Hello Cage Fighting Conno...Wait, no. Wrong feature.
DEO: I’m D.E.O. also known as Banhammer Bronson, Usagi Brojimbo, Sweet Potatoe’d Yams, and many other made-up monikers. I’m here with my brother from a Dominican mother, Victor Rodriguez. And this is our discussion/recap of Invicta FC 11.
Vic: Aw, hell. I thought you’d go with Sweet Potatoe’d Bans or The Gif Game Uncle Benon. Anyway, hello, children. Here again fueled by burning resentment and Hemp Force easing my way back from a week in the tropics.
DEO: That's a good one. Though today, I shall be GIF Jaguar. But I digress. This was an enjoyable card for the most part. We got a barn burner, some quick finishes, and someone ended up needing the amber lamps.
Vic: Boy, howdy. I missed Invicta putting on events with a degree of reliability for a bit. After this event, I’m convinced they’re going to remain mighty healthy for a good while and that’s a great thing not just for their athletes, but MMA as a whole.
DEO: Indeed. They pretty much cemented their role as the highest stage for WMMA outside of the UFC. And I’m pretty sure that they’ll continue being a pipeline for the best talent in WMMA to get onto the big stage.
Vic: Even without being a feeder to the UFC, they've got quite the stable and are signing some very promising up and comers. So we get great fights with some of the more well-known names and really solid prospects coming up and showcasing their talents. On paper, that’s a pretty solid formula for putting on a show.
DEO: Very much so. For the past few months it seems like Invicta was signing several new promising fighters each week. Things are going to get very interesting in the coming years. Let’s get to the card.
Aspen Ladd vs. Ana Carolina Vidal - Ladd via TKO (Punches and Elbows)
DEO: This was a pretty solid showing for Ladd. Not so much for Vidal. Reffing was kind of wonky too.
Vic: I’d call that outright bad. I’m all for fighter safety, but Vidal didn’t look like she was done. Ladd did an admirable job and turned the tables on a fighter with very solid BJJ and punished her with strikes relentlessly and picked some good shots. Still a bad stoppage to me.
DEO: True, but I’m not really mad at it. Vidal was on the way to eventually getting TKO’d either way. I was really impressed with Ladd’s composure in this one. She didn't panic in the scrambles and picked her shots well. Lots of upside for her with the whole baby faced killer thing that she’s got going on. Vidal on the other hand.... She’s got some things to think about. She’s 5’2 and looked small against Ladd. Strawweight might be a better fit. Thoughts?
Vic: Vidal stepped up as a replacement to make her pro debut after a lone amateur bout a few months ago. She might have to consider dropping down or expanding her skillset considerably. Still, not the end of anything. Losing a pro debut doesn't make you a scrub, and she’s got time to grow.
DEO: Vidal definitely shouldn't be written off since she looked good in the scrambles. But like you said, she’ll need to expand her skill-set if she doesn't decide to drop down to 115.
Christine Stanley vs. Laura Salazar - Stanley via TKO (Punches)
Vic: Didn't know what to expect here, aside from Salazar’s wrestling game and clinch/body lock reliant style, but this was surprising. This fight went from OK, to a few "holy shit" moments to just sad. Stanley blasted Salazar with a nice combo and then Salazar held on to make it a gutsy display that was kind of hard to watch. Big for Stanley, though. She’s got personality and hits pretty hard, but needs a lot more polish on her movement and striking form.
DEO: Yeah, I had no expectations on this one either since I didn’t even know that Salazar was replacing Rachael Cummins until the weigh-ins. But yeah....Salazar got worked. She was out on her feet after that combination from Stanley. Props to her for being able to work for takedowns while being on autopilot, but she took a pretty prolonged beating in this one. Damn, homie.
Vic: Sadder still, because Cummins was replacing another fighter. but yeah. That’s the fight game, I suppose.
Amy Montenegro vs. Brianna Van Buren - Montenegro via Unanimous Decision
DEO: Ummmmmm, this was a fight that happened.
Vic: I don’t know what i expected, but I wasn’t sour about it. It had some interesting but not terribly fun moments, and was still a decent fight.
DEO: Yeah, nothing in this fight really stood out to me outside of Montenegro having a clear size advantage over Van Buren, who is another candidate for a drop in weight class.
Vic: Van Buren showed decent wrestling at times and where her technique failed, her fight IQ was decent. Montenegro’s determination, resilience and heavy knees and work against the cage got her the win, but that judge that gave her a 30-27 was a solid case against legalized pot in CA. Christ.
DEO: HA! Yeah, that was pretty bad. And it’s not the last time that a judge would shit the bed during this card.
