Despite late changes due to untimely injuries, Invicta FC 5 will proceed as planned with 14 female fights. The event takes place on April 5 at Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Mo., and features a pair of championship co-headliners.
Invicta FC atomweight champion Jessica Penne (10-1) makes the first defense of her new title against popular Team Jackson-Winkeljohn fighter Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson (10-3) in the Invicta FC 5 main event. Penne captured the inaugural 105-pound championship by submitting Jewels titleholder Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama at Invicta FC 3 in October. She has won all three of her fights since dropping down to atomweight in 2010 and is currently one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound female competitors.
Waterson has won eight of her past nine fights and earned a shot at Penne’s title by defeating veteran Lacey “The Ladie” Schuckman on the Invicta FC 3 card. Like Penne, Waterson is also a well-rounded fighter and a proven finisher. Eight of her 10 career wins have come inside the distance, and she is now one victory away from capturing her first major MMA title.
In the Invicta FC 5 co-feature, the promotion’s first flyweight champion will be crowned when Brazilian standout Vanessa Porto (15-5) takes on rising star Barb “Little Warrior” Honchak (7-2). Both fighters picked up dominant unanimous decision victories at Invicta FC 3. Porto dismantled Tara LaRosa with vicious leg kicks, and Honchak outpointed Aisling “Ais The Bash” Daly in a one-sided matchup. Porto has tasted defeat just once in her past six fights. Honchak brings an impressive six-fight winning streak into the title fight.
Former Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (10-1) will still make her Invicta FC debut on the April 5 card, but she will do so against a new opponent. Santos’ original foe, Brazilian compatriot Ediane “India” Gomes, withdrew from the card this past week due to a rib injury. In Gomes’ place, Australian grappler Fiona Muxlow (6-2) has stepped in. Muxlow originally was booked to face Julia “The Jewel” Budd, who now awaits a replacement opponent. Budd is expected to remain on the card.
The Invicta FC 5 lineup includes a number of past champions and familiar faces. Former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman (15-2) returns from an injury layoff to face Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith (5-2-1), who is unbeaten inside the Invicta FC cage. Bellator 115-pound women’s champion Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Frausto Gurgel (12-2) makes her promotional debut against Brazilian prospect Jennifer Maia (6-2-1). Bantamweight Kaitlin Young (7-7-1) makes her fourth appearance for Invicta FC when she takes on late replacement opponent Lauren Taylor (5-0), who has knocked out all of her opponents to date.
The preliminary portion of the Invicta FC 5 card once again features many of MMA’s brightest female prospects in multiple weight classes. Invicta FC 5 streams live and in HD for $9.95 on the promotion’s official website, InvictaFC.com.
The current Invicta FC 5 fight card includes:
- 105 title: Jessica Penne (10-1) vs. Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson (10-3)
- 125 title: Vanessa Porto (15-5) vs. Barb “Little Warrior” Honchak (7-2)
- 145: Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (10-1) vs. Fiona Muxlow (6-2)
- 135: Sarah Kaufman (15-2) vs. Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith (5-2-1)
- 125: Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Frausto Gurgel (12-2) vs. Jennifer Maia (6-2-1)
- 135: Kaitlin Young (7-7-1) vs. Lauren Taylor (5-0)
- 145: Julia “The Jewel” Budd (4-2) vs. TBA
- 115: Bec “Rowdy” Hyatt (4-2) vs. Jasminka “Impressive” Cive (5-0)
- 105: “Sassy” Cassie Rodish (4-3) vs. Simona Soukupova (3-2-1)
- 135: Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke (2-0) vs. Miriam Nakamoto (1-0)
- 115: Katja “Killer Bunny” Kankaanpaa (7-0-1) vs. Juliana “Ju Thai” Carneiro Lima (5-0)
- 145: Veronica “The Heartbreaker” Rothenhausler (1-0) vs. “Miss” Mollie Estes (1-1)
- 105: Alex Chambers (3-1) vs. Jodie Esquibel (3-0)
- 115: “Thug” Rose Namajunas (1-0) vs. Kathina “Kill Switch” Catron (2-1)
‘Jewels: 23rd Ring’ set for Saturday night in Tokyo
Japan’s leading all-female MMA promotion, Jewels, stages its first event of the year on Saturday at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo. “Jewels: 23rd Ring” features a headliner and lightweight (52-kilogram) contender’s bout between promotional star Mika “Future Princess” Nagano (11-8) and grappling specialist Emi Tomimatsu (5-5). The fight is expected to determine the next challenger for the Jewels lightweight queen championship, which is held by unbeaten Megumi Fujii understudy Ayaka Hamasaki.
