Former Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino captured her second major title on Saturday night in the main event of Invicta FC 6 in Kansas City, Mo. Justino stopped Marloes “Rumina” Coenen for the second time to claim the inaugural Invicta FC 145-pound championship.
Justino (12-1) was in complete control of Saturday’s rematch and pay-per-view headliner from start to finish. She battered Coenen (21-6) with punches, knees and brutal slams that kept the Dutch standout on the defensive throughout the one-sided fight. Coenen did threaten with a kneebar in Round 2, but Justino easily escaped and she scored with more big punches on the feet.
By Round 3, Coenen had resorted to pulling guard in an effort to keep the fight on the ground, but Justino wisely stood up each time in order to avoid her slick submission game. She punished Coenen with a barrage of knees and punches against the cage, but Coenen somehow stayed on her feet and made it to the bell.
Justino opened the fourth round with a body kick and more knees. She took down Coenen and struck from the top until the fighters were brought back to their feet. Justino dropped Coenen with a combination and mounted her again. After countless punches and elbows, referee John McCarthy stopped the bout at the 4:02 mark of the round.
Following the title fight, Justino stated that she had been prepared to fight all five rounds if necessary. She added that Coenen felt stronger and heavier than when the pair first faced off in January 2010, but noted that Coenen’s strategy had been the same as in the original bout.
With the dominant stoppage win, Justino reclaimed her spot atop the 145-pound division that she held for more than two years until her suspension for a positive steroid test in late 2011. She’s won both of her fights for Invicta FC since returning to the cage in April.
Strawweights shine on Invicta FC 6 main card
Saturday’s Invicta FC 6 main card featured eight of MMA’s top female strawweights. In the co-main event, Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha (11-0) earned a shot at the Invicta FC 115-pound title by defeating previously unbeaten Jewels champion Ayaka Hamasaki (9-1).
Gadelha wasted no time in taking down Hamasaki in Round 1 and kept her pinned on the mat for much of the opening five minutes. Late in the round, Gadelha postured up with punches and hammerfists, but she landed an illegal knee to the side of Hamasaki’s head shortly before the bell. Gadelha was deducted one point for the infraction, and the fight remained even on the scorecards heading into the second stanza.
Round 2 was all Gadelha. She took down Hamasaki once again and scored at will with punches and elbows. Gadelha locked on an arm-triangle choke, but Hamasaki was saved by the bell. In the final round, Gadelha took Hamasaki’s back and dragged her to the mat. Hamasaki fought off submission attempts and wound up in Gadelha’s guard, but she lost the position while working for an armbar. Gadelha took her back again and landed more hard punches. Hamasaki rolled over, and Gadelha continued to rain down blows until the fight was waved off at the 3:58 mark of Round 3. Gadelha will next challenge Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza.
Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (7-0) posted her third win under the Invicta FC banner with a unanimous-decision victory over late replacement Norma Rueda Center (2-1). Calderwood mixed up her strikes well in the first two rounds. She repeatedly scored with left and right hook counters, and she controlled the clinch battles with knees to the body. Rueda Center came on strong with takedowns in Round 3 and flurried with punches from the top. Calderwood countered with an armbar, but she was unable to secure a submission before time expired. Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice for Calderwood, who kept her unbeaten record intact.
Top Japanese prospect Mizuki Inoue (6-1) made a successful North American debut with a unanimous-decision win over Bec “Rowdy” Hyatt (5-3). The 18-year-old Inoue impressed many with her speed and technical striking in the opening round, but Hyatt was game and fired back with some nice right hooks and uppercuts. Inoue secured a takedown and landed elbows and knees to the body in the middle stanza. She slowed down slightly in Round 3, however, and Hyatt began to have more success with her punching combinations. Hyatt’s late rally was not quite enough, and Inoue took the victory with 29-28 scores across the board.
