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

Jessica Aguilar on Carla Esparza's PED allegations: 'Whoever beats her is on drugs'

  • 10 days ago
  • 2 views

No. 1-ranked women’s strawweight Jessica Aguilar is aiming for a UFC title after her release from WSOF, but she’ll also settle an old score.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos, WSOF read news >>

Carla Esparza: 'I know for a fact' Jessica Aguilar has used PEDs

  • 18 days ago
  • 20 views

Former UFC women's strawweight champion Carla Esparza isn't exactly sure when she'll return to the Octagon after losing her title at UFC 185 to Joanna Jedrzejczyk. But there are a few names more intr read news >>

Esparza claims friend gave WSOF’s Aguilar PED ‘shots in her butt’

  • 18 days ago
  • 78 views

Former UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza is convinced that WSOF champ Jessica Aguilar is on PEDs. read news >>

The MMA Hour - 281 - Carla Esparza

  • 18 days ago
  • 0 views

Carla Esparza discussed life after the UFC strawweight title and where she goes from here. read news >>

With Khabib as training partner, Islam Makhachev confident no other lightweight can beat him

  • 5 days ago
  • 6 views

Dagestani lightweight newcomer Islam Makhachev discusses his training partner Khabib Nurmagomedov and where he believes he ranks in the lightweight division. read news >>

Jessica Aguilar fires back at Carla Esparza: 'Sorry you keep losing to better fighters'

  • 11 days ago
  • 23 views

The week before Jessica Aguilar announced her split from World Series of Fighting, former UFC champion Carla Esparza gave Aguilar a mighty compelling reason to seek free agency. Largely unprovoked, E read news >>

WSOF women's strawweight champion Jessica Aguilar released, opening door for UFC signing

  • 11 days ago
  • 0 views

World Series of Fighting women's strawweight champion Jessica Aguilar confirmed her release from the promotion and is officially a free agent. A week after World Series of Fighting women's strawweigh read news >>

Is WMMA Still Being Held Back?

  • 10 days ago
  • 7 views

Is WMMA Still Being Held Back? read news >>

Juliana Lima now faces Jungle Fight champion Ericka Almeida at UFC Fight Night 67

  • 17 days ago
  • 0 views

Ericka Almeida is the latest addition to the UFC strawweight division. The undefeated Brazilian will fill in for Jessica Penne versus Juliana Lima at the upcoming UFC Fight Night 67 card in Goiania, read news >>

ONE Warrior’s Quest Results: Shinya Aoki Dominates; First Strawweight Champ Crowned

  • 8 days ago
  • 7 views

Shinya Aoki dominated in defense of his lightweight title at ONE: Warrior's Quest on Friday, while the promotion also crowned its first strawweight champion. read news >>