Also on the card, Jewels featherweight (48-kilogram) queen champion Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama looks to rebound from her first career loss, which came at Invicta FC 3, when she takes on Norway’s Celine Haga (3-11). Sugiyama has defeated all Japanese challengers since making her Jewels debut in May 2011. She captured the title by defeating two opponents in one night at “Jewels: 17th Ring” and now returns to the promotion for the first time since May. Haga enters the non-title fight as a significant underdog on paper, but she is coming off of back-to-back wins and has shown considerable improvement over the past year.
Japan’s No. 1 female prospect, 18-year-old Mizuki Inoue (4-1), looks for her third straight win when she takes on South Korea’s Mi-Jeon Chan (1-0). Top Jewels star Shizuka Sugiyama (8-3) also looks to make it three in a row when she battles veteran striker Sung Eun Kim (0-1), who competes in MMA for the second time. Mina Kurobe (1-0) faces Tomo Maesawa (0-2), and Jewels producer/matchmaker Yasuko “Pink Spider” Mogi (3-7) meets Takumi Umehara (0-0).
Additional preliminary-card bouts will be announced for the event this week.
Jessica Eye injured, out of Bellator 95
A serious back injury has forced flyweight star Jessica “Evil” Eye (9-1) out of her scheduled bout against Munah “The Perfect Storm” Holland (5-2) at Bellator 95 on April 4 in Atlantic City, N.J. Bellator officials have yet to announce whether Holland will remain on the card.
Eye sustained the injury eight days ago during Greco-Roman wrestling practice and was temporarily unable to walk or stand upright as a result. She discussed specific details of the injury with MMARising.com this past weekend and has already begun treatment and therapy. Eye will be unable to resume full MMA training for at least one month, and she is currently targeting a summer return to active competition. Eye hopes to compete during the upcoming Bellator “Summer Series” or on a North American Allied Fight Series card in her home state of Ohio.
This marks the first time that Eye has ever withdrawn from a fight since making her amateur MMA debut in June 2008. This past August, Eye fought three rounds with a broken foot against veteran contender Angela Magana and prevailed via a commanding unanimous decision. She most recently earned the biggest victory of her career when she choked out Zoila Frausto Gurgel at Bellator 83 to claim the top spot in the 125-pound women’s division.
Two female fights set for Thursday’s Bellator 94 card
Top-ranked strawweight Jessica “Jag” Aguilar (14-4) makes her long-awaited return to action on Thursday at Bellator 94 in Tampa, Fla. Aguilar is set to face “Little” Patricia Vidonic (7-4) in a rematch from February 2012. Aguilar won the first fight via unanimous decision, and she is coming off of a close victory over Japanese legend Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii in May. She has won nine of her past 10 fights.
Vidonic rebounded from a loss in her pro debut by winning six straight fights, but she has struggled in recent outings against high-level opposition. Vidonic has suffered lopsided decision defeats in three of her past four fights, including in the first bout against Aguilar. She now looks to get back into contention by avenging the loss.
Also on the card, Felice “Lil’ Bulldog” Herrig (8-4) faces rival “Hurricane” Heather Clark (5-3) in a grudge match. The fighters have made no secret of their dislike for each other leading up to the fight, which has been years in the making. Herrig has won three straight fights, including two over the aforementioned Vidonic. Clark most recently dropped a unanimous decision to Stephanie “Snowflake” Eggink at XFC 21 in December.
Although initially believed to be a part of the televised main card, both female fights are now tentatively scheduled to stream online during the Bellator 94 prelims on Spike.com.
CFA 11 rescheduled for May 24 in Florida
The semifinal round of the inaugural Championship Fighting Alliance women’s featherweight tournament will take place on May 24 at CFA 11 in Coral Gables, Fla. CFA officials announced the revised event date on Friday. CFA 11 originally was targeted for April 20, but the event was delayed after controversy arose surrounding the opening round of the women’s tournament.
One of the tournament semifinalists, Fallon “The Queen of Swords” Fox (2-0), made headlines earlier this month when it was revealed that she had undergone gender reassignment surgery in 2006, making her the first transgender MMA fighter on record. Fox advanced to the second round of the tournament by knocking out Ericka “Pitbull” Newsome in 39 seconds at CFA 10 on March 2. Fox’s fighter license subsequently went under investigation, and CFA officials opted to delay the semifinal round of the tournament until the licensing issues could be resolved.
