Carla "Cookie Monster" Esparza defeated Australian up-and-comer Bec "Rowdy" Hyatt for the strawweight title at Invicta Fighting Championships IV's main event on Saturday, January 5th at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas. Hyatt, a late replacement for an injured Claudia Gadelha, showed incredible heart, impressive boxing and good submission defense, but the 2-time All-American was able to take her down at will. Esparza received 50-45 nods from all three judges.
photo courtesy of Esther Lin/ Invicta Fighting Championships
In the co-main event, Alexis "Ally Gator" Davis showcased her improved grappling skills in defeating Shayna "Queen of Spades" Baszler by rear-naked choke :58 into the 3rd round. The bout earned Fight of the Night honors.
Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith defeated Raquel “Rocky” Pennington via unanimous decision in a spirited bantamweight grudge match.
Sarah "the Monster" D'Alelio defeated Amanda "Lioness of the RIng" Nunes 30-26; dominating all three rounds. Nunes mounted virtually no offense except for an illegal upkick in the second round, which led to a point deduction.
Ediane Gomes defeated Hiroko Yamanaka by unanimous decision, with 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 scores from the judges.
Joanne Calderwood showcased a phenomenal kickboxing game, defeating Livia Von Plettenberg by unanimous decision with explosive kicks and elbows. Calderwood was originally scheduled to fight Bec Hyatt.
In preliminary card action, Cassie Rodish defeated Stephanie Frausto with punches and elbows in the 3rd round of their bout, Tamikka Brents decisioned Amanda Bell, with identical 29-28 scores from the judges, Rose" Thug" Namajunas defeated Jackson MMA fighter Emily Kagan with a rear-naked choke 3:44 into the fight, earning Submission of the Night honors, Jodie Esquibel defeated Liz McCarthy via split decision, Tecia "Little Tornado" Torres defeated Paige VanZant by unanimous decision (30-27), Veronica Rothenhausler earned KO of the Night honors by defeating Katalina Malungahu with a vicious right cross 1:12 into the first round of their fight, and Laura Sanko defeated Cassie Robb with a 2nd round rear-naked choke.
Katja Kankaanpaa defeated Aisling Daly via unanimous decision at Cage Warriors 51 on New Year's Eve.
Also on December 31st, Marloes Coenen defeated Fiona Muxlow via armbar 3:29 into the first round of their bout at Dream 18.
Barb “Little Warrior” Honchak will be fighting Vanessa Porto at Invicta FC 5 in April for the flyweight title.
As far as we know, there will be no women's MMA fights this coming weekend. However, Nikki Knudsen is scheduled to face Windy Core at AFC 96: Charity Fight on the 16th, and Amy Caldwell will fight Maria Andaverde at Rogue Fights on the 19th.
VIDEO Shannon Knapp discusses Invicta pay-per-views, upcoming bouts and more.