Invicta FC put their first show of 2016 and the 15th overall for the promotion. It was an entertaining night of action that saw six of the seven fights end with a finish. The one fight that went the distance proved that judges cannot be trusted to judge a fight. The main event proved that Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino is the baddest woman in MMA today.
You have to give Daria Ibragimova a lot of credit for her willingness to move up a weight class to fight Cyborg. All that credit earned her was a vicious knockout loss and a lumped up face.
Her gameplan was a curious one centered around grabbing one of Cyborg’s legs, lifting it up, and then clutching it desperately while eating punches and elbows.
Ibragimova was able to trip Cyborg several times but could not keep her down. She struggled to mount any offense at all.
As the round was expiring Ibragimova left herself open for just a moment. A moment was all Cyborg needed to land a devastatingly destructive right-hand dropping the dancing Russian. A couple of more unnecessary punches and the fight was over.
After the fight, there was the question of what is next for the dominant Cyborg? Any chance of a super fight and a big payday with Ronda Rousey evaporated with Holly Holm’s definitive win.
Now, Cyborg must hope that some contender can emerge at featherweight or hope that Holm can become a big enough star to call for a super fight between them.
Until a true contender emerges we will be regulated to dominant wins by Cyborg just like this one.
Livia’s Liver Shot
The co-main event saw an equally impressive performance from strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza with her first round finish of DeAnna Bennett.
Coming into the fight, Souza was known for her Brazilian jiu-jitsu with seven submission wins out of eight. Including her fourth-round submission of Katja Kankaanpaa at Invicta FC 12 to take the title.
In her first title defense, she used a beautifully place left kick to the liver followed by a right-hand to drop Bennett before finishing her off with several strikes to the head. The kick snaked right beneath Bennett’s left elbow.
It was Souza’s first win via TKO and it proves that she is dangerous everywhere making her a formidable champion for Invicta FC. The question is when will she get the call from the UFC? You could easily see her there before the end of the year. Until then expect her to keep destroying challengers to her Invicta FC title.
Future Title Shots
Going into the night, it was thought by many that the winner of the fight between Colleen Schneider and Raquel Pa’aluhi would get the next shot at bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger. If that is indeed the case then it will be Schneider who took a tough fought but strange split-decision.
Somehow one judge rewarded Pa’aluhi for her ability to absorb punishment and still fight on. Fortunately, the other two judges scored it correctly.
Early in the first round, Schneider opened up a cut over Pa’aluhi’s left eye. She then proceeded to pepper it with punches as she fought off takedowns throughout the rest of the battle. When Pa’aluhi did get the fight to the ground Schneider quickly got back to her feet. One of the keys to the fight was Schneider’s ability to punish Pa’aluhi on takedowns and takedown attempts.
By the end of the fight, Pa’aluhi’s eye was almost completely closed and Schneider had earned her first win for Invicta FC. It may have also earned her a title shot with Evinger later this year.
Amber Brown continued on her path to the atomweight title with a first round submission win over Shino VanHoose who took the fight on short notice. It was Brown’s third win in a row for Invicta FC and would seem to have earned her a shot against the champion Ayaka Hamasaki.
The Bonus Round
The first three fights on the night earned all three of the night’s bonuses. Megan Anderson and Amber Leibrock kicked off the card with the FOTN.
Leibrock started out by landing a couple of big right hands and seemed like she was going to take control but instead Anderson found her rhythm. Once Anderson got comfortable she was able to impose her will on the very tough and game Leibrock until she finally got the TKO in the third round.
Angela Hill earned her bonus with an impressive first round KO of Alida Gray via a vicious knee to the body. It was a perfect Invicta FC début for the MMA inexperienced Hill who had struggled in the UFC against more experienced competition.
The win showed the talent that got Hill onto TUF and into the UFC with only one MMA fight under her belt. If Hill can continue to grow in the sport and improve her grappling she could challenge for the title in 2017 or find her way back into the UFC.
The third fight on the night saw Mizuki Inoue take home the final bonus with her armbar submission of the tough Lacey Schuckman.
The two engaged in an entertaining fight with both having moments. But, it was Inoue who kept coming out on top of the exchanges. Several times in the fight she seemed close to getting the armbar but each time Schuckman escaped. Until, finally in the third round Inoue was able to secure the submission.
After the event, Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp and T.J. De Santis announced that Invicta FC 16 would go down on March 11th.
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