Irene Aldana Out of Invicta FC 10, Bout With Marion Reneau Moved to 2015

Kansas City, Mo. – Due to a severe case of bronchitis that required hospitalization, Invicta Fighting Championships has announced that Mexican bantamweight Irene Aldana (4-1) has been forced out of a planned match-up with Marion Reneau (4-1) at Invicta FC 10 on Dec. 5 in Houston.

The bout has been rescheduled for early 2015.

Invicta FC 10 streams live on UFCFIGHTPASS.com from the Arena Theatre in Houston on Friday, Dec. 5 and is headlined by Invicta FC atomweight champion Michelle Waterson (12-3) taking on Brazilian challenger Herica Tiburcio (8-2). In the co-headline bout, red-hot bantamweight contender Tonya Evinger (14-5) meets Belgium’s Cindy Dandois (5-1).

Tickets for Invicta FC 10 are on sale now and can be purchased at the venue box office, via charge-by-phone by calling 713-772-5900 or online at arenahouston.com.

For more information, visit InvictaFC.com.


About Invicta FC:

Invicta Fighting Championships is a world championship, all-pro mixed martial rts (MMA) fight series dedicated to providing female athletes with a major platform to hone their skills on a consistent basis. Founded in 2012 by longtime MMA executive Shannon Knapp, Invicta is committed to pioneering the future growth of women’s MMA by promoting the best possible match-ups between female competitors and identifying and developing future superstars of the sport. For more information, visit InvictaFC.com, follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights) and like Invicta on Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights).

Andrea Lee Replaces Vanessa Porto at Invicta FC 10

Kansas City, Mo. – After being notified of an unforeseen delay in visa processing, Invicta Fighting Championships today announced that flyweight title contender Vanessa Porto (17-6) will no longer face veteran Roxanne Modafferi (16-11) at Invicta FC 10 on Dec. 5.

Rather than waiting for the visa issue to be resolved, Invicta FC officials have tapped rising prospect Andrea Lee (2-0) to replace Porto. Lee, the 2013 Women’s National Golden Gloves Champion, impressed in her Invicta debut, a victory over Shannon Sinn at Invicta FC 9 in November.

Porto is expected to return to the Invicta cage in early 2015 at Invicta FC 11.

Invicta FC 10 streams live on UFCFIGHTPASS.com from the Arena Theatre in Houston on Friday, Dec. 5 and is headlined by Invicta FC atomweight champion Michelle Waterson (12-3) taking on Brazilian challenger Herica Tiburcio (8-2). In the co-headline bout, red-hot bantamweight contender Tonya Evinger (14-5), coming off a first-round submission of Ediane Gomes, meets Belgium’s Cindy Dandois (5-1).

Tickets for Invicta FC 10 are on sale now and can be purchased at the venue box office, via charge-by-phone by calling 713-772-5900 or online at arenahouston.com.

For more information, visit InvictaFC.com.


About Invicta FC:
Invicta Fighting Championships is a world championship, all-pro mixed martial arts (MMA) fight series dedicated to providing female athletes with a major platform to hone their skills on a consistent basis. Founded in 2012 by longtime MMA executive Shannon Knapp, Invicta is committed to pioneering the future growth of women’s MMA by promoting the best possible match-ups between female competitors and identifying and developing future superstars of the sport. For more information, visit InvictaFC.com, follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights) and like Invicta on Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights).

Press Contact:
Eric Jackman
718.354.9024
eric@jacktaylorpr.com
or press@invictafc.com

Invicta FC 10 Full Card Announced for Friday, December 5

Kansas City, Mo. – Invicta Fighting Championships today announced the full fight card for Invicta FC 10: Waterson vs. Tiburcio, which will stream live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass from the Arena Theatre in Houston on Friday, Dec. 5.

In the night’s headline bout, Invicta FC atomweight champion Michelle Waterson (12-3) will face Brazilian challenger Herica Tiburcio (8-2).

Waterson is coming off the first defense of her title, a TKO victory over Yasuko Tamada (15-9) in September. The win marked the champion’s 10th finish in 12 career victories.

Tiburcio, currently riding a three-fight winning streak, was slated to make her promotional debut at Invicta FC 9, but visa issues forced her off the card. Six of the 22-year-old challenger’s career wins have come via submission.

Red hot bantamweight contender Tonya Evinger (14-5), coming off a first-round submission of Ediane Gomes, meets Belgium’s Cindy Dandois (5-1) in the co-headline bout.

