Invicta Fighting Championships CEO Shannon Knapp is not just the leader of the premier female fighting promotion in North America but also the commander in chief of what is quickly becoming known as “The People’s Fight League”.
Invicta FC 2 had more pre-event social media buzz than most MMA organizations with more years in the business typically get, besides the UFC of course. It is generally unheard of for such a new brand to garner so much fanfare in such a short time period but Knapp and matchmaker Janet Martin know exactly what the people want. The UFC is undeniably the top dog in the industry for male MMA fighters but Invicta FC is creating the ultimate platform for the best female talent in the sport and it showed this past Saturday night.
The company’s second event, which aired live and free via their website, shaped up to be, in my opinion, the best fight card of the year thus far. Out of the fourteen bouts on the card, only four of them went the distance and there was not a single dull fight out of the bunch. Headliners Sara McMann and Shayna Baszler fought tooth and nail in a three-round barn burner to close the night out.
Here are a few things we learned from the explosive night of women’s MMA action:
Invicta FC Needs to Be on Television
Don’t get me wrong, despite the fact that the live stream was down for the first 45 minutes, I love that the fights are free for viewing on the internet. The worldwide web is almost the new cable and it seems like watching shows on the internet is becoming a fast growing trend.
Let’s face a hard truth now – this brand is not meant to be a small independent organization streaming free shows online. It’s cool for the first two or three shows but Invicta FC is a product that can become a global phenomenon and signing with a major television network will help get them to that level faster.
I’ve read a lot of people suggesting a move over to Showtime and while I’m personally not a big fan of that I do think it would be a very positive thing for Invicta FC.
Title-Bout Booked for Invicta FC 3: Penne vs. Sugiyama
During the broadcast, Knapp announced the company’s first title fight will take place at Invicta FC 3 in October for the Atomweight championship. Jessica Penne, a former guest on Rebellion MMA Radio, will take on undefeated Japanese standout Naho Sugiyama for the 105-pound division’s title. Sugiyama is widely considered to be the best atomweight in the world but Penne’s recent performances lead me to believe otherwise.
Jessamyn Duke is a Future Superstar
Victorious in her professional debut, Duke proved at Invicta FC 2 that fried chicken isn’t the only good thing to come out of Kentucky. Nicknamed “The Gun”, Duke completely dominated her opponent Suzie Montero before finishing her with strikes in the third round. An outstanding athletic specimen and talented young prospect, Duke is going to be a handful for several fighters in the bantamweight division.
I’m Not that Bad at Breaking Down Fights
Leading up to the event, I broke down ten of the major tilts each day from the Angelica Chavez-Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc fight all the way to the main event between McMann and Baszler right here on Five Ounces of Pain. The only match-up I was wrong about was the Sarah D’Alelio- Vanessa Porto fight, as every other outing went exactly the way I predicted it would for the most part. I’m not trying to toot my own horn but if you guys want to send me some cookies for that I won’t deny you the pleasure.
Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc is a Beautiful Smashing Machine
I’ve had quite a few conversations with Rivera-Calanoc in the past and have always got the impression that she is just an overall great human being with passion like no other. She is a much better fighter than her record (8-6) will lead you to believe and when she was defeated in the first Invicta FC event back in April I knew we were going to see the best version of “The Night Queen” in her next fight. That is exactly what we got as Calanoc maintained constant pressure on her opponent, Chavez, throughout the entire fight en route to a unanimous decision.
Carla Esparza, Julia Budd, and Barb Honchak are Descendents from the Planet Krypton
So maybe they aren’t exactly from another planet but you’d think they were from watching the performances of Esparza, Budd and Honchak on Saturday night. All three of these athletes finished their opponents with a TKO either in the first or second round and looked devastating in the process.
Esparza Needs to fight Ayaka Hamasaki for Strawweight Title
Unless Invicta FC brings in Jessica Aguilar or Megumi Fujii to compete for the organization’s first strawweight title, 115-pounders Esparza and Hamasaki are at the top of the division with their wins at Invicta FC 2. Esparza, ranked fifth in the world, is 4-1 in her last five with the lone loss being a close split decision against the aforementioned Aguilar. Hamasaki is undefeated and displayed technical brilliance in her Armbar submission over Lacey Schuckman. Like I said, unless they bring in #1 ranked Aguilar or #2 ranked Fujii, Esparza and Hamasaki makes the most sense for a title fight.
I Was Wrong About Sarah D’Alelio
I predicted that D’Alelio, who accepted the fight on short notice, would get submitted in the first round against black belt Porto. Not only was I wrong but to make me look like a complete jack wagon, D’Alelio actually managed to submit Porto… in the first round. It was an unbelievably incredible performance, “The Monster” is now 2-0 in Invicta FC and I think she deserves an opportunity to compete for a title down the line.
Liz Carmouche or Alexis Davis could fight Sara McMann for Bantamweight Strap
Depending on which fighter the Invicta FC team was more impressed with, Carmouche or Davis could compete against McMann to determine the organization’s inaugural bantamweight champion. Carmouche choked out deadly striker Kaitlin Young and Davis outclassed and also choked out top ranked Hitomi Akano. Personally, I’d like to see a mini-tournament established between Carmouche, Davis, D’Alelio or Baszler and McMann but if Invicta FC is looking to make a fast fight to determine a 135-pound champion it should be Davis and McMann.
Other notables to take away from the event
– Julie Kedzie, Mauro Ranallo and King Mo are the best three-person commentary team in MMA today
– Baszler and McMann have improved their striking tremendously
– Jennifer Swift is the most beautiful ring girl in the sport
– Michele Gutierrez needs to be shown on the broadcast interviewing fighters
PHOTO CREDIT – INVICTA FC