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

Carla Esparza meets Randa Markos at UFC Fight Night 105 in Canada

  • 10 days ago
  • 12 views

A women’s strawweight matchup between former UFC and Invicta FC champ Carla Esparza and fellow “The Ultimate Fighter 20” cast member Randa Markos has been added to UFC Fight Night 105.Filed under: Ne read news >>

For UFC fighters like Carla Esparza, life is just as tough outside the octagon

  • 29 days ago
  • 18 views

IRVINE, Calif. – Ronda Rousey and Carla Esparza have plenty in common. Both broke new ground as the UFC's inaugural divisional champ, Rousey at bantamweight, Esparza at strawweight. Both lost their t read news >>

Another Ronda Rousey Sighting in the Latest UFC 207 Embedded! | MMAWeekly.com

  • 22 days ago
  • 40 views

Ronda Rousey was a little surprised when she walked into a room full of reporters at the UFC 207 early morning official weigh-in. read news >>

Video: Watch newcomer Niko Price hand Brandon Thatch fourth straight choke loss at UFC 207

  • 21 days ago
  • 7 views

Niko Price probably figured he had nothing to lose when he took a short-notice fight against Brandon Thatch with less than three weeks to prepare.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Niko Price Taps Out Brandon Thatch (UFC 207 Highlights) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 21 days ago
  • 6 views

Promotional newcomer Niko Price got a submission win over Brandon Thatch in his UFC debut at UFC 207 on Friday. Check out the fight highlights. read news >>

Dominick Cruz vs. Cody Garbrandt Results: Winner, Reaction from UFC 207

  • 21 days ago
  • 98 views

At UFC 207, Cody Garbrandt not only talked the talk, but he walked the walk to the tune of a unanimous-decision win over Dominick Cruz in the co-main event to become the new champion of the UFC's ban read news >>

Amanda Nunes Destroys Ronda Rousey (UFC 207 Results) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 21 days ago
  • 27 views

Women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes walked through former titleholder Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 on Friday, finishing "Rowdy" in just 48 seconds. read news >>

Bobby Nash replaces Yancy Medeiros, meets Li Jingliang at UFC on FOX 23

  • 19 days ago
  • 9 views

UFC newcomer Bobby Nash has replaced Yancy Medeiros and is slated to meet fellow welterweight Li Jingliang at UFC on FOX 23.Filed under: News read news >>

Don't believe in studying film? UFC newcomer Niko Price thinks you're nuts

  • 19 days ago
  • 18 views

Invariably, there are fighters every card who say they don’t watch their opponents’ past fights because, after all, what are coaches for, anyway? But not Niko Price.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Manager: Jessica Andrade was offered UFC champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk, wants another fight first

  • 18 days ago
  • 45 views

Manager and interpreter Tiago Okamura said UFC strawweight Jessica Andrade was given the option of “going straight” to a title shot after her UFC 207 scrap got canceled, but she prefers to fight once read news >>