Kansas City, Kan. — On Friday, Feb. 15, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 34: Porto vs. Gonzalez from the Memorial Hall. The night’s first three bouts streamed live on Facebook and UFC Fight Pass at 7 p.m. CT, with the remainder of the event airing exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
Vanessa Porto is now the Invicta FC flyweight champion after defeating Pearl Gonzalez by technical decision. The first round saw Gonzalez use her length to kick. Porto countered with punches, leading to a takedown. Gonzalez worked back to her feet, but ate three right hands in the process. Porto again took the fight to the ground. Round two featured a variety of kicks from both fighters until Porto again showcased her strength, picking up Gonzalez and slamming her to the mat. She passed to the mount and slapped on an arm-triangle choke. Gonzalez waited it out and eventually returned to her feet before the round came to an end. It was more kicks from both fighters early in round three, but Porto initiated the clinch and pinned Gonzalez to the cage. She scooped up a single and put Gonzalez on her back. Porto passed to side control where she remained until the round concluded. Porto controlled the range early in round four, but Gonzalez inadvertently poked her in the left eye to pause the action. The doctors came in to check on the Brazilian, but there was a cut to her eyelid that forced the fight to be waved off. That sent the fight to the scorecards, where Porto was ahead from all three judges at cageside.
Mexico’s Karina Rodriguez engaged in a three-round war with UFC veteran Milana Dudieva, punching her ticket to the flyweight tournament final with a split-decision victory. Rodriguez was crisp with her striking early, peppering Dudieva with kicks. Dudieva changed the tides with a well-timed takedown and a barrage of punches from top position. Late in the round, Dudieva rocked Rodriguez with a right hand as the bell sounded. The second round began similarly, with Dudieva scoring a takedown. Rodriguez was able to work back to her feet and she pushed the pace. She came forward hard, nearly overwhelming Dudieva late in the round with punches. The last stanza was razor-close as both fighters looked for openings. The judges were called upon to decide the result and two of the three rewarded Rodriguez for her efforts.
The first half of the flyweight contender tournament pitted UFC veteran and former strawweight title challenger DeAnna Bennett against rising prospect Miranda Maverick. Maverick scored early with leg kicks. Bennett marched forward, changing levels and putting Maverick on her back with a double-leg takedown. Maverick locked up her guard, but Bennett scored with right hands. In round two, the pair traded positions in the clinch, but again, it was Bennett’s double-leg takedown that helped her gain an advantageous position. She was able to move to Maverick’s back and threaten with a rear-naked choke, but the Missouri fighter defended and escaped. The final frame saw Maverick push the action. She gained the clinch, only to have Bennett reverse and position and work for a single. Maverick threw knees and short elbows, but it wasn’t enough, as Bennett claimed the decision and the first spot in the flyweight tournament final.
In the flyweight tournament reserve bout, Tracy Cortez used her solid wrestling and submission defense to edge grappler Erin Blanchfield by split decision. Cortez threw with reckless abandon early, before changing levels and taking Blanchfield to the ground. Blanchfield latched onto Cortez’s right arm, looking for an armbar. Cortez was able to defend, but Blanchfield held the position until the end of the round, absorbing short punches and knees from Cortez. The second frame was a back-and-forth affair, with Cortez getting the better of the clinch work. Blanchfield had a strong third round, securing a takedown and attacking with submissions. Cortez survived a deep arm-triangle choke attempt, returning to the feet in the fight’s final minute. When the judges were called upon, it was Cortez who walked away victorious.
Flyweights Victoria Leonardo and Jamie Milanowski put on a show for the brief time they were in the cage. Milanowski quickly dragged Leonardo to the ground, but Leonardo looked for an armbar and got back to her feet. She then put Milanowki on her back and dropped heavy ground and pound. The fight returned to the feet briefly and Milanowski again looked to gain top position. Leonardo stuffed a head-and-arm throw and took the back of the newcomer. She locked onto a rear-naked choke, forcing Milanowski to tap midway through the first round.
Featherweight Courtney King picked up her first win in the Invicta cage, stopping fellow Coloradan Holli Logan by second-round submission. Logan scored with repeated counter right hands in the opening stanza, as King pressed forward. King eventually earned the clinch and brought the fight to the ground with a trip takedown. In the second frame, King flurried hard to get the clinch. This time, however, it was Logan who looked for a trip. King reversed the position and landed on top, locking in a D’arce choke. Logan was able to defend, but gave up the mount. King rained punches and forced Logan to give up her back. Once there, King attacked the neck and coerced a tap by rear-naked choke.
The night’s action kicked off with a flyweight match-up between newcomers Caitlin Sammons and Christina Ricker. Sammons used her teep kick to gauge range, before scoring with a counter uppercut. She then took Ricker to the mat and control her from the back, but trapping Ricker’s left arm. Late in the first round, Sammons looked for an armbar, but Ricker was able to survive the round. In round two, Sammons hurt Ricker with a kick to the body and followed her to the ground. Sammons unleashed a series of punches and elbows that forced the referee to halt the bout and save Ricker from further damage.
Vanessa Porto def. Pearl Gonzalez by unanimous technical decision (40-36, 39-37, 39-37). Round 4, 2:34 – for flyweight title
Karina Rodriguez def. Milana Dudieva by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) – flyweight tournament semifinal
DeAnna Bennett def. Miranda Maverick by unanimous decision (29-28 x3) – flyweight tournament semifinal
Tracy Cortez def. Erin Blanchfield by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Victoria Leonardo def. Jamie Milanowski by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:45
Courtney King def. Holli Logan by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 4:46
Caitlin Sammons def. Christina Ricker by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 3:02
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.