The full fight card for Invicta FC 10 can be found below:

Atomweight Title Fight: Michelle Waterson (12-3) vs. Herica Tiburcio (8-2)
Bantamweight: Tonya Evinger (14-5) vs. Cindy Dandois (5-1)
Flyweight: Vanessa Porto (17-6) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (16-11)
Flyweight: Jennifer Maia (9-3-1) vs. DeAnna Bennett (5-0)
Featherweight: Charmaine Tweet (6-4) vs. Faith van Duin (4-1)
Bantamweight: Irene Aldana (4-1) vs. Marion Reneau (4-1)
Featherweight: Peggy Morgan (2-2) vs. Andria Wawro (3-1)
Strawweight: Alexa Grasso (5-0) vs. Alida Gray (4-1)
Atomweight: Jinh Yu Frey (2-1) vs. Cassie Robb (0-2)
Flyweight: Rachael Ostovich (1-1) vs. Evva Johnson (1-0)

Tickets for Invicta FC 10 are on sale now and can be purchased at the venue box office, via charge-by-phone by calling 713-772-5900 or online at arenahouston.com.

For more information, visit InvictaFC.com.


About Invicta FC:
Invicta Fighting Championships is a world championship, all-pro mixed martial arts (MMA) fight series dedicated to providing female athletes with a major platform to hone their skills on a consistent basis. Founded in 2012 by longtime MMA executive Shannon Knapp, Invicta is committed to pioneering the future growth of women’s MMA by promoting the best possible match-ups between female competitors and identifying and developing future superstars of the sport. For more information, visit InvictaFC.com, follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights) and like Invicta on Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights).

Press Contact:
Eric Jackman
718.354.9024
eric@jacktaylorpr.com
or press@invictafc.com

Invicta FC 9 Results: Honchak Retains Title, Kowalkiewicz Edges Inoue

On Saturday, Nov. 1, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 9: Honchak vs. Hashi from the RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa. The nine-fight event streamed live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.

In the night’s main event, Invicta flyweight champion Barb Honchak successfully defended her 125-pound title with a hard-fought decision win over Japan’s Takayo Hashi. Honchak’s strategy from the very beginning was to force Hashi against the fence and grind her out. Honchak was able to impose her will on the challenger and score with short punches and knees from the clinch. Hashi earned takedowns late in the third and fourth rounds, but she was unable to hold the champion on the ground. Honchak let her hands go late in the fifth frame, leaving no doubt who had won the contest.

The night’s co-main event featured the Invicta return of Japanese strawweight Mizuki Inoue, who welcomed unbeaten Polish fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz to the Invicta cage. Kowalkiewicz used her length to keep Inoue at range during the first round, scoring with combinations and leg kicks. In the middle stanza, Inoue was able to score with a hip toss and put Kowalkiewicz on her back. Kowalkiewicz was able to survive the tough position and the round. The final frame saw Kowalkiewicz return to landing on the feet, but Inoue fired back. When it was all said and done, Kowalkiewicz claimed the narrow split decision win.

Stepping into the cage on just a week’s notice, Hawaii’s Raquel Pa’aluhi survived a tough first round and earned the nod over Kaitlin Young on the scorecards. Young battered Pa’aluhi in the opening frame, opening up multiple cuts on the Hawaiian’s face. Pa’aluhi bounced back in rounds two and three with takedowns. Pa’aluhi threatened to finish the fight with a rear-naked choke and strikes, but Young was able to survive to the final bell.

Jodie Esquibel put together one of the best performances of her career, outstriking Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc and earning a lopsided, unanimous decision win. Esquibel used her speed and footwork to land combination after combination and frustrate Rivera-Calanoc. The Jackson’s MMA fighter mixed in takedowns and survived a late guillotine attempt from Rivera-Calanoc to claim the victory.

Atomweights Amber Brown and Liz McCarthy engaged in a back-and-forth war that saw Brown eke out the win via split decision. McCarthy repeatedly took the fight to the ground with her wrestling, but Brown landed the more effective strikes. A knee from Brown opened a large cut over McCarthy’s right eye in round two, leading to a bloody affair.

Amanda Bell returned to the Invicta cage and scored a first-round TKO over promotional newcomer Maria Hougaard-Djursaa. Bell came out firing and overwhelmed the Danish fighter. Once on the mat, Bell rained punches and forced the referee to halt the bout late in the opening stanza.

Veteran striker Andrea K. Lee used her stand-up game to get the better of fellow flyweight Shannon Sinn. Lee dropped Sinn early and battered her throughout the remainder of the contest to take home the win on the scorecards.

