The moment of truth for the atomweight division has arrived, as Invicta’s newest Phoenix Rising tournament is set. With fan voting used for the opening round, the field is now set for the competitors to vie for a title shot.
Alliance MMA’s Paulina Granados (4-4) brings her scrambly wrestling game and athleticism against Marisa Messer-Belenchia (3-1), who holds a win against another fighter in the field, Linda Mihalec. Messer-Belenchia is quick with her submission attacks and can unleash some wild flurries. Stylistically, this could be the most exciting opening fight of the tournament.
Linda Mihalec (2-1) will be rematching against Jillian DeCoursey (4-3), after Mihalec lost to DeCoursey in her Invicta debut. Jessica Delboni (10-3) is coming off a loss to champion Alesha Zappitella, and faces Zappitella’s friend and teammate Tabitha Watkins (3-3) in the opening round.
Katie Perez (2-1) will have her hands full against Lindsey VanZandt (7-4), who has more pro experience and can fluster her at range. Perez might be able to work takedowns, but she’ll have to be mindful of the submission threat and keep a very active pace.
Samantha Seff (6-3 amateur, 0-1 pro) has five of her six amateur wins by submission, and hopes to get the better of her opponent Kara Vislosky (8-7 amateur, 1-1 pro) , who has way more cage time, experience that may serve her here. They’ll both not only make their Invicta debut against each other, they’ve also both fought against Katie Perez.
You can check out the weigh-ins below:
Full card is as follows:
Paulina Granados (105.9) vs. Marisa Messer-Belenchia (105.4) - Atomweight tournament quarterfinal
Jillian DeCoursey (105.5) vs. Linda Mihalec (105.9) - Atomweight tournament quarterfinal
Lindsey VanZandt (105.8) vs. Katie Perez (105.3) - Atomweight tournament quarterfinal
Jéssica Delboni (105.6) vs. Tabatha Watkins (105.8) - Atomweight tournament quarterfinal
Kara Vislosky (104.4) vs. Samantha Seff (105.9) - Atomweight tournament reserve bout
Invicta on AXS: Phoenix Rising Tournament starts at 7:00pm EST this Friday night, and will be available for viewing on AXS TV as well as on Invicta’s YouTube channel.