie “Maquina Asesina” Perez (2-1). Jillian “Lionheart” DeCoursey (4-3) and Linda “F109” Mihalec (2-1) meet in a rematch of their Invicta FC 39 clash, which DeCoursey won via decision. Finally, Paulina “Firefox” Granados (4-4) steps into the Invicta cage for the first time against Connecticut’s Marisa “Spider Monkey” Messer-Belenchia (3-1).

Additionally, a tournament reserve match-up will take place between Kara Vislosky (1-1) and Samantha Seff (0-1).

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

Atomweight Tournament Quarterfinal No. 4: Paulina Granados (105.9) vs. Marisa Messer-Belenchia (105.4)
Atomweight Tournament Quarterfinal No. 3: Jillian DeCoursey (105.5) vs. Linda Mihalec (105.9)
Atomweight Tournament Quarterfinal No. 2: Lindsey VanZandt (105.8) vs. Katie Perez (105.3)
Atomweight Tournament Quarterfinal No. 1: Jéssica Delboni (105.6) vs. Tabatha Watkins (105.8)
Atomweight Tournament Reserve Bout: Kara Vislosky (104.4) vs. Samantha Seff (105.9)


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 globally integrated 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; 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.

Marisa Messer-Belenchia Replaces Katie Saull in Phoenix Tournament Lineup

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The lineup for Invicta FC Phoenix Tournament: Atomweights has undergone a late change.

Global travel restrictions has forced Canada’s “Queen of the North” Katie Saull (3-4) out of the event. Replacing Saull is fellow Invicta veteran Marisa “Spider Monkey” Messer-Belenchia (3-1).

Connecticut’s Messer-Belenchia is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who has battled fellow tournament athletes Linda Mihalec and Jillian DeCoursey over her professional and amateur careers.

A shot at reigning Invicta FC atomweight champion Alesha Zappitella is on the line as the fastest-paced format in combat sports returns this Friday, June 11. The event takes place from Memorial Hall in Kansas City and airs live on AXS TV in the United States and will be available worldwide on Invicta FC’s YouTube Channel. To find how to watch the action in your area, click here.

For the first time in MMA history, online fan voting will determine the match-ups for the quarterfinal stage of the tournament. Fans can visit the Phoenix Tournament Voting Portal and vote for the four quarterfinal bouts they want to see.

Phoenix Tournament: Atomweight Participants
Jéssica Delboni
Jillian DeCoursey
Katie Perez
Lindsey VanZandt
Linda Mihalec
Marisa Messer-Belenchia
Paulina Granados
Tabatha Watkins


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 globally integrated 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; 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.

Fans to Determine Phoenix Tournament Quarterfinal Match-Ups

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – In yet another fan-friendly innovation from Invicta Fighting Championships, the world’s premier all-women MMA promotion is empowering fans to become matchmakers for Invicta FC Phoenix Tournament: Atomweights which takes place Friday, June 11.

Eight atomweight contenders will step into the Invicta cage with one emerging as the new No. 1 contender – but who they fight in the first of potentially three fights in one explosive night will be decided by the fans!

For the first time in MMA history, online fan voting will determine the match-ups for the quarterfinal stage of the tournament. In the previous three Phoenix events, a random draw was used to determine the fighter pairings.

Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp said, “Invicta continues to innovate with the introduction of a fan-matchmaking element for our next Phoenix Tournament. Playing fantasy matchmaker is a big part of MMA fandom, and we’re giving fans the chance to weigh-in on the opening round of a one-night tournament that will crown the new No. 1 Invicta atomweight contender.”

Much like when Invicta experimented with open scoring back in 2019 before committing to it, the promotion is adopting a ‘look-and-see’ approach to the fan voting component for the Phoenix Tournament.

She said, “The Phoenix Tournament format itself is perhaps the biggest MMA innovation in years: the return of single-night tournaments, open scoring, five-minute fights in the quarters and semis before the two finalists meet in a three-rounder. It is a unique format and having fans vote on the initial bracketing is just another wrinkle to what we feel is the most exciting format in combat sports.”

HOW DOES VOTING WORK?

