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Invicta FC announces next Phoenix Series tournament, bantamweight title bout for March 6th

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Invicta Phoenix Series 2 books Lisa Verzosa vs. Julija Stoliarenko for the vacant bantamweight title.

Lisa Verzosa knees Katharina Lehner at Invicta FC 35.
Lisa Verzosa knees Katharina Lehner at Invicta FC 35.
Dave Mandel, Invicta FC

Invicta FC have announced their third ever one-night tournament. The tournament, which is scheduled for March 6th, will feature a field of eight bantamweights. The event, dubbed Phoenix Series 3, will also feature an Invicta FC bantamweight title bout between Lisa Verzosa and Julija Stoliarenko.

Lisa ‘Battle Angel’ Verzosa (who previously fought under the name Lisa ‘The Strangler’ Spangler’) is 5-0, with four wins under the Invicta FC banner. Last time out — in November, 2019 — the 24-year-old defeated Kerri Kenneson via unanimous decision. Prior to that she took decision victories over Katharina Lehner and Shanna Young.

Julija Stoliarenko holds a record of 8-3-1. The 26-year-old Lithuanian was a cast member of 2018’s The Ultimate Fighter season 28. On that version of TUF, where she competed as a featherweight, she beat Marciea Allen via submission in the opening round, but then lost to finalist Pannie Kianzad by decision. Stoliarenko appeared on The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale event, dropping a split decision to Leah Letson. Since then she has won four-straight fights as a bantamweight. All eight of Stoliarenko’s professional victories have come via first round armbar.

The Invicta FC bantamweight title has been vacant since Sarah Kaufman left Invicta FC to Join the PFL in 2019. Kaufman, a UFC veteran and MMA pioneer, won the title after beating Katharina Lehner at Invicta FC 29.

The winner of the Phoenix Series tournament will most likely get the first crack at the new champion. The field of competitors includes Invicta alums Auttumn ‘The Natural’ Norton (1-1), Brittney ‘Bomshell’ Victoria (3-1), ‘Grizzly’ Claire Guthrie (1-0), Erin Harpe (2-0), ‘Hurricane’ Hope Chase (2-1), ‘Scary’ Kerri Kenneson (3-2) and Taneisha ‘Triple Threat’ Tennant (2-0). Rounding out the bracket is Taylor ‘No Mercy’ Guardado (née Stratford), who is 0-0, but has faced Ronda Rousey and Raquel Pennington on the amateur circuit.

In case of injuries, weight-cut errors or anything else that might happen prior or during the event, two tournament reserve bouts have been booked. Those two bouts are Mitzi ‘The Mauler’ Merry (2-1) vs. Morgan Hickam (1-2) and Serena ‘The Southpaw Outlaw’ DeJesus (1-1) vs. Julia ‘Chicago’ Ottolino (1-0).

The tournament will randomly draw the competitors into four quarterfinal match-ups. Due to commission restrictions on how many rounds a fighter may fight on a given night, those quarterfinals, and the following semi-finals, will be one-round bouts. The final will be three rounds.

Brianna Van Buren won the inaugural Phoenix Series tournament in Mary, 2019 — defeating Manjit Kolekar, Juliana Lima and Kailin Curran. She signed with the UFC shortly after and then defeated Livinha Souza at UFC Fight Night 155 last July.

The second Phoenix Series tournament was won by Miranda ‘Fear The’ Maverick. She beat Victoria Leonardo, Shanna Young and then DeAnna Bennett. Maverick faces Pearl Gonzalez on Friday in what could be considered a number one contender fight for Vanessa Porto’s Invicta FC flyweight title.

The card will also feature a couple of strawweight bouts with Amber ‘Bully’ Brown (7-6) — a former Invicta FC atomweight title challenger — taking on Sharon ‘The Dream Catcher’ Jacobsen (6-5) and 20-year-old Kay Hansen (5-3) facing-off with Liana Pirosin (7-3).

Invicta FC Phoenix Series 3 will take place at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS. The event will exclusively air on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 8PM ET. Tickets for the event are available at Eventbrite.