Photo Courtesy: Scott Hirano, Invicta FC
InvictaFC president Shannon Knapp has always been an advocate for female athletes and she has two new missions in 2016.
The first will be Invicta Boxing, which will launch later this year. The idea was conceived well before what has become the new boom in women’s boxing. With Heather Hardy already signed on, she has athletes on her roster willing to cross over to the new promotion and she is already looking at current women’s talent in the boxing realm. She is still planning the logistics of the project, but expect an announcement soon.
The other mission is the flyweights. Many UFC fighters, including former InvictaFC star Joanne Calderwod, and current UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk have been asking for the division in the octagon, and Knapp tells she is going to advocate hard to the UFC to make that a reality.
“Flyweight is one of the deepest division in the sport for women,” Knapp tells us. “They are marketable and very talented. I want to see them make it into the UFC. I also want to see the UFC strawweights not struggle with weight or bantamweights fighting at a size disadvantage. It would also give us a chance to develop new and growing talent at 125.”
Speaking of the flyweight division, Knapp also confirmed to us that Jennifer Maia will be defending her title against a yet to be announced opponent at InvictaFC 23 May 20th. The event will be in Kansas City. Expect a lot of flyweight bouts on the card as she is close to finalizing the card.
The July 15th card will also be in Kansas City, but expect the promotion to be back on the road come for the September 30th card. No word on where the November 18th will be held. Knapp left the door open to adding events as well.
The big question many of the fans were asking about is the title situations. The featherweight belt is still on Cris “Cyborg” Justino, but Knapp is waiting on if Justino’s appeal with USADA will go through until making a decision.
The 115 title, however, will be up for grabs within the next three events. Who will vie for the title will depend on the results of some of the bouts on the upcoming InvictaFC 22 card. Two bouts she will be watching closely will be the Ayaka Hamasaki versus Livia Renata Souza and DeAnna Bennett versus Jodie Esquibel.
If Hamasaki does win her match, a discussion will be made about the atomweight belt. Knapp stated she doesn’t like keeping a belt in limbo.
Knapp is never for a lack of announcements and projects so expect more from her in the coming months.