Fans can visit the Phoenix Tournament Voting Portal and vote for the four quarterfinal bouts they want to see. Whichever pairings receive the most votes will be the opening four fights of the tournament, comprising the entire quarterfinal round. Fans can vote multiple times for their favorite match-ups.

For the semifinals, whichever athlete scores the fastest finish in the quarterfinals will get to decide who she faces. As with previous Phoenix Tournaments, if there are no stoppages in the quarterfinals, a random draw will decide which winners face off in the semis.

Voting will be open until one hour before the event’s ceremonial weigh-ins on Thursday, June 10.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE’S A LAST-MINUTE WITHDRAWAL?

In the case of an athlete dropping out of the competition before she has a chance to compete, an alternate will take her place in both the tournament and the voting portal. 

ANY CONCERNS FIGHTERS/CAMPS WILL TRY TO INFLUENCE VOTE?

No. Every athlete who accepts an invitation to compete in a Phoenix Tournament is agreeing to fight three times in one night – that is absolute proof these women will fight anyone, short notice or not. Even if they have a preferred opponent in the quarterfinals, there’s no way influence who wins the fights and makes it to the semifinals and, ultimately, the final. The tournament winner will have to beat three opponents on June 11.

WHAT DOES THE TOURNAMENT WINNER GET?

The winner of the atomweight tournament will wins not only a Phoenix Trophy, but a cash prize and, most importantly, a guaranteed shot at reigning Invicta FC atomweight champion Alesha Zappitella.

HOW CAN I WATCH THE ACTION?

The event will be broadcast on U.S. cable network AXS TV, the Fight Network in Canada and also stream worldwide on Invicta FC’s YouTube Channel.

Phoenix Tournament: Atomweight Athletes
Jéssica Delboni
Jillian DeCoursey
Katie Perez
Katie Saull
Lindsey VanZandt
Linda Mihalec
Paulina Granados
Tabatha Watkins


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 globally integrated 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; 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.

Phoenix Tournament to Crown New Atomweight Contender on June 11

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A shot at reigning Invicta FC atomweight champion Alesha Zappitella is on the line as the fastest-paced format in combat sports – The Phoenix Tournament – returns next Friday, June 11. The fourth installment of Invicta FC’s Phoenix Tournament will emanate from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, as eight atomweight contenders will try to win three fights in one explosive night.

Invicta FC Phoenix Tournament©: Atomweights will air live on AXS TV in the United States and will be available worldwide on Invicta FC’s YouTube Channel. To find how to watch the action in your area, click here.

“The Phoenix Tournament is a unique set of challenges to our athletes,” said Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp. “The rapid-fire pace of the one-round quarter- and semifinal matches is totally different to anything else in mixed martial arts. Having to peak not once, not twice but potentially three times against three different opponents is the kind of mental stress only a handful of fighters in MMA history have overcome.

“Whichever fighter comes out victorious on June 11 will have truly earned her shot at the Invicta FC world title.”

Perhaps the favorite to do that is Jéssica Delboni (10-3), who – incredibly – will be back in action just three weeks after pushing the champion Zappitella to split decision. The Brazilian feels she defeated Zappitella and is prepared to fight her way through three other contenders in order to get another crack at the 105-pound queen.

Joining Delboni in the Phoenix Tournament is a pair of New Yorkers in Lindsey “Damsel” VanZandt (7-4) and Jillian “Lionheart” DeCoursey (4-3). The 27-year-old VanZandt – who now trains in Arizona – will be making her fifth Invicta appearance, having battled both Zappitella and Delboni previously. DeCoursey steps into the Invicta cage for the sixth time.

Rounding out the group of promotional veterans, Linda “F109” Mihalec (2-1) and Canada’s “Queen of the North” Katie Saull (3-4) each look to slingshot their way to the top of the 105-pound ladder.

A trio of newcomers complete the tournament athletes as Paulina “Firefox” Granados (4-4), Tabatha “Batgirl” Watkins (3-3) and Katie “Maquina Asesina” Perez (2-1) look to make a name for themselves in their promotional debuts.

As with the previous Phoenix Tournament events, the single-elimination format will feature one-round fights in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, with the tournament final being a three-round affair to determine the champion. The eight participants will be matched up during a random draw prior to the event.

