Invicta FC 4 went down Saturday January 5th in Kansas City with their fourth event and included their first 115 lb Title belt on the line. This all-female, all-pro MMA card is the only one like it in the United States, bringing in talent from all over the world and they always includes local Northwest fighters. Female superstars Liz Carmouche and Miesha Tate were in attendance, as well as Julie Kedzie returning as commentator with King Mo Lawal and a new co-host in Bas Rutten.
A week out from the card, main-event title contender Claudia Gadelha had to pull out due to injury, leaving Carla Esparza without an opponent. Australian fighter Bec "Rowdy" Hyatt, set to face dangerous Scot Joanne Calderwood, took the opportunity to move in to the vacant title fight spot. Expected to be a quick finish for Esparza, Hyatt impressed the world with her five round battle against the experienced wrestler, forcing the decision to go to the judges. Hyatt used her height advantage in the stand-up, prompting Esparza to stay fast on her feet and time her shots to take the fight to the ground.
Once on the ground though, Hyatt proved to be a very good defensive player, breaking Esparza down, and spinning away whenever possible. Esparza continued to look in vain for submissions for five rounds, and successfully defended a nice armbar attempt from Hyatt, ultimately sending the fight to the judges who gave their unanimous decision to Esparza who become Invicta FC's first 115 lb Champion.
Alexis "Ally Gator" Davis proved that her ground game is deadly even against a formidable opponent such as Shayna "Queen of Spades" Baszler. Both these 135 lb fighters have fought the best in the division, including each other earlier in their careers.
They fought well for the first two rounds, but it was British Columbia's Davis who pushed hard at the beginning of the third, getting Baszler to slip into defense mode before climbing onto her back. Davis slipped in her hooks, dug her arm in under Baszler's chin, and spun the Queen of Spades off her knees and onto her side, tightening the choke. Never tapping, Baszler went out cold 58 seconds into round 3.
Leslie "The Peacemaker" Smith and Raquel "Rocky" Pennington had some bad blood to settle in their 135 lb bout. With the animosity evident in their stare down and Diaz-like taunting in the second and third rounds, these two still put on a show of skills for the crowd and forcing the fight to the judges where they declared Smith the unanimous winner.
Sarah "The Monster" D'Alelio, Olympia BJJ/Combat Sports Academy, has been moving up the ranks in the 135 division. She continued to show her dominance against the best of the best, facing off with Brazil's Amanda "The Lioness of the Cage" Nunes. D'Alelio, always comfortable to bang it out on her feet, took some nice shots from Nunes, but kept the Brazilian neutralized on the bottom whenever they went to the ground. The judges easily found D'Alelio the winner in their unanimous decision.
Amanda "The Lady Killer" Bell from Medford OR made her pro debut against 1-0 Tamikka "Boom Boom" Brents in the 145lb division, finding herself on her back and defending on the ground, and muscled against the cage on her feet. Bell fought hard, but she couldn't pull ahead of Brents who won the unanimous decision victory.
In the closest fight of the night, local "Lightning" Liz McCarthy of Team Quest in Tualatin OR battled it out with Jodie Esquibel from Jackson's MMA. The first round was hard to judge, Esquibel edging ahead on the stand up while McCarthy counterstriked and circled, looking for her takedown. McCarthy timed it well, and got her single-leg to take side control on Esquibel and hold her there while McCarthy looked for submissions. Esquibel defended, and near the end of the round was able to walk her back up the cage wall enough to regain her feet when McCarthy went to pass into mount. Round two, McCarthy showed more aggression on the feet, the two fighters taking turns walking each other down. At the 10-second warning bell, McCarthy went in for a takedown, but couldn't get it before time ran out. Going into the third, McCarthy stayed aggressive on the feet, still being edged out by Esquibel's accuracy, but landing good punches of her own. With a minute and a half left in the fight, McCarthy got Esquibel against the cage and climbed onto her back. Esquibel immediately began to hand-fight, and stayed on her feet for almost a minute before sinking to the ground. McCarthy never stopped working for the choke, trying to loosen Esquibel up with punches, but Esquibel defended all the way to the bell. The judges had a hard decision to make, although the big surprise was the one judge that earned a lot of boo's for the 30-27 scorecard for Esquibel; scorecards read 29-28 for McCarthy, 29-28 for Esquibel, and 30-27 for winner by split decision, Jodie Esquibel.
