The main event for Invicta FC 39 was initially billed as an atomweight title fight between champion Jinh Yu Frey and challenger Ashley Cummins. However, a faux pas on the scales meant that had to change.
After Frey weighed .8 lbs over the atomweight championship limit she was stripped of the title. The situation meant that Frey was not be eligible to win the title in her bout with Cummins. However, Cummins was still eligible for the belt, should she win.
After five rounds of action Frey earned a unanimous decision victory. It was the second time she had beaten Cummins by unanimous decision. The first came at Invicta FC 24 in 2017.
The first round of their rematch set the tone for the entire fight. It was a back and forth striking duel, with both fighters landing punches and the occasional kick. In the first Frey seemed to get the best of the exchanges. Cummins showed some tenacity in the clinch, but Frey landed the harder shots — including kicks to the body — on separation as well as out in the open.
In the second Cummins continued to show off her strengths in the clinch, punctuated by a heavy elbow to the side of Frey’s face. After that Frey turned up her intensity and started catching Cummins with combos. She drew blood with a big left hook and moments later dropped Cummins with a right. But Cummins was back up quickly to make sure she saw some more rounds.
Cummins ignored the cut over her right eyebrow in the fourth as she stormed forwards and backed Frey up with punches. She caught Frey with another elbow, too. Frey then opted to sit back and looked for a counter, likely conceding the round to the more active Cummins.
The championship rounds were close to score, with Cummins continuing to stalk forwards and Frey patiently throwing counters. Both women scored with punches in the centre of the cage as well as with strikes in the clinch (including some bruising foot stomps from Cummins).
At the end of the fifth, it was anyone’s guess on which way the judges would land. Ultimately they all sided with Frey — granting scores of 48-47 in her favour. So no belt was given out at the end of this one. If she stays at atomweight, Frey will certainly feel deserving of an immediate shot at the now vacant title. That will probably happen, given the thin state of the division. It might even be against Cummins.
In the co-main event Miranda ‘Fear The’ Maverick showed she might have outgrown the small pond of Invicta and is now in need of a bigger challenge. Due to Invicta’s informal status as a pipeline to the UFC, it’s likely Maverick will be in the Octagon sooner rather than later.
Against former UFC fighter, and Invicta title challenger, Pearl Gonzalez, the 22-year-old displayed incredible maturity on route to a lopsided unanimous decision victory.
To begin the fight Maverick exhibited good striking defense before hitting Gonzalez with a short flurry. When Gonzalez tried to respond, Maverick hit a reactive double leg takedown. The vast majority of the round was then spent with Maverick working on top of Gonzalez.
It was Gonzalez who took Maverick down at the start of the second. From the bottom Maverick threatened with an omoplata before getting the fight back to the feet. Gonzalez was able to take her back down with a nifty trip, though. Maverick ended the round with a takedown of her own, followed by ground and pound and full mount.
In the final round Maverick took control in the clinch, leading to a takedown and then more of her heavy top-game. Gonzalez never said die, though. She was always working for a way out and trying to cause problems with her legs. However, Maverick was relentless in dropping punches on Gonzalez and finding ways to re-establish a dominant position.
Maverick had her coming out party in last year’s Phoenix Series 2 one-night tournament. In that competition she overwhelmed Victoria Leonardo and Shanna Young before choking out UFC alum DeAnna Bennett. The Missourian holds a 7-2 record and seems destined for a title shot in Invicta — unless she is snapped up by a bigger promotion.
The most stunning highlight of the night came from Erin Blanchfield, who knocked out Victoria Leonardo with a perfectly timed head kick. Prior to the fight ending blow, Blanchfield was all over Leonardo, knocking her down with a head kick in the first and nearly finishing her with ground and pound. The win took the 20-year-old’s record to 5-1. Her only loss is a split decision to current UFC fighter Tracy Cortez. She’s one to watch in Invicta’s flyweight division and could be a fighter we see in the UFC in the near future.
Also on the card; Alesha Zappitella out-brawled Kelly D’Angelo in a fun fight and Jillian DeCoursey used a smothering top game to beat Linda Mihalec. Both Zappitella and DeCoursey earned unanimous decision victories.
In the first fight of the night Monica Franco weathered an early storm from Tina Pettigrew to stay undefeated in her young career. She took a unanimous decision after a competitive and fairly technical fight.
Check out the full results below, along with Blanchfield’s KO:
Catchweight: Jinh Yu Frey def. Ashley Cummins via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47).
Flyweight: Miranda Maverick def. Pearl Gonzalez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).
Atomweight: Alesha Zappitella def Kelly D’Angelo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Flyweight: Erin Blanchfield def. Victoria Leonardo via KO (head kick), round 2 (2:06).
Atomweight: Jillian DeCoursey def. Linda Mihalec via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Bantamweight: Monica Franco def. Tina Pettigrew via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).