Invicta FC returns to Kansas City, MO on July 27 for it's sixth iteration. They've already announced the fight card via their website, and baring a major string of injuries, it may be their best card to date. Marloes Coenen faces Cris Cyborg for the inagural Invicta featherweight title, and Carla Esparza makes her first defense of the strawweight belt. Beyond the excitement of the big names though, it's loaded with young rising prospects and surprising new names. Making their Invicta debuts on the card will be Duda Yankovich, Claudia Gadelha, and Mizuki Inoue. Also of note will be the Invicta return of Scottish Muay Thai sensation Joanne Calderwood.
Yankovich is one of the worlds best women boxers of the last decade, and while she doesn't have youth on her side, she has the combination of incredible striking prowess, and a basic BJJ top game that will make her incredibly exciting over the course of her MMA career. She's coming off a 3rd round submission victory at Bitetti Combat 14 where she won with an arm breaking key-lock.
Claudia Gadelha was set to compete at Invicta FC 4 before an injury took her off the card. She's undefeated at 9–0 with six submission victories. At only 24 she's definitely a hot prospect, but she's pretty small at only 5' 3" and will be making her debut against the much larger and massively talented striker Joanne Calderwood, fresh off a one round dismantling of Sally Krumdiak. This will be a tough test for Gadelha and a good test for Calderwood to see how she handles a good submission grappler.
Of the Invicta débutées, Mizuki Inoue is perhaps the least known and most exciting. She's a Japanese kickboxer and Jewels vet, and at only 18 her career upside is huge. Her only loss thus far was to Ayaka Hamasaki, who's competing for the strawweight title. Despite her kickboxing background all of Inoue's five victories are by submission. She has all the making of a future star in women's MMA.
Here's the full card as it stands. There's one fight yet to be filled, and I know that Holly Holm is going to be looking for a fight soon...
Marloes Coenen vs. Cris Cyborg (featherweight title fight)
Carla Esparza vs. Ayaka Hamasaki (strawweight title fight)
Sarah D'Alelio vs. Lauren Taylor
Leslie Smith vs. ???
Joanne Calderwood vs. Claudia Gadelha
Bec Hyatt vs. Mizouki Inoue
Miriam Nakamoto vs. Duda Yankovich