Quarterfinal fighters will have plenty of incentive to finish their fights. 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 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 — but will be open to a limited number of 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.

Tournament reserve match-ups will be announced prior to the event.

Phoenix Tournament: Atomweight Participants
Jéssica Delboni
Jillian DeCoursey
Katie Perez
Katie Saull
Lindsey VanZandt
Linda Mihalec
Paulina Granados
Tabatha Watkins

Vote


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 globally integrated 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; 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.

Invicta FC on AXS Results: Rodriguez Becomes First Mexican Champion, Zappitella Retains Atomweight Belt

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — On Friday, May 21, Invicta Fighting Championships kicked off a new era, hosting Invicta FC: Rodriguez vs. Torquato. The event marked the promotion’s debut on AXS TV in the United States and Fight Network in Canada. It also aired live and free on YouTube and is available for replay on demand.

In the night’s headliner, a new flyweight champion was crowned as Karina Rodriguez outworked Daiana Torquato over the course of five rounds. The Brazilian Torquato kicked the legs of Rodriguez to open the bout. Rodriguez countered with crisp boxing. A combination from Torquato backed Rodriguez to the fence and she landed a big uppercut. A heavy right hand from Torquato landed flush and she continued to pepper Rodriguez. Round two featured more low kicks from Torquato. Rodriguez continued to use her hands and dropped Torquato with a massive right hand as the bell sounded. The third frame was a back-and-forth affair as the low kicks from Torquato did not faze Rodriguez. The Mexican fighter increased her output and marched forward. As the fight entered the final rounds, the forward pressure and volume of Rodriguez was the difference. She opened a large cut under the right eye of Torquato with the constant barrage of punches. Torquato looked to grapple late in the fight, searching for the fight’s first takedown. Rodriguez stayed upright and pushed the action until the final bell. Rodriguez became the first Mexican champion in Invicta history with the unanimous decision nod from the judges.

The co-main event saw atomweight titleholder Alesha Zappitella defend her belt against Brazilian challenger Jéssica Delboni. The fight began with a feeling-out process on the feet as Delboni kept the fight at range. Zappitella shot for takedowns twice in the opening frame, but was stuffed on each attempt. A late head-and-arm throw scored for Zappitella. In round two, Zappitella again shot, then landed a heavy left hook after being stuffed yet again. The champion missed with a superwoman punch and the right hand of Delboni landed at will late in the frame. The third stanza was grueling. A big exchange late saw Zappitella land a knee, but Delboni countered with a left hand and she flurried to close the round. In the championship rounds, Delboni attacked the lead leg of Zappitella with kicks. She continued to push the action as Zappitella aimed to counter. The champion’s overhand right found its mark, but Delboni repeatedly fired back. With the open scoring system used by the Kansas commission, the scores were even across the board heading into the final round. Zappitella started the last round strong, pushing the challenger to the cage and scoring with short strikes. Delboni separated and landed from distance. She continued to batter the lead leg of Zappitella late in the frame. The fight would go the distance and the judges were called upon for a verdict. They were split in the result, but it was Zappitella who retained her belt.

Colorado’s Claire Guthrie spoiled the perfect record of Juliana Miller with a unanimous decision victory in their flyweight affair. Miller was aggressive from the onset, looking to take the fight to the ground. Guthrie showed great balance and scored with knees and elbows along the fence. Miller was relentless with her pressure, but she struggled to get the fight to the ground. It was more of the same in the second stanza, but Miller was able to latch onto a kimura and drag Guthrie to the mat. She scrambled well and took Guthrie’s back. It was short lived, as Guthrie was able to escape and land clean strikes. The final frame was a back-and-forth affair as both fighters had their moments. A heavy right hand from Guthrie appeared to wobble Miller, who was able to get the fight to the ground. Miller looked for numerous submissions, but was unable to find a finish. Guthrie celebrated as the judges rewarded her efforts.

