With three previous cards that were nothing short of spectacular, Invicta Fighting Championships had a lot to live up to with their fourth card. The January fifth event included the inaugural 115 pound title, a match originally set between Carla Esparza and Claudia Gadelha. Gadelha sustained an injury during training and had to pull out of the fight just a week before fight night, and Bec Hyatt stepped up so the fight would go on.
Going up against the much more experienced fighter Carla Esparza, the odds were so against Bec Hyatt that many had the opinion that the fight should have been scrapped from the card, and let the co-main event Davis vs. Baszler headline. Although the fight didn’t end with Hyatt’s hand raised, she still proved to everyone that she belonged in the Invicta cage with the best of them. Esparza used her superior wrestling to score numerous takedowns and control Hyatt on the ground for most of the 25 minute fight, but Hyatt defended all submissions and showcased her stand-up skills when she got the opportunity. Neither fighter was going to let the other win easily. Still, Esparza came out on top, winning the fight via unanimous decision.
The co-main event, a rematch between Alexis Davis and Shayna Baszler, created fireworks as well. The fight was a back and forth war until the beginning of the third round, when Davis secured a rear naked choke on Baszler and finished the fight.
Also on the main card, Leslie Smith defeated Raquel Pennington via unanimous decision in a drama filled match fueled by a personal dispute. Sarah D’Alelio defeated Amanda Nunes, Ediane Gomes defeated Hiroko Yamanaka, and Joanne Calderwood defeated Livia Von Plettenberg, all by unanimous decision as well.
Five fighters made their pro debuts on the night’s preliminary card, and all the undercard fighters proved to be deserving of stepping inside the Invicta FC cage.
The 13 bout card ended with eight decisions, an unusual phenomena for Invicta. However, unlike many fight cards filled with decisions, these fights were nowhere near boring. These women brought heart and non-stop action to the cage, and refused to give their opponents an easy win. The night also saw three rear naked chokes, one TKO, and one true knockout.
Fight of the Night went to Alexis Davis and Shayna Baszler, Knockout of the Night to Veronica Rothenhausler, and Submission of the Night to Rose Namajunas. Several WMMA celebrities made it to Kansas City to cheer on the ladies, including the second woman to be signed to the UFC, bantamweight fighter Liz Carmouche, Miesha Tate, and Felice Herrig.
If anyone is still doubting women’s ability to fight just as well as (if not better than) the men, they clearly haven’t watched an Invicta FC card yet!