In what is one of the biggest weekends in the women’s divisions’ history, Invicta looks to gain a lot of traction as they co-headline with the UFC in Los Angeles February 27th weekend.
InvictaFC president Shannon Knapp talked to us Friday to catch us up on what to expect in 2015 and her opinions on PED testing.
Knapp confirmed to us strawweight champion Katja Kankaanpää will be defending her title at InvictaFC 12, with an opponent, date, and location to be announced in the coming weeks. She also plans on revealing the rest of the 2015 schedule.
Knapp affirmed Ayaka Hamasaki will be the first challenger to atomweight champion Herica Tiburcio, with the match to take place on the next few cards.
As for the lingering question of the bantamweight title, she is expecting to crown the champion by the end if the year, but is awaiting certain things to fall into place. She has stated on several occasions Tonya Evinger will be one of the fighters vying for the vacant title.
Concerning the lightweights, she explained the division is still a “work in progress”. Knapp mentioned the possibility for “superfights” in the future; some which could be above 155.
When asked about the growing PED testing failures by some athletes, Knapp could only talk from her own experience within her own promotion.
“If we are in an area that doesn’t require testing, we do it anyway,” Knapp expressed.
She also came to the defense of her champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino who has been fodder of many accusations of her taking PEDs. Justino tested positive in 2011 for Stanozolol, which is used to lose weight.
“I tested her before I even signed her,” Knapp explained. “Justino didn’t know ahead of time. We have her tested in and out of competition and has tested clean every time. I am behind her 100% as long as she does so.”
In other notes, we were able to confirm atomweight standout Simona Soukupova will be returning to the Invicta cage soon. Another European, Mellony Geugjes, will also being making her Invicta debut this year.
Finally, Zoila Frausto is still under the Invicta banner, and will hopefully be returning to strawweight by the end of the year.
As for their upcoming 11th card…
“Expect some surprises,” Knapp emphasized. “The fans will be amazed at what they will see and who is going to be at the event.”
InvictaFC 11 will emanate from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles February 27. The event will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass.
With the new year comes new champions and new shake-ups in the rankings.
With the Ultimate Fighter 20 over and Invicta having it’s last card for the year, several fighters climbed their way into the top 10.
Herica Tiburcio debuts in the atomweight top 10 taking the #1 spot after her win over Michelle Waterson. With the loss, Waterson drops to #3 and Ayaka Hamasaki takes the #2 spot. With her strawweight debut in the UFC, Seo hee Ham drops out of the rankings.
Becoming the first ever UFC champion, Carla Esparza takes the #2 spot this month, behind the #1 ranked World Series of Fighting champion Jessica Aguilar. Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes the #3 spot with her win over Claudia Gadelha, in turn Gadelha drops two spots to #4.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz (#7), Tecia Torres (#8), and Kalindra Faria (#9) all drop a spot.
In the flyweight division, DeAnna Bennett moves up a spot to #3, changing spots with the fighter she defeated, Jennifer Maia (#4). With her inactivity in the division, Zoila Frausto drops off the list and #7-10 from December’s list move up a spot. Roxanne Modafferi debuts in the flyweight top ten.
Only change at bantamweight sees Tonya Evinger re-enter the top 10 at #10.
Featherweight also saw one change as Megan Anderson enters at #10.
Japanese MMA on New Year’s Eve has been a tradition for the past decade. This year, DEEP MMA will have the honor of bring a card to the Tokyo crowd.
DEEP will borrow talent from it’s sister organization DEEP-JEWELS to bring four female bouts on the card.
InvictaFC vet Ayaka Hamasaki will take on former Valkyrie champion Mei Yamaguchi in an atomweight bout.
Hamasaki (10-1), the former D-J 116 champion, looked impressive in her return to the ring as she defeated former atomweight champion Naho Sugiyama this past August. Hamasaki’s only loss was to UFC title contender Claudia Gadelha.