Invicta veteran Josee Storts handed Mexico’s Maria Favela her first defeat after a back-and-forth battle to open the night’s main card. Storts used feints in round one to close the distance and initiate the clinch position. Favela countered with heavy knees as Storts worked for a takedown. A nice scramble from Favela allowed her to move to the back of Storts, but she was too aggressive and ended up on her back. The second round saw Storts march forward looking for takedowns. Favela showcased good takedown defense and landed heavy strikes to keep the Missouri native at bay. The final round began with a massive right hand from Storts that sent Favela reeling. The pair then jostled for position along the cage before Storts eventually drove the fight to the ground. Once there, she passed to mount and looked for an arm-triangle choke. Favela was able to escape, but the heavy top game of Storts was the difference on the judges’ scorecards.

Grappling ace Fatima Kline put on a clinic in her strawweight match-up with Ariana Melendez. The 20-year-old Kline quickly took the fight to the mat and immediately passed to half guard. She attacked the left arm of Melendez, which forced a scramble. Kline used it to secure the back of Melendez and locked on a body triangle. Once in the dominant position, Kline flattened out Melendez and slapped on a fight-finishing rear-naked choke.

The night’s action kicked off in the flyweight division as striking stalwarts Elise Pone and Chrissy Yandolli made their professional and promotional debuts. The pair were patient in the opening round, gauging their range. They exchanged a variety of kicks, but it was Pone who edged out the round with a steady stream of low kicks. In round two, the pace picked up and both fighters fired combinations. The pressure of Pone overwhelmed Yandolli and she hurt her along the fence. Once there, Pone unleashed a barrage of strikes that forced the referee to step in and halt the contest.

OFFICIAL RESULTS
Karina Rodriguez def. Daiana Torquato by unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 49-46) – for flyweight title
Alesha Zappitella def. Jéssica Delboni by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) – for atomweight title
Claire Guthrie def. Juliana Miller by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Josee Storts def. Maria Favela by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Fatima Kline def. Ariana Melendez by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:00
Elise Pone def. Chrissy Yandolli by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 2:07


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 globally integrated 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; 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.

Invicta FC: Rodriguez vs. Torquato Official Weigh-in Results

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — On Thursday, May 20, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted the weigh-ins for Invicta FC: Rodriguez vs. Torquato. The event takes place Friday, May 21, with the entire card streaming live on YouTube beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The main card will also be broadcast live on AXS TV in the United States and Fight Network in Canada beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

In the headliner, Mexico’s Karina Rodriguez (8-4) faces off with Brazilian Daiana Torquato (10-3) for the vacant 125-pound title. Rodriguez is no stranger to the spotlight, having gone the distance with former champion Vanessa Porto and defeating UFC veterans DeAnna Bennett and Milana Dudieva inside the Invicta cage. Torquato rides a six-fight winning streak in the title affair, having also faced Bennett and Dudieva in the Phoenix Series 2 tournament.

“I know it’s going to be a great fight,” said Rodriguez of the title clash. “[Torquato’s] aggressive. She’s a striker. We’re going to try to kill each other over five rounds.”

Torquato responded, “This is the best I’ve ever been. It’s going to be a war. Whoever has the biggest heart is going to win.”

The co-main event will see newly crowned atomweight queen Alesha “Half Pint” Zappitella (8-2, 1 NC) defend her 105-pound belt against Brazilian challenger Jéssica Delboni (10-2). Michigan’s Zappitella captured gold at Invicta FC 42 last year, scoring the promotion’s first Von Flue choke finish against Ashley Cummins. Delboni was in action on the same card, defeating former champion Herica Tiburico on the scorecards.

“She’s been preparing for the old Alesha and she’s not going to be ready for what I bring to the table,” declared the champion Zappitella. “I’m ever-evolving and becoming the best mixed martial artist I can be. I’m better than the last ‘Half Pint’ you saw in the cage.”

The challenger Delboni retorted, “It’s going to be a very tough fight, the toughest of my life. I asked for the belt and I have to be ready when opportunity knocks. If I win, I’m the best in the world.”

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

Flyweight Title: Karina Rodriguez (124.7) vs. Daiana Torquato (124.9)
Atomweight Title: Alesha Zappitella (104.9) vs. Jéssica Delboni (104.8)
Flyweight: Juliana Miller (125.3) vs. Claire Guthrie (126)
Flyweight: Josee Storts (128.7)* vs. Maria Favela (125.5)
Strawweight: Fatima Kline (115.6) vs. Ariana Melendez (114.8)
Flyweight: Elise Pone (124.7) vs. Chrissy Yandolli (125.9)

* – Storts missed the flyweight limit of 126 pounds and was fined 25 percent of her fight purse


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 globally integrated 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; 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.

