(Thai glamour shot via Michelle Waterson’s Facebook page.)
Not that we don’t appreciate the UFC’s generous one-female-fight-every-couple-months schedule, but in terms of competitive matchups and depth of talent, Invicta FC is still the premiere promotion for women’s MMA. And as long as they can avoid more technical foul-ups this time, Invicta’s fifth card looks like a real corker.
As announced yesterday via press-release, Invicta FC 5 will go down Friday, April 5th at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, featuring two title fights and 12 more bouts featuring a deep roster of well-known contenders. Check out some of the matchup highlights below, and the full event lineup at the end of this post…
Jessica Penne (10-1) vs. Michelle Waterson (10-3), for atomweight championship: Penne won Invicta’s inaugural 105-pound title last October at Invicta 3 with her submission victory over Naho Sugiyama. The Karate Hottie won her Invicta debut at the same event, defeating Lacey Schuckman by split-decision and increasing her total win streak to four.
Barb Honchak (7-2) vs. Vanessa Porto (13-5), for inaugural flyweight championship: Honchak is on a roll with six straight wins — including a decision over Felice Herrig and a submission of Roxanne Modafferi — and has gone 2-0 under the Invicta banner. Porto is coming off her decision win over Tara LaRosa at Invicta FC 3, which followed a loss to Sarah D’Alelio.
Zoila Frausto Gurgel (12-2) vs. Jennifer Maia (6-2): With her Bellator career now in the rear-view mirror, Zoila Gurgel will make her Invicta FC debut in a flyweight bout against Chute Boxe-bred newcomer Jennifer Maia.
Sarah Kaufman (15-2) vs. Leslie Smith (5-2): Speaking of ex-champs making their Invicta debuts, former Strikeforce 135-pound champion Sarah Kaufman will enter the promotion against Cesar Gracie product Leslie Smith. Kaufman was scheduled to face Kaitlin Young at Invicta 3 but had to withdraw due to injury.
Bec Hyatt (4-2) vs. Jasminka Cive (5-0): Colorful Aussie Hyatt will try to rebound from her decision loss to Carla Esparza in their strawweight title fight, against undefeated Austrian Jasminka Cive, who has won all five of her professional fights by stoppage.
Rose Namajunas (1-0) vs. Kathina Catron (2-1): Pat Barry’s g.f. returns to the Invicta cage against fellow strawweight Kathina “Kill Switch” Catron, who’s coming off a submission loss to Jordan Nicole Gaza earlier this month
Veronica Rothenhausler (1-0) vs. Mollie Estes (1-1): Rothenhausler, the up-and-coming featherweight knockout specialist responsible for this and that, will hunt for another first-round KO against Estes, who hasn’t competed since her TKO loss to Randi Miller at Invicta 1 last April.
Jessica Penne vs. Michelle Waterson
Barb Honchak vs. Vanessa Porto
Zoila Frausto Gurgel vs. Jennifer Maia
Sarah Kaufman vs. Leslie Smith
Amanda Nunes vs. Kaitlin Young
Julia Budd vs. Ediane Gomes
Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc vs. Cassie Rodish
Bec Hyatt vs. Jasminka Cive
Katja Kankaanpaa vs. Juliana Carnerio Lima
Jessamyn Duke vs. Miriam Nakamoto
Alexandra Chambers vs. Jodie Esquibel
Rose Namajunas vs. Kathina Catron
Veronica Rothenhausler vs. Mollie Estes
Lauren Barefoot vs. River Jones