Invicta FC 37 went down last night at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS. The event delivered Invicta’s usual mix of finishes and close gritty contests.
The main event for this one was supposed to be an atomweight title fight between champion Jinh Yu Frey and challenger Ashley Cummins. But Frey was forced to withdraw from that bout due to injury. So the event was shuffled slightly with former Invicta flyweight title challenger Pearl Gonzalez getting top billing opposite Brogan Sanchez.
Round one of Gonzalez vs. Sanchez started off with the UFC veteran taking Sanchez to the ground. Sanchez was aggressive off her back, harrying Gonzalez with short punches and elbows. Gonzalez targeted her opponent’s body, but was either unwilling or unable to advance her position. Sanchez was able to spring away from Gonzalez and get back to her feet, but Gonzalez yanked her down soon after. The pair scrambled back up and some Muay Thai clinchwork ensued. In the clinch Gonzalez landed some nice knees, but caught a stiff elbow across the bridge of her nose. After that Gonzalez went back to wrestling and got Sanchez down again. This time she was able to land more offense, but Sanchez didn’t just lay there and take it — she fired away with more hard elbows from the bottom.
The second round was mostly a kickboxing affair, but neither fighter was able to land anything that impactful. Gonzalez appeared more composed on the feet and she did well at keeping Sanchez away from her with a mix of kicks aimed at the body and head. Towards the end of the round Sanchez looked more settled as she landed some decent kicks of her own to Gonzalez’s legs and body. With a minute-thirty left in the round Sanchez was able to collapse on a Gonzalez takedown attempt and pin her opponent to the ground. In trying to escape Sanchez, Gonzalez gave up her back, but was then able to spin and wind up on top. The round ended with Gonzalez in Sanchez’s full guard.
In the final period of the fight Sanchez came out aggressively, looking to throw down with Gonzalez in the centre of the cage. Gonzalez obliged, but was pushed back. Sanchez closed and the pair ended up in a clinch. In the clinch Gonzalez landed a nice knee before they separated. At distance Gonzalez followed up with a good jab before Sanchez initiated another clinch. Against the cage Sanchez tried to establish dominance, but Gonzalez was able to turn her and land more knees. From the clinch Gonzalez sunk down for a double leg, which she landed with authority, hoisting Sanchez into the air and slamming her down on the canvas. Gonzalez landed in Sanchez’s full guard, which was solid throughout the fight. As the fight entered the final minute Gonzalez was able to sneak through some elbow strikes that connected hard against Sanchez’s brow. Sanchez powered up to her feet with 30 seconds left, but she was unable to follow that up with anything that could win her the fight.
In the end the judges gave the decision to Gonzalez, likely for her dominance in the wrestling and clinching aspects of the fight. She probably won some points with her striking too, after landing clean shots both on the feet and on the ground.
The win moved Gonzalez’s record to 10-4 (4-1 in Invicta). The only blemish on Gonzalez’s Invicta record is her loss to Vanessa Porto last time out. That was for the vacant flyweight title. Porto has a title defense versus Karina Rodriguez on November 1st. There’s a good chance Gonzalez will face the winner of that bout and perhaps have a chance to avenge her loss.
In the co-main event Mariya Agapova followed up her impressive Invicta debut (where she utterly dismantled Alexa Conners on route to a submission victory) with a vicious win over first-time Invicta fighter Marilia Santos. Early on the Kazakh traded combos with the Brazilian in the centre of the cage, with neither woman looking interested in taking a backwards step. Agapova then took Santos down and there she looked to deliver hard ground and pound. Santos had other ideas, though. She forced Agapova to defend a pair of dangerous looking armbar attempts. But Agapova was patient and was able to wriggle free. As the round was coming to an end Agapova was able to get enough space to throw heavy elbows on Santos. Enough landed to force the referee to step in just before the round ended.
After another sensational stoppage, you can expect to see Agapova raced up the ladder and into the Invicta FC flyweight title picture, that’s if the UFC doesn’t snap her up first.
Before that fight Invicta regular Kay Hansen picked up another victory in the promotion, this time over newcomer Nicolle Caliari. She never looked in danger of losing and got the job done with a second round guillotine.
Along with the main event, the only other fight to go the distance was Linda Mihalec vs. Marisa Messer-Belenchia in the atomweight division. It was a bloody back and forth battle which ended with Mihalec’s hand being raised.
The most unusual stoppage of the night came when Lindsay Vanzandt stopped Shino Vanhoose with a leg kick after just 39 seconds. Vanhoose went down from the kick in a manner that seemed to severely twist her knee. Vanhoose had injured that knee in the past and had to hobble out of the cage with help from her corner.
There were two submissions to start the night. ‘Hurricane’ Hope Chase got it done in a hurry in her Invicta debut, club and subbing Megan Cowley in around three minutes and Claire Johnson impressed in her pro debut with an armbar victory over fellow debutante Jordan Kaaze.
Check out the full results below, along with video of the finishes from Hansen, Chase and Johnson:
Flyweight: Pearl Gonzalez def. Brogan Sanchez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Flyweight: Mariya Agapova def. Marilia Santos via TKO (elbows), round 1 (4:55).
Catchweight: Kay Hansen def. Nicolle Caliari via submission (guillotine choke), round 2 (1:14)
Atomweight: Lindsey VanZandt def. Shino Vanhoose via TKO (leg kick), round 1 (0:39).
Atomweight: Linda Mihalec def. Marisa Messer-Belenchia via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Bantamweight: Hope Chase def. Megan Cawley via submission (rear naked choke), round 1 (3:28).
Flyweight: Claire Johnson def. Jordan Kaaze via submission (armbar), round 3 (2:20).