Invicta FC Streams Friday’s Entire Event Live and Free on YouTube

Los Angeles – Invicta Fighting Championships returns to action this Friday night with a stacked six-fight card that will stream worldwide – LIVE and FREE – on YouTube.

Invicta FC: Rodriguez vs Torquato is headlined by two world title fights. First, takedown machine Alesha Zappitella defends her atomweight crown against surging challenger Jessica Delboni, then top-ranked Karina Rodriguez and Daiana Torquato collide for the vacant flyweight championship in the night’s headliner.

The action begins at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT, midnight in the U.K.) with the main card starting one hour later. Friday’s event is Invicta’s first since the world’s premier all-women MMA promotion was acquired by Anthem Sports & Entertainment.

The main card will also be broadcast live on Anthem properties AXS TV in the United States and Fight Network in Canada.

“Invicta has an incredibly loyal and passionate audience,” Invicta President Shannon Knapp said. “It is great those fans, no matter where they are in the world, will be able to see this entire card live and free on YouTube.

“We said when we announced the Anthem deal that Invicta’s platform world be bigger than ever – and we’re making good in that. I’m very excited for Invicta to not only make its U.S. cable television debut but – at the same time – also be available to every fight fan in the world on social media.”

Knapp added: “There are more women competing at the elite level of MMA than ever before, and more young girls are watching them compete and realizing there absolutely is a path for them in this sport. It was very different just a few short years ago – the reason I founded Invicta was to give women athletes a platform of their own. That platform is going continuing to grow.”

The event streams live and will also be available on demand following its completion here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqQhRbteFUw

The full fight card can be found below:

Flyweight Title: Karina Rodriguez vs. Daiana Torquato
Atomweight Title: Alesha Zappitella vs. Jéssica Delboni
Flyweight: Juliana Miller vs. Claire Guthrie
Flyweight: Josee Storts vs. Maria Favela
Strawweight: Fatima Kline vs. Ariana Melendez
Flyweight: Elise Pone vs. Chrissy Yandolli


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 globally integrated 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; 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.

Invicta on AXS TV Fight Card Update

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The fight card for Invicta on AXS TV has undergone multiple changes.

The planned strawweight match-up between former title challenger Emily “Gordinha” Ducote (9-6) and Liz “The Titan” Tracy (5-4) as well as the bantamweight rematch between Phoenix Series 3 bantamweight winner Taneisha “Triple Threat” Tennant (3-1) and “Hurricane” Hope Chase (3-1) have been removed from the event.

A flyweight contest between newcomers “The Piece” Elise Pone (debut) and Chrissy “The Doll” Yandolli (debut) has been added to the card. Pone, who hails from Pennsylvania, is a decorated Muay Thai practitioner who has held multiple amateur titles. New York’s Yandolli also comes from a kickboxing background and will be making her professional debut.

Invicta on AXS TV takes place Friday, May 21 in Kansas City and features a pair of title fights in the flyweight and atomweight divisions. In the headliner, Mexico’s Karina Rodriguez (8-4) faces off with Brazilian Daiana Torquato (10-3) for the vacant 125-pound title. The co-main event will see newly crowned atomweight queen Alesha “Half Pint” Zappitella (8-2, 1 NC) defend her 105-pound belt against Brazilian challenger Jéssica Delboni (10-2).

The fight card will stream live and free on all Invicta FC social platforms beginning with a preliminary card at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m CT. Main-card action follows on Invicta’s new broadcast home, AXS TV, at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. To find how to watch the action in your area, click here.

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 updated Invicta on AXS TV fight card can be found below:

Flyweight Title: Karina Rodriguez vs. Daiana Torquato
Atomweight Title: Alesha Zappitella vs. Jéssica Delboni
Flyweight: Juliana Miller vs. Claire Guthrie
Flyweight: Josee Storts vs. Maria Favela
Strawweight: Fatima Kline vs. Ariana Melendez
Flyweight: Elise Pone vs. Chrissy Yandolli


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.