Invicta strawweight champion Carla Esparza has been forced to withdraw from her bout at Invicta FC 6 after suffering an apparent knee injury. Esparza was slated to defend her title to Ayaka Hamasaki, who will now face Claudia Gadelha. Gadelha was originally set to face Joanne Calderwood, but a search for a replacement is underway.
According to Invicta president Shannon Knapp, Esparza's injury may be severe enough to promote the new bout between Gadelha and Hamasaki as an interim title. The original bout looked to serve as the co-main event a headlining featherweight title bout between Cris Cyborg and Marloes Coenen.
Perfect at 9-0, Hamasaki made an impressive promotional debut by submitting Lacey Shuckman via armbar at Invicta FC 2: Baszler vs. McMann. Most recently she defended her crown as Jewels lightweight champion (115lbs) after scoring a decision over Emi Fujino in December.
Also undefeated at 9-0, Gadleha makes her Invicta debut against arguably the toughest competition she's faced in her young career. The 24-year-old Brazilian last competed under the Max Sport banner in a decision victory over Herica Tiburcio. She's also managed to stop six of her nine opponents in the first round, five coming via armbar.
Invicta FC 6: Coenen vs. Cyborg takes place Jul. 13, 2013 from Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri.