Invicta’s return to the MMA space is a departure from their usual approach, but it’s a welcome change of pace. Following the departure of then-champion Virna Jandiroba to the UFC, Invicta will hold a one-night tournament to determine a new strawweight queen.
Now, there will be some variations from when the event was initially announced, largely due to two of the fighters failing to make weight. Mizuki Inoue and Janaisa Morandin — two fighters that could realistically be favored to win the tournament outright — were unable to make weight for the event and have had to bow out. As a result, reserve fighters Manjit Kolekar and Amber Brown have automatically been bumped into the main tournament. A non-tournament bout between Kay Hansen and Czech ground threat Magdalena Šormová and a the lone remaining reserve fight between former LFA talent Itzel Esquivel and former TKO fighter Alyssa Krahn is also scheduled.
The first leg of the tournament is a single round with a length of five minutes. The fighter with the fastest finish chooses their opponent in the next round, but the participants are to be chosen at random in the event that there are no finishes. Finish bonuses will also be awarded throughout.
Hansen (4-2) is a submission hunter first and foremost, having snatched a late victory over Sharon Jacobson in her last bout after getting largely outwrestled for most of the fight. She’ll welcome Magdalena Šomorvá to the Invicta cage, a scrappy grappler that has a devastating top game, works some slick guard passing, and loves attacking with strikes during her submission attempts.
Coming in on with back to back wins under her belt, Esquivel is a fighter you can’t ever count out. Much like Hansen above, she’s always in the hunt for anything that can make her opponent tap. Krahn was on The Ultimate Fighter in 2016, where she lost in the opening round to Jamie Moyle. She’s been 2-1 since, with her last win over Danielle Hindley, where she sent Hindley to Kirby’s Dreamland.
As for the tournament participants, former UFC talents Juliana Lima (9-5), Danielle Taylor (10-4), and Kailin Curran (4-6) join the fray. Invicta mainstays Amber Brown (7-5), Sunna Davídsdóttir (3-0) and Sharon Jacobson (5-4) are still in the game, while Briana van Buren (5-2) and Manjit Kolekar (11-2) return to Invicta, this time against each other. Both the quarterfinals and semifinals will be one-rounders, with the final match being a three-rounder, five minutes apiece in the main event.
Full card is as follows, with all competitors at strawweight with their weigh-in results:
Kay Hansen (115.4) vs. Magdalena Šormová (115.4) - Non-tournament co-main event
Alyssa Krahn (115.8) vs. Itzel Esquivel (115.7) - Reserve bout
Amber Brown (115.7) vs. Sharon Jacobson (115.7) - Quarterfinal bout
Manjit Kolekar (115.7) vs. Brianna Van Buren (115.8) - Quarterfinal bout
Danielle Taylor (115.7) vs. Juliana Lima (115.5) - Quarterfinal bout
Kailin Curran (116) vs. Sunna Davídsdóttir (115.9) - Quarterfinal bout
You can enjoy the Countdown special that Invicta has prepared for this event below (link here if not available on page).
With part two here as well:
As previously mentioned, the event will also feature the return of fan favorite Jimmy Smith on commentary, joined by Laura Sanko.
Invicta FC: Phoenix Rising 1 takes place this Friday night starting at 8:00pm EST, streaming exclusively via UFC Fight Pass.