Kicking off the main card, Tecia “The Tiny Tornado” Torres (3-0) put on her most impressive performance to date by defeating “Thug” Rose Namajunas (2-1) via unanimous decision in an action-packed fight. Torres was the more precise striker on the feet, but Namajunas threatened with numerous submissions throughout the fight, including a deep armbar late in Round 1. Torres escaped the hold and remained aggressive with her striking in the second round. In Round 3, Namajunas secured a takedown and kept Torres on the ground for much of the round. Torres postured for an armbar, but Namajunas fought free and closed out the fight on top. The cageside judges scored the fight 30-27 and 29-28 twice for Torres, who remains one of the premier female prospects in the U.S.
Taylor defeats D’Alelio, Smith earns third FOTN bonus
Rising bantamweight star Lauren Taylor (7-0) made it two-for-two inside the Invicta FC cage with another solid win on the Invicta FC 6 main card. Taylor outpointed Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio (7-4) in a bout that began as a ground battle and turned into a kickboxing match.
Taylor scored a takedown in Round 1, but D’Alelio quickly scrambled and took her back. D’Alelio then worked for a rear-naked choke and an armbar. Taylor defended well and got back to her feet. She took down D’Alelio again and fought off a triangle-choke attempt in the final minute.
Taylor pressed the action with crisp punching combinations in Round 2. D’Alelio answered back with body kicks and a series of uppercuts. Taylor then took her down against the cage and landed jabs and straight right hands late in the round. Taylor continued to get the better of the striking exchanges in the final round and bloodied D’Alelio’s nose with stiff jabs. The fighters traded punches late in the fight, and Taylor landed the cleaner shots. After three hard-fought rounds, the judges awarded Taylor a unanimous-decision win with scores of 30-27 and 29-28 twice.
In her 125-pound debut, Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith (6-3-1) earned an Invicta FC flyweight title shot by defeating top contender Jennifer Maia (7-3-1). Both women landed hard body kicks and punching combinations in Round 1. Maia took down Smith, and the fighters exchanged armbar attempts. Back on the feet, Smith countered a big right hook by swarming Maia with punches, knees and a pair of head kicks.
The second round began with another exchange of power punches, and Maia again took Smith to the mat. Smith, though, then used a kneebar to sweep into top position, and the fighters returned to their feet. Maia mixed up her strikes with right hands and body kicks that were countered by Smith’s jabs. Maia scored another takedown and acted quickly to escape an armbar and omoplata.
Maia landed a front kick to the face at the beginning of Round 3 that led to another exchange of haymakers. Both women refused to back down as they traded heavy punches to the delight of the crowd in attendance. Maia eventually secured a takedown and countered an arm-triangle-choke attempt with a brabo choke. Smith retook top position with a guillotine choke and battered Maia with punches and elbows before the final bell. Scores were 29-28 and 30-27 twice for Smith. The bout was named “Fight of the Night” – Smith’s third $1,500 FOTN bonus since joining the Invicta FC roster.
Elsewhere on the main card, former atomweight champion Jessica Penne (11-2) rebounded from her second career defeat with a first-round submission victory over Nicdali “The Night Queen” Rivera-Calanoc (8-7). The fighters traded punching combinations, and Penne countered a right hook with a takedown. She moved to mount and took Rivera-Calanoc’s back in search of a rear-naked choke. Rivera-Calanoc eventually tapped out at the 4:57 mark of Round 1. The victory earned Penne a $1,000 “Submission of the Night” bonus.
Multi-time muay Thai champion “The Queen of Mean” Miriam Nakamoto (2-0) made quick work of former boxing titleholder “Diamond” Duda Yankovich (1-2) in a featured bantamweight bout. Nakamoto, whose brutal first-round KO of Jessamyn Duke at Invicta FC 5 was later overturned to a no-contest due to an inadvertent illegal knee, was much more measured in her attacks on Saturday night. She landed slashing elbow strikes in the clinch and dropped Yankovich with a knee early in Round 1. Yankovich recovered on the ground and tried for a heel hook. Nakamoto punched her way free, though, and the fighters returned to their feet. Seconds later, Nakamoto landed another crushing knee and unloaded with punches to a downed Yankovich for the TKO victory at the 2:08 mark of Round 1. Nakamoto was awarded a $1,000 “Knockout of the Night” bonus for her commanding victory.
