Invicta Fighting Championships staged a successful fifth event on Friday night at Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Mo. In the Invicta FC 5 headliner, popular Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA fighter Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson upset Jessica Penne to become the new Invicta FC atomweight champion.
Waterson (11-3) showcased her underrated ground game in the first round as she worked for a series of submissions from her back. Penne (10-2) defended well and she landed some solid punches in the final minute, but the opening round appeared to belong to the challenger. Waterson was dominant in the second frame, and she took advantage of a failed takedown attempt by landing elbows from mount. Penne looked to counter with a gogo plata, but Waterson escaped and closed out the round with hammerfists from the top.
Likely sensing that she was down on the scorecards, Penne was much more aggressive in the third. She scored an early takedown and battered Waterson with punches and elbows. In the late stages of the round, Penne transitioned to an armbar that appeared to have her opponent in some trouble, but Waterson wasn’t ready to give up. She scrambled free and even attempted an armbar of her own before the bell.
Penne tried to take the fight back down to the ground in the fourth round, but she wound up on the bottom again. The fighters stood and Waterson stuffed a takedown. She took Penne’s back and moved from back mount to an armbar. Within seconds, Waterson extended Penne’s left arm and the former champion was forced to submit at the 2:31 mark of the fourth round.
With the upset victory, Waterson’s six-year journey to a world championship is now complete and she becomes the second woman to hold the Invicta FC atomweight title. Nine of Waterson’s professional victories have ended inside the distance and the 27-year-old has tasted defeat just once in her past ten fights.
An emotional Waterson stated after the event that one of her goals had been to prove that she was more than just hype. Friday’s performance did just that, and Waterson now reigns supreme atop the flourishing 105-pound atomweight division.
In the Invicta FC 5 co-feature, Barb “Little Warrior” Honchak (8-2) posted her seventh straight victory by outpointing fellow veteran Vanessa Porto (15-6) for the vacant Invicta FC flyweight championship. Honchak showed off her much-improved striking skills throughout the five-round standup affair en route to a unanimous decision win.
Honchak landed some nice punching combinations in the opening round and used quick footwork to avoid her opponent’s vicious leg kicks. Porto had greater success with her kicks in rounds two and three, but Honchak continued to score with one-twos and powerful right hooks. After 15 minutes, the close fight was still very much up for grabs.
In the fourth round, Honchak began to mix up her strikes with leg kicks and punches to the body. Her varied offense kept Porto guessing and Honchak began to take a clear advantage in the striking exchanges. Porto’s kicks came less and less frequently and Honchak kept her backing up with punches. Porto landed a nice right cross early in the fifth round and took Honchak down, but Honchak quickly returned to her feet and pressed the action with jabs and flurries in close.
After five hard-fought rounds of action, the cageside judges awarded the title victory to Honchak with scores of 50-45, 49-46 and 48-47. The well-rounded veteran has not lost in more than two-and-a-half years and she is now 3-0 under the Invicta FC banner.
Following the fight, Honchak stated that she was proud to be able to bring the championship home to her team at Miletich Fighting Systems, which was once one of the most dominant camps in MMA. Honchak believes that this is the beginning of a resurgence for the team and she feels that MFS will once again rise to prominence in the sport.
Cyborg destroys Muxlow, Kaufman gets past Smith on the Invicta FC 5 main card
Former Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (11-1) made a triumphant return to action in a featured matchup on the Invicta FC 5 main card. A refocused Santos dismantled late replacement opponent Fiona Muxlow (6-3) in the latter half of the first round.
Santos floored Muxlow with a big right cross and swarmed with punches in the opening seconds. A game Muxlow battled back to her feet, but Santos blasted her with countless punches and easily stuffed Muxlow’s takedown attempts. Santos’s offensive output eventually began to slow down, but she rocked Muxlow with two big knees and landed a final flurry of punches before referee John McCarthy mercifully intervened to save Muxlow. The official time of the TKO stoppage came at the 3:46 mark of the first round.
