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With Megan Anderson in the UFC, Tonya Evinger replaces her in Invicta FC 24 main event

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Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger is moving up a weight class to fight Helena Kolesnyk in the Invicta FC 24 main event.

Esther Lin, Invicta FC

With Invicta FC featherweight champion Megan Anderson set to contend for the UFC title against Cris Cyborg, Invicta FC was in need of a new main event for its July 15th card. Anderson was originally set to defend her title against Ukraine’s Helena Kolesnyk, but reigning bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger (19-5, 1 NC) has agreed to step up a weight class and take on Kolesnyk in a non-title bout. It’s the first time that Evinger has ever competed at 145 lbs.

The 36-year-old Evinger is coming off a rear-naked choke win over Yana Kunitskaya in March’s Invicta FC 22 headliner. That fight was a rematch of a controversial November 2016 bout, which saw Evinger originally lose her title by armbar, but it was later overturned to a no contest after an appeal concluded that referee Mike England incorrectly told her that a legal maneuver she was using to defend the armbar was illegal. She is otherwise undefeated under the Invicta banner, and is unbeaten in her last 11 contests.

Kolesnyk (5-0, 1 NC) is making her Invicta debut, and she comes in with a 100% finishing record in her previous bouts. She is a Muay Thai specialist and her last two fights have ended in a combined 50 seconds, but her opponents have a total record of 1-12 (1 NC).

“We’re not making it easy for Helena over here,” Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp said in a press release. “ She’s gone from one champion [in Anderson] to another now with Tonya.

“I’m thankful that our athletes – and especially Tonya Evinger – are always ready and willing to accept a challenge. I have the utmost respect for both these main event fighters and I’m expecting a great fight on July 15.”

Here’s the current Invicta FC 24 lineup, with the entire card airing live on UFC Fight Pass from the Scottish Temple Rite in Kansas City, MO:

Featherweight: Tonya Evinger vs. Helena Kolesnyk
Flyweight: Milana Dudieva vs. Mara Romero Borella
Bantamweight: Raquel Pa'aluhi vs. Yana Kunitskaya
Atomweight: Jinh Yu Frey vs. Ashley Cummins
Flyweight: Karina Rodríguez vs. Bárbara Acioly
Strawweight: Sunna Rannveig Davidsdottir vs. Kelly D’Angelo
Strawweight: Mallory Martin vs. Tiffany Masters
Featherweight: Felicia Spencer vs. Amy Coleman