Provided that she is cleared to compete, Fox is tentatively set to face Allanna “Hands of Stone” Jones (2-1) in the semifinals. Jones earned a split-decision victory over Kelsey De Santis in her quarterfinal matchup. On the other side of the bracket, Peggy “The Daywalker” Morgan (2-0) looks to follow up on her big win at CFA 10 when she takes on Ashlee Evans-Smith (1-0). Morgan defeated the returning Revelina “Nana” Berto in the quarterfinals. Evans-Smith avenged a past amateur loss by outpointing Tori Adams.
The winners of the semifinals will meet in the tournament final later this year, where the victor becomes the first CFA women’s featherweight champion and takes home $20,000.
Joanne Calderwood faces Sally Krumdiack at Cage Warriors 53
A strawweight bout between Scottish striker Joanne Calderwood (5-0) and veteran contender “Slick” Sally Krumdiack (9-6) has been added to Cage Warriors 53 on April 13 in Glasgow, Scotland. Cage Warriors officials announced the fight this past week.
Calderwood is coming off of back-to-back wins for Invicta FC and will now compete in her home country for the first time since June. She has quickly ascended the 115-pound rankings and is one of the most skilled female strikers in MMA today. Krumdiack has held flyweight titles for both Freestyle Cage Fighting and Legends MMA. She debuted for Cage Warriors in November 2010 but suffered a second-round TKO loss to Rosi “The Surgeon” Sexton. Krumdiack looks to rebound from a July decision defeat by upsetting Calderwood in front of her hometown fans.
Cage Warriors 53 streams live on MMAjunkie.com.
Kailin Curran defeats Kaiyana Rain in PXC’s first female fight
Pacific Xtreme Combat showcased its first professional female fight on March 8 at PXC 36 in Mangilao, Guam. Hawaiian prospect Kailin Curran (1-0) made a successful pro debut by defeating Invicta FC veteran Kaiyana Rain (0-2) in the 115-pound co-main event.
Curran nearly finished the fight early in Round 1 after powerbombing her opponent and swarming her with punches on the ground, but Rain survived the onslaught. Curran dropped her with a right hand and landed punches from mount, but Rain recovered and worked for submissions from her back. Rain transitioned from a heel hook to an armbar and then to a triangle choke, but Curran defended well and closed out the action-packed round in side control.
Rain remained active with her submission attempts in the second round, but Curran stayed calm and used her strength advantage to control position on the ground. She landed numerous right hands from side control before time expired. Rain threw a series of spinning backfists in the third and final round, but most came up short, and Curran countered with kicks. The fighters teed off with punches in the final minute, and Curran closed out the fight with right hooks and knees in the clinch.
After three entertaining rounds, all three judges scored the fight for Curran, who picked up the unanimous-decision victory. Both fighters received a standing ovation from the crowd following the three-round war.
Marina Shafir, Kristi Lopez victorious at ‘Mayhem in Mesquite 2'
Highly touted judoka Marina Shafir (3-0) notched her third first-round submission victory this past Saturday at “Tuff-N-Uff: Mayhem in Mesquite 2? in Mesquite, Nev. Shafir dispatched of Danielle “The Executioner” Mack (0-3) with an armbar at the 59-second mark of Round 1 in a 150-pound amateur matchup.
Shafir, the best friend and training partner of UFC women’s bantamweight champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, has followed in her friend’s footsteps by dominating her opponents on the mat. In Saturday’s bout, Shafir punched her way into a clinch and threw Mack to the ground. She moved from side control to mount and latched on to Mack’s arm. Shafir went belly-down with an armbar, and Mack was forced to submit. Of Shafir’s three first-round armbar victories, two have ended inside of one minute. She is expected to drop down to 145 pounds in the near future and hopes to make her pro debut before the end of this year.
In a second female fight on the all-amateur Tuff-N-Uff card, Kristi “Violencia” Lopez (3-1) moved one step closer to flyweight title contention by defeating Kari Lichtenwalner (3-6). Lopez pressed the action throughout the fight and was effective with punches in the clinch. Lichtenwalner threatened with submissions in the second round, but Lopez easily avoided danger and nearly secured a rear-naked choke of her own in Round 3. One judge strangely scored the fight in Lichtenwalner’s favor while the remaining two correctly sided with Lopez, who took a well-deserved split-decision victory and rebounded from her lone career loss.