Invicta FC 6 prelims marred by injuries, last-minute changes
While the pay-per-view portion of the Invicta FC 6 event was a success, the preliminary-card portion of the event was a much different story. Originally set to feature four fights, the card was reduced to two as a result of last-minute injuries and fighters failing to make weight.
A featherweight bout between Ediane “India” Gomes and Charmaine “Not So Sweet” Tweet was scrapped this past week after Tweet encountered visa issues and was unable to enter the the country. Gomes was then matched up against late replacement Tamikka “Boom Boom” Brents in a catchweight fight that was changed to a lightweight bout on the day of weigh-ins. Mere minutes before the fight was set to begin, Brents suffered a knee injury while warming up backstage, and the bout was canceled.
Another planned featherweight bout between “Miss” Mollie Estes and knockout artist Veronica “The Heartbreaker” Rothenhausler was scrapped on the day of weigh-ins when Rothenhausler collapsed while cutting weight. The fighters originally were set to meet at Invicta FC 5, but Rothenhausler was forced to withdraw from that card due to an injury.
The Invicta FC 6 card was set to kick off with an atomweight bout between Livia “T-Rex” von Plettenberg (2-1) and Cassie “The Hulk” Robb. However, von Plettenberg weighed in at 113 pounds for the 105-pound fight. On 24 hours’ notice, Oklahoma’s Kathina “Kill Switch” Catron (3-3) drove to Kansas City to face von Plettenberg in what ultimately became a flyweight fight. Catron put on a game performance in defeat, but von Plettenberg walked away with a unanimous-decision win (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Strawweight prospects Emily Kagan (3-1) and Ashley “Smashley” Cummins (3-2) faced off as planned on the preliminary card, but their fight also was shrouded in controversy. Cummins appeared to clearly win Rounds 1 and 3 with her aggressive striking attacks, and press row was united in scoring the bout in her favor. Two of the official cageside judges disagreed, however, and both returned puzzling scores of 30-27 for Kagan. A third had it 29-28 for Cummins. The contentious result of the fight is reportedly under the Missouri Office of Athletics’ review.
One judge who awarded the fight to Kagan, Jackson Harper, handed in four 30-27 scorecards on Saturday night (for von Plettenberg, Kagan, Torres and Taylor) and each one received pointed criticism from fans and media. In all four cases, the opposing fighter looked to have decisively won at least one round.
In spite of the late changes to the event, Invicta FC 6 attracted a sold-out crowd of more than 1,200 fans to the Star Pavilion at Kansas City’s Ameristar Casino Hotel.
Three advance in MMA Super Heroes women’s grand-prix tourneys
Invicta FC 6 wasn’t the only card that featured promising female talent this past Saturday. MMA Super Heroes showcased three women’s tournament bouts at its inaugural event in Louveira, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and grappling specialist Herica Tiburcio (6-2) made a big statement by submitting top prospect Kinberly Novaes (6-2) in a strawweight semifinal fight.
Tiburcio fought through an early barrage of punches from Novaes and scored a takedown into north-south position. She kept Novaes pinned down and locked on an armbar that had her opponent in all sorts of trouble. Novaes refused to submit, but Tiburcio stayed active on the ground with triangle-choke and armbar attempts.
Novaes scored with some nice elbows in Round 2, but Tiburcio took her back down and looked to set up another armbar. She passed to mount and punished Novaes with punches until Novaes gave up her back late in the round. Tiburcio scored another takedown in Round 3 and transitioned from north-south to side control. Novaes defended well against a kimura attempt, but Tiburcio wore her down with more ground and pound. Novaes turtled and Tiburcio secured a final armbar that forced Novaes to submit at the 3:54 mark of Round 3.
