On May 3rd, Brianna Van Buren clinched the vacant Invicta FC strawweight title by running through her competition (Manjit Kolekar, Juliana Lima, and Kailin Curran) at Invicta FC: Phoenix Rising 1. After winning that one-night tournament Van Buren signed with the UFC, meaning the title was again vacated.
In Invicta’s second Phoenix Rising tournament, it will be flyweights competing (likely for a shot at current Invicta champ Vanessa Porto). In a recent press release the promotion confirmed the final line-up of tournament participants.
The flyweights expected to compete are:
- DeAnna Bennett (10-5-1)
- Milana Dudieva (12-8)
- Maiju Suotama (8-4)
- Daiana Torquato (9-3)
- Shanna Young (6-2)
- Liz Tracy (5-3)
- Victoria Leonardo (6-1)
- Miranda Maverick (5-2)
Bennet’s name is likely the most familiar for the majority of MMA fans. The 34-year-old, nicknamed ‘Vitamin D’, debuted in the UFC in 2017 after going 1-1 on The Ultimate Fighter Season 26. Prior to entering that reality-show/competition Bennett had a long Invicta run that saw her fight for the strawweight title versus Livia Renata Souza. Since leaving the UFC she has gone 2-1 in Invicta, taking wins over Karina Rodriguez and fellow tournament entrant Miranda Maverick.
Dudieva also comes to the competition with UFC experience. She went 1-2 in the Octagon and was cut after back-to-back losses to Julianna Pena and Marion Reneau. She signed with Invicta in 2017 and lost her first two appearances, versus Mara Romero Borella and then Vanessa Porto. She got her first Invicta win last March, versus Christina Marks, but followed that up with a loss to Karina Rodriguez earlier this year.
Dudieva, who hails from North-Ossetia, is a controversial figure thanks to her public expressions of fondness for a key member of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s inner-circle; an individual who has been implicated in Chechnya’s ‘gay purge’ (per Karim Zidan).
The tournament format is the same as the previous Phoenix Rising event, with randomly drawn one-round quarterfinal match-ups. The two semi-final bouts with also be one-round fights. The final will be three rounds. The unusual format is thanks to the Kansas commission’s restrictions on how many rounds a person may fight in a single night.
The tournament will also have two reserve bouts, with the winners on deck should someone receive a night-ending injury or fail to make weight. Those bouts are Chantel Coates (1-1) vs. Flore Hani (1-1) and Kay Hansen (4-3) vs. TBA.
The card will also feature two non-tournament fights: Alexa Conners (5-3) vs. Mariya Agapova (6-1) and Josee Storts (1-0) vs. Helen Lucero (0-0). Those are both flyweight fights. So, theoretically, there will be plenty of 125 lb women around should the card require some shuffling.
The event will be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass.