In a shocking announcement Sunday morning, former InvictaFC strawweight champ Katja Kankaanpää has announced her retirement.
“Now it’s time to take it a bit easier. I will write more specifically about this once I’ve returned to Finland. Thank you for all the support I’ve received from all of you,” Kankaanpää released in a statement.
Kankaanpää (10-3-1) lost a controversial decision to DeAnna Bennett Saturday night on the promotion’s 14th event. She went 9 straight bouts without a loss before losing to Joanne Calderwood in her second InvictaFC bout. She soon won the belt by defeating Stephanie Eggink for the vacant title.
Kankaanpää was the first Finnish female fighter to find global success in MMA, winning the country’s first world championship in the women’s divisions. She also has contributed outside the cage, having helped with all women’s MMA seminars a few times a year.
She leaves as one of the top prospects outside of the UFC in the strawweight division.
We wish her the best in the future.
The other big news came with InvictaFC president Shannon Knapp announced Cyborg Justino would be dropping to 140 for her next fight. The match will take place at the November event, with the exact date and location to be announced. No word on an opponent.
The main event will see strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza taking on Alexa Grasso for the belt.
Seven fights with three titles on the line will highlight InvictaFC 13 at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas July 9th.
As speculated, champion Cyborg Justino will face New Zealand’s Faith Van Duin for the featherweight title. This will be the possibly last time we will see Justino at this weight before she makes her drop to bantamweight. Van Duin is coming off an upset win over Amanda Bell.
Tonya Evinger (15-5) finally got her title match, facing Mexican standout Irene Aldana (5-1) for the vacant bantamweight title. Evinger is on a six fight win streak, while Aldana has won back to back fights at Invicta.
The third title fight is the already announced atomweight bout between champion Herica Tibercio and #1 contender Ayaka Hamsaki.
As for the undercard:
Undefeated bantamweight Pannie Kianzad (7-0) will make her InvictaFC debut against Australia’s Jessy Rose Clark (5-1). Kianzad is the Cage Warriors bantamweight champion, while Clark has won her last three fights.
Marina Shafir will make her InvictaFC debut against pro debuter Amber Leibrock. Shafir, a member of the Four Horsewomen, is coming off a KO loss to Amanda Bell. Leibrock got her Invicta contract by winning the Tuff-n-uff featherweight tournament.
Both coming off wins in Invicta, Amy Montenegro (6-1) and Jamie Moyle (2-0) will face off in a strawweight battle.
Round out the card is the already announced is Irish standout Catherine Costigan versus Amber Borwn in what could be an atomweight title eliminator.
At the Invicta 11 post fight press conference, president Shannon Knapp announced the dates and the main events for the next two Invicta cards.
InvictaFC 12 will take place April 10 and will be headlined by Katja Kankaanpää defending her strawweight title against Livia Renata Souza. No word on location as of yet.
InvictaFC 13 will be headlined by Cyborg Justino defending her featherweight title against an opponent to be named later. Also, Herica Tiburcio will defend her atomweight title against Ayaka Hamasaki. The card will be a part of “International Fight Week” in Vegas and will stream on UFC Fight Pass July 10.
The UFC held its “Welcome to the Show” presser Saturday morning which featured all the champions defending their title on the next few cards, as well as main event fighters. UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza and Joanna Jedrzejczyk were on the dais.
Karyn Bryant reported to the fans that Lorenzo Fertitta would only sign Cyborg Justino if she fought a bantamweight fight outside the UFC. White was skeptical this would happen, but was very impressed by Justino’s performance Friday night.
White was also impressed with Alexa Grasso and Mizuki Inoue, stating “This fight should have been in the UFC”. The crowd popped when the fight was mentioned, and White plugged it again later on in the press conference.
When asked about Grasso, Esparza complimented the performance and thought Grasso “should be in the top 10” and wouldn’t be surprised if she was her in the UFC soon.
Esparza also stated she would like to fight on a card in Mexico City.
Finally, White stated the flyweight division was still “a ways away” from being in the UFC.
White stated on the InvictaFC stream that the gate for Saturday night’s UFC 184 ppv was 2.4 million. Champion Ronda Rousey took a lower guarantee in return for part of it, which will bank her around a million for the fight, This will be one of the highest salaries for a female fighter in MMA history.
XFC has announced some signings this week.
World Series of Fighting vet Katlyn Chookagian will make the trip to Brazil soon, as well Dutch fighter Mellony Geugjes. Geugjes is supposedly still under Invicta contract. We will have more info in the coming week.
In another pro fight on Friday, Valentina Shevchenko defeated Jan Finney by unanimous decision at Legacy and improved her record to 10-1.
In what was a comeback year for Invicta, promotion President Shannon Knapp has sketched out a plan for the promotion come 2015. Knapp was on MMA Junkie Radio Friday to talk about where the promotion is heading in the new year.
Six events are planned with places like Denver, Ohio, and a return to Houston in the works. Word is Cyborg Justino will kick off the year defending her featherweight title in February. An announcement is expected at InvictaFC’s event Friday night on where the fight will take place, her opponent, and an exact date.
We should also to expect Friday shows more often.
Knapp hinted at a Vegas date, which could piggy back off of an UFC event. The idea would be to get the mainstream MMA media to cover their events more often and to expose more UFC fans to their product.
Invicta will also be using the UFC’s “octagon” style cage in future events.
After what has been a late start this year for Invicta, this next year will hopefully see Invicta build off its new found momentum.
After a busy weekend of about two dozen pro WMMA fights across the world, we have seen some interesting changes to Unfiied rankings.
Since InvictaFC 9 happened Saturday, the Unified Committee decided to include Saturday’s results. However, the DEEP-JEWELS results on Monday morning will be included in December’s rankings.
Also several inactive fighters have been dropped off the list…
InvictaFC champion Cyborg Justino has been left off the featherweight rankings due to inactivity. Bellator’s Marloes Coenen regains the top spot after her win over Annalisa Bucci. The undefeated Pannie Kianzad is now #2 in the division, followed by Bellator’s Julia Budd (#3) and Invicta’s Faith Van Duin (#4).
Bucci’s loss to Coenen drops her a spot to #6, and Talita Nogueira takes her place at #5. Maria Hougaard’s loss to Amanda Bell drops her out of the top 10, with Bell debuting at #9.Tweet (#8) and Gabrielle Holloway (#10) round out the featherweight top 10.
The top 5 in the strawweights remain the same this month (TUF 20 fighters are exempt from dropping out); however, Karolina Kowalkiewicz’s win over Mizunki Inoue at Invicta gains the Polish fight the #6 spot. Inoue drops to #10.
Lacey Schukman’s inactivity in the atomweight division drops her out of the rankings, giving Jodie Esquibel the #5 spot after her win over Nicdali Rivera-Colonac this past weekend. The rest of the top 10 remains the same.
Bantamweight stays pat this month.
Several flyweight fighters will be dropping this month and in December to strawweight, so we expect some major changes come the end of the month.
One of the top pound for pound boxers on the planet was in negotiations with the promotion since the beginning of the year. Having started her career undefeated with six finishes, Holm will have a big step up in competition in the UFC.
No word on when she will debut with the promotion.
Sufficed to say the possible match between her and boxing champion Cecilia Braekhus for the fall is now got going to happen.
Justino has hired Tony Aponte to help with the cut. Aponte has helped BJ Penn and Heath Herrig in their weight cuts. No word on an opponent as of yet.
Justino was set to defend her featherweight title against Ediane Gomes, but both have decided to drop to 135. Knapp is not sure of the status of the title. If all goes to plan, Justino will fight again next year at 135.
With Justino out for the promotion’s 9th card, it looks like Barb Honchak will defend her title and main event.
We will have more information next week. Wombat Sports will have live coverage of InvictaFC 8 in Kansas City the first week of September.
