The debut of the Invicta Fighting Championship yielded some memorable moments. All female fight cards aren't new to Mixed Martial Arts but Invicta FC looked like it could have real staying power. The event had an excellent pace that many other promoters could learn from as the fights came fast and furious.
Marloes Coenen put on a dominating performance against French grappler Romy Ruyssen. Coenen dominated from bell to bell in this fight. Ruyssen struggled to get the fight to the ground, attempting to jump guard several times, but she could not any prolonged time to grapple with Coenen. The most promising instance was when Ruyssen successfully pulled guard and went for an armbar, but Coenen was able to lock up an arm triangle from inside the stacked armbar attempt. It was a very interesting position, but referee Greg Franklin inflicted an absolutely brutal stand up on that position. This came after Franklin deducting a point from Ruyssen for fence grabbing.
Coenen took a sweep on the score cards, firmly reestablishing herself as one of WMMA's elite Bantamweights.
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Just before Coenen and Ruyssen took the cage Jessica Penne and Lisa Ellis treated fans to one heck of an Atomweight grappling match. Ellis showed excellent takedown ability, throwing Ellis to the mat on several occasions but once there Ellis showed off fantastic grappling skills. The fight was filled with exciting scrambles as Penne used amazing flexibility to her advantage. At one point Penne, on the bottom of side control, was able to bend herself in half to the point of transitioning to the back crucifix. Penne's TKO victory in the third round makes here emerge as an interesting front runner in the Atomweight division.
Liz Carmouche handed down a one sided beating to Ashleigh Curry. The fight was as simple as Carmouche getting a takedown straight into mount and from there Curry seemed to have no idea how to escape. From there it Carmouche just brought down ground and pound until referee Greg Franklin felt compelled to stop fight. This was an excellent tune up fight for Carmouche, who is still young and looks to have fantastic potential at Bantamweight.
The fight of the night was a wild brawl between Kaitlin Young and Leslie Smith, that was back and forth all night. The fight ended in a draw, but both fighters received their win purses and a rematch is already in the works for Invitca FC 2.
Other fights of note included veteran Sarah D'Alelio giving prospect Vanessa Mariscal a rude welcome to the big show. D'Alelio was the larger fighter and bullied Mariscal with superior ground work and ferocious strikes on the ground.
Amy Davis and Sarah Schneider both notched submission victories. Schneider's was in a far more conventional fashion, locking up an armbar from the guard, while Davis used an odd crucifix off a sprawl position to find a mounted inverted triangle kimura. Ashley Cummins also impressed in her unanimous win over Sofia Bagherdai.
The most disappointing performance of the night had to belong to Randi Miller, a highly decorated freestyle wrestler who came to MMA hot of a bronze medal run at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Miller has been attempting to make her debut fight in MMA since 2010 and it finally happened. Many expected the long time Miller has spent in the gym would benefit her and give her a fast start to her MMA career.
This was not the case, Miller came in overweight and struggled to complete takedowns in the clinch. Miller's opponent Mollie Estes punished Miller in the clinch with knees and elbows, that Miller seemed unable to defend. Once on the ground Miller had very little in the way of technical positioning. If there is one positive takeaway from this fight it is once on the ground, Miller hits like a truck. The woman has amazing natural ground and pound power and if she can develop her other skills she could become a force to be reckoned with but as it stands she has a lot of work to do.
All in all it was a widely entertaining night of fights that highlighted both the good and bad of the current state of WMMA. It is clear that there is talent in this side of the sport, but there is still a ways to go before it is caught up with the men's divisions in terms of depth. The match making was fantastic and resulted in interesting style clashes and good fights. As stated in the beginning of this article, all female fight leagues are not new to MMA but this one might have some staying power.