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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 Features Flyweight and Atomweight Title Bouts

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The fight card for Invicta on AXS TV has been finalized.

The event — which takes place Friday, May 21 in Kansas City — will feature 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. 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.

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.

Also on the card, former title challenger Emily “Gordinha” Ducote (9-6) welcomes Liz “The Titan” Tracy (5-4) to the strawweight division, Phoenix Series 3 bantamweight winner Taneisha “Triple Threat” Tennant (3-1) rematches “Hurricane” Hope Chase (3-1), undefeated flyweight Juliana “Killer” Miller (2-0) takes on Colorado’s “Grizzly” Claire Guthrie (2-1), Missouri’s Josee “Skull Crusher” Storts (2-0) battles fellow unbeaten flyweight Maria Favela (2-0) of Mexico, and newcomers Fatima “The Archangel” Kline (debut) and Ariana Melendez (1-0) square off at strawweight.

Invicta on AXS TV marks the promotion’s debut on its new broadcast home of AXS TV in the U.S. and Fight Network in Canada. The fight card will also stream live and free on all Invicta FC social platforms beginning with a three-fight preliminary card at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m CT. Main-card action will follow on AXS TV at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

The event will be overseen by the Kansas Athletic Commission and will feature open scoring. With the ongoing pandemic, the fights will take place behind closed doors — sans fans and media. As with any Invicta event, the safety of its athletes, their corners, its staff and commission officials is of the utmost priority. All participants will be tested for COVID-19 prior to the event.

The full Invicta on AXS TV fight card can be found below:

Flyweight Title: Karina Rodriguez vs. Daiana Torquato
Atomweight Title: Alesha Zappitella vs. Jéssica Delboni
Strawweight:
 Emily Ducote vs. Liz Tracy
Bantamweight: Taneisha Tennant vs. Hope Chase
Flyweight: Juliana Miller vs. Claire Guthrie
Flyweight: Josee Storts vs. Maria Favela
Strawweight: Fatima Kline vs. Ariana Melendez


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.