Yamaguchi (12-7) rebounded from close decision losses to gain a first round choke over Yukiko Seki at DEEP-JEWELS in May.
Fresh off her win a few weeks ago, WSOF vet Emi Fujino (14-8) will take on Emi Tomimatsu (8-8), who is also coming off a win this month.
Returning MMA legend Satoko Shinashi (30-2-2) looks to keep the comeback going taking on Rika Hamada (1-0).
Rounding out the card, Japanese bantamweight Shizuka Sugiyama (12-4-1) looks for her second straight win as she battles former boxing champion Emiko Raika.
Another female bout maybe added as Satoko Shinashi has asked for a fight against Korean star Song Ga-Yeon .
The event will be in a cage versus the traditional ring.
No word on if the event will stream or air in the U.S.
The card sees the return of Japanese superstars Ayaka Hamasaki and Mizunki Inoue. Hamaski will take on Brazil’s Herica Tiburcio in what could be a #1 contenders match for the atomweight title. Inoue, the current DEEP-JEWELS 115 champion, will take on undefeated Polish fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz in what could be a title eliminator for champion Katja Kankaanpää.
Among the young guns making their debuts include Tuff-n-uff tournament winner Jamie Moyle will take on TUF 20 hopeful Jenny Liou-Shriver; amateur phenom Andrea Lee taking on Shannon Sinn; and Kelly McGill facing Maegan Goodwin in Goodwin’s pro debut.
Two European vets are set to make their promotional debuts as Belgium’s Cindy Dandois will take on a returning Kaitlin Young, and Denmark’s Maria Hougaard-Djursaa taking on Amanda Bell.
Two atomweight matches were also announced with Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc taking on Jodie Esquibel, and Amber Brown making her promotional debut against Liz McCarthy.
The event will be November 1 in Davenport, Iowa, and will be available live on UFC Fight Pass.
Here is the full fight card:
Barb Honchak (9-2; champion) vs. Takayo Hashi (15-4) – flyweight title
Co- Main Event
115 – Mizuki Inoue (8-2) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (5-0)
105 – Ayaka Hamasaki (10-1) vs. Herica Tiburcio (8-2)
135 – Kaitlin Young (7-8-1) vs. Cindy Dandois (5-1)
105 – Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (8-7) vs. Jodie Esquibel (4-1)
105 – Amber Brown (3-1) vs. Liz McCarthy (2-1)
145 – Amanda Bell (2-2) vs. Maria Hougaard-Djursaa (5-5)
125 – Shannon Sinn (1-1) vs. Andrea K. Lee (1-0)
115 – Jenny Liou Shriver (2-0) vs. Jamie Moyle (0-0)
X-1 World Events will be holding a card at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii September 26. Three female bouts have been announced featuring some familiar faces.
InvictaFC vet Raquel Pa’aluhi will look to even her record, taking on Tierra Arnold in what will be a featherweight bout. Pa’aluhi is coming off a win over Priscilla White last fall, having snapped a three fight losing streak. Arnold (2-1) is coming off her first loss and is looking to rebound.
InvictaFC signee Rachael Ostovich will try to recover from her first pro loss taking on Misha Nassiri. Ostovich (0-1) was undefeated as an amateur, while Nassiri (2-1) is coming off a loss to Kyra Batara.
In an amateur bout, Jada Pereira will take on Angela Lee.
DEEP-JEWELS champion Seo Hee Ham will be fighting again in her native South Korea as she will face Ukrainian Alyona Rassohyna at RoadFC August 30 in Seoul.
Ham (13-5) went 7-1 in her past eight fights, having won the DEEP-JEWELS atomweight title last year. She is coming off a win over Shino VanHoose this past April.
Rassohyna (10-3) has won 8 of her ten wins by armbar. The strawweight will drop to atomweight for the bout after losing to InvictaFC title contender Katja Kankaanpaa. A win will gain Rassohyna a position in the atomweight rankings.
