InvictaFC is known for its strawweights.
Once again the promotion looks for it’s next champion in the division as it will hold a four woman tournament November 16 at Reelworks in Denver, Colorado, as previous champion Emily Ducote has vacated the title to fight for the UFC.
Those announced to participate are Valesca Machado (10-3), Gloria de Paula (6-5), Ediana Silva (12-2), and Karolina Wójcik (9-2). Machado is the lone fighter in the main draw not debuting for the promotion. Two reserve bouts have also been announced with InvictaFC vet Sharon Jacobson (6-5) facing IBO boxing champion Melissa Oddessa (3-2 mma; 6-0 boxing) and One Championship vet Maira Mazar (8-4) takes on Bellator vet Danni McCormack (5-2). All fights will be 3 five minute rounds.
This is the second time a tournament has decided a new strawweight champion. The first Phoenix Series event crowned Brianna Fortino (nee Van Buren) as the new strawweight champion, but she only held the title 39 days before vacating it to go to the UFC. Fortino had the shortest reign in InvictaFC history.
The promotion has proven time and again to be the gateway to a great career, having two of its alumni becoming multiple time UFC strawweight champions: Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas.
Esparza was the initial InvictaFC strawweight champion, defeating Bec Rawlings for the title in January 2013 at InvictaFC 4 (Video Here). Esparza didn’t defend the title but not for lack of trying, with several bouts falling through during her reign.
If it wasn’t for InvictaFC, the UFC wouldn’t have over half of its current strawweight roster. This started with the UFC buying out Invicta’s 115 pound division in December 2013. Eight fighters (Carla Esparza, Joanne Calderwood, Alex Chambers, Jessica Penne, Felice Herrig, Tecia Torres, Emily Kagan, Rose Namajunas, and Bec Rawlings) would go on to the Ultimate Fighter to crown the initial UFC strawweight champion. Esparza would once again make history as the first 115 pound champion in the UFC and the first to have held both a UFC and InvictaFC championship. Three other InvictaFC talents would sign directly to the UFC at that time: Cláudia Gadelha, Juliana Lima, and Paige VanZant. At present 37 InvictaFC vets went on to fight in the strawweight division in the UFC.
While many saw the division as gutted of its talent, InvictaFC president Shannon Knapp proved the doubters wrong as seven more champions were crowned over the year: Katja Kankaanpää, Lívia Renata Souza, Angela Hill, Virna Jandiroba, Brianna Van Buren, Kanato Murata, and Emily Ducote. Kankaanpaa is the only one not to sign with the UFC.
Some more facts about the InvictaFC strawweight division:
Over its ten years as a promotion, 100 fights have been held in the division, with 96 being official strawweight bouts. (4 bouts were atomweight fights that became catchweights.) The upcoming tournament’s second reserve bout will mark the 100th official strawweight bout in promotional history.
Of all the 12 strawweight title fights, 7 were won by finish.
Sharon Jacobson will solely own the record for the most strawweight fights in InvictaFC history in her reserve bout at the 50th event with 8. Presently she shares the record with Mizuki Inoue with 7.
Fighters from four different countries have held the InvictaFC strawweight title. If Karolina Wojcik wins the tournament, the total will be five. 14 countries have sent representatives to the strawweight division.
No strawweight champion has defended the title more than once. Half of the champions have accomplished this.
Livia Renata Souza is the longest reigning champion with 380 days. Virna Jandiroba is second; one day shy of Souza.
Souza holds the two fastest TKOs in strawweight history with 1:30 and 1:41 respectively.
Rose Namajunas holds the record for the fastest submission in strawweight history with a flying armbar over Kathina Catron in 12 seconds at InvictaFC 5. (Video here)