Lacey Schuckman: Anyone, Anywhere

A fighter’s record in mixed martial arts can be a seriously misleading piece of information. For every legitimate, undefeated prospect, there are dozens of others that have feasted on less experienced foes to inflate their worth.

In contrast, there are numerous veterans of the sport who have stepped up on short notice or moved up in weight just for an opportunity. These fighters have records that are the most misleading of all.

Take 27-year-old strawweight Lacey Schuckman, who began competing in combat sports nearly a decade ago. When the Colorado native was getting her feet wet in the cage, amateur MMA wasn’t even sanctioned in Colorado or Nevada. Schuckman ended up facing fighters far more experienced, sometimes on just a week’s notice.

“In the early days it was really hard to find competitors; it’s why I ended up going pro so quickly,” explained the fighter of her short amateur career. “Now that there’s such an influx, I wish I could go back and do it all over again. But I definitely learned a lot through the whole experience.”

Since turning pro in 2009, Schuckman has been in the cage nearly 20 times. Amongst the names on her resume are three current or former Invicta FC champions: Carla Esparza, Michelle Waterson and Ayaka Hamasaki.

“I wouldn’t say I have any regrets,” said Schuckman with a laugh. “I’ve learned a lot and it’s helped me to get comfortable where I want to compete. It gave me an opportunity to fight a lot of women that not many people can say they fought. I think some of the fights would have been smarter later (or earlier) in my career. Things like that maybe I would change, but I learned so much. That’s the reason I am where I am right now.”

After nearly three years away from the promotion, Schuckman returned to Invicta in 2015, scoring a first-round stoppage of Jenny Liou at Invicta FC 12. But it is one of her previous Invicta appearances that she credits for helping her improve her fight game.

“I took [the Hamasaki fight] on two weeks’ notice, so I wasn’t able to prepare as I should have. But it really showed me what I need to improve on. I thank her a lot for helping me become the new and improved Lacey,” said Schuckman.

Schuckman’s performance against Liou was one of the most dominant of her career. It was a testament to the hard work she’s put in through the years. Instead of waiting for her opponent to attack and looking to counter, it was pedal to the metal for the Colorado fighter.

“I really wanted to go out there and prove to people that I belong in Invicta,” she declared. “I’ve been in this sport so long. I was there before a lot of these girls thought of MMA. I tried to recapture who I was when I first started fighting.

“We really emphasized sticking to the basics. It made me feel really good. I’ve become such a defensive fighter, but in that fight I played my cards for once. It was a blast.”

One of the keys to Schuckman’s success has been her unique training environment. Unlike most fighters who train in large gyms with groups of other combatants, Schuckman and her husband, Randall, operate in a grassroots environment.

“Since Randall and I have made this our profession for the last five or six years, the only way we were able to train and fight was to train other people to support our living costs,” revealed Schuckman. “We started our own smaller gym and started bringing in individual coaches. The reason we stand apart is that we are invite-only. We get to pick everyone that we train with. Since we have individual coaches, we get private lessons every day for each individual art.”

Further aiding in Schuckman’s development has been the longtime relationship with her husband. The pair met at 12 years old and Randall has served as Lacey’s coach throughout her MMA career. The closeness of their marriage carries over to fight preparation and keeps the fighter disciplined.

“I can’t ever cheat on my diet,” joked Schuckman. “And I always have to get mitts in, even if it’s at midnight. He’s always thinking of things. When you live with your coach, they’re always like do this or do that. It’s definitely very hard, but it helps me a lot because I’m always under the scrutiny of my coach.”

The dedication and hard work that Schuckman has put in through her lengthy career helped her gain the respect of her peers and many in the sport. So when she called out Japanese young gun Mizuki Inoue, it came as no surprise that her request was obliged for Invicta FC 15 on Jan. 16 in Costa Mesa, Calif.

“I’m really excited for this fight because me and her match up very similarly,” said Schuckman. “We’ve both fought some of the toughest competition in our weight classes and we both started very young.

“I have the age and experience on her, which plays to my favor. She’s got a karate background; I’ve got a karate background. I think stylistically, we’re going to match up well. She’s a tough enough challenge that people are casting me as the underdog.

“Hopefully people will get to see what I can do and join my side for once. It’s going to be a striking war. We’re going to throw some hands.”

With a career that has had its fair share of ups and downs, multiple weight classes, short-notice fights and the likes, Schuckman has been through more than most fighters could ever imagine. Through thick and thin, she’s fought through and persevered to get back to the sport’s highest level.

“It’s very exciting to be on the main stage and be featured on a promotion like Invicta,” she said. “I always hoped and always dreamed big. I always hoped I’d be a part of it.”

Although her record might be misleading, Schuckman has earned the right to be someone else’s anyone, anywhere opportunity.