Despite a 15-month layoff due to her 2011 steroid suspension, Santos did not show any ill effects from ring rust on Friday night. Her commanding victory sets up a rematch between Santos and former Strikeforce rival Marloes “Rumina” Coenen, which will headline Invicta FC 6 in late June or mid-July. Santos stopped Coenen in the pair’s first meeting in January 2010. The rematch will be contested for the inaugural Invicta FC featherweight championship.
Another former Strikeforce champion, Sarah Kaufman (16-2), was also victorious on the Invicta FC 5 card, though her win did not come easily. The one-time bantamweight titleholder narrowly edged out Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith (5-3-1) in a razor-thin back-and-forth bout that earned “Fight of the Night” honors.
Both fighters landed punching combinations early in the first round and Kaufman appeared to hold a slight edge in the exchanges with crisp strikes. Smith countered and kept a measured pace until the 3:30 mark when she became much more aggressive and landed a series of kicks.
The opening round was very close, but the second was all Smith. She dropped Kaufman with a head kick and dove in with punches on the ground. Kaufman recovered and kicked her off, but Smith landed uppercuts, more head kicks and a knee, and she easily won the round.
Smith scored with uppercuts and kicks to the head and upper body in the third round. Kaufman jabbed and took Smith down, but she could not hold her there for long. On the feet, Kaufman landed more jabs and combinations and she closed out the final round strong.
The action-packed fight went to the scorecards and the first round proved to be the deciding factor. Judge Brett Miller awarded the first round to Smith and scored the bout 29-28 in her favor. Judges Ross Swanberg and Henry Gueary both had it 29-28 for Kaufman, who took the narrow split decision victory. She will next see action inside the UFC Octagon.
In a flyweight matchup, Brazilian prospect Jennifer Maia (7-2-1) spoiled the Invicta FC debut of former Bellator champion Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Frausto Gurgel (12-3). The bout was primarily contested in the clinch and Frausto Gurgel landed short knees and elbows in Round 1. Maia took control of the clinch battles in Rounds 2 and 3 and held Frausto Gurgel against the cage for prolonged periods of time. Late in the final round, Maia reversed a takedown and she landed punches from her opponent’s guard as time ticked away. All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Maia, who has won three of her past four fights.
Taking advantage of a short-notice fight opportunity, Lauren Taylor (6-0) kept her unbeaten record intact with a unanimous decision victory over Kaitlin Young (7-8-1) in bantamweight action. Young scored a takedown into mount in the first round and struck from the top. When Taylor gave up her back, Young landed more punches and tried for a rear-naked choke. The tides turned in rounds two and three, however, and it was Taylor who scored takedowns in both rounds. She dominated the action with strikes and submissions, and fought off Young’s kimura attempts. Taylor’s rally in the final ten minutes earned her the win with scores of 29-28 thrice.
Julia “The Jewel” Budd (5-2) persevered through two opponent changes and stopped former amateur standout “Miss” Mollie Estes (1-2) in a featured featherweight bout. Budd smothered Estes on the ground in the first and second rounds. She rained down punches and elbows from side control and mount, and threatened with an arm-triangle choke late in the middle stanza. In the third round, Budd caught a knee from Estes and took her back down. As Estes tried to stand, Budd locked on a no-hooks rear-naked choke for the submission victory at the 1:04 mark of the final round.
Opening up the main card, highly popular Australian prospect Bec “Rowdy” Hyatt (5-2) cruised to a first-round submission victory over Austrian rival Jasminka “Impressive” Cive (5-1) in a strawweight contest. Hyatt pressed the action with punches early on and she threw Cive to the mat. After passing straight to mount, Hyatt unloaded with punches and elbows for close to three minutes. She eventually latched on to Cive’s arm and wrenched back on an armbar for an impressive submission win at the 3:30 mark of Round 1.