InvictaFC will hold it's next event in April, showcasing Sarah Kaufmann in her Invicta debut as well as Jessica Penne's first title defense of her 105 lb belt. The big announcement is the Invicta FC 125 lb championship belt coming up for grabs for the first time in a stunning match up of Barb Honchak and Vanessa Porto. Learn more about Invicta FC on their website: InvictaFC.com.
Bout 1- 105 lb MMA
Laura Marcusse-Sanko (0-0, K2L Grindhouse) def
Cassie Robb (0-0, Serial Boxe)
by Rear Naked Choke @ 2:07 Rd 2
Bout 2- 145 lb MMA
Veronica "The Heartbreaker" Rothenhausler (0-0, Fight Legion/Ruthless Fight Team)
def Katalina Malungahu (2-1, Xtreme Couture)
by KO (right hand) @ 1:12 Rd 1
Bout 3- 115 lb MMA
Tecia "Tiny Tornado" Torres (1-0, American Top Team)
def "12 Gauge" Paige VanZant (2-0, House of Ryu Fight Team)
by Unanimous Decision (All judges 30-27)
Bout 4- 115 lb MMA
"Thug" Rose Namajunas (0-0, The Academy) def
Emily Kagan (2-0, Jackson's MMA)
by Rear Naked Choke @ 3:44 Rd 3
Bout 5- 105 lb MMA
Jodie Esquibel (2-0, Jackson's MMA) def
"Lightning" Liz McCarthy (1-0, Team Quest)
by Split Decision (29-28, 30-27, 28-29)
Bout 6- 145 lb MMA
Tamikka "Boom Boom" Brents (1-0, Team Warrior Concepts) def
Amanda "The Lady Killer" Bell (0-0, Medford OR)
by Unanimous Decision (All judges 29-28)
Bout 7- 105 lb MMA
"Sassy" Cassie Rodish (3-3, Des Moines Jiu-Jitsu) def
Stephanie "Macaquinha" Frausto (4-4, Team Jorge Gurgel)
by TKO @ 1:04 Rd 3
Bout 8- 115 lb MMA
Joanne Calderwood (4-0, Dinky Ninjas) def
Livia "T-Rex" Von Plettenberg (1-0, Team Quest)
by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Bout 9- 145 lb MMA
Ediane "India" Gomes (9-2, American Top Team) def
Hiroko Yamanaka (12-2, Master Japan)
by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Bout 10- 135 lb MMA
Sarah "The Monster" D'Alelio (6-3, Olympia BJJ/Combat Sports Academy)
def Amanda "Lioness of the Cage" Nunes (7-2, AMA Fight Club)
by Unanimous Decision (All judges 30-26)
Bout 11- 135 lb MMA
Leslie "The Peacemaker" Smith (4-2-1, Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu) def
Raquel "Rocky" Pennington (3-2, Kongo Do)
by Unanimous Decision (All judges 29-28)
Bout 12- 135 lb MMA
Alexis "Ally Gator" Davis (12-5, Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu) def
Shayna "The Queen of Spades" Baszler (15-7, CSW/Next Edge Academy of MA)
by Technical Submission (Rear Naked Choke) @ 0:58 Rd 3
Bout 13- 115 lb MMA TITLE
Carla Esparza (8-2, Team Oyama) def
Bec "Rowdy" Hyatt (4-1, Impact MMA)
by Unanimous Decision (All judges 50-45)