The main card at Invicta Fighting Championships 4 has been subject to a range of changes recently. As Dave Doyle of MMA Fighting recently reported, strawweight title contender Claudia Gadelha (9-0) has been forced out of her fight with Carla Esparza (8-2) with a broken nose.
This potential matchup between the unbeaten Gadelha and the savvy wrestler Esparza was due to decide Invicta's inaugral strawweight championship, as well as headline their first ever pay-per-view show. Unfortunately, Gadelha's injury has compelled Invicta FC to change their inaugural strawweight title fight for the third time in two months.
Akaya Hamasaki (now 9-0) was originally scheduled to face Esparza for the inaugural strawweight title on Jan 5th 2013, but decided to postpone this potential meeting in late November to defend her own Jewels 115 pound belt against Emi Fujino (11-6) in Tokyo, Japan.
With Gadelha out due to injury, Invicta FC contacted undefeated strawweight prospect Joanne Calderwood (4-0) in regards to taking the fight with Esparza. Calderwood, however, decided to turn down the fight. The following is a direct quote from Calderwood's official facebook feed:
Fight camp wrapped up today, been tougher than I thought doing it over Christmas. Practically 30 minutes after finishing I get offered to fight for the Invicta title as Carla Esparza opponent has been injured. Mixed reviews on the whole situation my coaches turned it down as Carla is number 4 in the world and an amazing wrestler and for my past camp I have been working on beating bec. I didn't think that the bec fight would have changed but turns out Carla is getting an early night next Saturday as Not surprisingly Bec has took the fight and the fight I've trained 6 weeks for is now off and I am now fighting Livia Van Plettenberg from Matt Linlands.
I'm sure people will be saying stuff like I've not took the fight for whatever reason but at the end of the day Carla is ranked number 4 in the world at our weight, I want to give her the respect of a full fight camp in preparation for when I fight her. I'm not like most fighters where they think about the next fight I need to think long term. Gutted and angry but glad I'm still getting to fight.
Here, Calderwood explains that Esparza is too tough an opponent to fight at such short notice. Due on the 'respect' she has for Esparza, Calderwood suggests that she would need to have a full and proper fight campt to fight such a gifted adversary.
With Calderwood turning down the fight, Invicta had to find another opponent for Esparza. They found one in Calderwood's original opponent Bec Hyatt (4-1). The 23 year old will now face Esparza on Jan 5th in Kansas City, while Calderwood will face another dangerous striker in Livia Van Plettenberg.
Invicta FC have yet to change the schedule and associated adverstisements on their official event page. It easy to see why this is the case, with so many recent changes. What is certain, however, is that no matter who gains the inaugural title the event on Jan 5th should create a variety of potential matchups for Invicta's strawweight division.
Though Invicta's first pay-per-view has faced some drastic reshuffling, the all-female MMA promotion will be able to carry some momentum into 2013 with the drama that will surely unfold on Jan 5th.