Quick finishes highlight Invicta FC 5 preliminary card
Simona Soukupova (4-2-1) made a successful Invicta FC atomweight debut on Friday night with a second-round submission victory over “Sassy” Cassie Rodish (4-4) in the Invicta FC 5 featured preliminary bout. Round 1 was very close and Rodish threatened with armbars on the ground. Soukupova escaped and landed some big punches from the top in the dying seconds. In Round 2, Soukupova locked on a tight standing guillotine choke and Rodish took her down to break free. The fighters stood and Soukupova secured another standing guillotine. This time, Rodish could not escape, and she tapped out at the 3:20 mark of Round 2.
Muay Thai sensation Miriam “The Queen of Mean” Nakamoto (2-0) was victorious in her Invicta FC debut, though her win did not come without some controversy. The 15-0 multi-time Muay Thai champion, who is regarded by some as the best female striker in the world, knocked out bantamweight prospect Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke (2-1) with knees in the opening round. Duke closed the distance right away and clinched, but Nakamoto displayed excellent takedown defense and stayed on her feet. She landed a big knee that dropped a dazed Duke to her knees and followed with a second knee that put Duke down for good at the 2:20 mark of Round 1. However, the second knee landed while Duke was a grounded opponent and Duke’s camp has filed an official appeal of the knockout loss with the Missouri Office of Athletics. Pending a commission ruling, Nakamoto remains credited with the Invicta FC 5 “Knockout of the Night.”
Finland’s top female fighter, Katja “Killer Bunny” Kankaanpaa (8-0-1), handed Brazilian striker Juliana “Ju Thai” Carneiro Lima (5-1) the first defeat of her pro career in a strawweight bout. Kankaanpaa used lateral drop takedowns to get the fight to the ground in Rounds 1 and 2. She fought off a guillotine choke attempt and tried for an armbar. Late in Round 2, Kankaanpaa used knees to the body to set up a top-side crucifix and she peppered Carneiro Lima with punches. Carneiro Lima clinched and scored a takedown in the final round, but referee Greg Franklin quickly stood the fighters up and the bout ended in the clinch. Scores were 29-28 and 30-27 twice for Kankaanpaa, who took the unanimous decision victory.
One of MMA’s fastest rising female stars, 20-year-old “Thug” Rose Namajunas (2-0), overcame an ankle injury to score a highlight-reel submission victory. Namajunas defeated fellow strawweight Kathina “Kill Switch” Catron (2-2) with a sensational flying armbar in just 12 seconds. Namajunas backed Catron up with punches right away and countered a clinch by leaping into the flying armbar. She used the hold to pull Catron to the mat and Catron immediately tapped out. Namajunas earned a standing ovation from the crowd in attendance and the official Invicta FC 5 “Submission of the Night” bonus.
In the opening bout on the Invicta FC 5 card, top-ranked Australian contender Alex “Astro Girl” Chambers (4-1) made a successful atomweight debut by submitting Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA’s Jodie Esquibel (3-1). Chambers clinched early in the fight and dragged Esquibel to the mat. She methodically worked to secure a rear-naked choke and eventually got it, forcing Esquibel to tap out at the 1:35 mark of Round 1.
Nagano outpoints Tomimatsu, “Sugi Rock” upset at “Jewels: 23rd Ring”
Top Jewels star Mika “Future Princess” Nagano (12-8) overcame a strong first round from fellow grappler Emi Tomimatsu (5-6) to win the main event of “Jewels: 23rd Ring” on March 30 in Tokyo. Nagano scored one takedown in the first round, but Tomimatsu quickly returned to her feet and pinned Nagano in the corner whenever possible. She landed knees to Nagano’s legs and body and controlled the striking exchanges with quick flurries.
Nagano rallied in the second, however, and Tomimatsu’s punches began to come slower. Nagano took advantage by tripping Tomimatsu to the mat and she worked to set up a rear-naked choke. Tomimatsu scrambled and got back to her feet, but Nagano kept the pressure on with combinations and uppercuts in close. The strong finish earned Nagano a unanimous decision victory and she will likely move on to challenge unbeaten Jewels lightweight queen champion Ayaka Hamasaki later this year.
