The UFC crowned its first women’s strawweight champion last night. Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas tore through the cast of The Ultimate Fighter season 20 and met one another in the finals.
Namajunas had a great showing in the first round, but in the second and third, Esparza’s wrestling and power became too much for Namajunas to handle. She took Namajunas down at will and controlled her easily, eventually taking her back in the third round and securing a rear naked choke.
Get the fight card’s complete results — including KJ Noons vs. Daron Cruickshank and Charles Oliveira vs. Jeremy Stephens — after the jump.
Live results from the FOX Sports 1 main card will be after the jump beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, courtesy of Matt Saccaro. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest updates, and shoot us your own thoughts on twitter @cagepotatomma. Thanks for being here.
It’s official: Former Invicta FC strawweight champion Carla Esparza and fan-favorite Rose Namajunas will square off in the main event of the TUF 20 Finale — this Friday, December 12th, at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas — with the winner being crowned the UFC’s inaugural women’s strawweight champion.
The booking was revealed on last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter, in which Esparza earned a unanimous decision win over Jessica Penne, and Namajunas submitted Randa Markos with a kimura in the first round. Highlights of the Esparza vs. Penne semifinal fight are after the jump. The complete TUF 20 lineup is below…
MAIN CARD, FOX SPORTS 1 (9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT)
Carla Esparza vs. Rose Namajunas
Charles Oliveira vs. Jeremy Stephens
Daron Cruickshank vs. K.J. Noons
Yancy Medeiros vs. Joe Proctor
Randa Markos vs. Jessica Penne
PRELIMINARY CARD, FOX SPORTS 1 (7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT)
Lisa Ellis vs. Felice Herrig
Heather Jo Clark vs. Bec Rawlings
Joanne Calderwood vs. Seo Hee Ham
Angela Magana vs. Tecia Torres
PRELIMINARY CARD, UFC FIGHT PASS (6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT)
Alex Chambers vs. Aisling Daly
Angela Hill vs. Emily Kagan
On last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter, #13-ranked Team Melendez strawweight Lisa Ellis had the chance to avenge her Invicta FC 1 TKO loss to #4-ranked Team Pettis fighter Jessica Penne. It didn’t go so well. This time, Penne only needed a single round to lock in a rear-naked choke and secure the tap from Ellis. Video of the full fight is above.
The episode begins on a somber note. Dana White comes into the locker room looking for Bec Rawlings. He takes her into a side room and gives the bad news. After a long bout with Parkinson’s disease, her stepfather passed away. Bec knew that there was a chance of this happening when she left Australia, but the news still hits her hard. Her stepfather was a big fan of her career and she laments that, “I was hoping he could hold on a little longer so he could see my UFC debut.”
I love Leslie Smith, but there’s no way I’m not using this kickface. PhotoProps: Esther Lin / Invicta FC
Invicta continues to impress with good matchmaking and stellar action in its latest card, and for the first time, Invicta is available widely through pay per view, leaving behind any old issues with UStream. Apparently this is the first all-female MMA pay per view, so it’s a historic night, and the fights delivered, as usual.
Since I’ve already effectively spoiled the main event for you, why not follow along as I talk out loud about how cool the show was and which ladies be scary.
CagePotato’s Professional Gangsta “Thug” Rose Namajunas was glorious in defeat last night, putting on a highly entertaining bout with Tecia Torres that was an early pick for Fight of the Night. Namajunas looked for a flying armbar, but I guess Torres had heard something about it.
Also, Thug Rose gives zero fucks about your stupid resets, Big John:
Invicta FC put on its fifth event last night, closing out a very successful first year for the promotion. A thirteen-fight card at Kansas City’s Ameristar Casino highlighted Invicta’s swelling roster of talented fighters and solidified the promotions reputation for delivering entertaining MMA bouts. The show featured debuts of three champs from Strikeforce and Bellator, plus a pair of Invicta championship matchups. And it fucking rocked.
The card started with a pair of quick submissions, including CagePotato’s own Rose Namajunas, who set the internet on fire with a twelve second flying armbar victory. According to initial reports, that is the 5th fastest victory in MMA history, and fastest in the women’s division. Namajunas was understandably jubilant in her win, saying later that she would like all of her fights to be of the blink-and-you-missed-it variety. She also pointed out that she was still a prospect just starting out at 2-0, and that title talks could wait until she gained more experience.
Invicta’s production values have been a consistent strong point, and this latest preview video from Esther Lin and E. Casey Leydon is no exception. It’s beautiful work, and does a fantastic job setting up Friday night’s main event, between Invicta’s Atomweight (105) Champion Jessica Penne and challenger Michelle Waterson.
- Some of you may remember Jessica Penne from an interview we did with her in August 2010 (I haven’t asked, but I’m pretty sure Penne still hates you assholes), but this is not the same fighter. She looks about ten pounds stronger and ten pounds lighter at the same time.
- In general, there’s a decent amount of footage of Penne beastin’ all over the gym.
- While talking about fitting in at the Jackson-Winklejohn camp, Michelle Waterson lets slip that Jackson calls her “peanut”. Awwwwwwww.
- Jon Jones says after a long day of working out, sometimes he likes to cool down and watch the Karate Hottie kick it like Tae Bo. Then he mumbles something about stealing techniques, like that makes it any better.
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.
(Joanne Calderwood vs. Ashley Cummins. Fight starts at the 1:35 mark. Someone nearly shits their pants around the 4:45 mark.)
Over the past several months, we’ve heard a lot of hoopla regarding the plight of women’s MMA and the lighter weight classes in general. According to some self-proclaimed experts, these fighters stand next to no chance of providing exciting finishes because of their “frail bones” and their “cabbage fingers” and their “lady parts that prevent them from committing gruesome acts of beautiful violence.” And while it should be noted that I normally obtain most of this expert testimony during my weekly NO MA’AM meetings, I must admit that the ladies of Invicta Fighting Championships are pretty much shattering every pre-conceived notion that one could have when approaching women’s MMA or the lighter weight classes. Last weekend’s Invicta FC 3 event did not stray far from the pattern established by the firsttwo events, which is to say, it delivered exciting fights and brutal finishes from top to bottom.
In the evening’s main event, submission specialist and general hottie Jessica Penne made history by becoming the promotion’s first champion in the atomweight class, controlling the previously number one ranked atomweight Naho Sugiyama easily before submitting her midway through the second round with a slick triangle choke. Penne improved to 10-1 as a professional with the win and likely set up a showdown between herself and “The Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson, who picked up a hard fought split-decision win over Lacey Schuckman earlier in the evening, down the line. I’m not saying I will be watching that fight with ulterior motives, but I am saying that I will be watching it alone. With the curtains closed. With no pants on.
After the jump: A boatload of fight videos from the event, including Shayna Baszler’s domination of Sarah D’Alelio, Stephanie Frausto’s lightning quick submission over Amy Davis, and Julia Budd’s brutal beatdown of Danielle West.