Invicta FC, everyone's favorite all-female promotion, has started the rebuilding process of sorts. After the major announcement of an Ultimate Fighter of onlys, Invicta has started signing strawweights to fill the void. If you were worried about the UFC "killing" Invicta (with the UFC taking the #2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 14 ranked strawweights in the world) have no fears, the strawweight division is plentiful and Invicta is proving why, signing more than a few solid, lesser-known and YOUNG females/strawweights.
Let's start with the strawweight signings. Ordered from my favorite to least favorite -
Herica Tiburcio, 22 - A woman I have written about multiple times in the past months I've done the "WMMA Preview/Recap" articles... and if you read them you would know I'm a big fan of her. Although she stands at only 4 ft 11 (according to Sherdog) she more than makes up for it with fantastic scrambling abilities, quickness you'd expect from a girl that's only an inch or two to be a legally recognized dwarf (under 4 ft 10), and great stamina. She has lost to #2 Cluadia Gadelha and Camila Lima. Two much bigger girls. At 4 ft 11, I can't help but think with the right diet regimen and weight cutting expertise, she should be competing, and dominating at 105lbs. Nonetheless, a very exciting signing, and I think she will appeal to the Western audience.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz, 28 - A very popular fighter over in Poland. With over 15,000 likes on her Facebook fan page, contrast that with established fighters like Jessica Eye (12,000), and Alexis Davis (6,000), she is sure to draw quite a bit of attention in her first Invicta match. A decent striker her real strength is in her grappling and ground strikes. Far from a finished product, it'll be interesting what improvements she has made when her Invicta debut comes. Sidenote: Poland is becoming a surprising grounds for WMMA talent.
best 'I just signed a contract' photo ever.
Livia Renata Souza, 23 on March 11 - What I can gather from Souza opponents is she's fought on a little bit lower level than some of the girls Tiburcio has fought. Albeit, Souza only started fighting in 2013 (very impressive 5-0). Fun grappler to watch. She can get her butt beat for a round and pull off the submission in round 2. Another young prospect.
Ashley Greenway, 29-30 (said she was 27 in a November 2011 interview) - the least intriguing of the 4 strawweight signings so far. Honestly, I didn't even know who she was other than that she was a statistic on Tecia Torres' unbeaten record. And just like girls that have fallen to Torres, such as fellow TUF contestants, Paige van Zant and Felice Herrig, it was "total domination". She'll be making her pro debut in the Invicta cage most likely. And... I don't know find her too athletically coordinated, quick or technically sound, however, she hasn't fought since August 2012. So, that's a whole lot of time to improve, and seeing TUF losers, Neil Magny and Ramsey Nijem improve so much, I ain't ruling her out, but she's definitely not getting the training they're getting. But, she does have a look I'm sure some will be gushing over her.
and a bunch more
Top atom, KOTY runner up and... a featherweight
#11 Atomweight Amber Brown, 25 - I'm a fan of hers. She went over to Japan with only 2 fights under her belt, losing a very tough fight to one of the top strawweights in the world, Emi Fujino, as well as submitting Kikuyo Ishikawa, a top ranked (albeit overrated) atomweight in the 3rd. At 5 ft 4 Brown will have a heigh and reach advantage more often than not against other atomweights. More of a clinch, grappling grinding type fighter.
Irene Aldana, 25 - The Mexican striker is going to bring a lot of fireworks into the Invicta cage. I wouldn't have her in that Nakamoto, Holm class, but I'd take her over any current UFC fighter on the feet. Previous to her Fight of the Year candidate loss, Aldana had just won by wheel kick and punches, and before that two more knockouts via 'knee to the body' and 'knees and punches'. She had a lot of trouble dealing the reach and long punches of Larissa Pacheco (in thefight of the year candidate
Aldana on the right of a Jungle Fight WMMA Wallid Ismail Sandwich
Faith van Duin, 27 - It's a toss up between her and Greenway of who I don't care about more. van Duin is NOT a good figher. Despite her extremely high ranking due to lack of featherweight talent, she is not worthy of the Invicta cage, in this man's opinion. I don't even know what they're gonna do with her. Give her to Julia Budd? Emergency replacement for whoever can't fight Cyborg? But, I guess someone's gotta do the leg work on this division, even though I think more work should be put into the atomweight division. It's criminal Michelle Waterson hasn't defended her title and Penne has only fought once since losing to Waterson.
Here's one more Ashley Greenway pic for you
Expect a few more signings, and a date for Invicta 8 coming soon (late March-early April) as on the Invicta Facebook page they already having some kind of Invicta 8 prediction contest.