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 Sherdog.com. “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

Charlie Alexander Ready for Pro Debut at Valor Fights 38 | MMAWeekly.com

  • 28 days ago
  • 8 views

Charlie Alexander's extensive amateur experience has him confident heading into his pro debut against Damir Ferhatbegovic at Valor Fights 38 on Saturday. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 89 Results: 5 Burning Questions Heading into UFC 205

  • 26 days ago
  • 12 views

UFC Fight Night 89 is in the books. The results are as follows: Tony Ferguson def. Rafael Dos Anjos by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) Diego Sanchez def. Marcin Held by unanimous decision (2 read news >>

Leslie Smith vs. Irene Aldana targeted for UFC on FOX 22

  • 25 days ago
  • 13 views

Invicta FC women’s bantamweight Irene Aldana is octagon bound.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC boss Dana White: 'I would never take the risk of headlining a show with Jon Jones again'

  • 21 days ago
  • 88 views

UFC President Dana White appears to have lost faith in former UFC champion Jon Jones following his one-year suspension from the U.S. Anti-Doping Association (USADA) for a failed drug test prior to UF read news >>

UFC 205 results: Yoel Romero unleashes vicious knee on Chris Weidman for bloody TKO

  • 20 days ago
  • 304 views

NEW YORK – Heading into the final round, Yoel Romero’s corner told him that he likely needed a finish against Chris Weidman. Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

UFC 205 Results: 5 Burning Questions Heading into Fight Nights 99, 100

  • 18 days ago
  • 11 views

UFC 205 is in the books. The results are as follows: UFC Lightweight Championship: Conor McGregor defeats Eddie Alvarez by KO at 3:04 of the second round UFC Welterweight Championship: Tyron Woodley read news >>

Tonya Evinger: 'I'm the Invicta FC Champion for a Reason' | MMAWeekly.com

  • 18 days ago
  • 10 views

There’s not much over the course of her 10-year mixed martial arts career that current Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger hasn’t encountered. read news >>

Angela Hill on First Invicta FC Title Defense: 'I Know Her Game Plan' | MMAWeekly.com

  • 17 days ago
  • 14 views

For her first title defense, Angela Hill will take on Kaline Medeiros in a 115-pound championship co-main event at Invicta 20. read news >>

Ryan Bader vs. Rogerio Nogueira UFC Sao Paulo Media Day Face-Offs (video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 15 days ago
  • 8 views

Heading into Saturday's UFC Sao Paul, headliners Ryan Bader and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira square off, along with Thomas Almeida and Albert Morales. read news >>

JJ Aldrich Expecting 'Super-Tough' Fight Against Lynn Alvarez at Invicta FC 20 | MMAWeekly.com

  • 15 days ago
  • 11 views

While her time on The Ultimate Fighter 23 was brief, strawweight prospect JJ Aldrich feels it had a big impact on her development. read news >>