With six finishes in seven fights, InvictaFC came into the year like a lion.
Cyborg retained her title in usual fashion, while Livia Souza solidifies her spot atop the InvictaFC strawweights. Schneider played bantamweight spoiler to Raquel Pa’aluhi’s title hopes, and Mizuki Inoue got a much need win.
The results brings up more questions than answers.
Here is outlook for the winners and loser of InvictaFC 15.
Photos Courtesy Scott Hirano/Invicta FC
Cris “Cyborg” Justino
Cleaning your division means you have little options in fights. Justino has pretty much bulldozed the featherweight competition in front of her. The hope of superfights are tough with Ronda Rousey out and Holly Holm and Miesha Tate set to battle for the bantamweight strap. In Invicta, Amanda Bell needs a win to be in the hunt, as does Ediane Gomes.
Then who is next?
The only top 15 fighter that would make any sense is undefeated LaToya Walker, who destroyed Peggy Morgan at InvictaFC 12.
Invicta’s July’s event makes the most sense for this fight.
The strawweight champ went on record that she wants to be signed to the UFC. With her first round defeat of DeAnna Bennett, it is hard for her not to get the call. If the past few months have proven anything, she can sell herself and a fight.
If the UFC doesn’t call right away, Alexa Grasso makes sense if she wins her fight in March.
Defeating the #1 contender for the bantamweight strap, Colleen Schneider has pretty much put herself in the front of the line for a title shot against Tonya Evinger. InvictaFC 16 or 17 most likely depending on if she was injured or is on medical suspension.
Amber Brown has got to be the next one to face atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki. Like Schneider, a fight on 16 or 17 hinges on if she came out unsaved and doesn’t have a medical suspension. It is not known if Hamasaki will be on the upcoming DEEP-JEWELS in February so more than likely Brown may have to wait for 17 or the July card.
Hill looked great in her InvictaFC debut, but is still a fight or two before getting into the title hunt. Amy Montenegro and Delaney Owen make the most sense as her next test, hinging on if either is TUF 23 bound. If so, Lacey Schuckman would be an interesting test.
Mizuki learned her lesson from her match with Alexa Grasso and was more aggressive in her win. She is back in the title hunt once again, but will have to wait to see if Grasso wins her fight to see her fate. Mizuki still has her DEEP-JEWELS strap to defend, so she can bide her time. A match with DeAnna Bennett could also be fruitful.
The featherweights outside of Cyborg is still developing. Anderson saw much improvement moving to the states, and looked dominate in her win. Short list includes Amanda Bell, Charmaine Tweet, and Faith Van Duin.
Ibragimova was signed a bantamweight, so after her wounds heal, she will be heading down to try her luck there. Jesse Rose-Clark or Pannie Kianzad would be a great test for her experience.
DeAnna Bennett suffered her first loss, but she has options. A move back to 125 isn’t put of the question and could be fruitful with the title vacant. She maybe a good option as a tournament alternate.
On the strawweight side, a match with Mizuki could get her back in the hunt for the title.
It is back to the drawing board for Pa’aluhi to get a shot at the gold. Like Ibragimova, the two that makes the most sense are Jesse-Rose Clark or Pannie Kianzad.
It was a last minute fight, but VanHoose hung in there against a much strong Amber Brown. Lisa Ellis would be a good match, although newcomers Tessa Simpson or a returning Simona Soukkupova would be great as well.
Having two straight losses in Invicta isn’t good, especially in a stacked strawweight division. She may need to fight outside the company to get a solid win before moving back in, like Peggy Morgan has done.
The Mizuki loss was only a minor step back for Schuckman, who has proven to be a fan favorite win or lose. Norma Reuda Center took a last minute fight with DeAnna Bennett and lost, but would be interesting to see these two scrap. Angela Hill, Delaney Owen, or Amy Montenegro could also be likely matches.
Gaining her first loss, it will be hard to find her a comparable opponent in what is a small pool. Andria Warwo is the one that makes sense of those who signed to Invicta, but if Invicta can bring in some more young talent to the division if would be preferable.