The match bewteen Shayna Baszler and Bethe Correia has been moved to UFC 177 on August 30 in Sacramento, CA after cancellation of UFC 176. The fight is expect to be on the Fox Sports 1 prelims.
InvictaFC vet Duda Yankovich is in stable condition after suffering a stroke this past Wednesday in Brazil. Her coach, Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, was there when the stroke happened and rushed her to a hospital after doctor’s advice. They found her middle cerebral artery was obstructed.
She is currently in the ICU hooked to machines, but conscious. She is doing much better according to her US manager and thanks the fans for their thoughts and prayers via text with him.
We hope for a complete recovery.
Experienced martial artist Kirstie Gannaway has signed to OneFC. Currently residing in Singapore, the Australian native has over eight years of training, but has yet to step foot in a cage competitively. She won a contract OneFC at an open tryout and is training at Evolve MMA, OneFC’s training facility. She is the third female to sign to OneFC. No word on when she will debut.
Before she stepped into the octagon this past Sunday, the UFC let Sarah Moras know that with a win or not she would have another UFC match due to Alexis Dufresne not making weight. No word on if this is another one fight contract.
Finland’s Eeva Siiskonen will face France’s Isabelle Pare in a bantamweight match at Carelia Fight 10 in Imatra, Finland Sept. 6.
The Girls S-cup is set for August 2.
The tournament, which combines kickboxing with standing submission, is an annual event and has sparked the careers of many Japan fighters.
This year they will have two tournaments with some highly touted prospects and vets of the Japanese fight scene.
In the 48 kg tournament will be 16 year old Yukari Yamaguchi, two time Shootbox high school champ Mio Tsumura, and MMA veteran Mei Yamaguchi. A fourth participant has yet to be named. Yamaguchi is training partners with InvictaFC vet Mizuki Inoue.
Multi-time champ Rena Kubota will look for another title as she takes on international talent in an eight women “World S-Cup” torunament. Among those announced for the bracket are Lorena Klijn and Christina Jurjevic.
More fighters are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Congratulations to Amanda Lucas. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Felix, Thursday at 8 pounds 3 oz.
This Sunday at 1 p.m. pst/4 p.m. est we will talk to MMA fighter Hadley Griffith. The Oregion native is looking to make her mark against the undefeated Emily Corso.
UFC president Dana White told reporters this week that Felice Herrig got into a fight on set of TUF 20. He failed to mention who was the other person involved, but our guess is Heather Clark. You can read why here. Herrig is still on the show.
With Cyborg set for InvictaFC 10, expect Barb Honchak to defend her 125 belt at InvictaFC 9.
High touted amateur prospect Taylor Stratford is looking to make her pro debut by the end of the year. Having been sidelined for over a year due to injury, her only loss was to Ronda Rousey. Rousey stated in interviews she feels Stratford is the top prospect at 135.
After her loss to Takayo Hashi, DEEP-JEWELS fighter Shizuka Sugiyama has decided to move to flyweight.
In a very rare event, there is no pro WMMA fights this weekend.
Legacy Amateur Series will feature three female bouts in Austin, Texas.
The main event will feature Colbey Northcutt (3-1) taking on Amy Coleman (5-1) for the bantamweight title. In a pair of strawweight fights, Ashley Milligan battles Bi Nguyen and Sijin Kurian faces Jordan Carmona.
In other amateur action:
At 24/7 Entertainment in Midland, Texas, Shyann Farmer fights Kenia Rosa
Jamie Mix takes on Cindy Benitez at RCWC in Garden City, KS
At Caged Warrior Championship in Larose, Louisiana, Takara McGilbra battles Jamie Blanton (155)
Amanda Pack fights Jesse Brennan at BFL in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
At Archangel Worldwide in Riverside, CA, Kelly Vanhoy takes on Elizabeth Rodriguez
Anna Dempster faces Kola Shippentower at Rumble at the Roseland in Portland, OR
At Premier FC 16 in Agawam, MA, Lisa Blaine fights Sarah Click
Paola Ramirez battles Michelle Motter at Fight Club OC in Costa Mesa, CA
Maureen Shea will be looking for a second weight class title as she takes on Angel Gladney in Oxnard, CA for the vacant IFBA super bantamweight title.
