(Complete Invicta FC 4 main card broadcast, courtesy of Invicta FC)
Saturday’s Invicta FC 4 event at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS, was supposed to be a significant step forward for the all-female promotion, as the main card was presented as an Internet pay-per-view for the first time. (Previously, Invicta’s events had been streamed online for free.) Unfortunately, the broadcast turned out to be a technical fiasco. Due to issues with payment processing and an uncooperative streaming partner, paying customers were unable to log on to watch the event. Even after the paywall was removed — and full refunds were offered to those who had already shelled out cash — the stream was still unreliable.
It was a worst-case-scenario for Invicta FC, whose budding fanbase might be wary of paying for similar broadcasts in the future. In a post-event interview with Ben Fowlkes at MMAJunkie, Invicta president Shannon Knapp seemed to acknowledge that securing a TV deal for her promotion has become more critical than ever, in the wake of their failed iPPV experiment.
As for the fights themselves? They certainly had their moments, although the main card was further cursed by a near-total lack of stoppages. In the headliner, former collegiate wrestler Carla Esparza and late-replacement Bec Hyatt waged war in Invicta’s first strawweight (115 pounds) title fight. Esparza’s relentless takedowns and top control helped her win all five rounds on the judges’ scorecards, but the colorful Aussie didn’t make it easy for her, stinging Esparza with her striking every time the women were on their feet.
The event’s official “Fight of the Night” award went to Alexis Davis and Shayna Baszler, who turned in a fantastic grappling battle that ended in the third round when Davis put Baszler to sleep with a rear-naked choke. It was the only bout on the main card that didn’t go to the scorecards. We suggest that you skip to the 2:02:59 mark of the video above to watch the fight — or just check out these two photos that tell the story pretty well by themselves…
Let’s have a moment of silence for Hiroko Yamanaka, who has somehow become the go-to opponent for freakish Brazilian sluggers. This time, the lanky ex-dominatrix came face to face with Ediane Gomes, who, as ZombieProphet reminds us, once competed in a vale tudo match against a dude. Gomes mauled Yamanaka in the first round — nearly securing a stoppage via ground-and-pound — but Yamanaka held on until the bell, and began to shift the momentum in the third frame when Gomes ran out of gas. Unfortunately it was too little too late, as Gomes hung on for the unanimous decision victory.
The preliminary card saw significantly more finishes with four of the seven bouts ending within the distance. Notably, Pat Barry’s girlfriend Rose Namajunas won her professional MMA debut, submitting Emily Kagan by third-round rear-naked choke in their strawweight bout. Even as a cornerman, Pat Barry is entertaining and explosive:
(Props: Chris Gregory)
Also on the prelims, featherweight* knockout machine Veronica “The Heartbreaker” Rothenhausler — who won her last two amateur fights in a combined ten seconds — was victorious in her pro debut, KO’ing Katalina Malungahu in the first round. Seriously, this woman has freakish power. (Check out the GIF here, via BloodyElbow.) Rothenhausler. Rothenhausler. Rothenhausler. Remember that name, folks.
Sadly, our latest “Hot Fighter Alert” recipient Paige VanZant was routed in a unanimous decision by fellow strawweight Tecia Torres. Though VanZant looked to be in over her head at times, she showed tremendous heart in staying in the fight for all fifteen minutes. Keep in mind that VanZant is still just 18 years old; we definitely haven’t seen the last of “12 Gauge” Paige.
On that note, judging from the weigh-in video, victorious prelim fighter Laura Marcusse-Sanko has “Future Hot Fighter Alert” written all over her.
Here are the complete results, via InvictaFC…
- Carla Esparza def. Bec Hyatt via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
- Alexis Davis def. Shayna Baszler via technical submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, :58 [fight of the night]
- Leslie Smith def. Raquel Pennington via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Sarah D’Alelio def. Amanda Nunes via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
- Ediane Gomes def. Hiroko Yamanaka via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Joanne Calderwood def. Livia Von Plettenberg via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
- Cassie Rodish def. Stephanie Frausto via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 1:04
- Tamikka Brents def. Amanda Bell via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Jodie Esquibel def. Liz McCarthy via majority decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
- Rose Namajunas def. Emily Kagan via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 3:44 [submission of the night]
- Tecia Torres def. Paige Van Zant via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Veronica Rothenhausler def. Katalina Malungahu via KO (punch) – Round 1, 1:12 [knockout of the night]
- Laura Marcusse-Sanko def. Cassie Robb via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 1:07
* Rothenhausler missed weight for her featherweight contest against Malungahu, getting down to 146.6 after her second attempt.