Strawweight Jamie Moyle scored an impressive decision win in her pro debut, battering Jenny Liou Shriver for three rounds. Shriver had no answer for Moyle’s striking and suffered her first career loss.

Kelly McGill spoiled the pro debut of Maegan Goodwin in the first fight of the evening. The bloody affair saw McGill open up Goodwin with an elbow, helping her seal the decision win and move to 2-0.

OFFICIAL RESULTS

Barb Honchak def. Takayo Hashi by unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45) – for flyweight title
Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Mizuki Inoue by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Raquel Pa’aluhi def. Kaitlin Young by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Jodie Esquibel def. Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Amber Brown def. Liz McCarthy by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Amanda Bell def. Maria Hougaard-Djursaa by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 4:56
Andrea K. Lee def. Shannon Sinn by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Jamie Moyle def. Jenny Liou Shriver by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Kelly McGill def. Maegan Goodwin by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

‘Cyborg’ Justino Injured, Waterson vs. Tiburcio to Headline Invicta FC 10

Kansas City, Mo. – Invicta Fighting Championships today announced that Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino (12-1) injured her left ankle, suffering a full thickness rupture of the anterior talofibular ligament, and has been forced to withdraw from her scheduled bantamweight debut in the main event of Invicta FC 10 on Dec. 5.

Justino has not competed in MMA since July of 2013 when she defeated Marloes Coenen  (22-6) via fourth-round TKO at Invicta FC 6 to capture the Invicta FC Featherweight Championship.

Invicta FC Atomweight Champion Michelle Waterson (12-3) now headlines Invicta FC 10 when she faces Brazilian challenger Herica Tiburcio (8-2).

Waterson is coming off the first defense of her title, a TKO victory over Yasuko Tamada (15-9) in September. The win marked the champion’s 10th finish in 12 career victories.

Tiburcio, currently riding a three-fight winning streak, was slated to make her promotional debut at Invicta FC 9, but visa issues forced her off the card. Six of the 22-year-old challenger’s career wins have come via submission.

Invicta FC 10 will take place from the Arena Theatre in Houston on Friday, Dec. 5. Tickets for the event go on sale Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. CT and can be purchased at the venue box office, via charge-by-phone by calling 713-772-5900 or online at arenahouston.com.

Additional bouts for the event will be announced in the coming weeks.

Invicta FC 9 Official Weigh-in Results

On Friday, Oct. 31, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted the weigh-ins for Invicta FC 9: Honchak vs. Hashi which takes place Saturday, Nov. 1, from the RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa.

The event will be headlined by Invicta flyweight champion Barb Honchak who will look to make the second defense of her 125-pound title as she squares off with Japan’s Takayo Hashi.

Honchak captured Invicta gold at Invicta FC 5 in April 2013 by dominating Brazil’s Vanessa Porto. The 35-year-old extended her current winning streak to eight with a one-sided performance against Leslie Smith in December. The win marked Honchak’s fourth victory under the Invicta banner. In addition to her wins over Porto and Smith, Honchak also holds notable victories over Invicta veterans Aisling Daly and Felice Herrig.

Hashi will be making her Invicta FC debut. The 36-year-old is unbeaten in her last three fights, topping veterans Roxanne Modafferi and Shizuka Sugiyama along the way. Hashi previously competed at bantamweight and has faced Invicta alums Cat Zingano, Tara LaRosa and Sarah Kaufman.

The night’s co-main event will feature the Invicta return of Japanese strawweight Mizuki Inoue, who welcomes unbeaten Polish fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz to the Invicta cage. The 20-year-old Inoue bested Bec Rawlings at IFC 6 last July. Kowalkiewicz took her record to 5-0 in May, submitting Invicta veteran Jasminka Cive.

The nine-fight event will stream live and exclusively via UFC Fight Pass beginning at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday.

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

Barb Honchak (124.4) vs. Takayo Hashi (124.8) – for flyweight title
Mizuki Inoue (115) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (115)
Kaitlin Young (145) vs. Raquel Pa’aluhi (145)
Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (105.2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (105.8)
Amber Brown (105.6) vs. Liz McCarthy (105.2)
Amanda Bell (145.6) vs. Maria Hougaard-Djursaa (148.6)*
Shannon Sinn (125.4) vs. Andrea K. Lee (125)
Jenny Liou Shriver (115.8) vs. Jamie Moyle (115)
Kelly McGill (135.8) vs. Maegan Goodwin (138.8)*

* – Hougaard-Djursaa and Goodwin elected not to cut any additional weight and were fined 25 percent of their fight purses

Herica Tiburcio Forced Out of Invicta FC 9, Bout with Ayaka Hamasaki Scrapped

Kansas City, Mo. – The atomweight contest between Brazil’s Herica Tiburcio (8-2) and Japan’s Ayaka Hamasaki (10-1) has been scratched from this Saturday’s Invicta FC 9 event, as visa issues for Tiburcio have forced the 22-year-old off the card at the last minute.