Jamie Moyle vs. J.J. Aldrich - Moyle via Technical Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Vic: Good god, do I love the guys at Syndicate. They turned Roxanne Modafferi around into a complete Mixed Martial Artist, and produced another amazing prospect in Jamie Moyle. Beautiful setup to big strikes leading to the fun on the ground with an exciting finish that got scary really quick. Big ups to Moyle for that display, and I’m totally not worried about Aldrich, who is also very young in the game and whom i have faith will rebound from this in a strong manner.
DEO: I’m going to be as candid as possible here. Jamie Moyle is 115 lbs of fuck shit up. She put Aldrich all the way to sleep. And not that "Damn, I got caught." sleep. She woke up like she just left cryostasis and realized that everyone else was gone. My god..... And this isn’t to say that Aldrich doesn’t still have a bright future ahead of her, but she ran into a juggernaut in this one.
Vic: Tough thing is, you can’t say it’s too much too soon since they’re both very early in their pro careers with both being 1-0 coming into this bout [despite Moyle’s amateur record]. Still, this is the one to keep your eyes on. I see very good things for her in the immediate foreseeable future.
DEO: That’s the craziest part. Moyle is only 2-0 and would be a tough outing for anyone in the UFC’s Strawweight division. Hell, I think she clowns quite a few of them. Pretty sure we’ll see her get a few more fights in Invicta before stepping up to the big stage.
Irene Aldana vs. Colleen Schneider - Aldana via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
DEO: Oh, Irene Aldana. My sweet Mexican Jaguar Goddess. She is utterly terrifying, and I ♥ her because of it.
Vic:Fun fact: an Aldana fan on Twitter commented on how he was packing to go see Aldana fight live in Los Angeles. He included a photo showing the first thing he packed, a Mexican flag. Because apparently he thought those would not be easy to find. In Los Angeles.
All silliness aside, I like Schneider as a fighter, and i respect her stepping up as a replacement here. That said, Aldana is on a tear right now. It isn’t even that she’s winning, it’s how she and teammate and friend Alexa Grasso are looking to be miles ahead of their competition right now. Aldana took on a veteran and just ruined her. It almost looked unfair. This woman is going to be a shoe-in for the vacant Bantamweight championship and it’s gonna be great. Brief, but excellent performance.
DEO: Between setting Peggy Morgan on fire and mauling Schneider, Aldana is most definitely a shoe-in for the vacant Bantamweight title. I almost feel bad for Evinger. She’s in for a thrashing that she won’t believe. Not even while it’s happening.
And can we take a second and talk about the highlight video that they played during the broadcast of Aldana and Grasso? Invicta knows that they have something special here.
Vic: I think I’ve mentioned in the Vivisections that for all of the UFC’s efforts to find stars in Mexico, it’s kind of funny that the real superstars for that market are actually these two very talented women. They speak English, have great personalities and are very telegenic and marketable. Oh, they can seriously throw down and work to make their game complete in every outing. As for an eventual Evinger fight, I’m not sure how ready Aldana will be for Tonya’s experience, but it’s going to be jaw-droppingly fun if it hits the ground.
Vic: Well, this was sort of a head-scratcher. Norma Rueda Center was a replacement for Bennett’s original opponent and instead of seeing a wrestling-heavy bout we saw Bennett work a basic boxing game that turned into wild flurries that ended with bodylocks against the cage. She still got the win despite dropping for the first time to 115, but there wasn’t that much to take away from this fight. Sometimes styles don’t clash in the most exciting or technical of ways, and that’s all there is to it.
DEO: This was also a fight that happened. I have nothing else to add other than Bennett has a very.....interestingpersonality.
Alexa Grasso vs. Mizuki Inoue - Grasso via Unanimous Decision
Vic: This is it. This right here. Next time some idiot complains that Women’s MMA is stuck in 2005, shut them up with this. Or Grasso’s last fight. Or the one before that. Goddamn, son. Probably not a Fight of the Year nominee, but even this early it’ll be in the top 15, easy.
DEO: Exactly. This was as high level as you can get. I mean DAMN. This was what Wu-Tang Clan was talking about "Da Mystery of Chessboxin"
Vic: Speaking of which, that’s a classic that got upgraded in an interesting manner. Massive respect to Inoue. Her last bout saw her gun-shy and overly reliant on her counter game and it cost her against Karolina Kowalkiewicz. She had a fire lit under her after the second round and came out guns blazing yet composed. Beautiful stuff.
DEO: Indeed. Inoue does still have the tendency to overthink at times, but this a great display of her all inclusive skillset. Grasso was just better that night. She has more pop in her punches and did a lot more damage. Matter of fact. I think she did more damage to Inoue in the first round than anyone else has collectively.
Vic: Round 2 looked like Virtua Fighter 5 on Practice Mode, though. Despite Inoue’s best efforts, Grasso looked leagues ahead in so many of the exchanges. This woman demands your attention, because as we said before - she is the future, son. Best believe.
