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Invicta FC 34 Results and videos: Vanessa Porto claims title after eye poke induced technical decision

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Invicta has a new flyweight champion after a controversial ending between Vanessa Porto and Pearl Gonzalez.

Commentators TJ De Santis and Julie Kedzie recap the night’s events at Invicta FC 34. The event was held at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS on February 15th, 2019.

Invicta FC 34 had an anti-climatic ending thanks to a rarely seen technical decision. Though there were still plenty of exciting fights leading up to that moment.

The main event between Vanessa Porto and Pearl Gonzalez for the vacant Invicta FC flyweight title was a decent scrap, which Porto looked to be getting the better of. A foul and an injury marred the fight with controversy, but despite that Porto was crowned the promotion’s newest champion.

In the first round of their title fight, neither Porto nor Gonzalez were afraid to engage. Neither landed much of their offense, though, until Gonzalez caught Porto with a pair of punches around the three minute mark. That prompted Porto to bull-rush Gonzalez against the cage. Gonzalez was able to spin Porto around and land some knees, but Porto then reversed the position and landed hard strikes of her own. One of those strikes lead to a standing kimura attempt from Gonzalez, but that petered out after Porto took the fight to the ground. Porto showed respect to Gonzalez’s submission threat and eventually allowed the UFC vet up, only to wrap her up and take her down again.

Gonzalez’s guard gave Porto some concern, with the Brazilian failing to land anything hard from top position. Porto hunted for an arm triangle, but Gonzalez wouldn’t give it to her. The round ended with Porto on top.

In the second Gonzalez scored first, with some nice overhands. But Porto stormed back and landed some punches; backing Gonzalez up against the fence. Back in the centre both fighters tested each other with probing jabs and leg kicks. One of those kicks from Porto dropped Gonzalez, but she quickly reset. Gonzalez then initiated a clinch, but Porto turned that into a suplex. Porto landed in an awkward side control, which Gonzalez momentarily reversed, before Porto was able to secure full mount. On the top Porto again tried to set-up an arm triangle. It looked tight, but Gonzalez remained calm. Porto bailed and Gonzalez got up. But Porto was able to muscle Gonzalez back down with relative ease and hold her until the bell.

In the third Gonzalez was eager to change the narrative of the fight as she looked to land punches on Porto early on. The Brazilian was able to evade them. Her heavy responses didn’t land on Gonzalez, but they were enough to make Gonzalez think twice about coming in. Porto seized on the hesitation, swinging wildly and forcing Gonzalez back to the fence. Both fighters landed knees in the clinch before the action moved back to the centre of the cage. There Porto started landing heavy leg kicks, which seemed to slow Gonzalez down.

At the two minute mark, Porto picked up Gonzalez and dumped her on the ground. Porto transitioned from Gonzalez’s half guard to side control. Porto looked more interested in setting up a submission than landing ground and pound, but Gonzalez was able to stay out of peril. Just like in the first two rounds, this one again ended with Gonzalez on her back.

Gonzalez undoubtedly needed a stoppage going into the championship rounds. She moved forwards and offered offense, but she didn’t look very stable on her feet; perhaps due to the cumulative damage of Porto’s leg kicks through the first 15 minutes. Porto landed more of those leg kicks and some hard right hands to keep Gonzalez at bay.

At the half way point of the round Porto threw another hard right, but as she did, Gonzalez’s outstretched hand grazed her face. Porto gestured to the referee that something had happened to her eye and the action was paused. Replays showed a number of Gonzalez’s fingers making contact with Porto’s left eye. It was enough to create a small split in Porto’s eye-lid.

After a lengthy break the ringside physician decided the fight shouldn’t continue. The referee ruled that this was due to an accidental foul. Enough of the fight was in the books to trigger a technical decision situation, where the judges scorecards for the three completed rounds, and the incomplete fourth round, would be totaled up to decide a winner.

All judges had Porto winning at least three of the four rounds, making her the new Invicta FC flyweight champion. This made it three times a charm for Porto, who lost her previous two flyweight title fights (to Barb Honchak and Jennifer Maia).

The original plan was to have the new champ face the winner of a flyweight tournment. The semi-finals of that tournament also happened on this card. It remains to be seen whether the tournament goes on as planned or whether the strange ending to the title fight means Gonzalez will get another crack at Porto.