Tiburcio was slated to make her promotional debut for Invicta FC, currently riding a three-fight winning streak. Hamasaki, who previously fought for the organization at Invicta FC 6 in July of 2013, was looking for her second win in a new division after dropping to atomweight earlier this year.

Invicta FC 9 takes place from the RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa. The event will stream live via the UFC’s digital network, UFC Fight Pass. In the night’s main event, Invicta flyweight champion Barb Honchak (9-2) will make the second defense of her 125-pound title as she squares off with Japan’s Takayo Hashi (15-4). The night’s co-main event will feature the Invicta return of Japanese strawweight Mizuki Inoue (8-2), who welcomes unbeaten Polish fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz (5-0) to the Invicta cage.

Cindy Dandois Out of Invicta FC 9, Kaitlin Young to Face Raquel Pa’aluhi

Kansas City, Mo. – Invicta Fighting Championships today announced that Belgian bantamweight Cindy Dandois (5-1) was forced to withdraw from her Invicta FC 9 match-up with Kaitlin Young (7-8-1) due to visa issues.

Stepping in on short notice to face Young on Nov. 1 is Raquel Pa’aluhi (3-4), fighting out of Hawaii. The bout, originally contracted for bantamweight, will now be contested at featherweight.

“I’m disappointed that Cindy is not able to fight on this card, but we’ll bring her back [to compete] at our next event,” said Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp. “Kudos to Raquel for taking on a veteran like Kaitlin Young with just a week’s notice. We love that kind of warrior spirit at Invicta and those two are going to put on a show next Saturday night.”

Dandois is expected to fight later this year at Invicta FC 10 on Dec. 5 against an opponent to be named at a later date.

Invicta FC 9: Honchak vs. Hashi streams live on UFC Fight Pass from The RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa on Saturday, Nov. 1 and is headlined by Invicta FC Flyweight Champion Barb Honchak (9-2) defending her title against Japanese veteran Takayo Hashi (15-4). In the co-main event, strawweight submission specialist Mizuki Inoue (8-2) returns to Invicta to take on undefeated newcomer Karolina Kowalkiewicz (5-0) of Poland.

About Invicta FC:
Invicta Fighting Championships is a world championship All Pro Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight series dedicated to providing female athletes with a major platform to hone their skills on a consistent basis. Founded in 2012 by longtime MMA executive Shannon Knapp, Invicta is committed to pioneering the future growth of women’s MMA by promoting the best possible match-ups between female competitors and identifying and developing future superstars of the sport. For more information, visit InvictaFC.com, follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights) and like Invicta on Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights).

Press Contact:
Eric Jackman
718.354.9024
eric@jacktaylorpr.com
or press@invictafc.com

Barb Honchak: A Champion’s Legacy

Ascending to the top of one’s sport is no easy task. For a select few, natural talent provides a shortcut to the upper echelon, but it’s hard work that defines champions.

Invicta FC flyweight champion Barb Honchak is the embodiment of the sacrifice and dedication it takes to stand atop the world.

Most fighters have spent years in the wrestling room or competing in a traditional martial art before they ever consider stepping into a cage, but not all of them.

“I was never a super athletic person. I wasn’t the all-star in high school. I wasn’t anything like that,” admitted Honchak. “It was just hard work and grinding that has gotten me here. There’s no magic pill. There’s nothing special or unique about me that got me where I am. I want people to know that anybody can be here if they’re willing to make the sacrifices and willing to put the work in. You can be a champion in your sport.”


Honchak’s assessment of what it takes to reach the pinnacle of the sport may appear understated, but her path to the top of the flyweight ranks has been anything but typical. Most fighters do their best to avoid distractions leading up to their fights, yet Honchak’s resume includes fighting just one week prior to getting married.

“Not only was it the week before my wedding, but it was the first fight I ever did,” recalled the 35-year-old. “The only thing that was kind of rough was that I didn’t tell anybody that I was fighting. My husband knew—or fiancé at the time—but my mom didn’t know, nobody else knew.