No word on if this will be streamed.
Finnish fighter and singing star Suvi Salmimies will look for her second pro win as she takes on Poland’s Roksana Prucnal at Lappeenranta Fight Night 11 September 20 in Kuopio, Finland.
Salmimies won her MMA debut this past May. while Prucnal is coming off her first loss in June.
The XFC has announced they will be doing a flyweight and strawweight tournament again this fall in Brazil.
Top strawweight Kalindra Faria has re-signed with the XFC and will participate the 115 tournament. Undefeated Hungarian Dora Perjes will be joining her along with fellow Brazilian Liana Pirosin.
The promotion also announced Finland’s Vuokko Katainen (2-1) will be a part of the flyweight tournament.
We are expecting more participant announcements in the coming weeks. The tournaments start next month.
The new TUF 20 teaser is out, and it features Rose Namajunas and Tecia Torres. Watch it here.
We will be doing a special podcast Tuesday at 1 p.m. pst/4 p.m. eastern talking to new XFC signee Calie Cutler about her second pro bout, a fight against Lindsay Garbatt in her native Michigan.
The TUF 20 fighters will be back on twitter Friday. They obviously can’t say a word of what happened during the show taping, but will be interesting to see their attitudes towards each other.
Scheduled Fight Results
Amanda Bell got the biggest win of her pro career getting a 37 second KO victory over Marina Shafir at Chaos At The Casino 5 in Inglewood, CA.
The InvictaFC vet caught Shafir with a stiff left hook and followed up with a flurry of rights which dropped Shafir. With the win, Bell goes 2-0 in 2014 and hands Sharfir her first ever loss. You can watch the fight here.
Muay Thai champion Jemyma Betrian made a successful MMA debut, taking only 47 seconds to knockout Hadley Griffith in a 120 catchweight bout. Betrian is someone to look out for in the strawweight division. You can watch the fight here.
Deep Jewels returned for its 5th card in Tokyo, Japan as a few InvictaFC vets took center stage.
Mizuki Inoue gained her first MMA title, submitting Emi Tomimatsu by armbar at 1:33 round 3 to win the 115 DEEP-JEWELS title.
Inoue (8-2) was slow to start, as Tomimatsu was aggressive and won the striking battle in round 1. In round 2, Inoue found her stride in the striking, using the clinch for knees and close quarter punches. Tomimatsu went for the takedown in round 3, Inoue was able to stuff it and took control on the ground, getting the armbar at 1:33.
The win gives Inoue interesting options as a contender for the InvictaFC strawweight title and a possible new signee for the UFC.
Ayaka Hamasaki made a successful move to atomweight in a dominate performance over former Invicta title challenger Naho Sugiyama. Hamasaki (10-1) had gotten a knockdown before taking it to the ground in round 1. Hamasaki got some ground and pound in a scarf hold before trapping Sugiyama’s arm behind her back and raining punches for the TKO win at 4:01. Hamasaki puts herself in title contention for the Invicta atomweight belt.