Gina Begley submits Shannon Culpepper at RFA 7
In a battle of amateur prospects, Kentucky native Gina “Jellybean” Begley (3-1) picked up her biggest win to date at “Resurrection Fighting Alliance 7: Thatch vs. Rhodes” this past Friday in Broomfield, Colo. Begley entered hostile territory and handed Sparta Combat League champion Shannon “Sinn” Culpepper (3-1) her first loss via second-round guillotine choke in a 130-pound catchweight bout.
Begley landed punching combinations early in the fight, and Culpepper countered by clinching against the cage. She landed short knees and punches until referee Don Thais separated the fighters. Begley worked for takedowns until the bell, but Culpepper defended well and stayed on her feet. After an exchange of punches in Round 2, Culpepper scored a takedown. Begley locked on a guillotine choke on the way down and tightened her grip on the hold. Culpepper had nowhere to go and tapped out at the 51-second mark of Round 2.
All three of Begley’s wins to date have come by way of submission, and her lone career defeat came via a controversial split decision in a bout that most observers felt that she had won. Begley is a primary training partner of Invicta FC prospect Jessamyn Duke at AFS MMA Academy.
Lina “Lynx” Eklund (3-2) def. late replacement Sylwia Juskiewicz (2-2) via unanimous decision at International Ring Fight Arena 4 on March 9 in Solna, Sweden. Eklund got back on the winning track after suffering a one-sided TKO loss in November. Juskiewicz, who stepped into the fight on short notice, had her two-fight winning streak snapped with the loss.
“Diamond” Duda Yankovich (1-1) def. Daniela Cristina (0-1) via technical submission (keylock) at the 3:59 mark of Round 2 at Bitetti Combat 14 on March 9 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Boxing champion Yankovich countered a takedown from Cristina in the second round and worked from the top in side control. She secured a keylock and used it to snap Cristina’s left arm in gruesome fashion when she refused to tap out.
Jozette Cotton (2-0) def. Nikita Netjes (0-2) via TKO (punches) at the 1:34 mark of Round 1 at “Disorderly Conduct 17: St. Patty’s Day Showdown 3? on March 9 in Omaha, Neb. Cotton remains unbeaten in her MMA career, and all four of her pro and amateur wins have come under the Disorderly Conduct banner.
Charmaine “Not So Sweet” Tweet (3-3) def. “Lady Dragon” Sy Jewett (2-1) via submission (rear-naked choke) at the 2:25 mark of Round 1 at “Aggression Fighting Championship 15: The Ides” on March 15 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Tweet has earned submission victories in three of her past four fights since opening her pro career with a pair of quick defeats.
Mae-Lin Leow (1-2) def. Anna Hyvarinen (0-1) via submission (knee injury) in Round 1 at MMA Down Under 3 on March 16 in Findon, Australia. Leow won for the first time as a professional after opening her career with two defeats in the Brace For War promotion.
Andria Wawro Caplan (2-1) def. Cassie Crisano (0-1) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) at “Cage Fury Fighting Championships 22: Wynn vs. Velez” on March 16 in Dover, Del. Wawro Caplan returned to her winning ways after suffering a technical decision loss in August. Including her amateur bouts, she has won five of her past six fights.
Gina “Danger” Mazany (3-0) def. Priscilla “The Gorilla” White (0-2) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) at Rumble on the Ridge 27 on March 16 in Snoqualmie, Wash. Mazany made her return to action for the first time since March 2009. She previously earned first-round stoppage victories in her first two pro bouts.
Christina Marks (4-6) def. Rebecca Jones (0-2) via TKO (punches) at the 25-second mark of Round 1 at “Xplode Fight Series: Revancha” on March 16 in Valley Center, Calif. This bout was a rematch from this past July. Marks swarmed Jones with punches right away, and referee Cecil Peoples was forced to intervene for the stoppage mere seconds into the fight.
Lina Akhtar Lansberg (1-1) def. L.J. Adams (1-1) via unanimous decision at Heroes Fighting Championship on March 23 in Halmstad, Sweden. Lansberg controlled the striking exchanges and battered Adams’ face with punches. Adams’ left eye became badly swollen, and Lansberg continued to press the action until the final bell to earn her first pro victory.
