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Invicta FC 25 results and highlights: Yana Kunitskaya outclasses Raquel Pa’aluhi for bantamweight title

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Check out what went down at an action-packed Invicita card last night at the Taachi Palace Hotel in California.

Commentators TJ De Santis and Julie Kedzie recap thenight’s events at Invicta FC 25. The event was held at Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, CA on August 31st, 2017. Credit: Invicta FC

On Thursday night, Invicta FC delivered its patented brand of well-matched fights, resulting in a number finishes and razor-thin decisions. In the main event the bantamweight title was on the line in a clash between Raquel Pa’aluhi and Yana Kunitskaya. That belt was long held by Tonya Evinger, who vacated the gold when she stood up to face Cris Cyborg Justino for the UFC featherweight title at UFC 214.

Kunitskaya (a new-ish recruit of Jackson-Winkeljohn) and Pa’aluhi (an American Top Team member) put on a technical affair, that - in truth - was rarely competitive.

The first round was fought largely in the clinch with the longer Kunitskaya able to muscle the Hawaiian against the fence and land a few knees and light punches. In the last minute Pa’aluhi was able to take Kunitskaya down, but she ate some upkicks for her trouble.

The second saw more grinding clinch work from the Russian fighter, who was also able to land some kicks from range. Pa’aluhi did land some hard shots, but was unable to avoid Kunitskaya clinching up to avoid damage. Within the round, the smaller Pa’aluhi looked to tire as a result of Kunitskaya’s relentless pressure against the fence.

Kunitskaya came out lively in the third and, as before, she looked accurate from distance and overpowering in the clinch. Pa’aluhi was left looking frustrated as she whiffed on kicks and takedown attempts. This would be the story for the lion’s share of the championship rounds also. Pa’aluhi did execute a head and arm throw at the end of the fourth, but she was unable to hurt the Russian on the ground. In the fifth Kunitskaya defended the head and arm throw and then cruised her way to victory.

Kunitskaya, who kinda won the belt, but didn’t when she faced Tonya Evinger last year, was given a shutout decision victory by the judges. With the gold legitimately around her waist, the much-improved ‘Foxy’ looks a difficult match-up for any bantamweight Invicta could throw at her.

The co-main event was planned to be an Invicta strawweight title fight (that belt was vacated by Angela Hill when she rejoined the UFC). However, that was scrapped after Jodie Esquibel had to pull out due to injury. That left former champ Livia Renata Souza facing undefeated promotional newcomer Janaisa Morandin in a non-title fight.

After getting caught early on the feet, Souza took Morandin down and controlled the fight from that point on. In the first she peppered Morandin with ground and pound and was able to get full mount late on, but Morandin’s savvy saw her squirm back to guard and eventually threaten with an armbar. The round ended with Souza attempting a dragon sleeper.

The second round was much of the same, with Souza taking her opponent down and landing punches and submission attempts from top position. When Morandin did manage to stay on her feet, she impressed with some crisp strikes, but those were few and far between.

Morandin came out for the third looking for big shots against her opponent. But the fresher Souza saw them coming. Like in the previous rounds, when Souza wanted to take the fight to the ground she did so with ease. The fight ended with Souza in top position, leaving a very easy decision for the judges. Souza won on all scorecards, cementing her position as next in line for the 115lb title.

Elsewhere on the card Yaya Rincon continued to impress with her second career win, as she stopped Courtney King with punches in the second round. Also of note was the crazy comeback by Kali Robbins who, after being rocked and taken down by Sharon Jacobson, won with an armbar.

See the full results below as well as the finishes for Rincon, Robbins, and a few others:

Full Results:

Bantamweight title: Raquel Pa’aluhi def. Yana Kunitskaya via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45).

Strawweight: Livia Renata Souza def. Janaisa Morandin via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).

Bantamweight: Katharina Lehner def. Alexa Conners via TKO (punches) round 1 (4:21).

Strawweight: Kali Robbins def Sharon Jacobson via verbal submission (armbar) round 1 (0:42).

Atomweight: Shino VanHoose def. Alyse Anderson via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28).

Bantamweight: Sarah Kleczka def Amberlynn Orr via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).

Featherweight: Yaya Rincon def. Courtney King via TKO (punches), round 2 (3:41).

Flyweight: Cheri Muraski def. Tracy Cortez via submission (guillotine), round 2 (2:44).

Atomweight: Jillian DeCoursey def. Ashley Medina via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).