Norway’s Celine Haga (4-11) continued her improbable run towards Jewels contender status by upsetting Jewels featherweight queen champion Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama (8-2) in a non-title matchup. Haga dominated most of the fight with submission attempts and ground and pound. The smaller Sugiyama was never able to get anything going and the decision was an easy one for the judges, who returned a unanimous verdict in Haga’s favor. The Norwegian fighter has won three straight bouts. Sugiyama will look to rebound when she defends her Jewels title against veteran South Korean standout Seo Hee Ham at “Jewels: 24th Ring” on May 25.
Shizuka Sugiyama (9-3) kept her winning streak alive by dismantling Sung Eun Kim (0-2) in a short fight. Sugiyama took Kim down and landed big punches from mount in the opening seconds of the fight. Kim tried to buck and escape, but Sugiyama trapped her in an omoplata and unloaded with punches using her free hand until referee Kenichi Serizawa intervened for the TKO stoppage at the 1:01 mark of the first round.
MMA newcomer Takumi Umehara (1-0) made a successful pro debut by defeating Jewels producer and matchmaker Yasuko “Pink Spider” Mogi (3-8). Umehara battered Mogi with punches to the body throughout the fight en route to a clear-cut unanimous decision victory. Mogi has lost both of her Jewels bouts since returning to active competition this past year.
Japan’s top female prospect, 18-year-old Mizuki Inoue (5-1), was unfazed by a late change in opponent and posted her third straight win. Inoue submitted South Korean kickboxer Seo Ye Jung (0-1) in a brief bout. Inoue repeatedly took Jung down and punished her with punches in the opening minute. Jung gave up her back on the ground and Inoue took advantage by locking on a rear-naked choke for the tapout win at the 1:43 mark of the first round. Though she is best known for her striking skills, all five of Inoue’s MMA wins have come via submission. She just graduated from high school and is expected to make her North American debut at Invicta FC 6.
Rounding out the MMA portion of the “23rd Ring” card, talented grappler Mina Kurobe (2-0) made quick work of Tomo Maesawa (0-3). Kurobe took advantage of a scramble on the ground and trapped Maesawa in a rear-naked choke that ended the fight at the 1:49 mark of the opening round.
On the Jewels preliminary card, 14-year-old Yukari Yamaguchi steamrolled opponents Tamaki Usui and Aya Abe to win a one-day grappling tournament. Yamaguchi, a teammate of Mizuki Inoue at Hakushinkai Karate, has already unofficially attained the rank of BJJ blue belt; a distinction that she will be eligible to accept on her 16th birthday. Like Inoue, Yamaguchi is one of the most skilled young prospects in Japan, and she too has excelled in kickboxing, grappling and MMA competition.
Jessica Aguilar, Felice Herrig prevail at Bellator 94
Strawweight star Jessica “Jag” Aguilar (15-4) made a successful return to action on March 28 at Bellator 94 in Tampa, Fla., but she had a tougher fight on her hands than some had expected. Aguilar narrowly outpointed “Little” Patricia Vidonic (7-5) in a rematch from February 2012.
Aguilar scored a takedown in the first, but Vidonic tied her up from the bottom and worked for submissions. It was Vidonic who got the takedown in the second and she landed punches to the body and elbows. Aguilar attempted an armbar late in the round, but Vidonic appeared to be up 20-18 after ten minutes. In the third round, Aguilar swept out Vidonic’s leg and landed occasional punches on the ground. The fight ended with an exchange of knees in the clinch. Despite her active guard in Round 1 and strong second round, only one cageside judge scored the fight 29-28 in Vidonic’s favor. The remaining two saw it 29-28 for Aguilar, who took a close and rather contentious split decision win.
In a second female fight on the card, Felice “Lil’ Bulldog” Herrig (9-4) won for the sixth time in her past seven bouts. Herrig edged out rival “Hurricane” Heather Clark (5-4) in a close fight.
