Photo: Will Fox

At first glance, there appears to be a wide gap in experience between Invicta FC 6 foes Joanne Calderwood and Norma Rueda Center.

Not only does Calderwood have four more professional fights to her credit, but the Glasgow, Scotland native has already competed twice under the Invicta banner and once for the Europe-based Cage Warriors Fighting Championship promotion. Center, meanwhile, is unbeaten in two outings for regional organizations, with both victories coming against opponents making their first pro appearance.

None of the above is particularly worrisome for Center, an El Paso, Texas, native who is currently anchored at Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts in Albuquerque, N.M. Center believes her 5-0 amateur record should not be discounted, and her time spent as a collegiate wrestler nicely counteracts Calderwood’s celebrated muay Thai skills.

“I know that she has a lot of muay Thai fights. Then again, I don’t even know how many wrestling matches I have,” Center told “We come with different backgrounds and extended backgrounds. I thought this was the perfect fight to take with her experience and my experience.”

Center-Calderwood is one of 10 Invicta FC 6 bouts scheduled to air via pay-per-view on Saturday night. The card, which takes place at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Mo., is headlined by a featherweight title showdown between Marloes Coenen and Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino. While previous Invicta events were only available online, the promotion’s sixth card will air on cable and satellite pay-per-view for $14.95 beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Center’s path to mixed martial arts began on the wrestling mats at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky. She had taken a year off from competition after winning a state championship as a prep athlete in El Paso, but her competitive fire still burned.

“At the time when I got there, it was the No. 1 [women’s] team,” Center said. “I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I walked in, kind of recruited myself and said, ‘I’m gonna be here.’ I love the sport too much.

It was at the University of the Cumberlands that she met her future husband, Dustin Center, who was competing for the Patriots men’s wrestling program. Though she didn’t know it at first, her then-boyfriend was also dabbling in another combat sport at the time. Dustin Center kept his MMA training a secret in part because he thought it might be a turn-off. It turned out to be quite the opposite.

“He didn’t tell me he was a fighter when we first met,” Center said. “When I found out, I was ecstatic. I was like, ‘I’m gonna go to all your fights.’ When I started doing it, he was a nervous wreck, but whenever he fights I’m the same way.

“That’s one of the coolest things between me and my husband: We like to train; we like to work out -- so MMA fits.”

Center’s training included a stint at Dayton MMA in Ohio under two-time UFC veteran Michael Patt. The experience proved valuable, but ultimately Center wanted to be closer to home -- without exactly being home.

“I really liked it, and [Patt] really encouraged me to step it up further. He would give me short-notice fights, and I would take them,” Center said. “I grew homesick living in Ohio. I was like, ‘I can’t handle this anymore. I’m from the desert.’ My husband and I came to a compromise. I didn’t want to go to El Paso -- I love El Paso, but I just didn’t want to go back. I wanted to find something new.”

Jackson’s MMA, a little less than a four-hour drive from El Paso, has proven to be a good fit. A talented stable of teammates has enabled Center to raise her game as she prepares for her biggest bout to date.

“[A lot] of my teammates are in Invicta,” Center said. “For me to be part of it as well, it just gives us a little bit more strength. I’m excited to be a part of it, and I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity.”

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

Related News

Jennifer Maia Fends Off Roxanne Modafferi's Attacks at Invicta FC 19 |

  • 29 days ago

Jennifer Maia fended off Roxanne Modafferi's attacks at Invicta FC 19 to become the undisputed flyweight champion. read news >>

Invicta FC 19 results: Maia edges Modefferi for vacant belt, Hamasaki gets controversial win vs. Frey

  • 29 days ago

Roxanne Modafferi fell just short in her opportunity to capture a world championship on her 34th birthday when she lost a split decision to Jennifer Maia.Filed under: News read news >>

Renan Barao Hungry Again Heading into UFC Brasilia |

  • 29 days ago

Longtime bantamweight king Renan Barao moved up to 145 pounds because the weight cut was affecting his performance at bantamweight. read news >>

Invicta FC 19 video highlights: Holliday taps Van Soest while Maia, Hamasaki win title fights

  • 29 days ago

Check out the video highlights from Friday’s Invicta FC 19 event, which included a pair of title fights.Filed under: News, Videos read news >>

Video: Watch Vicente Luque score brutal knockout of Hector Urbina at UFC Fight Night 95

  • 28 days ago

Vicente Luque was a heavy favorite heading into his bout with Hector Urbina at UFC Fight Night 95. When fans expect you to leave the cage after having your hand raised, the best way to stand out is s read news >>

UFC Fight Night 95 Results: 5 Burning Questions Heading into Fight Night 96

  • 28 days ago

UFC Fight Night 95 is in the books. The results are as follows: Main Card on Fox Sports 1 (10 p.m. ET) Cris Cyborg def. Lina Lansberg, TKO (Round 2, 2:29) Renan Barao def. Phillipe Nover, unanimous d read news >>

Brutal Battles and Championship Performances Highlight Invicta FC 19 (video) |

  • 27 days ago

Invicta FC 19: Maia vs. Modafferi delivered a bunch of brutal battles and two championship performances on Friday night in Kansas City. read news >>

Frankie Edgar responds to Jose Aldo's retirement talk: 'Life isn't fair'

  • 23 days ago

Frankie Edgar is sympathizing with his former foe Jose AldoIt seems Jose Aldo has been on the forefront of everyone's mind in the mixed martial arts community. After all, the current UFC interim read news >>

Mandy Polk Leveraging Her Competitive Fitness Background Heading into V3 Fights |

  • 22 days ago

Mandy Polk hopes to leverage her competitive fitness background to ensure her success at V3 Fights on Saturday. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 96 Results: 5 Burning Questions Heading into UFC 204

  • 21 days ago

UFC Fight Night 96 is in the books. Saturday's results are as follows: John Lineker defeats John Dodson by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) Alex Oliveira defeats Will Brooks by TKO at 3:30 of the read news >>