Karina Rodriguez vs. Milana Dudieva was, hands down, the fight of the night. Both fighters threw caution to the the wind while trying to advance to the final of Invicta’s flyweight tournament.

The first round was somewhat tentative, with both fighters trading pot-shots from the outside. It was North Ossetia’s Dudieva who broke the stalemate by taking Mexico’s Rodriguez to the ground. She landed some nice ground and pound there, but Rodriguez gutted it out and made it to her feet. They brawled in the final seconds of the round with Dudieva buckling Rodriguez with a punch as the bell sounded.

Dudieva went for the kill early in the second, storming forwards with winging punches. But Rodriguez connected with some hard counters. Rodriguez then took the centre and targeted Dudieva with a more varied assault, utilizing kicks to the leg and body. Dudieva would catch one of those kicks and use it to take Rodriguez down with plenty of time to work. Rodriguez fired away with elbows from the bottom and, after an upkick, Rodriguez was able to scramble back to her feet. Rodriguez stalked Dudieva for the remainder of the round, snapping Dudieva’s head back on a few crisp jabs. Like in the first round, the second ended with both women swinging for the fences.

Everything was to play for in the third round. It was Rodriguez who took the initiative early on, landing sharp kicks to Dudieva’s thigh and knee. Dudieva was loading up on a counter hook, but Rodriguez neutralized the threat with plenty of feints and lateral movement. The Mexican then started sniping Dudieva with punches, which Dudieva didn’t show much interest in avoiding. With 40 seconds left Dudieva muscled Rodriguez to the ground and took side control. She tried to finish with ground and pound, but it wasn’t enough to save the judges from a difficult decision.

Two of the three judges gave the razor thing decision to Rodriguez, advancing her to the flyweight tournament final.

The other flyweight semi-final of the night matched Miranda Maverick with the highly experienced DeAnna Bennett. And it was Bennett, a former strawweight title challenger and TUF/UFC veteran, who got the win. Bennett was the aggressor throughout the fight, dictating the pace on the feet and securing a takedown in the first two rounds. That along with some submission attempts and a lot of clinch control made it a relatively easy decision for the judges who scored the contest 29-28 for the vet.

Those two fights set-up Bennett vs. Rodriguez as the number one contender fight in Invicta’s flyweight division (assuming Gonzalez doesn’t get an immediate rematch with Porto). Bennett and Rodriguez fought before at Invicta FC 28 in March 2018. Bennett, who came in heavy, won that bout via split decision.

With a spot as the reserve in the flyweight tournament up for grabs Tracy Cortez took a split decision victory over Erin Blanchfield. That was Cortez’s fifth win in a row. The fight was billed as determining who would replace either DeAnna Bennett or Karinna Rodriguez in their number one contender fight. However, it now feels likely that Gonzalez would usurp Cortez for that honour (if she doesn’t get an immediate rematch).

The only stoppages of the night came in the first three bout. The last of those saw Victoria Leonardo make short work of Jamie Milanowski. After conceding an early takedown, Leonardo got up and then overwhelmed her opponent with a trip, some ground and pound, and eventually a submission to move to 4-1 as a pro.

Before that Courtney King out-muscled and eventually tapped out Holli Logan (who missed weight) in their catchweight bout.

The first fight of the night saw Caitlin Sammons win in her pro debut. She hurt Christina Ricker with a body kick in the second round before forcing the stoppage with ground and pound.

Check out the full results below, as well as the finishes for Leonardo, King, and Sammons:

Flyweight: Vanessa Porto def. Pearl Gonzalez via technical decision (40-36, 39-37, 39-27), Round 4 (2:34).

Flyweight: Karina Rodriguez def. Milana Dudieva via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).

Flyweight: DeAnna Bennett def. Miranda Maverick via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Flyweight: Tracy Cortez def. Erin Blanchfield via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).

Flyweight: Victoria Leonardo def. Jamie Milanowski via submission (rear naked choke), Round 1 (2:45).

Catchweight: Courtney King def. Holli Logan via submission (rear naked choke), Round 2 (4:46).

Flyweight: Caitlin Sammons def. Christina Ricker via TKO (punches), Round 2 (3:02).

Featherweight: Helena Kolesnyk vs. Faith McMah was canceled after Kolesnyk missed weight.