After being a staple of UFC Fight Pass, Invicta has parted ways with the UFC’s distribution arm and will now be exclusively airing on AXS starting this Friday. And for their debut, they’re putting on two title fights and some very exciting prospects.
As before, Invicta matchmaking continues to be very measured and balanced, and their scouting is some of the best of any organization out there.
Main event honors go to Mexico’s Karina Rodriguez (8-4) vs Brazil’s Daiana Torquato (10-3). Rodriguez (no relation) last suffered a decision loss against the more experienced Vanessa Porto, but gets a shot at the belt due to her action pedigree and athleticism. Torquato made her Invicta debut in the second Phoenix Rising tournament, losing in the opening round to DeAnna Bennett but earning a hard-won split decision against Milana Dudieva. Her lone performance in 2020 was a win over former UFC talent Sara Frota. Rodriguez should have an advantage striking, and Torquato is tougher than the average prospect with durability and explosiveness. How far will that carry her against an opponent that’s tough to keep down and that can outwork opponents in the clinch? We’ll all find out together when they square off.
The co-main event will be for the flyweight title as one of Invicta’s best pure athletes makes her first title defense. Alesha Zappitella (8-2) runs a heavy pace, outworks opponents over the long haul and is a tenacious wrestler that pours on damage from top position. Her first challenger for the atomweight belt will be Brazil’s Jessica Delboni (10-2), who has been bouncing around between Invicta and Shooto Brazil. This led to a loss to Ashley Cummins, but wins over Lindsey VanZandt, Liara Pirosin and former Invicta title challenger Herica Tiburcio. Delboni loves throwing knees up the middle from the clinch and punches off the break, but can be walked down and bullied against the cage if she’s not careful.
San Diego’s Juliana Miller (7-0 amateur, 2-0 pro) brings her slick submission pedigree to the Invicta cage against another talent with a promising future, Claire Guthrie (5-1 amateur, 2-1 pro). Guthrie trains out of Colorado with Elevation Fight Team, and made her pro debut in Invicta. That resulted in a submission win, and despite falling in the first round of the third Phoenix Rising tournament, went 1-1 against Caitlin Sammons and Nadine Mandiau. She’s also got a smooth grappling game and some amateur experience.
Hawaii’s Elise Pone and New York’s Chrissy Yandolli make their professional debuts against each other to open the card.
You can check out the weigh-ins here:
Weigh-in results are as follows:
Karina Rodriguez (124.7) vs. Daiana Torquato (124.9) - Invicta flyweight title fight
Alesha Zappitella (104.9) vs. Jéssica Delboni (104.8) - Invicta atomweight title fight
Juliana Miller (125.3) vs. Claire Guthrie (126) - Flyweight
Josee Storts (128.7)* vs. Maria Favela (125.5) - Flyweight
Fatima Kline (115.6) vs. Ariana Melendez (114.8) - Strawweight
Elise Pone (124.7) vs. Chrissy Yandolli (125.9) - Flyweight
Invicta on AXS: Rodriguez vs Delboni starts at 7:00pm EST on AXS Network, and will also be streaming live in its entirely on YouTube.