Watercooler – Invicta & UFC Preps for 2017

(Angela Hill – Photo courtesy Esther Lin/InvictaFC)

Invicta FC added four more bouts to their 21st card January 14th in Kansas City, Missouri.

Previous title challenger DeAnna Bennett returns to the cage and will face Jodie Esquibel in what could be a title eliminator match. Bennett (8-2) is coming off her first back to back losses of her career. Esquibel (5-2) is coming off a loss to Alexa Grasso.

Both coming off losses as well, Pannie Kianzad and Raquel Pa’aluhi are looking to put themselves in title contention in the bantamweight division. Kianzad  (8-1) came up short in a match with bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger in her last outing. Pa’aluhi (5-5) was on a three fight win streak before losing to Colleen Schneider.

Boxing champion Heather Hardy has an opponent in amateur prospect Brieta Carpenter. Undefeated Hardy will be making her MMA debut with an extensive boxing and kickboxing career. Carpenter (8-2 amateur) is the former Tuff-n-uff bantamweight champion, defeating Serena DeJesus this past summer.

Rouding out the additions is undefeated Aspen Ladd (4-0) taking on Sijara Eubanks (2-1).

The main event features a featherweight title eliminator between Charmaine Tweet (9-5) and Megan Anderson (7-2).

It is expected Rachael Ostovich and Andrea Lee will return on the event as well in separate bouts. Opponents to be announced.

The card will stream on UFC Fight Pass.

Speaking of Andrea Lee, she will be making up for lost time as only a month after InvictaFC 21 she will be fighting at Legacy Fighting Alliance’s card February 24th against Heather Bassett. Location to be announced. It will air on AXS TV.

For the second time in the company’s history, Invicta will need to crown a new strawweight champion.

Former champ Angela Hill will return to the UFC December 30th as she takes on Jessica Andrade at UFC 207 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hill replaces an injured Maryna Moroz in the fight.

After going 1-2 in her first UFC run, Hill came to Invicta and turned her career around, winning four straight including a title win over Livia Souza. Hill successfully defended the title in November against Kaline Medeiros .

She will have her hands full in Andrade, who has been impressive since her drop to strawweight. She got back to back TKO wins over former InvictaFC champion jessica Penne and Joanne Calderwood.

The fight will air on the preliminary card on Fox Sports 1. The main event features the return of Ronda Rousey as she looks to take the bantamweight title from champion Amanda Nunes.

UFC on Fox January 28 will feature a main event to determine the number 1 contender for the bantamweight title.

TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena will take on Valentina Shevchenko on Denver, which will air on Fox. Pena (8-2) is undefeated in the UFC, coming ff a win over former title challenger  Cat Zingano. Shevchenko (13-2) is coming off her biggest win to date over former champion Holly Holm.

Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger (6-3) will fight in her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona for the first time since 2013 taking on  Nina Ansaroff (6-5) at UFC Fight Night January 15. The fight will air on Fox Sports 1. Both are coming off back to back losses and look to cement their spot in the UFC.

Cyborg Justino says she will be taking a break from fighting until March.

The InvictaFC featherweight champ is siting recovering from a bad weight cut and emotional issues for her lengthy absence. She was offered fights with Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie in January, both would have been for the inaugural UFC featherweight title.

UFC President White has been critical of Justino turning down the fights, but is still looking to develop a 145 division in 2017.

UFC fighter Anna Elmose has officially announced she is hanging up the gloves.  The Danish fighter went 3-0 in her first three fights before losing back to back in the UFC. Elmose states a loss of passion is the reason she is retiring in her facebook post.

“I honestly had no idea until the fight, that I have lost my “fighter heart”, and I really didn’t see it coming. I apologize to all I’ve let down, but I don’t have it in me anymore.

I live a very good life now, and I’ve realized, that I don’t have anything to fight for anymore. At the age of 32, other aspects of life now make more sense to me, but I don’t regret a thing.

I’d like to thank the UFC for giving me the chance to perform at the biggest stage in Martial Arts, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. What an adventure it has been!”


Ilima-Lei MacFarlane; From Serving Food to Serving Beatings

“I cried every time I watched that fight.”

That was Ilima-Lei MacFarlane explaining how she felt when watching her last fight with Rebecca Ruth at Bellator MMA. For MacFarlane, it was a high point in her continuing journey in MMA.

“It was a combination of a lot of thing. Being on one of the biggest card in Bellator history, having my family there watching, and the biggest reason was my coach Manolo (Hernandez) was in the hospital.”

“The win helped legitimize me in a lot of eyes including my own.”

Continue reading Ilima-Lei MacFarlane; From Serving Food to Serving Beatings

IMMAF European Open 2016 Coverage

Some of the best amateur female talent have descended in Prague in the Czech Republic for the second annual IMMAF European Open.