The first round was all Clark, who took Herrig down and kept her pinned on the mat for five full minutes. She landed punches and elbows and attempted a kimura before the bell. Clark was successful on the feet with combinations of punches and knees in the second round, and she briefly wobbled Herrig at one point. Herrig recovered and took Clark’s back on the ground, then worked for rear-naked chokes during the final minute. In the third frame, Herrig again threatened with rear-naked choke attempts and she was nearly able to finish the fight, but Clark survived.
After the final bell, Herrig screamed in her opponent’s face and Clark responded with a backfist. The fighters were not penalized and the bout went to the scorecards. One judge had it 29-28 for Clark, while the remaining two saw it 29-28 for Herrig, who took the split decision win.
Clark stated after the fight that she had sustained a broken arm in the second round.
Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano set for Saturday’s TUF 17 finale
On Saturday night, former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Miesha “Cupcake” Tate (13-3) and unbeaten rising star “Alpha” Cat Zingano (7-0) face off in the second female fight in UFC history at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale in Las Vegas. The winner of the bout will move on to coach alongside UFC women’s bantamweight champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey on Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter, which features both male and female contestants.
Tate has had her sights set on a rematch with Rousey since she lost her Strikeforce title to the undefeated Olympic medalist in March 2012. This past August, Tate rallied to submit veteran Julie “Fireball” Kedzie in a thrilling battle and she later signed on with the UFC. Zingano has spent much of her pro career competing between 125 and 130 pounds, and she has captured four titles in her home state of Colorado. She moved back up to the bantamweight division in October and submitted Raquel “Rocky” Pennington at Invicta FC 3. The well-rounded Zingano now finds herself one win away from a prime coaching spot opposite Rousey and she could enter the top five at 135 pounds with a victory over Tate.
Alexis Davis faces Rosi Sexton at UFC 161 in Winnipeg
More than six years since making her pro debut in the city, bantamweight submission specialist Alexis “Ally-Gator” Davis (13-5) returns to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for her long-awaited UFC debut. Davis is set to face veteran pound-for-pound standout Rosi “The Surgeon” Sexton (13-2) at UFC 161 on June 15. UFC officials announced the bout this past week.
Davis has quickly climbed up the bantamweight rankings with victories in five of her past six fights. She is coming off of a pair of submission wins inside the Invicta FC cage against fellow grapplers Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano and Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler. Sexton has been one of the sport’s top female flyweights for many years, but contemplated retirement this past October when opponent Sheila “The German Tank” Gaff pulled out of a scheduled Cage Warriors title fight. Frustrated with PED use in MMA, Sexton appeared to be ready to walk away from the sport. However, a golden opportunity to make her UFC debut was too good for Sexton to pass up, and she will move up to 135 pounds to face Davis in June.
The bout between Davis and Sexton will be a part of the event’s pay-per-view main card.
Randa Markos Thomas (2-0) def. Ashley Nichols (0-1) via submission (armbar) at the 3:06 mark of Round 1 at Wreck MMA 2.0 on March 28 in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. Markos Thomas has earned submission victories in both of her fights since turning pro in November. She previously posted an impressive 5-1 record as an amateur and is now one of Canada’s top prospects.
Colleen “The Beautiful Disaster” Schneider (4-4) def. Sanja Sucevic (4-2) via submission (keylock) at the 2:54 mark of Round 3 at Super Fight League 14 on March 29 in Mumbai, India. Schneider used her size and strength advantage to control Sucevic on the ground in the opening round and she nearly finished the fight with a top-side triangle choke and elbows. In Round 2, Schneider caught a kick from Sucevic and took her down. She moved to side control and secured a keylock that forced Sucevic to tap out. The victory earned Schneider the inaugural SFL women’s flyweight championship. She has won three straight fights.
Camila “Camilinha Pitbull” Lima (6-3) def. Aline Sattelmayer (2-2) via unanimous decision at “Circuito Talent de MMA: Etapa Valinhos 2013? on April 5 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Lima has now won six straight fights since opening her career with a trio of losses. She previously posted a controversial split decision win over then-unbeaten opponent Herica Tiburcio in December.
