When July's Invicta FC 6 card was announced last week, there was one glaring omission, an opponent had not been found for Leslie Smith. That spot has now been filled by young Brazilian Jennifer Maia, fresh off a unanimous decision victory over Zoila Frausto-Gurgel.
Smith is a high output kickboxer with a deep striking arsenal and an ability to continually bring the fight to her opponents. Even in the relatively new environment of Invicta she is one of the more underrated WMMA fighters at 135 lbs, or at least she was. Now she'll look to ply her trade in a new weight class as she in Maia will meet at Flyweight in a bout to determine the next contender to the 125 lb title.
For Maia's part, the path to victory is clear, she's a decent grappler with a 7–2–1 record with three victories coming by way of submission. She can't afford to spend a lot of time with Smith standing up, who, unlike Gurgel, strikes with a decent amount of power and will have a massive size advantage. But if she can turn this into a series of scrambles on the ground, she could make Smith very uncomfortable.
The reward for the victor will be a shot at current champion Barb Honchak, fresh off a unanimous decision victory over Vanessa Porto at Invicta FC 5. Odds should favor Smith to win, but whatever the outcome it looks like an exciting fight.
Invicta FC 6 takes place on July 13 in Kansas City, Missouri. Here's the complete fight card:
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. Jennifer Maia
Jessica Penne vs. Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc
Joanne Calderwood vs. Claudia Gadelha
Ediane Gomes vs. Julia Budd
Bec Hyatt vs. Mizouki Inoue
Miriam Nakamoto vs. Duda Yankovic
Rose Namajunas vs. Tecia Torres
Ashley Cummins vs. Emily Kagan
Mollie Estes vs. Veronica Rothenhausler
Laura Sanko vs. Livia Von Plettenberg