“I was pretty unscathed for my wedding. [My opponent] poked me in the eye and my eyeball was still red during the wedding. When I was putting makeup on, my mom saw the spot in my eye and asked me what happened. At the time, I knew she would not take it well. So I told her I’d tell her after the wedding.”

The Illinois native’s desire to keep her newfound passion a secret might come as a surprise to those familiar with her recent successes under the Invicta banner. However, at the time, Honchak was uncertain about even stepping into the cage.

“When I took that fight, it was just more of, can I do this? Can I get in a fight? I never knew. It kind of scared me and I wanted to know if I could,” explained the fighter. “That was the first fight I had ever been in, period. I’ve never been in a street fight or anything like that. I wasn’t the type of kid that said ‘Hey, you and me at the playground after school.’ I never did anything like that unless you count slapping fights with my sister when I was little.”

Honchak’s first foray into the world of MMA was a success, and her initial taste left her hungry for more.

“As soon as the fight was over, I looked at my coach and said, ‘When’s the next one?’” remembered Honchak. “I knew I wanted to do it again, but I had ZERO expectations about making it a career at that point. It was just a hobby.”


Nearly a decade ago, MMA—especially the women’s side of the sport—lacked stability. At the time, Honchak was putting her bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and her master’s degrees in ecology and genetics to use at a regular job in St. Louis.

In her off time, Honchak trained under the tutelage of UFC veteran Steve Berger. It was under Berger’s wing that Honchak honed her skills on the grappling mat and picked up a moniker along the way.

“Steve’s a roofer and did construction type work throughout his life. He would bring guys in who were big and burly and have them roll with me,” said Honchak. “I would sub them and Steve would say, ‘She’s a little warrior.’ It was kind of a pet name at first, but it just stuck.”

The more time Honchak spent training and fighting, the more her hobby began spilling over into her day job. She faced a crossroads in her young career.

“I was working as a lab manager for Washington University in St. Louis. I had a great boss there. He would deal with me coming in with black eyes, cuts and staph infections, things like that. He was extremely accommodating,” stated Honchak.

“My husband was actually the one who really encouraged me to drop my job and try it full-time. I started so late in the game. I wasn’t getting any younger. It’s not like I had a ton of time to make a decision on it. He was constantly telling me, ‘If you don’t make a real run at it, you’re going to regret it.’ It started resonating in my own head that he’s right. It was terrifying to leave a solid position with a regular salary and health benefits, that security.”

Given the volatile nature of the women’s side of the sport at that point in time, Honchak’s decision to become a full-time fighter was even tougher.

“At the time, Invicta didn’t even exist. We watched promotion after promotion for women go under. It wasn’t a real smart move at the time to drop my good, secure job to try to fight,” said Honchak with a laugh. “I thought I’d give it a year and see where it went. That’s what we did and luckily Invicta came along.”


In the years before Honchak would join the Invicta roster, she faced a gauntlet of fights unlike what most fighters experience early in their career. Among her opponents were current or former UFC fighters Roxanne Modafferi, Nina Ansaroff, Felice Herrig and Angela Magana.

Yet, it wasn’t any of those notables that left the biggest impression on the fighter.

“I always go back to my fight against Cat Zingano. That fight will always be my most meaningful fight. It was a great fight. Cat’s a monster. She was by far the toughest fight,” declared Honchak of the current UFC bantamweight No. 1 contender.

“Up until Cat, it all felt like a sport. When I fought Cat, it felt like life and death. That is how she fights. That’s how she looks at it. She’s going to kill you if she can. Not only was that fight important in realizing what I had to do and changes I needed to make in my training, but she’s one of my best friends now. She’s become a critical person in my life. I learned so much about fighting, and the relationship I gained with her changed my fight career and me as a person completely.”

The bout with Zingano in early 2010 was the catalyst for numerous significant changes in Honchak’s life and career.

“When I started this, I didn’t know where exactly I was going with it. I was still working a full-time job at that point. I was still training like it was a hobby instead of a career. I don’t even think I’d put in a conditioning regime up until that point,” revealed the Little Warrior.

“It was after I fought Cat that I realized I either needed to drop to 115 [pounds] or start beefing up. Cat asked me to come out and be a training partner for her next fight. So I got to see how she did it. They introduced me to things like supplements and how taking your protein is important.

“It was an eye-opener. I started seeing it as a profession, not just a hobby. I saw how to train, how to do it right. Cat just fought; that’s all she did and that’s why she’s so good. It can be a career.”