Diana “Dynamite” Rael (5-3) def. Ashley “Wonder Woman” Aguirre (0-2) via TKO (knee and punches) at the 46-second mark of Round 1 at Made For War 2 on April 5 in Castle Rock, Colo. After an early exchange of strikes, Rael hurt Aguirre with a knee and dropped her with punches. She swarmed with more punches on the ground until the brief bout was stopped. Rael has won back-to-back fights for the promotion.
“Hellraiser” Helen Malone (3-0) def. late replacement Shani Marsh (0-1) via submission (rear-naked choke) at the 2:58 mark of Round 2 at “Roshambo MMA 1: In The Cage” on April 6 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Malone has finished all three of her opponents to date. Marsh stepped in to face Malone on very short notice after Belinda Sedgwick withdrew from the fight.
Izabela Badurek (2-1) def. Anna Januszewska (0-1) via submission (armbar) in Round 1 at Extreme Fighting Sports 3 on April 6 in Koszalin, Poland. Badurek has earned back-to-back first-round submission victories this year.
Jinh Yu (1-0) def. Meghan Wright (1-5) via submission (rear-naked choke) in Round 1 at “Sugar Creek Showdown 16: Resolution” on April 6 in Hinton, Okla. Yu made her pro debut in the title fight after posting a 3-2 record as an amateur. The quick submission victory earned her the SCS women’s atomweight championship.
“12 Gauge” Paige VanZant (3-1) def. Courtney Himes (0-1) via submission (rear-naked choke) at the 2:22 mark of Round 1 at “Bush Cree Promotions: Cage Wars 15? on April 6 in Grand Junction, Colo. VanZant took the fight on less than one week’s notice and scored numerous takedowns early on. She fought off a guillotine choke and took Himes’ back, then locked on the rear-naked choke for the tapout win. All three of VanZant’s pro wins have come on very short notice against hometown opponents. The victory got her back on track after she suffered her first loss to Tecia “The Tiny Tornado” Torres at Invicta FC 4.
Bethe Correia (3-0) faces Anna “Karol Mutante” Karoline (0-1) at Bokum Fight Championship on April 12 in Aracaju, Sergipe, Brazil. Correia picked up decision victories in all three of her bouts in 2012. Karoline looks for her first win after battling top Brazilian prospect Kinberly Tanaka Novaes to a close split decision loss in her December pro debut.
Alexandra Buch (5-2) faces Megan van Houtum (1-0) at Respect Fighting Championship 9 on April 13 in Dormagen, Germany. Buch opened her career with victories in five of her first six fights. After a lengthy hiatus, she returned to action in February and suffered an upset loss to Jorina Baars. Van Houtum, a judo black belt, made a successful pro debut in October when she submitted Hatice Ozyurt with an armbar in just 34 seconds.
Joanne Calderwood (5-0) faces “Slick” Sally Krumdiack (9-6) at Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 53 on April 13 in Glasgow, Scotland. Calderwood makes her Cage Warriors debut in her home country. The elite striker has dominated all five of her opponents to date and she is coming off of back-to-back wins for Invicta FC. Krumdiack returns to Cage Warriors for the first time since November 2010 and she looks to halt a two-fight losing skid. This event will stream live on MMAjunkie.com.
Karla Benitez (8-4) faces Jorgelina Seijas Cecchini (0-0) at Fight4Life 5 on April 13 in Barcelona, Spain. Benitez went 2-2 in 2012 and looks to get back on track after suffering a submission loss in December. Cecchini makes her pro debut on the card.
Gabrielle “Gabanator” Holloway (2-0) faces Rosanna “Rosanimal” Garcia (0-0) at Shogun Fights 8 on April 13 in Baltimore, Md. Holloway put together a stellar 7-0 run as an amateur and defeated Garcia in her final amateur fight. She has looked impressive in both of her pro bouts to date. Garcia makes the jump to the professional ranks after a 3-2 stint as an amateur and she looks to avenge the March 2012 loss to Holloway.
