Invicta returns this weekend with another fun card of women's mma action. It may not be their most stacked offering, but Invicta has been put in something of a re-building mode, since the UFC scooped up quite a bit of their top talent. The top two fights still promise a lot of high level MMA, and the rest of the card looks to be action packed and could very well provide us with a few new hot prospects.
Invicta FC 9 takes place in Davenport, Iowa, Saturday, November 1st at 9 pm eastern, 6 pacific and will air live on fight pass. I'll be using MMA Odds Breaker to get the odds on the main card, so, let's take a look at the fights...
Honchak (-750) is opening as a huge favorite to Takayo (+450), and there's a pretty good reason for that. Takeyo is a something of a classic sprawl and brawl fighter out of the Japanese scene. She likes to be aggressive, she's high output, but there's not a lot of technique or athleticism behind her style. She's in the cage to be tougher and push a harder pace than her opponents and when she's faced bigger, stronger competition she's fallen short. While she has solid wins over Amanda Buckner, Roxanne Modaferri, and Hitomi Akano, there's not a lot to suggest she has much to offer a fighter like Honchak.
Over the past couple years of her career, Honchak has quietly crafted herself into a very technical kickboxer with a lock down wrestling grappling game. She is defensively sound at range, while working a high output, low power style, and mixes in her takedowns well to keep opponents off balance and take rounds. She's not a great finisher, and Takayo is very tough to finish, so I'd expect this to be a 5 round battle, but it's a fight Honchak should win.
Prediction: Honchak by decision
I have to say, I'm a little surprised that Mizuki (-210) hasn't opened as a larger favorite over Kowalkiewicz (+160). Inoue is the decided favorite, but this seems to be a very un-hyped line. Even still, and while Kowalkiewicz is quite good, I have trouble believing that this fight will be all that close. Inoue's game isn't fluid, she's not great at transitioning from one offensive setting to another, but it's very deep and complex. She's a fantastic technical boxer, decent clinch fighter, and has an aggressive grappling game. Mixed in with a serviceable wrestling game, she's one of the more well rounded fighters in women's MMA.
Kowalkiewicz, on the other hand, is something of a traditional grapple-first fighter. Her striking serves mostly as a way for her to get into the clinch where she works for a lot of throw-based, low percentage takedowns. Once on the ground and in top control, she's got a very solid submission grappling game, but it's just not something I see her getting to often enough for for long enough to get a win over Mizuki. That said, Inoue doesn't pack a lot of power, so if she can't lock up the submission, this fight probably goes all three rounds.
Prediction: Mizuki Inoue by decision.
Visa problems have made late changes to this fight, as Cindy Dandois was unable to get hers to compete in the US. Instead, Raquel Pa'aluhi (+135) will be stepping in on short notice to face sprawl and brawl artist Kaitlin Young (-175). Short notice rarely helps anyone, and is probably a reason that these odds aren't closer to even, along with Young's slightly more notable stature in the sport. In reality, both these women tend to be "live by the sword, die by the sword" kinds of fighters and this will probably end up being a shoot out.
Honestly, it's a shootout Pa'aluhi might win. Young has been on a bit of a slide of late. She's made the move to GFC (where Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, and a few other notable women train) and that's a good step in the right direction, but she's at a "show me" stage in her career. To pick her to win against another reasonably technical hard punching striker, would be all based on optimism that the changes she's made have turned her game around.
Prediction: Raquel Pa'aluhi by TKO
To round out the main card, Jodie Esquibel (-400) comes in at a sizable favorite over Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (+280). That's hardly surprising as both fighters like to stand and work at range, but Esquibel appears to be the notably better athlete. Rivera-Calanoc is a game opponent, but I haven't seen signs of the consistent pressure and aggression that would lead me to believe that she'll steal rounds from Esquibel.
Esquibel, for her part, comes from a boxing background, but isn't really an aggressive puncher in the cage. She does primarily fight at range, with her hands, but mostly looking to counter or land big single strikes. She doesn't have a great combination striking game, or much of a complex wrestling or grappling game. If Rivera-Calanoc could really push the pace consistently and work for takedowns she could steal this fight, but I just don't see it happening.
Prediction: Jodie Esquibel by decision
Amber Brown vs. Liz McCarthy - Two scrappy strikers who like to grapple from top control are going to go at it here. As our own D.E.O. put it "a Mortal Kombat mirror match." The big differences seem to be that Brown is the more technical boxer, while McCarthy has the more exciting grappling game, and perhaps a slight edge in power. Eventually it's a match that I'd say is too close to call, as both women have had similar levels of success and come out of decent camps.
Amanda Bell vs. Maria Hougaard Djursaa - Danish journey-woman Hougaard Djursaa makes her Invicta debut against the powerful, but unpolished Amanda Bell. Most likely this should be a build up fight for Bell, against a veteran whose game is just not that well crafted to find consistent success. Bell is big and strong and hits hard, and if she can stay off her back, she should be able to get by Hougaard Djursaa here. Prediction: Amanda bell by TKO
Andrea Lee vs. Shannon Sinn - At this point in her career, Sinn is known more for being a great athlete than being a great fighter. She's very aggressive, but lacks the technique and defense to really punish opponents there consistently. She'll be going up against a solid striker in Andrea Lee, who has shown some gaps in her grappling game, so if Sinn can turn her aggression into top control that might work best for her. Prediction: Andrea Lee by decision
Jenny Liou Shriver vs. Jamie Moyle - Both women come in with a reasonable amount of experience fighting on the amateur circuit. This will be Moyle's pro debut, while Shriver is 2-0 to this point in her career. Moyle is expected to be the more technical fighter, training out of team Sydnicate, where as Liou Shriver has been known more for her toughness and aggression to this point. Prediction: Jamie Moyle by decision
Meagan Goodwin vs. Kelly McGill - Two big bantamweights will open up the prelims as 5' 9" Kelly McGill takes on 5' 11" Meagan Goodwin. Neither woman has much experience to date. Goodwin will be making her pro debut after a 3-0 amateur career, McGill currently has a 1-0 professional record. By the best expectations of our panel, their should be a lot of limbs flying as neither woman has shown a lot of technique, but both have a pretty solid willingness to strike aggressively. Hard to tell who will come out on top.
To get a more in-depth look at the card, check out the Bloody Elbow Vivi breakdown: