InvictaFC 18 Primer

Invicta heads back to home base in Kansas City, Missouri for the first time since September with their 18th offering.

For the first time, a title won’t be defended on an InvictaFC card but a new #1 contenders will be determined in the main event. Alexa Grasso returns to Invicta as she takes on Jodie Esquibel to determine a number 1 contender for the strawweight title.

A new co-main sees Christine Stanley face the undefeated Agnieszka Niedzwiedz. Claudia Rey and Talia Santos were unable to make it into the US from Brazil, with Invicta unable to find Irene Aldana an opponent. Both Brazilians and Aldana will fight on the yet to be announced InvictaFC 19 card, which is expected for September.

All but two fighters made weight as Aspen Ladd and Christine Stanley came in a few pounds heavy. Each will give up 25% of their purse to their opponent.

Eight fights will stream live on UFC Fight Pass Friday night at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.

Here is our breakdown of the fights and the official weigh-in results.

Photos Courtesy Scott Hirano, Invicta FC

Main Event

Alexa Grasso (115.4) vs. Jodie Esquibel (115.8) – Strawweight Title Eliminator

Grasso vs Esquibel_001

The Fighters:

Alexa Grasso (7-0): After a long wait due to injuries and illness, the popular strawweight returns to action.

Jodie Esquibel (5-1): Coming off a close loss on TUF 23, Esquibel returns to action for redemption.

The Storyline:

It has been over a year since Grasso has fought due to injuries and illnesses. During that time Livia Souza reigned and was expected to fight the Mexican star on a few occasions. With Angela Hill on top now, Grasso is finally looking to get her title shot.

In her way is Jodie Esquibel, who has held a strong argument for an atomweight title shot for the past year. She moved up to 115 to test her skills for the Ultimate Fighter 23 losing a controversial split decision to Ashley Yoder to try to get into the house. Many felt she deserved to sign to the UFC off the fight. A win gets her in title contention.

What to expect:

Both are heavy handed strikers, with Esquibel being more technical and Grasso having more power. It will be interesting if it goes to the ground, but expect a heated strikers battle in what will be a hard one to call. Will cage rust be a factor for Grasso or will we see the Grasso of old? Will Esquibel  continue her run at Invicta?

C0-Main Event

Agnieszka Niedzwiedz (125.9) vs. Christine Stanley (128.6)*

Niedzwiedz vs Stanley_002

The Fighters:

Agnieszka Niedzwiedz (7-0): The Polish sensation is back in action and looking to impress the US audiences.

Christine Stanley (5-1): The talented striker looks to etch her name into flyweight title contention.

The Storyline:

Niedzwiedz was one of the hottest prospects in MMA and was in line to become the Cage Warriors bantamweight champion in 2014. She soon found out she was pregnant and took two years off. Now at flyweight, she looks to regain momentum.

Stanley is coming in as a last minute replacement, having dominated her last four opponents. Training with champion Angela Hill at Alliance MMA, she has made a major impact in the division in a short time.

Niedzwiedz has needled Stanley on twitter for missing weight, which didn’t sit well with the last minute replacement.

What to expect:

Cage rust is something Niedzwiedz has to contend with. When she was at the top of her game, she was the most well rounded fight not signed to a major U.S. organization. Stanley’s power is well known, and is gaining a slid ground game as proven in her last fight. It maybe a closer fight than people expect.

Both were ready to rumble at weigh-ins and we can expect fistic fireworks come Friday night.

Main Card

Cindy Dandois (135.4) vs. Jessamyn Duke (1359)

Dandois vs Duke_001

The Fighters:

Cindy Dandois (6-2): Going back down to 135, Dandois is looking for her first win in Invicta in the division.

Jessamyn Duke (3-4): Duke is looking to end a four fight skid and get her career back on track.

The Storyline:

Two fan favorite fighters, both need a win solid win. Dandois has seen more success at 145, but is pressing for a rematch with the champion Tonya Evinger. Duke has seen better days in her career and is looking to turn it around and rebuild.

What to expect:

Duke’s longer reach both in striking and grappling could be problematic for Dandois. The judo ace in Dandois is know to be tricky on the ground, however, especially from the bottom.

Megan Anderson (146) vs. Peggy Morgan (144.6)

Anderson vs Morgan

The Fighters:

Megan Anderson (6-2): The Australian transplant is ready to fight in her adoptive hometown.

Peggy Morgan (4-3): After a win outside of Invicta, Morgan is ready to climb the featherweight ranks.

The Storyline:

Anderson’s move to Kansas City has be fruitful as she has got back to back stoppages since moving her camp there. Morgan took some time away from Invicta to improve her game and get a win, and feels now is the time for her to run the division.

What to expect:

Anderson has a lot of momentum and has found her grove in the striking department. Morgan will have a test, but has proven to be tough against heavy strikers.

Simona Soukupova (105.6) vs. Tessa Simpson (106)

Soukupova vs Simpson_001

The Fighters:

Simona Soukupova (5-3-1): Returning to Invicta after a three year absence, she is looking to get back in the atomweight title hunt.

Tessa Simpson (4-1): The atomweight sensation makes her InvictaFC debut.

The Storyline:

Soukupova took a few years off from competing to focus on her education back in Europe. She returned to action last year getting a KO win. Simpson has had big leaps in when she has fought, returning to action after a three year absence in win in Guam in a submission of year candidate with a mounted triangle keylock. Both are a two wins away from a title fight.

What to expect:

Both known for their submissions, Soukupova has gained some power and has some experience behind her. Simpson’s striking maybe a key in her winning.

Mizuki Inoue (115.1) vs. Lynn Alvarez (114.8)

Mizuki vs Alvarez_002

The Fighters:

Mizuki Inoue (11-4): The Japanese star looks to get back into title contention.

Lynn Alvarez (6-3): The long time vet looks to show a new generation her striking skills.

The Storyline:

Inoue has won three straight since her loss to Grasso, including defending her 115 title in Deep-Jewels.  With back to back submissions, she looks to follow Ayaka Hamsaki’s lead in being both a D-J and Invicta champion.

Alvarez was signed to Invicta last year, but an injury forced her off delay her debut. Currently training striking with Master Toddy’s son, she showed a much improved game against Amber Stautzenberger in 2014.

What to expect:

Our pick for a possible “Fight of the Night”, both have creative striking and solid ground games. Could prove to be a chess match.

Aspen Ladd (138.1)* vs. Jessica Hoy (135)

Ladd vs Hoy_001

The Fighters:

Aspen Ladd (3-0): The young gun looks to continue her win streak.

Jessica Hoy (1-0): Another prospect looks to earn her stripes in the competitive bantamweight division.

The Storyline:

As the bantamweight division as a whole need more stars, these two are the future. Ladd has seemed unstoppable in Invicta. Hoy is dropping down in weight after a win over Jessica Eve Richer in her pro debut.

What to expect:

Size may play a factor in Hoy, but Ladd loves a good finish, be it a TKO or a submission. Don’t blink on this one.

Sijara Eubanks (13) vs. Amberlynn Orr (13)

Eubanks vs Orr_001

The Fighters:

Sijara Eubanks (1-1): Coming off her first loss as a pro, Sarge looks to get over .500.

Amberlynn Orr (11-1 amateur): The well touted amateur prospect looks for her first pro win.

The Storyline:

After defeating Gina Begley in her Invicta debut, Eubanks lost to current undefeated UFC bantamweight Katlyn Chookagian. Orr has held multiple amateur titles and was one of the biggest prospects at 135 when Invicta signed her.

What to expect:

Orr has finished in most of her fights, with Eubanks never letting it happen. Will the immovable object move or will the irresistible force be stopped?

  • Both Aspen Ladd and Christine Stanley came in over weight and will forfeit 25% of their purse to their opponent 

Frausto vs. Graf Announced for Glory Kickboxing 33

The third quarterfinal match in the Glory Kickboxing Bantamweight (122 pound) tournament.

Bellator MMA tournament champion Zoila Frausto (4-0 kickboxing;) will face Germany’s Daniela Graf (23-5-1 kickboxing/Muay Thai) in Trenton New Jersey on the promotion’s 33rd card September 9th. Glory announced the match Friday night. Continue reading Frausto vs. Graf Announced for Glory Kickboxing 33

Waterson vs. Daly; Kish vs. Moroz Announced

Two strawweight bouts have been announced for two upcoming UFC Fight Night events.

Michelle Waterson will return to the octagon as she faces Aisling Daly as the UFC heads to Hamburg, Germany September 3rd. The former InvictaFC champion Waterson (13-4) is coming off a win in her UFC debut with a third round rear naked choke submission over Angela Magana. Before her loss to Herica Tiburcio, she was on a six fight win streak. Continue reading Waterson vs. Daly; Kish vs. Moroz Announced

IMMAF Crowns 2016 World Champions

Aleksandra Toncheva 01
Aleksandra Toncheva

Four fighters took home gold medals at the IMMAF World Championships Sunday in Las Vegas.

Coming off her 2015 IMMAF European strawweight title, Bulgarian Aleksandra Toncheva adds the IMMAF World title to her resume defeating Poland’s Aleksandra Rola by armbar in round 1. She also remains undefeated at 6-0, having only started fighting in November of last year. Continue reading IMMAF Crowns 2016 World Champions

Watch the TUF 23 Finale Weigh-ins here at 3 p.m. pst/6 p.m. est

The finals are set as Amanda Bobby Cooper and Tatiana Suarez will vie for the Ultimate Fighter Strawweight Tournament title Friday night. One will come out with a guaranteed UFC contract and many other prizes.

This is not to take away from what will be the biggest strawweight rematch in history as Joanna Jedrzejczyk defends her 115 title against Claudia Gadelha. Their 2014 affair was one of the best fights of the year and many taking sides on who won the match. The judges gave the split decision to Jedrzejczyk.

Weigh-ins start at 3 p.m. pacific/6 p.m. eastern. You can watch below.

Wombat Watercooler -Bellator, POP, and Invicta Adds Fights to a Busy Summer

No female MMA fighters made the ESPN the Body Issue this year, but women’s combat sports did get two representatives.

Olympians Adeline Gray (wrestling) and Claressa Shields (boxing; 2012 gold medalist) are both in the issue. Both will represent Team USA in Rio. Continue reading Wombat Watercooler -Bellator, POP, and Invicta Adds Fights to a Busy Summer

IMMAF 2016 World Championships Coverage

Amateur female fighters from 20 countries are in Las Vegas during International Fight week to become world champions.

For the third year, International MMA Federation is hosting their World Championships. The are four female weight categories this year with 32 participants.

Monday night they announced the brackets and we will update results throughout the week below. The action begins with Manfredi Morgane versus Katarzyna Biegajlo for a spot in the flyweight quarterfinals.

The event is free Tuesday through Thursday at the Las Vegas Expo Center. The semi-finals and finals will be a part of the UFC Expo.

Continue reading IMMAF 2016 World Championships Coverage

2016 Pro WMMA First Half Stats by The Numbers

With the first six months behind us, time to look at what has happened so far in the professional women’s divisions of MMA.

We have already seen some expansion and some surprises in terms of the statistics, as we are looking towards what will be another banner year.

Here are some key facts about 2016 from January to June by the numbers. Continue reading 2016 Pro WMMA First Half Stats by The Numbers

Grasso vs. Esquibel Among InvictaFC 18 Additions

After months of waiting, InvictaFC announced their 18th card for the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri July 29th.

In a first, no titles will be defended on the card as the main event features Alexa Grasso taking on a returning Jodie Esquibel in a battle of top strawweights. Grasso has been 7-0 in her MMA career, but hasn’t fought since February of last year due to injuries and illnesses. Having been given a title shot before, she needs a good win to regain her spot. Continue reading Grasso vs. Esquibel Among InvictaFC 18 Additions

2016 IMMAF World Championships Participants Tenatively Set

Coming into its third year, the IMMAF World Amateur MMA Championships are ready to show the best the international community has to offer.

So far 34 female athletes have signed up to make the trip to Las Vegas during UFC’s International Fight week. We will see some familiar faces from tournaments past, nationally recognized talent, and some new faces from some new places including Nepal. Continue reading 2016 IMMAF World Championships Participants Tenatively Set

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