In other matches on the card:
Yuko Oya def. Sachiko Fujimori by unanimous decision
Mina Kurobe def. Masako Yoshida by unanimous decision
At KOTC in Highland, CA, Danielle Taylor defeated Nikki Lowe by submission (armbar) round 1
Maria Rios submitted Kate McGray by rear naked choke round 1 at NFA: Valley Invasion 4 in Wooden Hills, CA
At Circuito de Lutas Fight Night in Brazil, Arielle Souza submitted Maristela Costa by armbar 1:30 round 1
In a pair of bouts at Aspera FC 10 in Brazil, Janaisa Morandin defeated Mariana Oliveira by TKO round 1 and Claudia Rey KOed Natali Alves round 1
At Curitiba Fight Pro 2 in Brazil, Roberta Paim defeated Liliam Lika by TKO 1:33 round 1 and in an amateur bout, Vitoria Ferreira defeated Karen Fernandes by TKO 1:30 round 3
Chantalle Castellanos defeated Jeana Pinelli by unanimous decision at Dragon House 17 in San Francisco, CA
At Desafio Kaeshi in Brazil, Laura Balin submitted Maria Val by armbar round 1
Ingrid Medrano defeated Miki Rogers by unanimous decision at Kage Wars 009 in Biloxi, MS
At Frajola Fight in Brazil, Marília Santos submitted Gina Naja by arm triangle choke in round 1
Natalie Hills submitted Lizza Gebilagin by rear naked choke at 1:44 round 1 at Brace MMA in Cammeray, New South Wales, Australia
At X-Fest 7 in Rio Grande del Sol, Brazil, Luana Souza submitted Kelly Katiussy by keylock round 2
Elen Torres defeated Beatriz Souza by unanimous decision at Arena Nightmare in Brazil
In amateur MMA action:
In a pair of fights at XFO in Island Lake, Illinois, Tina Gomez defeated Jamie Mahoney by unanimous decision and Leah Letson defeated Chi Sheibley by unanimous decision
Courtney Kern submitted Christina Cherkes by armbar in 44 seconds at Gladiators of the Cage in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
At BlackoutFC in Emporia, Kansas, Abbey Frazier submitted Misty Perdue by rear naked choke round 1
Cassie Schmeekle defeated Jessica Fletcher by TKO round 1 at ShoFights in Branson, Missouri
At Fist of Fury in Woodward, Oklahoma, Lakesha Gardner defeated Bianca Rodriguez by unanimous decision
Kelly Clayton defeated Karlie Fox by TKO round 1 at Yakiama MMA in Yakima, WA
In Santiago de Chile, Chile, Carolina Rodriguez successfully defended her IBF bantamweight title getting a split decision over Dayana Cordero. She breaks Cordero five fight unbeaten streak and continues her undefeated streak at 13-0.
In Queretaro, Mexico, Victoria Argueta defeated Alondra Garcia by split decision to retain her IBF minimumweight title. Arguneta is the former WBC Silver champion and has won 5 straight.
Also on the card, Esmeralda Moreno defeated Linda Contreras by unanimous decision and Isabel Millan defeated Selene Lopez by TKO round 4.
In Lazio, Italy EBU flyweight champion Simona Galassi defeated Laetitia Arzalier by unanimous decision. Galassi improves to 21-3-1. Also on the card Italian lightweight champion defeated Monica Gentili by unanimous decision.
In other boxing bouts:
In a pair of bouts in Suwannakhet, Laos Nampetch Kwanjaisrikod defeated Kanda Por Muangpetch to win the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental light flyweight title, and Kanittha Kokietgym defeated Sroipetch Sithphosai by TKO round 4
Ana Martinez defeated Estefani Casillas by unanimous decision in Mexico City, Mexico
In Betania, Panama, Maria Milano defeated Iliana Bonilla by unanimous decision
Ayaka Hamasaki will try her hand at atomweight upon her return to action.
It was announced Monday morning Hamasaki will take on former JEWELS 105 champ Naho Sugoyama on the upcoming DEEP-JEWELS card which will take place in Tokyo, Japan August 9.
Hamasaki (9-1) was rumored to be dropping down from strawweight to atomweight earlier this year but had stated in an interview a month ago she wasn’t interested. With the announcement, she has seemed to change her mind. Her only loss was to current UFC signee Claudia Gadelha at Invicta last year.
Sugiyama (10-3) had lost in her bid to get the InvictaFC atomweight title, losing to Jessica Penne, and lost the JEWELS 105 title to Seo Hee Ham. She has since won back to back fights and looks to climb the ladder once again.
In another match announced, D-J strawweight tournament winner Emi Tomimatsu and finalist Mizuki Inoue will rematch for the 115 belt. Inoue missed weight before the tournament finals against Tomimatsu, which caused her to be penalized in the match and fight a battle in which she could not win the belt.