Shea (23-2) was a sparring partner for Hillary Swank on “Million Dollar Baby” and racked up 11 KOs in her career. She is currently the NABA featherweight champion and on a ten fight win streak.
Gladney (8-9-1) is looking to snap a two fight losing skid. She went on a seven fight unbeaten streak to start her career.
In Indio, California, Chantel Cordova and Patricia Alcivar will battle for the vacant NABF super flyweight title. Both coming off losses, Cordova (12-5-1) and Alcivar (7-2) will be looking for their first Continental title.
In other boxing action:
In a pair of bouts in Sofia, Bulgaria, Teodora Bacheva takes on Ivana Yaneva and Kremena Petkova battles Galina Gumliiska
Jennifer Hamann faces Ariel Beck in Shelton, Washington
In Grand Forks, North Dakota, Sonya Three Fox fights Concha Ross
A Brazilian website is reporting the World Series of Fight is looking to book Cyborg Justino versus Holly Holm for sometime next year.
Justino is currently sign with Invicta, and she is at the end of her contract after her next match. InvictaFC president Shannon Knapp has told us that Justino will defend her 145 title against India Gomes in June.
As of now, Justino’s management has stated they are not interested in signing with the WSOF anytime soon.
Speaking of Invicta, Knapp is expected to make an announcement next week about the June event and a possible tv deal.
Should be noted the Fox and the UFC not only recognized InvictaFC in their graphics and commentary Wednesday, but they also used Invicta footage to pump up the fight between Sarah Kaufman and Leslie Smith. UFC and Fox never does this…
According to Dana White, Ronda Rousey requested to defend her title on the July 5th card. White noted that Cat Zingano was still dealing with “personal issues” and was the reason she wasn’t available. Miesha Tate stated this week she is picking Rousey to win over challenger Alexis Davis. Liz Carmouche refused to pick.
White also mentioned he is working on getting the Strikeforce fights on Fightpass. Due to a provision in their Strikeforce deal with Showtime, they aren’t allowed to air the complete fights anywhere. They would also need to edit sponsors out of the fights.
Fox will air it’s first female bout on national broadcast television as Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche will face off in the co-main event on the “UFC on Fox 11” card in Orlando, FL. Both Tate (135.5) and Carmouche (135) made weight.
Both coming off losses, a win will get the one of them back in the title hunt.
The match will air on Fox Saturday night.
In other pro bouts:
At Kansas Fighting Alliance in Kansas City, MO, Trisha Clark takes on Amanda LaVoy
Crystal Stevens faces Rebecca Ruth at ShamrockFC in St. Louis, MO
Steelfist will have seven amateur bouts plus one pro bout in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Rachel Kemker vs. Killastina Matatohi (pro heavyweight)
Rianne Whiting vs. Danielle Donaldson (ammy 135 title)
At Fight Hard MMA in St. Charles, MO, Susie Wyatt faces Ronni Lawrence
Kelly Wisecarver takes on Kayla Kipp at EAC in Fredericktown, Ohio
In Absolute Action MMA in Williamstown, Kentucky, Kia Peppard battles Desiree Wilson (135)
Jennifer Darr fights Stephanie Alba at NFC in Duluth, Georgia
In UFA in Denver, CO, Selina Valdez-Montoya faces Latrisha Breidenbach
Erica Anabella Farias will defend her WBC lightweight title against Delfine Persoon Sunday in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
Farias (19-0) is looking for her 20th win and her 9th defense of her title. Persoon (28-1) is looking to put a fourth belt around her waste, as she is the current WIBF, WBF, and WIBA lightweight champion.
In a pair of bouts Buenos Aires, Argentina, Julieta Andrea Cardozo faces Maria Cecilia Roman and Alicia Monica Machaca battles Laura Soledad Griffa