Tiburcio will next face the winner of the second strawweight semifinal between Camila “Camilinha Pitbull” Lima (6-3) and Vanessa “Vanessinha” Guimaraes (2-1), which is planned for Sept. 7. Lima avenged a loss to Tiburcio with a contentious split-decision victory in the pair’s December rematch. She has won six straight fights. Guimaraes is 2-0 in 2013.
In one of two flyweight semifinal fights on the MMA Super Heroes card, Kalindra Faria (11-3-1) avenged a 2009 loss by submitting Carina “Barbie” Damm (18-10) in a brief rematch. Damm was deducted 20 percent of her fight purse when she once again failed to make weight.
Both women landed combinations in the early goings. Faria caught a kick and tried for a takedown, but Damm reversed and wound up on top. Faria quickly secured an armbar, and Damm momentarily defended before tapping out at the 2:05 mark of Round 1. Faria did not immediately release the hold following the tap, and Damm responded by punching her in the face after the fight had been stopped.
The second flyweight semifinal saw Juliana “Julie” Werner Aguiar (6-3) extend her winning streak to four with a unanimous-decision victory over Vanessa Melo (1-1). Scores were 30-27 across the board for Aguiar, who controlled the fight and left no doubt in the judges’ minds.
Both women landed knees in the clinch in Round 1, but neither could mount any sustained offense until the final minute, when Aguiar used a standing arm-triangle choke to set up a takedown. She again took down Melo in Rounds 2 and 3, and worked for a series of rear-naked chokes. Aguiar was not able to secure the submission, but her ground dominance was easily enough to earn her the victory on the scorecards.
Two female fights highlight UFC on FOX 8 in Seattle
Former UFC women’s bantamweight title challenger Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche (8-3) looks to get back into championship contention when she faces Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade (9-2) at “UFC on FOX 8: Johnson vs. Moraga.” The FOX-televised main-card bout is one of two female fights on the card, which takes place July 27 at Seattle’s KeyArena.
Carmouche engaged in a thrilling bout with unbeaten judoka “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey in the main event of UFC 157 in February, but she succumbed to an armbar late in Round 1. Prior to the submission setback, Carmouche had won back-to-back fights under the Invicta FC banner. The former U.S. Marine received high praise for her performance against Rousey, and she seeks her first UFC victory later this month.
Andrade has won seven of her past eight fights against formidable opposition. The 21-year-old has maintained an active fighting schedule and had three bouts lined up for this summer before signing with the UFC. In her most recent fight on April 14, Andrade traveled to Russia and submitted prospect Milana Dudieva with her signature guillotine choke late in Round 2. All nine of Andrade’s victories have ended inside the distance.
On the preliminary portion of the UFC on FOX 8 card, which airs live on FX, veteran contender Julie “Fireball” Kedzie (16-11) faces fellow UFC debutant Germaine “The Iron Lady” de Randamie (3-2) at 135 pounds.
Kedzie most recently faced Miesha “Cupcake” Tate in a 2012 Fight of the Year candidate for Strikeforce in August. She nearly finished her opponent on two occasions but eventually fell victim to a Tate armbar in Round 3. Now fully recovered from a shoulder injury, Kedzie looks to get back on track when she faces muay Thai sensation de Randamie in 10 days. On the same Strikeforce card as Kedzie’s bout with Tate, de Randamie posted a unanimous-decision win over Japanese standout Hiroko “Cat’s Eye” Yamanaka. She has won three of her past four bouts.
Holm faces Jones on Friday’s Legacy FC 21 card
On Friday night, former top-ranked boxing champion Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm (3-0) tries for her fourth MMA win when she faces CFA women’s tournament semifinalist Allanna “Hands of Stone” Jones (2-2) at Legacy Fighting Championship 21. The event takes place at Arena Theater in Houston and airs live on AXS TV.
Holm announced her full-time transition to MMA earlier this year and most recently scored a second-round TKO triumph over Katie Merrill at Bellator 91 in February. All three of the elite striker’s MMA wins have come via a form of knockout. During her 11-year career as a boxer, Holm amassed a stellar 33-2-3 record and captured close to two dozen world championship titles.
