Carla Esparza walked away with the prize, but a promising Australian newcomer made certain she worked for it.

Team Oyama’s Esparza captured the vacant Invicta Fighting Championships strawweight title with a hard-earned unanimous decision over Bec Hyatt in the Invicta FC 4 headliner on Saturday at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. All three judges saw it as a clean sweep for Esparza (9-2, 3-0 Invicta), who elicited 50-45 marks on all three scorecards.

Esparza established her superiority in the first round, where she knocked the Aussie off-balance with a stout combination, struck for a takedown and unleashed some effective ground-and-pound. Eventually, the Bellator Fighting Championships veteran moved into position to threaten Hyatt with a rear-naked choke. Those advances were denied.

Takedowns were the story throughout the five-round affair, as Hyatt could not stay upright long enough to tip the scales in her favor. Esparza grounded the 23-year-old -- a short-notice replacement for the injured Claudia Gadelha -- in all five rounds and rarely strayed from her comfort zone. Still, Hyatt (4-2, 0-1 Invicta) performed well in her first appearance on American soil, as she tagged Esparza with a hearty multi-punch volley in the third round and knocked her down late in the fifth.

In the co-main event, surging Canadian bantamweight Alexis Davis rendered Shayna Baszler unconscious with a third-round rear-naked choke. Baszler (15-8, 1-2 Invicta) met her end 58 seconds into round three, as she was submitted for the first time in more than seven years.

Davis (13-5, 2-0 Invicta) was relentless, threatening “The Queen of Spades” with one submission after another: a rear-naked choke and heel hook in the first round and an omoplata and inverted triangle choke in the second. The 28-year-old finally sealed the deal in round three. There, Davis capitalized on a Baszler slip, transitioned to her back and finished the Josh Barnett protégé with the rear-naked choke, locking down her fifth win in six fights.

Meanwhile, takedowns, steady ground-and-pound and a second-round point deduction carried Sarah D’Alelio to her third win in four appearances, as she cruised to a unanimous decision against fellow Strikeforce veteran Amanda Nunes in a bantamweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-26 for D’Alelio (7-3, 3-1 Invicta).

D’Alelio struck for takedowns in all three rounds, stifled Nunes (7-3, 1-1 Invicta) with a heavy top game and built her lead with punches and elbows on the mat. She also benefitted from a second-round miscue from the Brazilian, who was docked a point after delivering an illegal upkick. Nunes is a disappointing 1-2 since her scintillating 14-second knockout against Julia Budd in January 2011.

Elsewhere, Cesar Gracie Fight Team representative Leslie Smith rebounded from a slow start to record a unanimous decision over Raquel Pennington in a featured matchup at 135 pounds. Smith (5-2-1, 1-0-1 Invicta) swept the scorecards by identical 29-28 counts.

The fight was won in the second and third rounds, where Smith stepped up her aggression with punches and a nice mix of kicks to the body and head. The 30-year-old Californian punctuated the victory with a strong final five minutes, as she escaped an attempted guillotine choke and peppered Pennington (3-3, 0-2 Invicta) with her hands and feet.

Finally, Dinky Ninjas export Joanne Calderwood (5-0, 2-0 Invicta) kept her perfect professional record intact and captured a unanimous verdict from Livia von Plettenberg (1-1, 0-1 Invicta), securing 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27 scores from the judges in a strawweight showcase; and American Top Team’s Ediane Gomes (10-2, 2-0 Invicta) posted her third victory in as many appearances and took a unanimous decision from Strikeforce veteran Hiroko Yamanaka (12-3, 0-1 Invicta) at 145 pounds, earning 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 nods on the scorecards.

In preliminary action, Cassie Rodish stopped Stephanie Frausto on punches and elbows 64 seconds into round three in their 105-pound clash; Illinois-based featherweight Tamikka Brents secured a unanimous decision over Amanda Bell, earning 29-28 nods from all three judges; Rose Namajunas coaxed a tapout from Emily Kagan with a rear-naked choke 3:44 into the first round of their 115-pound duel; Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts atomweight Jodie Esquibel took a split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) from Liz McCarthy; American Top Team strawweight Tecia Torres captured a unanimous verdict from Paige VanZant, sweeping the scorecards by matching 30-27 marks; Veronica Rothenhausler knocked out Katalina Malungahu with a right cross 1:12 into round one of their 145-pound tilt; and Laura Sanko submitted Cassie Robb with a rear-naked choke 67 seconds into the second round of their atomweight battle.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Brandon Halsey vs. Rafael Carvalho set for vacant middleweight title at Bellator 144

  • 7 days ago
  • 1 views

Former Bellator MMA middleweight champ Brandon Halsey will fight for the title he recently lost on the scale when he meets Rafael Carvalho at Bellator 144.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

UFC Welterweight Jordan Mein Retires from Fighting at Age 25

  • 8 days ago
  • 54 views

Another promising UFC fighter has walked away from the sport. On Wednesday, 25-year-old UFC welterweight Jordan Mein announced that his fighting days are over. read news >>

Mark Munoz 'more comfortable than ever' in retirement; no itch for UFC return

  • 9 days ago
  • 4 views

Mark Munoz walked away from the sport in the most perfect way imaginable. The UFC vet said he has no itch to return.Filed under: News read news >>

RFA 29 Results and Fight Highlights: Team Brazil Bests Team USA

  • 13 days ago
  • 11 views

The RFA 29 main event was battle for the vacant featherweight championship. Brazilian Raoni Barcelos did the honors, winning a lopsided decision over Ricky Musgrave. read news >>

Joanna Jedrzejczyk to defend title in co-main of event of UFC 195

  • 13 days ago
  • 15 views

The women's strawweight title will be on the line in the co-main event of UFC 195: Rousey vs. Holm. January 2nd, 2016 looks to be a banner day for women's MMA. News broke early this morning that Rond read news >>

Bellator signs Olympic wrestling hopeful/MMA newcomer Tyrell Fortune

  • 15 days ago
  • 0 views

While his focus remains on the 2016 Summer Olympics, noted amateur wrestler Tyrell Fortune has signed an MMA deal.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

MMA fighter in Brazil wins strawweight title ... while 12 weeks pregnant

  • 18 days ago
  • 7 views

File this under: "You Don't See This Everyday" and close it with a #ThankYourLuckyStars hashtag. Female mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters have a much different set of potential problems -- many more read news >>

Why submission ace Dustin Hazelett walked away from UFC: He was genuinely happy

  • 20 days ago
  • 513 views

The cheering crowds are gone. There are no more $60,000 bonus checks for a job well done. However, blood, excitement, danger, adrenaline and the unknown? Those things do remain in the post-fight life read news >>

Germany's Nick Hein meets newcomer Yusuke Kasuya at UFC Fight Night 75 in Japan

  • 22 days ago
  • 4 views

Next month’s UFC fight card in Japan has a new addition to the lineup. Germany’s Nick Hein will head east to meet Japanese newcomer Yusuke Kasuya at UFC Fight Night 75. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Andrew Sanchez dominates, devastates John Poppie to claim vacant RFA middleweight belt

  • 27 days ago
  • 2 views

Andrew Sanchez thoroughly dominated John Poppie from start to finish, then ended their championship fight in devastating fashion, claiming the vacant RFA middleweight title in the process.Filed under read news >>