There is a cage in Kansas City where the toughest female athletes in the world compete for much more than wins and losses, or belts. They also compete for a spot on this list! The greatest honor any fighter in the world can earn.
Check out our 3 stars from the fights that took place this past weekend inside of Kansas City’s historic Memorial Hall.
1st Star – Cris Cyborg
First things first – give it up for Marloes. Aside from Cyborg she beats anyone at 145, and most girls at 135. The way she continued to hang in there for almost four full rounds is not only a testament to her own toughness but to Cyborg’s new found patience inside of the cage. She knew that if she made one mistake against a crafty veteran like Marloes her dreams would’ve been shattered. Cyborg knew who she was dealing with, and deal with her she did.
There was never a moment in this fight where Cyborg was in danger. Saying that the difference between her strikes and Coenen’s (“Rumina” did get some nice elbows and leg kicks in) are worlds apart would be a gross understatement. Cyborg was dominant in all aspects of the game from wrestling (her slams and GNP were a thing of beauty) to her lethal and balanced striking attack. It was all Cyborg, all the time. And the end result was her celebrating with her team after Shannon Knapp placed Invicta gold around her waist.
2nd Star- Claudia Gadelha
The theme of the night for many fights was “Someone’s 0 has got to go.” When undefeated Nova União product Claudia Gadelha took on undefeated Jewels lightweight queen Ayaka Hamasaki – the stakes were much higher.
Gadelha controlled Hamasaki on the mat for the duration of the first round after landing a glorious takedown. While Hamasaki was able to show some nice defense from the bottom we were clearly looking at a 10-9 round for “Claudinha”. That was until she hit her opponent with an illegal knee as the round came to a close. Gadelha had just erased a perfectly dominant round. It would be interesting to see if that affected her at all heading into the 2nd against the crafty Megumi Fujii trained veteran.
Not only did Gadelha control Hamasaki in the 2nd round, she did enough to earn herself a 10-8 on the judges scorecards had this fight gone the distance. It came to the “It’s not a matter of if, just a matter of when” part of the fight about half way through the round. The when would be at the 3:58 marker of the final round when referee Greg Franklin was forced to stop the bout due to Gadelha landing some unanswered ground and pound on an opponent that just couldn’t take anymore.
Claudia Gadelha will now meet Invicta strawweight champion Carla Esparza in what has to be one of the most anticipated Women’s title bouts of the promotions short and highly effective history.
3rd Star – Leslie Smith
This is one of those names that just keeps popping up on our Invicta post fight three stars pieces. Like Gadelha, Smith earned a title shot with her fight of the night performance against Jennifer Maia on Saturday night. Her constant pressure and breathtaking accuracy makes each and every one of her bouts opponent viewing. This victory makes Smith 3-1-1 under the Invicta banner with 3 fight of the night bonus checks. If Invicta ever builds a hall of fame this is your first inductee.
Honorable Mentions – Miriam Nakamoto, Jessica Penne, Lauren Taylor, Tecia Torres, Mizuki Inoue, and Jennifer Maia all earn spots on what is easily the longest Weekend in Violence honorable mention list in history. This card was that good.