The first major change for Honchak was to leave Missouri. Along with her husband, Timm, she headed to the Quad Cities and settled down to train at Miletich Fighting Systems (MFS) in Bettendorf, Iowa.

“My learning curve skyrocketed when I came over here,” declared Honchak. “There was a whole different knowledge base. Steve [Berger] had a lot to offer, but I got a whole different perspective on fighting once I came here.”

The new perspective was in large part due to the history surrounding the gym. In addition to the gym’s founder, Pat Miletich, MFS had produced a long list of top fighters through the years, including Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver, Tim Sylvia, Jeremy Horn and Robbie Lawler. Honchak now had a championship tradition to follow.

“Miletich was huge back in the day, but then it sort of fell off the planet for a while,” said Honchak. “Right around the time that I moved here, there were two men [Michael Reddish and Eli Shetler] who bought the gym and committed to bringing Miletich back, having champions, having fighters in the UFC. That was their whole goal.

“One of those men [Reddish], in the last year, died of cancer. But I got that belt before he left. So, for me, there was a huge emotional component to it. He not only got to see me get the belt, but he saw me defend it, too. I felt like I helped them bring their goals to light. They had a world champion in the gym again. That meant a lot to me to give him that.”

Capturing Invicta gold is something that Honchak hopes is just the tip of the iceberg for MFS. The environment has helped her climb to the top of the flyweight division, but she believes others will follow suit.

“We have some serious up-and-comers in the gym. They just need some fights to get their face out there. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the team is right behind me getting their titles and getting on the big shows,” she proclaimed. “Our coach, Junior [Hernandez], is so knowledgeable. We still have Pat in the gym helping people. Jens Pulver has recently come back and started coaching again. I’m watching our owners’ dream come to light and it’s pretty awesome. I think it’s just a matter of time before Miletich’s name is back in the mainstream of the MMA world and not as a commentator, but as a team.”

In addition to the knowledge base at her disposal, Honchak credits the gym for helping her find the competitive edge she once saw firsthand in Zingano.

“After I made the switch over to Pat’s gym, I got meaner! It made me meaner. Instead of worrying about hurting people, it was time to worry about finishing people. This whole team is meaner than my previous team.

“I’ve just gotten meaner and meaner—in the cage, not outside the cage,” she quipped with a laugh.


The mean streak that Honchak developed at MFS was instrumental in earning her a spot on the Invicta roster, as well as in her march to the top. After stopping Bethany Marshall at Invicta FC 2 with strikes and besting Aisling Daly at Invicta FC 3, Honchak was matched against Vanessa Porto for the promotion’s inaugural flyweight belt. Honchak cruised past the Brazilian to capture the title and then followed it up with a dominant win over Leslie Smith in December.

Riding an eight-fight winning streak and already established as the best in the world at 125 pounds, Honchak wants to keep it that way. In fact, she’s aiming to be an example for the other fighters in her weight class.

“I feel like I need to set the bar for ’25ers, and I want to set that bar pretty high,” she declared. “I have a bull’s eye on my back. I’m No. 1. I’ve got the title.

“I expect girls to come at me. That’s what I want. I want them to come up trying to take my head off. That’s their job. That’s what they should be doing. When girls are training, they’re looking at me as the person they need to be training for. If and when somebody takes that title from me, that girl’s going to be a monster.”

With so much on her shoulders, it would be easy for Honchak to crumble under the weight. Yet, the 35-year-old isn’t about to let that happen.

“Pressure is only what you let it be,” she explained. “The idea of pressure is something that people put on themselves. It’s something that people make in their own head; it’s not real.

“There are expectations of you, but they don’t really matter. The only expectations that matter are your own. To me, if you let everything else go, then the pressure’s not all that much. My team’s going to love me no matter what. My family’s going to love me no matter what. The people that matter to me are still going to be there when the smoke clears, regardless of the results. I really try to not let pressure be a factor. It’s not real unless I let it be real.

“I don’t feel a ton of pressure in any of my fights.”


The harness that Honchak has over pre-fight pressure is going to serve her well as she prepares for her second title defense on Saturday, Nov. 1, against Japan’s Takayo Hashi, live on UFC Fight Pass. For the first time in promotional history, Invicta will travel outside of its base in Kansas City and visit the River Center in Davenport, Iowa—just outside Honchak’s gym in Bettendorf.

“It’s pretty awesome!” an excited Honchak proclaimed. “I feel like the Quad Cities is such a historic, meaningful place [in MMA] being that Miletich started there and helped develop the sport. It’s historic since it’s the first place Invicta is going outside of Kansas City.

