Invicta FC 6 presented a huge night of action for MMA fans with a ton of awesome fights and exciting finishes. Cris Cyborg fought Marloes Coenen for the inaugural 145 lb title, and Ayaka Hamasaki fought Claudia Gadelha in a no. 1 contenders bout for the next straw weight title shot. New prospects debuted, others continued to rise and a there were a few upsets along the way. Check out all the action and gifs below, courtesy of our own Zombie Prophet.
Livia Von Pletten Berg def Kathina Catron via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
In the opening bout of the night, last minute replacement Kathina Catron put on a spirited display of striking, but ultimately lost a unanimous decision to the much more controlling Livia Von Plettenberg. Catron did have a couple of fun strike attempts, including a nifty backhand.
The final bout of the undercard featured Emily Kagan facing off against St. Louis police officer Ashley Cummins. Cummins had more technical boxing and footwork, but found herself often out hustled and out maneuvered by the more active Kagan. The pair traded knockdowns in the second for what made a good fight and a tough decision that could have gone either way.
Here's some of Cummins' slick combination work:
And the back and forth knockdowns:
Opening the PPV card was a bout between undefeated hot prospects Rose Namajunas and Tecia Torres. Living up to their hype both women put on a great back and forth performance to try and claim their status as the next big thing in the Straweight division. The two traded kicks early and often. Namajunas looked to have an early advantage with her grappling and flashier striking, but Torres' poise, polish, and bigger gas tank saw her pull away with the fight late.
Namajunas hit a fantastic armbar that nearly ended the fight. Quickly becoming a signature move:
Another less successful attempt:
Big John stops then starts then stops then starts the action:
Torres hits a wicked up kick in the last minute of the fight:
I'm not sure what possessed Yankovich in this fight, whether she felt she could surprise Nakamoto, or just felt her power early and decided that she wanted no part of it. Yankovich quickly bailed on attempting to strike with Nakamoto and went to her rudimentary wrestling and grappling game. It cost her dearly as Nakamoto was able to dominate in the clinch and score a brutal KO.
Mizuki Inoue def Bec Hyatt via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
The second fight of the PPV card was a real barn burner between uber-prospect Mizuki Inoue and fan favorite Bec Hyatt. Inoue both lived up to the hype and proved that she still needs polish against top competition, dominating the first two rounds before dropping the third. Her striking, defense and grappling all looked amazing, she just needs to work relying too heavliy on hand coverage for defense and work to improve her cardio. Bec Hyatt also proved that she will continue to be a great fighter to watch with a spirited late comeback that left some wondering what she could have done with an extra round.
Inoue's nasty clinch kicks:
Bec Hyatt making Inoue pay for a missed armbar:
Hyatt surging late:
Joanne Calderwood def Norma Rueda-Center via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
This was something of a surprising letdown on the card. I don't know if it was the continual opponent change, an injury, or potentially an illness, but Calderwood looked less than dominant in defeating Rueda-Center. Center offered little offense other than gameness, but Calderwood looked spent after the first round and coasted out the rest of the fight with her superb striking. Center was able to get a couple takedowns late and land a few punches, but to little effect.
A Jo-Jo staple, punching into the clinch for a violent string of knees and elbows:
Calderwood eating a flurry from Rueda-Center off a nice sprawl:
Much of the 3rd was spent in an awkward armbar position leading the ref to a suspect standup:
Penne and Rivera-Calanoc were all smiles before the fight, mugging and chatting at the weigh ins, but I'd be surprised if they were still chums after Penne's dominant submission win. Penne gave Rivera-Calonoc a less than playful shove after the tap, and it led to a bit of jawing as the decision was read.
It seems like it hardly needs saying at this point that Leslie Smith put on the fight of the night. As has become expectation the high-octane kickboxer threw nothing but heat for three straight rounds and while Jennifer Maia hung tight for the first two it eventually wore her down. Smith looks fantastic at 125, even if her wide open offense leads her to take a lot of unnecessary damage. If she can make flyweight comfortably she has serious potential for a shot at the title.
Smith flurrying and scrambling:
And flurrying and ground and pound. Did I mention ground and pound? I'm pretty sure I did:
Lauren Taylor def Sarah D'Alelio via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Continuing her unexpected rise, Lauren Taylor is proving that raw athleticism and a strong grappling game can get her past the old guard at 135. D'Alelio was a big step up in competition, even from the game Kaitlin Young. She's a true top 10 fighter. And Taylor fought to her strengths, kept it close, and pulled out a narrow decision with her more active striking and superior positioning.
Taylor dogged in her pursuit of the takedown, with a nice D'Alelio sweep thrown in for good measure:
D'Alelio and Taylor going strike-for-strike:
Claudia Gadelha def Ayaka Hamasaki via TKO (punches) at 3:58 of Round 3
The hardest fight to win is one in which your strengths are your opponents strengths as well, especially if your opponent happens to be a lot stronger than you. Hamasaki is an experienced, game grappler. She's made a career of being resilient, working her way into the clinch, using trips for takedowns, and finding subs from top control. Against Gadelha, she was reduced to surviving. Claudia out muscled and techniqued her everytime the two fighters closed the distance for an incredibly dominant two rounds of punishing ground and pound and submission attempts, leading to a 3rd round TKO stoppage. It's a huge win for Gadelha and quickly establishes her as one of the division's top fighters.
Oh yeah, and she threw a nasty illegal knee in round 1, for which she lost a point:
Cris Cyborg def Marloes Coenen via TKO (punches) at 4:02 of Round 4
It wasn't a cake walk, but it wasn't exactly close either. Marloes Coenen looked to establish respect early with a sharp looking Muay Thai striking arsenal, unfortunately she didn't get it. Cyborg walked her down like she held the key to the robot revolution and put a controlled beating on the Golden Glory fighter for four solid rounds. Marloes eventually resorted to continual guard pulls which were effective at getting the fight on the mat, but she was unable to mount any offense once she had it there. She made a couple of late flurries in striking exchanges catching Cyborg with some crisp combinations, but they mostly resulted in her opening herself up for return fire that came with the brutality we've come to expect from WMMA's baddest woman on the planet.
While Marloes still appeared to be conscious when the fight was stopped, she had been on the receiving end of continuous damage for the fourth round and hadn't offered any offense for the last several minutes. Cris Cyborg is the first Invicta FC featherweight champion.
Cyborg launches into Coenen's guard, and hits a beautiful suplex:
Cyborg showing a lot more patience than in previous outings, and her trademark lateral drop:
The Muay Thai:
That's it for another thrilling Invicta card, be sure to check back in the coming days for post fight updates as well as news on potential matches for Invicta FC 7.