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Tag: Carla Esparza

UFC Pillages Invicta FC’s Strawweight Division, 115-Pound Women to Be Featured on TUF 20


(Well, it was fun while it lasted. / Photo via InvictaFC)

On Wednesday evening, the UFC officially announced the launch of its 115-pound women’s division, after acquiring the contracts of 11 top strawweight fighters from Invicta FC: Carla Esparza, Claudia Gadelha, Felice Herrig, Joanne Calderwood, Tecia Torres, Rose Namajunas, Bec Hyatt, Emily Kagan, Alex Chambers, Juliana Lima, and Paige Van Zant.

Those fighters (along with five more strawweights to be named later) will compete on the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter, which begins filming in May 2014. The winner of the season will become the UFC’s inaugural strawweight champion. Coaches for the season haven’t been named yet.

As for Invicta FC, company president Shannon Knapp has put on a happy face and explained that Invicta’s strawweight division will carry on without its 11 best fighters, which seems kind of depressing. But her promotion has had a good working relationship with the UFC since the beginning, and that’s not going to change.

At this point, you probably have a lot of burning questions racing through your heads, so we’ve put together a helpful FAQ to answer some of the major ones…

Q: Does this mean that CagePotato’s sponsorship of Rose Namajunas is effectively over?
A: Yeah, pretty much. But we wish Rose the best with the bigger, fancier sponsors that she’ll be snapping up next year. JUST TREAT HER RIGHT, BRO.

Q: I haven’t watched TUF since the Brock Lesnar season. (Chicken shit, chicken salad, good times.) Why can’t the UFC just start putting these women on upcoming fight cards? Like, they could re-book Gadelha vs. Esparza for the inaugural strawweight title on a UFC on FOX 1 show or something. You know what I mean?

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Invicta FC 4: Esparza vs. Hyatt — Complete Main Card Video, Prelim Insanity, Photos + More


(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…

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Bellator Summer Series Kicks Off June 25, People Will Try To Hurt One Another for Your Entertainment

“I believe you yanks call this a mean mug?” PicProps: Bellator.com

Since we mentioned it yesterday in that blatant vanity post, we’ll go ahead and fill you in with some of the details about Bellator’s plans for the summer. As you may remember, a BFC press release announcing the deal with MTV2 made a vague mention of “a collection of special feature events” on top of two full seasons a year. Details at the time were sketchy, and we weren’t really sure what those special feature events would entail. As the season four tournaments unfolded, we heard more and more about tournament action between seasons, initially referred to as a “mini-tournament”. We’d been thinking that this meant perhaps a couple of four-man brackets, maybe some of those Super Fights that Bellator digs so much.

Man, we were way off. Bjorn Rebney, head honcho of the BFC, has put together another intriguing tournament at 145, and that, ladies and germs, will be your main course for the summer series. If you are interested in that kind of thing, we’ve prepared a short primer on the featherweight tourney, plus a preview of Bellator 46, where the four quarterfinals will kick off in that other Hollywood.

Although we suppose you could come in and just throw poop at the new guy. Whatever.

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