Jones followed up on an 8-2 run as an amateur with a first-round TKO victory in her September pro debut. She suffered a submission setback in her next bout but rebounded with a split-decision win over Kelsey De Santis in the opening round of the CFA women’s featherweight tournament on March 2. Jones was ousted from the tournament when she was defeated by transgender fighter Fallon “The Queen of Swords” Fox at CFA 11. She returns to the bantamweight division in search of her biggest win to date this Friday.
Bethe “Pitbull” Correia (6-0) def. Erica Paes (2-2) via unanimous decision at Jungle Fight 54 on June 29 in Barra do Pirai, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Correia is one of Brazil’s fastest rising female prospects. She has won all six of her fights since debuting in May 2012. Paes returned to MMA with a win in April, but she was unsuccessful in her attempt to hand Correia her first defeat.
Catherine Costigan (2-0) def. Vanessa Rico (0-1) via submission (rear-naked choke) in Round 2 at “East Coast Fight Factory: Pure Combat” on June 29 in Norwich, Norfolk, England. Costigan was competing for the first time since undergoing neck fusion surgery. She put on an impressive performance in notching her second submission win.
Keiko Tomita (2-1) def. Seo Ye Jung (0-3) via TKO (punches) at the 2:56 mark of Round 2 at “King Kaz Fight: Fukuyama” on June 30 in Fukuyama, Hiroshima, Japan. Jung got off to a good start in the second round, but Tomita swept into top position and rained down punches until the referee intervened to stop the bout. Tomita has won two straight fights.
Sarah McRann (1-0) def. Farlynn Smallchild (0-1) via TKO (punches) at the 3:20 mark of Round 1 at “Aggression Fighting Championship 19: Undisputed” on July 5 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Both fighters badly missed weight for what was intended to be a bantamweight fight. McRann earned her first pro win in the brief bout.
Ania Fucz (1-0) def. Jana Lorenz (0-2) via unanimous decision at “German MMA Championship 4: Next Level” on July 6 in Herne, Germany. Fucz made a successful MMA debut following a 42-8 run in kickboxing that included multiple European and world championship title wins.
Kathina “Kill Switch” Catron (3-3) def. Summer Artherton (0-3) via TKO (punches) at the 2:16 mark of Round 2 at “Disorderly Conduct 21: Bash on the Beach” on July 6 in Omaha, Neb. Just one week after defeating Artherton, Catron stepped in on 24 hours’ notice to face Livia von Plettenberg at Invicta FC 6 and dropped a competitive decision.
Jessica “Black” Doerner (4-2) def. Margaret “Brutal” Bloom (0-2) via TKO (knee) at the 2:16 mark of Round 1 at the M-NT Native Sports and Entertainment event on July 6 in Belcourt, N.D. After controlling the early striking exchanges, Doerner landed a big knee that stunned Bloom and forced her to retreat. Bloom covered up against the cage, and the referee stopped the fight.
“Relentless” Hadley Griffith (1-0) def. Elisha “Knuckles” Helsper (0-4) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) at CageSport 25 on July 6 in Tacoma, Wash. Griffith posted her first pro win in the fight following a lengthy stint as an amateur.
Ana Maria “India” (5-4) def. Maria Elisabete “Beth” Tavares (4-4-1) via submission (armbar) at the 4:11 mark of Round 1 at Web Fight Combat 2 on July 7 in Rio de Janeiro. After a cautious start to the fight from both fighters, Maria scored a takedown against the cage. She mounted Tavares and transitioned to an impressive armbar for the tap-out win. Maria has won three straight fights, and four of her five career victories have come via submission.
Jessy Rose “Jessy Jess” Clark (2-0) def. Arlene “Angerfist” Blencowe (1-2) via submission (rear-naked choke) at the 3:38 mark of Round 2 at Nitro MMA 9 on July 13 in Logan City, Queensland, Australia. Clark has earned stoppage wins in both of her pro fights to date.
