Women MMA world championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion Invicta Fighting Championships has partnered with Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City to deliver the promotion’s first world championship doubleheader event in history on Friday, April 5.
In the main event, reigning Invicta FC Atomweight (105 pounds) Champion Jessica Penne (10-1) of Huntington Beach, Calif. will defend her crown against superstar Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson (10-3) of Albuquerque, N.M. and, in the co-main event and first-ever Invicta FC flyweight (125 pounds) title fight, submission ace Vanessa Porto (15-5) of Sao Paulo, Brazil will square off with red-hot star Barb Honchak (7-2) of Bettendorf, Iowa.
Additionally, flyweight superstar Zoila Frausto Gurgel (12-2) of Cincinnati, Ohio will make her Invicta FC debut against submission expert Jennifer Maia (6-2) of Curitiba, Parana Brazil.
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Tickets for Invicta FC 5: Penne vs. Waterson go on sale soon.
“We are excited about entering a new chapter in Invicta FC history that consists of a partnership with one of the finest and most impressive entertainment venues in the country as well as our first world championship doubleheader card that is loaded with world-class women’s fight talent,” said Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp.
The 30-year-old Penne made history on Oct. 6 when she became the first Invicta FC atomweight champion in history after dominating and submitted previously unbeaten superstar Naho Sugiyama with a triangle choke in the second round (2:20) of their main event showdown. The victory was Penne’s third straight.
Waterson, a 27-year-old protégé of famed trainer Greg Jackson, will put a four-fight win streak on the line in the matchup with Penne. A black belt in American Freestyle Karate, Waterson also boasts extensive training in Muay Thai and made a name for herself as a contestant on the Muay Thai-themed reality show Fight Girls on the Oxygen television network.
In her last start, Porto, a 28-year-old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, earned a unanimous decision victory over women’s MMA pioneer Tara LaRosa at Invicta FC 3 on Oct. 6. Porto, who has blazed a trail to stardom in her native Brazil, is one of only two fighters to go the distance with former Strikeforce champion and executioner Cris Cyborg, and holds notable wins over decorated, former JEWELS champion Hitomi Akano and Germaine de Randamie.
The 33-year-old Honchak, a protégé of former UFC competitor Steve Berger, is in the midst of a six-fight win streak that began on Jan. 14, 2011 when she earned a unanimous decision over Felice “Lil’ Bulldog” Herrig. Honchak’s last two victories – a second round TKO (punches) of Bethany Marshall on July 28, 2012 and a unanimous decision over Aisling Daly on Oct. 6, 2012 – both came inside the Invicta FC cage.
In other action on the nine-bout main card, bantamweight (135 pounds) superstar Sarah Kaufman (15-2) of Victoria, BC Canada will make her long-awaited Invicta FC debut against dangerous striker and Invicta FC 3 and Invicta FC 4 winner Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith (5-2-1) of Pleasant Hill, Calif.
Hard-hitting KO artist Amanda “Lioness of the Ring” Nunes (7-3) of Miami, Fla. via Salvador, Bahia Brazil will look to rebound from her Invicta FC 4 unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Sarah D’Alelio when she squares off with fellow power striker Kaitlin Young (7-7-1) of St. Louis Park, Minn. at bantamweight.
In a featherweight (145 pounds) contest, streaking submission wizard and Invicta FC 3 and Invicta FC 4 victor Ediane Gomes (10-2) of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. will battle hard-punching Julia “The Jewel” Budd (4-2) of Port Moody, BC Canada.
The exciting, prolific Nicdali “The Night Queen” Rivera-Calanoc (8-6) of Tulsa, Okla. will return to the Invicta FC cage for the third time in an atomweight matchup with Cassie Rodish (4-3) of Des Moines, Iowa.
After accepting an opponent change and promotion to championship main event status just a week and a half before Invicta FC 4, “Rowdy” Bec Hyatt (4-2) of Brisbane, Australia will drop from flyweight to strawweight (115 pounds) and look to return to the win column against undefeated sensation and Invicta FC newcomer Jasminka Cive (5-0) of Graz, Austria.
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Katja Kankaanpaa (7-0-1) of Seinajoki, Finland will square off with fellow undefeated rising star Juliana Carnerio Lima (5-0) of Belo Horizonte, Brazil at strawweight in what will mark both fighters’ Invicta FC debuts.
The Invicta FC five-fight preliminary card will be highlighted by a bantamweight tilt between two undefeated prospects in powerhouse Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke (2-0) of Richmond, Ky. and Muay Thai stylist Miriam Nakamoto (1-0) of Dublin, Calif.
Alex Chambers (4-1) of St. Ives New South Wales, Australia will meet unbeaten Jodie Esquibel of Albuquerque, N.M. at atomweight.
Fresh off of her professional debut victory in the Invicta FC cage, top-flight prospect Rose Namajunas (1-0) of St. Paul, Minn. will face off with fellow undefeated upstart Kathina Catron (2-0) of Tehlequa, Okla. at strawweight.
Following her explosive first round KO and professional debut victory over Katalina Malungahu at Invicta FC 4, recent Team Alpha Male enlistee Veronica Rothenhausler (1-0) of Sacramento, Calif. will return to the cage against Mollie Estes (1-1) of Kansas City.
Making her professional debut, River Jones (0-0) of Nelson, BC Canada will meet Lauren Barefoot (1-0) of Omaha, Neb. at bantamweight in the event’s first preliminary card bout.
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