Kinberly Tanaka Novaes (6-1) def. Larissa Ribeiro (0-1) via TKO (punches) at the 1:36 mark of Round 2 at Iron Fight Combat 3 on March 23 in Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil. Novaes remains one of Brazil’s top female prospects. The 21-year-old has won six straight fights since dropping a decision to Invicta FC signee Juliana Carneiro Lima in her September 2011 pro debut.
Amber “The Apex Predator” Stautzenberger (2-1) def. Ashley Allen (0-1) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) at Xtreme Knockout 18 on March 23 in Arlington, Texas. Stautzenberger dominated the action throughout to take the clear-cut victory. She is already booked to face Jordan Nicole Gaza on April 20 and Soannia Tiem on May 18.
Paulina “Firefox” Granados (1-0) def. Sarah “The Midget” Lagerstrom (0-2) via unanimous decision at Xtreme Combat Productions and ABG Promotions’ “Rocks Extreme MMA 2? event on March 23 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Granados capped off a 4-0 run as an amateur with a five-round atomweight title win in December and earned her first pro win by defeating Lagerstrom.
On the same Rocks Extreme MMA 2 card, Audrey “The Assassin” Alvarez (2-0) def. late replacement Anita “El Tigre” Rodriguez (5-4) via unanimous decision. Alvarez and Rodriguez engaged in a standup war, but Alvarez held an edge in the exchanges. She has yet to taste defeat in four pro and amateur bouts and is a bright prospect in the flyweight division.
On just two days’ notice, Norma Rueda Center (1-0) def. Rachael “The Panther” Cummins (0-1) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) at “MEZ Sports: Pandemonium 8? on March 23 in Pomona, Calif. Center’s top control and ground and pound outweighed Cummins’ numerous submission attempts on the judges’ scorecards, and a strong third round sealed the victory for the Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA fighter. Center went 5-0 as an amateur prior to this past Saturday’s win.
Randa Markos Thomas (1-0) faces Ashley Nichols (0-0) at Wreck MMA 2.0 on March 28 in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. Markos Thomas followed up on a stellar 5-1 run as an amateur by submitting Allanna Jones in her November pro debut. She now faces four-time world muay Thai champion Nichols, who makes her pro MMA debut on the card.
Camila “Camilinha Pitbull” Lima (5-3) faces Aline Sattelmayer (2-1) at “Circuito Talent de MMA: Etapa Valinhos 2013? on April 5 in Sao Paulo. Lima is coming off of a controversial split-decision victory over the previously unbeaten Herica Tiburcio in a December rematch. She has won five straight fights. Sattelmayer looks to rebound from her first pro loss this past month.
Diana “Dynamite” Rael (4-3) faces Ashley Aguirre (0-1) at Made For War 2 on April 5 in Castle Rock, Colo. Rael halted a two-fight losing streak by handing Darla Harris her first professional defeat in October. Aguirre dropped a unanimous decision in her November pro debut.
Lana “The Black Mamba” Kate (1-1) faces Jessy Rose (1-0) at “Roshambo MMA 1: In The Cage” on April 6 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Both fighters are coming off of victories at Brace For War 18 in December. Kate edged out Amy Adam via split decision, and Rose made a successful pro debut by stopping Mae-Lin Leow in the third round.
On the same Roshambo MMA 1 card, “Hellraiser” Helen Malone (2-0) faces Belinda Sedgwick (0-2). Malone has earned first-round stoppage victories in both of her pro fights, and she is coming off of an impressive submission win on the all-female Brace For War 17 card. Sedgwick has been finished quickly in both of her fights and enters this bout as a significant underdog.
Lisa “Lights Out” McCallam (2-0) faces Clarissa Thompson (0-0) at “Colosseum Sports MMA: Ultimate Conflict 4? on April 6 in Guildford, Surrey, England. McCallam has yet to taste defeat in any of her pro or amateur bouts and she most recently earned a unanimous-decision victory in Chicago. Thompson returns to action after a lengthy hiatus and makes her pro debut.
Jinh Yu (0-0) faces Meghan Wright (1-4) at “Sugar Creek Showdown 16: Resolution” on April 6 in Hinton, Okla. Yu makes her pro debut on this card after going 3-2 as an amateur. She most recently challenged for the Tuff-N-Uff 110-pound women’s title in September. Wright will be competing for the first time since suffering a submission loss at Invicta FC 1. This bout will be contested for the SCS women’s atomweight title.
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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.