Bianca “Bibi” Daimoni (2-0) def. late replacement opponent Morgana Oliveira (0-1) via KO (knees) in Round 1 at Imbituba MMA Fight 2013 on July 13 in Imbituba, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Daimoni has scored first-round knockout victories in both of her fights this year.
Shizuka Sugiyama (9-3) faces Chisa Yonezawa (1-5) at “Deep: Tokyo Impact – Lightweight GP 2013 Semifinal” on July 20 in Tokyo. Sugiyama has won three straight fights since she returned to MMA in 2012. The popular karateka was one of the top stars in Jewels and now makes her Deep debut. Yonezawa competes in MMA for the first time since May 2011.
Camila “Camilinha Pitbull” Lima (6-3) faces Mylla Torres (2-3) at “Circuito Talent de MMA: Etapa Indaiatuba 2013? on July 20 in Indaiatuba, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Lima has won six straight fights and made a successful CTMMA debut in April. Torres looks to get back on track after suffering a pair of first-round losses in 2012.
Sarah “Too Sweet” Alpar (3-2) faces Jocelyn “Lights Out” Lybarger (2-0) at “King of the Cage: Heated Fury” on July 20 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Alpar makes her return to the cage for the first time since October, when she lost her KOTC 125-pound women’s title to Brenda Gonzales in a five-round battle. Lybarger earned a 27-second submission victory in her KOTC debut in May.
Stevie “The Ninja” VanAssche (0-0) faces Elizabeth Phillips (0-1) at Conquest of the Cage 13 on July 20 in Airway Heights, Wash. VanAssche makes her pro debut after scoring two quick victories as an amateur. Phillips looks for her first victory as a professional.
Jessica Vargas (0-0) faces Cristina Mejia (0-1) at “K-MMA: Bolivia” on July 26 in La Paz, Bolivia. Vargas makes her pro debut in her home country while Peru’s Mejia looks to pick up her first victory as a pro after dropping her debut in June 2011.
Alida Gray (1-0) faces Jessica Armstrong-Kennett (0-2) at “Rocktagon MMA 28: Journey of Champions” on July 26 in El Paso, Texas. Gray kicked off her pro career with an upset victory over Bellator veteran Patricia Vidonic this past month. The win earned Gray the Sugar Creek Showdown women’s flyweight title. Armstrong-Kennett seeks her first pro win after suffering stoppage losses in her first two fights.
Aline Sattelmayer (2-2) faces Livia Renata “Livinha” Souza (1-0) at X-Fight MMA 6 on July 27 in Matao, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sattelmayer opened her career with two straight wins. She now looks to return to her winning ways after suffering losses to top contenders Kalindra Faria and Camila Lima. Souza made a successful pro debut with a first-round submission win in March.
Jinh Yu (1-0) faces Darla “Train Wreck” Harris (3-2) at “Sugar Creek Showdown 18: Declaration of Pain” on July 27 in Hinton, Okla. Yu puts her SCS women’s atomweight championship on the line in the five-round fight. She won the title by submitting Meghan Wright in April. Harris most recently dropped a unanimous decision to Invicta FC veteran Lacey Schuckman in February.
Kikuyo Ishikawa (9-3) faces Amber “The Bully” Brown (2-1) at Pancrase 250 on July 28 in Tokyo. Ishikawa has won seven of her past eight fights. Her lone loss since March 2010 came via split decision to former Jewels champion Naho Sugiyama at “Jewels: 17th Ring.” Brown returns to Pancrase after debuting for the promotion as a late replacement in May. She put on a strong showing against Emi Fujino but succumbed to a neck crank late in the second round.
MMAjunkie.com publishes the Women’s MMA Report every other Monday. Its author, Robert Sargent, is a veteran MMA journalist who also runs MMARising.com. Feel free to email us at news [AT] mmajunkie.com with any questions, news tips or suggestions.