“I have a good feel for that venue and the area. I feel like my energy is already there. It’s a venue that our guys have fought in a ton of times. I’ve been there a lot. It’s going to be my crowd.”

Admittedly, Honchak wasn’t always excited by the idea of fighting in front of family and friends. It was just one of the hurdles she had to overcome in her fighting career.

“In my pro career, I’ve only fought in my hometown one other time,” explained the fighter. “As an amateur, I fought in Sullivan, Mo., which is an hour outside St. Louis, but it’s pretty rare that I’ve gotten to fight where I train and where I live.

“When I was younger in the sport, I wouldn’t tell anybody where I was fighting because I didn’t like the crowd. I didn’t want my mom to see me get punched in the face. So I used to not like to fight at home.

“The more I did it, the energy, the cheering, hearing familiar voices and it’s like, alright, I’ve got to go. Everybody I know is going to see, whether it’s on pay-per-view or some other way. Now I just take the positive part of it. It helps.”


With her dominant performances against Porto and Smith inside the Invicta cage, Honchak has already cemented herself as one of the best female fighters in the world. However, as she prepares to headline her second Invicta event in her hometown, she’s out to make a statement.

“I think it’s super exciting to be the main event on UFC Fight Pass. I want to put on an exciting fight so fans can see what we can do, what we are. I want to represent Invicta well and put on a show,” said the champion.

Honchak shouldn’t have much trouble achieving her goal of an exciting fight when she squares off with Hashi. The Japanese fighter has been in the cage with many of the sport’s elite, including the aforementioned Zingano and Modafferi, as well as Sarah Kaufman and Tara LaRosa. In 18 career fights, Zingano is one of only two women to stop Hashi.

“I did talk to Cat about Takayo and she told me she’s extremely resilient,” said Honchak. “[They had a] very tough fight. Cat hasn’t had too many fights go the distance, and they went into the third round. I’m expecting her to be tough.”

Given Honchak’s close relationship with Zingano and Zingano’s familiarity with Hashi in the cage, it would easy for Honchak to adjust her strategy for the fight, but she insists that’s not the case.

“I talked to Cat about what she thought of her, but I’m just going to go in there and fight another fight,” Honchak declared. “I don’t know that I really game-plan. I’m more worried about what I’m going to do to her, not what she’s going to do to me.

“I’ve heard champion and champion and champion say that they just train to make themselves better. I pretty much do the same thing. If you worry about them, then you worry about them. If you just worry about yourself, you execute what you want to do.”

Six of Honchak’s nine career wins have come on the scorecards, and 10 of Hashi’s 14 career wins have gone the distance. From a pure numbers standpoint, there’s a strong chance the pair will be battling for the full 25 minutes on Nov. 1, but that doesn’t mean Honchak is content with needing the judges.

“I’m always looking to finish,” she said with emphasis. “I don’t want it to go five rounds, but I’m fighting the best in the world, the top contenders. They want my title and they’re not going down easy. They’re not giving up, not giving in, not breaking.

“I expect that again with Takayo. I’m ready for five rounds.”


After close to a decade in the sport, Honchak has done much more than turn a hobby into a career. Although she’s already captured Invicta gold and is considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, neither is her ultimate goal.

“I just want to be remembered. That’s really all I can ask for,” admitted Honchak. “I want to be remembered as one of the pioneering women in the sport. I think about the people like Robbie Lawler, Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver, all these guys. Those are legacies. Those are people who will never be forgotten in the sport because they were the originals. That’s what I want to be remembered as.”

Without question, Honchak has already made her mark on the sport. An impressive win over Hashi on Nov. 1 will be another building block towards the legacy that she desires.


Honchak would like to thank Invicta, her teammates and coaches at Miletich Fighting Systems, and Big Five Strength and Conditioning.

Shannon Knapp & Jeff Meyers from Tuff n Uff join forces

JEFF MEYER AND SHANNON KNAPP JOIN FORCES TO AWARD TWO “FUTURE STARS OF MMA” MULTI-FIGHT INVICTA CONTRACTS

TUFF-N-UFF’S NOVEMBER 7 FEATHERWEIGHT AND LIGHTWEIGHT WINNERS TO COMPETE AGAIN IN 2015 FOR THE CHANCE TO TURN PRO WITH INVICTA TUFF-N-UFF’S “FUTURE STARS OF MMA” – FRIDAY, NOV. 7 AT THE COX PAVILION

Tickets On Sale Now Starting at $25 through www.TuffNUff.com

 

Las Vegas, NV – Jeff Meyer and Shannon Knapp, leaders of two highly respected, nationally recognized mixed martial arts organizations, Tuff-N-Uff and Invicta Fighting Championship, respectively, today announced that they are joining forces to award two female “Future Stars of MMA” a coveted multi-fight Invicta FC contract.

