Women’s MMA will have a new home starting on April 28 when Invicta Fighting Championships holds its inaugural event in Kansas City.
The upstart all female fight league, which will be promoted by IFC co-owner and VP Shannon Knapp who has worked for the IFL, UFC and Strikeforce in different capacities including matchmaker and fighter relations, announced the event and its existence on Sunday. A press release sent out by the promotion also stated that it has signed several of the sport’s top female talents, including Strikeforce standouts Marloes Coenen, Sarah D’Alelio and Liz Carmouche, Dutch submission specialist Romy Ruyssen and former Bellator tournament competitors Jessica Penne and Lisa Ellis-Ward.
“The time has come for a platform dedicated exclusively to building the growing women’s division in our great sport,” said Knapp. “Invicta is committed to increasing the depth of the women’s field and building female superstars by providing women athletes with the opportunity to compete and hone their skills on a consistent basis throughout the year.”
The April show will feature former Strikeforce bantamweight champ, Coenen’s return to featherweight where she will rematch Ruyssen in the main event of the night.
Like several of her Golden Glory stablemates, Coenen found herself unceremoniously dropped by Strikeforce following a disagreement between then-teammate Alistair Overeem and Zuffa. Although the issue has since been cleared up and some of her fellow Golden Glory-affiliated fighters have been re-signed to UFC and Strikeforce deals, “Rumina” was never brought back into the fold of Strikeforce’s stacked female 135-pound class. Instead, the promotion gifted Olympic judo bronze medalist Ronda Rousey with a shot at current bantamweight titleholder Miesha Tate in spite of the fact that she has never competed at 135. It looks like Invicta will have plenty of potential match-ups for Coenen, though, including her bout with Ruyssen, whom she handed the sole loss of her MMA career back in 2008 via rear-naked choke.
“I am honored to headline Invicta’s first fight card and I am looking forward to earning another win over Romy,”Coenen said.
Since the loss to Coenen, the team GDSI fighter has rattled off four first-round submission wins and has been vocal about avenging the blemish on her record.
“My first fight with Marloes is the only loss of my career so far, and I intend to avenge that loss on April 28,” said Ruyssen. “Marloes is a great fighter, but she doesn’t quite have the ground game that I have. I am going to take her down and finish her.”
In the co-main event, Ellis-Ward will drop down to paperweight (105) to meet Penne, while Carmouche will lock horns with D’Alelio in the third-last bout of the evening.
Invicta MMA 1
April 28, 2012
Kansas City, KS
Marloes Coenen vs. Romy Ruyssen
Jessica Penne vs. Lisa Ellis-Ward
Liz Carmouche vs. Sarah D’Alelio
Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc vs. Amy Davis
Sarah Maloy vs. Michele Gutierrez
Mollie Estes vs. Randi Miller
Ashley Cummins vs. Sofia Bagherdai
Jessica Philippus vs. Meghan Wright