Milana Dudieva (8-1) faces Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade (5-2) at “ProFC 47: Russia vs. Europe” on April 14 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. Dudieva returns to action for the first time in more than a year and drops back down to the bantamweight division for this fight. She has won eight straight fights and holds notable victories over UFC signee Sheila Gaff and Invicta FC veteran Danielle West. Andrade has won four of her past five fights and her lone loss during that time came against current Invicta FC contender Jennifer Maia.
Maria Hougaard Djursaa (3-4) faces Jorina “JoJo” Baars (1-2) at “European MMA 5: “Frederiksberg” on April 19 in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark. Both fighters are coming off of submission victories in their most recent fights.
Stephanie “Snowflake” Eggink (2-1) faces Brianna “Tha Bull” VanBuren (1-0) at “XFC 23: Louisville Slugfest” on April 19 in Louisville, Ky. Eggink made a successful XFC debut by defeating Heather Clark in December. She was originally set to face Angela Magana in a strawweight title bout on this card, but Magana withdrew and the title will no longer be on the line. VanBuren kicked off her pro career with a knockout win in October after a 4-0 run as an amateur.
Heather “Ginja Ninja” George (1-0) faces Jenna “Harley” Bernick (0-2) at “SteelFist Fight Night 15: Caged Fury” on April 19 in Salt Lake City, Utah. George opened her career with a first-round TKO victory in June. Bernick remains in search of her first pro win.
Paloma Fabrykant (2-0) faces Silvana Peralta (0-0) at Mixed Real World Fighters on April 20 in Caleta Olivia, Santa Cruz, Argentina. Fabrykant earned TKO wins in both of her fights this past year. Peralta, a kickboxer, makes her MMA debut in the fight.
Amber “The Apex Predator” Stautzenberger (2-1) faces Glena “Heartless” Avila (2-1) at Dakota Fighting Championships 15 on April 20 in Fargo, N.D. Stautzenberger has already won twice this year and she will compete again in May. She was originally set to face Jordan Nicole Gaza on this card, but Gaza withdrew this past week. Avila returns to action for the first time since suffering a contentious split decision loss at Dakota FC 13 in October. She had previously won all eight of her pro and amateur fights.
Tamikka “Boom Boom” Brents (2-0) faces late replacement Holly Bartley (0-0) at “Team Warrior Concepts: Freedom Fight Series 8? on April 20 in Springfield, Ill. Brents put together an excellent amateur record of 11-0-1 with one no decision and turned pro with a first-round TKO victory in November. She is coming off of a unanimous decision win at Invicta FC 4. Bartley makes her pro debut on the card and steps in on short notice.
Kikuyo Ishikawa (8-3) faces Miyoko Kusaka (3-5-1) at “Pancrase: Sakaguchi Dojo vs. Pancrase” on April 21 in Okinawa, Japan. This bout is a rematch from March 2010 when Kusaka defeated Ishikawa via split decision at “Jewels: 7th Ring.” Ishikawa has won six of her seven fights since losing to Kusaka. The Okinawa native’s lone defeat during that time came in a razor-thin bout with Jewels featherweight queen champion Naho Sugiyama. Ishikawa holds notable wins over Sachiko Yamamoto and former Valkyrie champion Yasuko Tamada. Kusaka looks to get back on track after suffering losses in two of her past three fights.
Herica Tiburcio (5-1) faces Aline Sattelmayer (2-2) at “Start MMA 1: Palmer vs. Lopes” on April 21 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Tiburcio is one of Brazil’s brightest female prospects, but she is currently looking to rebound from a controversial split decision loss to Camila Lima in early December. Four of her five wins have come via first-round submission. Sattelmayer opened her career with two victories in 2012, but she remains winless this year and is coming off of a decision loss to Lima this past weekend.
(Pictured: Michelle Waterson)
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.