Lacey would like to thank her head coach and husband, Randall Schuckman, her BJJ professor Joaquin Baca, her boxing coach Steve Mestas, her wrestling coach Mike Laurita, her Muay Thai coach Don Lee, all of her teammates at Team Goonies, her sponsors: 90 Degree by Reflex, Martial Arts Life Apparel, Fighter Girls, Grit Mouthguards, MMA Roadhog Racing, Mass Destruction MMA, Qalo Rings, Eyefight Sports Nutrition, Tan Time, Smokin’ Photos, Oral IV, Dr. Jessica Riechert, DC and Xionx Maximum Performance Bands, her manager, Rosa at White Buffalo Fight Management, and last but not least, all of the private and gofundme donors.

Invicta FC 12 Results: Livia Renata Souza Submits Katja Kankaanpää to Claim Strawweight Title

Kansas City, Mo. – Invicta Fighting Championships returned to the Municipal Auditorium on Friday, April 24 for Invicta FC 12: Kankaanpää vs. Souza. The event streamed live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.

A new champion was crowned in the strawweight division as Brazil’s Livia Renata Souza submitted Finland’s Katja Kankaanpää in the fourth round. Souza attacked the champion from the opening bell, taking the fight to the ground and taking Kankaanpää’s back. Kankaanpää showed heart and defended rear-naked choke attempts. The momentum swung toward Kankaanpää as the fight progressed. She used a smothering top game in the middle frames, delivering short shots and keeping Souza from mounting offense. In round four, Souza again found herself on her back, but she slapped on a triangle choke and Kankaanpää was forced to tap and relinquish her belt.

Brazilian Vanessa Porto exacted revenge on Roxanne Modafferi, claiming a decision win in the pair’s rematch. Porto used her leg kicks to slow Modafferi’s movement and mixed in takedowns in each of the first two rounds. Modafferi countered with flurries, bloodying the nose of Porto. A right hand from Porto clipped Modafferi in round two, but she survived and pushed hard in the third round. Modafferi’s efforts were not enough as Porto took the fight on the judges’ scorecards.

New Zealand’s Faith Van Duin earned a big win in her Invicta debut, submitting Amanda Bell in the second round with a schoolyard choke. Van Duin put Bell on the mat early in the fight and threatened with an armbar. Bell escaped and reversed the position, dropping big hammerfists on the Kiwi. In the second round, Van Duin caught a kick and took Bell down again. She locked onto Bell’s neck and coerced a tap.

Raquel Pa’aluhi continued her march up the bantamweight ladder, edging Brazilian Ediane Gomes by unanimous decision. The Hawaiian scored with right hands and a big throw in the opening stanza, but Gomes countered with a heel hook attempt. In round two, Pa’aluhi hurt Gomes badly with a body shot and flurried hard for a finish. Gomes managed to recover and put together a strong final round. It wasn’t enough; however, as Pa’aluhi took home the victory on the scorecards.

Featherweight Latoya Walker remained unbeaten, edging Peggy Morgan by unanimous decision. Morgan used her reach to keep Walker at bay early, but Walker found her range and connected repeatedly with her overhand right. She rocked Morgan badly in round two, but could not find the finish. Morgan’s face wore the damage from Walker’s heavy shots as the fight went the distance.

Lacey Schuckman returned to the Invicta cage and needed less than two minutes to score a TKO win over Jenny Liou. Schuckman was aggressive early with her strikes, wobbling Liou with a flurry. She was patient with her follow-up punches, battering Liou against the cage and forcing the stoppage.

In her Invicta debut, strawweight Sharon Jacobson used a mix of aggressive striking and powerful wrestling to defeat a scrappy Delaney Owen. Jacobson overpowered Owen early, but Owen showed resolve and clipped Jacobson with a heavy shot that damaged her right eye. Jacobson went to her wrestling game and was able to claim a sweep on the scorecards.

Former training partners Shannon Sinn and Maureen Riordon went to war, with Sinn claiming the unanimous decision win. The two flyweights traded heavy shots from the opening bell, with Sinn landing more frequently. Riordon never stopped marching forward, but Sinn’s combinations and clinch work were the difference on the scorecards.

In a battle of promotional newcomers, Sijara Eubanks used her grappling prowess to set up a finish with her hands, handing Gina Begley a first-round TKO loss. Begley scored early on the feet, but once Eubanks took the fight to the mat, Eubanks delivered heavy shots and forced the referee to intervene.


Livia Renata Souza def. Katja Kankaanpää by submission (triangle choke). Round 4, 3:58 – for strawweight title
Vanessa Porto def. Roxanne Modafferi by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Faith Van Duin def. Amanda Bell by submission (schoolyard choke). Round 2, 0:38
Raquel Pa’aluhi def. Ediane Gomes by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Latoya Walker def. Peggy Morgan by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Lacey Schuckman def. Jenny Liou by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 1:53
Sharon Jacobson def. Delaney Owen by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Shannon Sinn def. Maureen Riordon by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Sijara Eubanks def. Gina Begley by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 4:59

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, follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights) and like Invicta on Facebook (