Competitors from over a dozen countries will look to shine on the amateur’s biggest world stage. Several World and European champions will look to face a fresh batch of hungry fighters to gain medals and put their names on the international stage. Continue reading IMMAF European Open 2016 Coverage

InvictaFc 20 Aftermath – What is next for the Athletes

It was a surprising ending to what has been a long 20 card journey for InvictaFC as a new champion was crowned in the bantamweight division.

Russia’s Yana Kunitskaya submitted champion Tonya Evinger to end her 9 fight win streak and take the belt, much to the shock of the MMA world. Kunitskaya improves to 10-2 with the win. Continue reading InvictaFc 20 Aftermath – What is next for the Athletes

Watch Olympic Gold medalist Claressa Shields vs. Franchon Crews Pro Debuts Here at 7 p.m. est/4 p.m st

Only months after winning her second Olympic gold medal, Claressa Shields is ready to spark a revolution in the pro ranks.

The successful world amateur champion will hit the ring in las Vegas as a part of the Kovalev versus Ward undercard live in Las Vegas Saturday night.

The popular boxer will face a familiar foe in fellow Team USA vet and nation amateur champion Franchon Crews, who will also make her pro debut. Sheilds handed her a loss in their only other outing, and Crews looks to avenge it.

The stream starts at 7 p.m. est/4 p.m. est and you can watch it below.

Keri Melendez Talks Fight Training with her Husband; Going to 115

Photo Courtesy Bellator MMA

Keri Melendez put her dreams of fighting as a career on hold to raise a daughter, but this year she is back to living the dream.

She signed with Bellator early this year to do both kickboxing and MMA. She was a champion in kickboxing, but MMA was something she never ventured into. The good news is she has one of the best MMA fighters by her side.

Her husband is UFC star and former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez. One of the better BJJ artists in the lightweight division, Gilbert has been watching her grappling sessions and has become her overall MMA coach.

Having two fighters in the household, it was learning curve to raising a family around fight camps.

“Right after my kickboxing bout, my husband had a fight four weeks later, so it was a little tough in our household,” Keri confessed to us.”I was lucky my mom was with us. She help out with our daughter and some of the chores that come from having a child.”

After the experience, Keri and Gilbert decided maybe it would be smart to schedule around their fights.

“I’ll take a break until my husband confirms his next fight,” Keri stated. “Then I will fight after he is done with his.”

Keri’s MMA debut comes at Bellator this weekend in San Jose, merely 30 minutes away from home. Gilbert and teammate Leslie Smith will be cornering her in what will be her biggest match to date.

The promotion has a budding flyweight division, which most thought would be where Keri would land. However…

“I usually fight at 120 in kickboxing,” Keri explained. “When I was offered opponents they said they would fight me at 115.”

Being a smaller fighter for the 125 division, Keri is looking for Bellator to possibly expand their female roster to strawweight.

“If everything goes to plan, I put on a great show, and get the W, maybe they will bring in more 115 pounders for me.”

You can watch Keri take on Sheila Padilla on Spike TV Saturday night.

You can listen to our full interview with Keri Melendez here.

InvictaFC 20 Primer

With over four years worth of fights, InvictaFC reaches its 20th offering Friday with two titles on the line.

44 athletes have passed through the promotion onto the UFC, making Invicta the place to develop and shine before getting the call to the big time. This card sees what could be the future of the sport.

Three fighters (Miranda Maverick, Pam Sorenson, & Ashley Yoder) missed weight and will forfeit 25% of their fight purse.

Here are the weigh-in results and a breakdown of the card. Continue reading InvictaFC 20 Primer

Watercooler: Boxing’s Hardy to Invicta; Schneider to Bellator

World boxing champion Heather Hardy is heading to MMA.

Hardy decided to crossover and has inked a deal with InvictaFC. She announced the signing via Ring TV. Ironically it was the new insurance plan for fighters under MMA legalization in home state of New York that drove her to the decision. She is still expecting to box along with her MMA career. Continue reading Watercooler: Boxing’s Hardy to Invicta; Schneider to Bellator

Miesha Tate: A Career of Adversity and Triumph

It was a sad night for the women’s divisions of MMA.

After losing to Raquel Pennington by decision this past Saturday, Miesha Tate stated she was hanging up her gloves. “It’s time for the next generation” Tate explained in her post fight comments.


When I first started covering the women’s divisions of the sport, one of the first I got to interview and cover was Miesha. It was right after she lost to Sarah Kaufman in 2009; Tate was a last minute replacement going into the fight. I remember how impressed I was with her wrestling, and how warm and friendly she was. Continue reading Miesha Tate: A Career of Adversity and Triumph

Competitors Announced for the 2016 IMMAF European Open

The next wave of European MMA talent will head to Prague, Czech Republic.

The IMMAF will hold its second annual European Open November 22-26. The competition brings out what will be the future of the sport. Twenty seven female competitors from 13 different countries will look to win medals and get worldwide exposure. Continue reading Competitors Announced for the 2016 IMMAF European Open

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