DEO: Grasso is a future star. No questions asked. She has the looks, skills, and personality to be one of MMA’s biggest Mexican stars. And just to be clear, Inoue is still a monster. Grasso, Inoue, and Moyle could all walk into the UFC’s Strawweight division and take everyones lunch.
Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino vs. Charmaine Tweet - Cyborg via Ultra Combo
Lemme explain something - I was out of the country when the event went down, and had other priorities so I figured I’d watch when i got back. I heard about the fight, read how the finish went down, and let that whole thing go. Then I sit down to watch this bout. That continues to be one of the most frightening women alive. She’s not even 30 yet.
Now look, we didn't see anything we didn't already know. Tweet was a decent opponent, but wasn't going to be able to use her size or reach advantage to wear out Cyborg from the outside and pick her apart or make the fight more interesting and tactical. The Brazilian Blitzkrieg came shrieking down and ended with a solid barrage and a body shot. But where the hell do we go from here? She appears contractually tied to Invicta for now [although she let the cat out of the bag in a recent interview where she mentioned that it’s a joint UFC/Invicta contract] and isn't going to drop to 135 to fight Rousey since she hasn't even attempted a test cut. Besides, could she retain that level of intensity at 135, and would it even be effective against an ever-improving and much more technical and fearsome Judoka like Ronda? My money says no.
DEO: Sweet Baby Jesus. We all knew what was going to happen, but we still watch out of morbid curiosity. Kind of like watching a lion eviscerate a wildebeest on PBS. This was ridiculous. Tweet didn't have any viable ways to win here short of having a firearm. And to make it worse, she had been talking heaps of trash all week. Then-then-then she refused to touch gloves, "NOW YOU FUCKED UP". Once the bell rang Cyborg moved forward and did what she does. This was the physical manifestation of Cyborg saying, "Look, you've talked a lot of trash this week, but I’m not here for the play-play." I mean, it was bad. Not Jan Finney bad, but still really bad. Tweet’s face was leaking all over the canvas. I think I heard someone someone say "Bring the amber lamps". It was just bad.
Vic: Life comes at you fast. Tweet’s credit score took a hit on that shit. Still, I’ll watch her fight whenever. I’m just not excited about the possibility of a maybe depleted Cyborg fighting a constantly upgraded Rousey that’s racking up XP points to the degree that unless Cybog gets into one of the mechs from District 9 or becomes an actual cyborg or at least gets a gun-arm like Barrett from Final Fantasy 7, she’s got getting much of a chance. IF the fight happens, i’ll watch. But I’m not in a hurry to watch nor am I clamoring for this to happen anymore.
DEO: Yeah, that’s where I’m at too. All of the politics are souring the potential fight for me. I’m way more invested in the Strawweight division than anything else now. Damn shame that Jessica Aguilar is stuck in WSOF.
Vic: Let’s not make any mistakes - this is a Lorenzo thing. Overeem? Lorenzo signing. Barnett? Lorenzo signing. Having a chat with Ben Askren? We’ve done enough reading between the lines to see that it’s more of a Fertitta thing than anything else, and he wants Cyborg in the UFC. How that’s gonna play out is what I don’t get, nor what matchups she’d have. I’m guessing a 135 debut followed by a title shot, but she’s not really concerned with making the weight anyway. All of this catchweight talk is ridiculous since the UFC does not and will not have a 145 division anytime soon, and that means there’s nothing for Cyborg to do after the Rousey bout. That’s despite the obvious point that it devalues the title and is somewhat disrespectful to Rousey, who has rightfully held and defended that belt in her weight class. You go where the champ is. Stop calling her out if you’re not going to make the effort to face her. No exceptions.
DEO: Joe Martinez is still the P4P best announcer in MMA. I always get a kick out of him pronouncing names with a Spanish accent, even if they aren’t of Spanish origin. And speaking of Spanish. Laura Sanko dropped the ball when interviewing the fighters whose native language isn’t English. You can’t ask complex questions to people that have a basic grasp of English. Keep it short and simple. And lastly, Jackie Denkin turned in the most ridiculous judging card of the night. Giving Grasso a 30-26 against Inoue was criminal.
Vic: Sanko’s usually OK, but she seemed a bit lost on some of these interviews. Much respect to TJ De Santis for doing his thing in the booth and Invicta’s production for overall great work and the decision to simplify the booth. It lacked some of the dynamic attitude Ranallo brings along with some of the veteran savvy, but he gelled really well with Kedzie who has been essential with turning things around for Invicta in general. Good to see they’ve got another event coming up in April as well. That UFC partnership seems to have given them totally coincidental fiscal health. Not complaining, though. This was good fun and moved things around in their respective divisions. Always looking forward to more from them.
DEO: And on that note. Be kind and rewind. Tip your waitress. Say your prayers and eat your vitamins. Some other positive stuff. And your face is terrible.
Vic: Check yourself before you rec yourself [with sock puppet accounts]. Wu-Tang is for the children.