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.
Conversely, Angela Hill retained her strawweight title in a grueling battle with Kaline Medieros, which went the full 25 minutes. Hill would take the unanimous decision.
It will only be a short two months until InvictaFC has its 21st card, with the main event to determine a number one contender for the featherweight title as Megan Anderson takes on Charmaine Tweet. The card will also feature boxing champion Heather Hardy making her MMA debut at flyweight.
What lies ahead for those after their respective matches at InvictaFC 20? Here is our observations.
Photos courtesy Esther Lin/InvictaFC
The new champ has very few choices inside the promotion as a challenger.
With several fighters signing with other promotions and a lot of athletes still developing with only a few wins, there are only two options.
The first is a rematch with the former champion Tonya Evinger, who has a gripe with the ending of the fight. Referee Mike English mistakenly told Evinger that she could not step on the head of a fighter, and without any other options, tapped out to an armbar. Having went on the 9 fight win streak also gains her a case for a rematch.
The other challenger lies with Cindy Dandois, who is the only athlete in the division with two straight wins and in a position to challenge. Her first match with Kunitskaya ended in controversy as the referee quickly stopped the match, much to this dismay of Dandois and her fans. The story and reasons are there for her to avenge her loss and possibly gain a title.
If the former champion doesn’t get her rematch right away, she only sees rematches with the top athletes that she already defeated.
That being said, the UFC just lost some of its bantamweights. One who is a free agent is former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman. She is a vet of Invicta and is currently one of the hottest free agents on the market. Kaufman is thinking about a move to flyweight (which gives her the option of going to Bellator) but Invicta is in need of high profile 135 talent.
Even though both have had lengthy careers, Kaufman and Evinger have never crossed paths and the match would be the biggest profile one outside the UFC.
The champion is in the same situation when it comes to contenders as Kunitskaya. Many may not be ready to step up, and several have either left for the UFC. With Mizuki Inoue out due to an injury, you would be hard pressed to find someone.
Currently calling out Hill is atomweight champion Ayaka Hamsaki, who is looking to make history and become the first female athlete to hold two world titles in two different weight classes simultaneously. Having only one loss in her career, she makes a good argument for a title shot.
Sharon Jacobson should be available come February after her army assignment is over if Invicta decides not to give Hamaski a shot. She is on a four fight win streak.
The former champion Livia Renata Souza is calling of a rematch as well.
With her five fight win streak over, Medieros is still a hot prospect in the division. A few more key wins and she could be back challenging for the title.
A match with former title challenger Livia Renata Souza would be good, although Souza is refusing to fight anyone but the champion.
Others to consider would be Ashley Yoder, Amy Montegro, and JJ Aldrich.
Breaking a two fight losing streak, Tiburcio needs a win or two before considering a fight with the champion.
Although a match with the undefeated Julia Jones could get her there, we can also recommend Tessa Simpson as a possibility if Jones gets a shot at Hamasaki.
Her back to back losses puts Soukupova in a bind. She may need to take a fight or two outside the promotion to build herself back up.
Soukupova was set to take on fellow InvictaFc vet Catherine Costigan at BAMMA several months back, and we think that is still a good match for her.
Stephanie Skinner, Lisa Ellis, Shino VanHoose, and Liz McCarthy are good in promotion picks.
Ashley Yoder and JJ Aldrich
Yoder and Aldrich, like the strawweight champion, is proving to be better than what we saw on “The Ultimate Fighter”. With a wins this past Saturday, their stocks went up overnight.
Much like Merideros, they has a lot of options including Livia Renata Souza, and Amy Montegro, if not facing each other.
With back to back losses, Alvarez may have to look outside the promotion to get a win. Alida Gray and Lacey Schuckman are possibilities in the promotion.
Although her move up to 115 didn’t go as planned, Brown has options in both 105 (Herica Tibercio and Simona Soukupova) and 115 (Stephanie Eggink and Norma Center).
Sorenson needs a key match in order to make the argument for a bantamweight title match. Four athletes who are also in the same boat are Laura Howarth, Raquel Pa’aluhi, Apsen Ladd, and Pannie Kianzad.
Clark is in a tough sport as very few have the experience to take her on, yet some people coming off wins looking to get title shots with other contenders.
Elizabeth Phillips who was just released by the UFC could be a possibility.
Alexa Conners and Stephanie Egger
The develop bantamweights is a wide open field, including Amber Lynn Orr and Melanie LaCroix.
Miranda Maverick and Samantha Diaz
The ever growing strawweight division include Brianna Van Buren, Ashley Greenway, Delanie Owen, Kalyn Holliday, Sunna Rannveig-Davidsdottir, and Tiffany Van Soest .