Meyer and Knapp confirmed that four female featherweights and four female lightweights are set to square off on Tuff-N-Uff’s upcoming card Friday, November 7 live from the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. The women who succeed in each of those fights, two featherweights and two lightweights, again will square off against each other at a Tuff-N-Uff event in 2015. Knapp will award those two winners an Invicta FC contract, and the privilege to launch their pro careers inside the Invicta FC cage.

Tickets for the Friday, November 7 edition of Tuff-N-Uff: “The Future Stars of MMA” are on sale now starting at $25 and are available online through www.TuffNUff.com. Ticket prices do not include applicable service charges. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. PT; first bout starts at 8:00 p.m. PT.  Tickets will be $30 the day of the event.

“I’m so honored to be working with Shannon Knapp to give Tuff-N-Uff’s ‘Future Stars of MMA’ the chance to turn pro with Invicta FC,” said Meyer, CEO of Tuff-N-Uff. “Invicta FC is not only the premier all-women’s MMA organization, it is also the most responsible and the most-watched on the planet. I hope to continue this relationship with Invicta FC to create even more opportunities like this for Tuff-N-Uff’s talented female fighters.”

“I’m excited to join forces with Jeff Meyer to create this 145 lb. and 155 lb. female tournament and to sign two amazing ‘Future Stars’ to a multi-fight Invicta FC contract,” said Knapp, President, Invicta FC. “We had such a positive experience working with Tuff-N-Uff for the 115 lb. tournament earlier this year. It was a pleasure to work with Jeff and his team. They showed us how professional they are, and that they really have their pulse on the rising talent in women’s MMA.”

Knapp and Meyer announced the four female bouts making up the first half of this tournament. These eight women are the top prospects in their weight class and come from all over the United States to compete Nov. 7:

The Featherweights (145 lbs.)

Leah Letson – Milwaukee Wisc. (4-0) vs. Pamela Sorenson – Minneapolis, Minn.(5-0-1)

Heather Wilson – Williston, N. Dakota (4-1) vs. Paola Ramirez – Carlsbad, Calif. (3-0)

The Lightweights (155 lbs.)

Leanne Foster – Beaverton Ore. (3-1) vs. Felicia Spencer – Orlando, Fla. (3-1)

Jessica Richer – Long Island, N.Y. (2-0) vs. Janie Konyek – Omaha, Neb. (2-0)

The winners of these bouts will fight again at a Tuff-N-Uff event in Las Vegas in early 2015. More information about this event, as well as the remaining bouts for the Nov. 7 Tuff-N-Uff card will be announced soon. All bouts live and subject to change.

About Tuff N Uff:

A 20-year old combat sports organization, the Las Vegas-based Tuff-N-Uff has presented the best amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) action in the nation since 2003, giving rise to the biggest star in the sport today, UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, as well UFC and Strikeforce veteran Ryan Couture and newly-signed UFC welterweight Alan Jouban. Tuff-N-Uff has helped grow the careers of many other MMA athletes including Jessamyn Duke, Ashlee Evans-Smith, Tonya Evinger, Jon Fitch, Jesse Forbes, Chris Holdsworth, Brad Imes, Jimmy Jones and Jesse Taylor. In 2013, Tuff-N-Uff became the first combat sports organization to be included on the UFC International Fight Week schedule of events. In 2014, Tuff-N-Uff presented a second event Thursday, July 3 live from Texas Station, earning status as the first event promotion to be listed on the UFC International Fight Week schedule two years in a row. Tuff-N-Uff celebrated its historic 20th anniversary Saturday, June 7, 2014, with over 15,000 fans, in a sold-out live event inside the Thomas and Mack Center. In 2014, Tuff-N-Uff partnered with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) to present, as part of UFC International Fight Week 2014, the first-ever amateur MMA World Championships. Also in 2014, Tuff-N-Uff’s CEO, Jeff Meyer, was inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame and honored with the Crystal Award for his contributions to martial arts. Dedicated to its founder, the late Barry Meyer, Tuff-N-Uff is committed to the sport of MMA and building the “Future Stars of MMA.”

 

For more information, visit TuffNUff.com and Follow on Twitter and Instagram @TuffNuff and LIKE us on Facebook.com/TuffNUff.