It was three times a charm for Emily Ducote last night at Invicta FC 44: A New Era. She won the Invicta FC strawweight title with a stunning KO over Danielle Taylor. Ducote had previously come up short in title fights in Invicta (to Kanako Murata) and Bellator (to Ilima-Lei Macfarlane).
But she would not be denied this time around. Her main event with Taylor, a UFC vet, didn’t last long. She caught Taylor flush with a right hand in the first round that had Taylor out on her feet. As she stood there defenceless, Ducote landed a big head kick that send Taylor crashing to the mat like a falling tree.
The win takes Gordinha to 10-6 on her pro career. The win also sent a clear message to the rest of the division, Ducote’s power is not to be trifled with.
The co-main event was for the Invicta bantamweight title, vacated by Julija Stoliarenko in 2020. Competing for that hardware was Taneisha Tennant, who earned the opportunity by winning a one night Phoenix tournament, and Lisa Verzosa who lost to Stoliarenko for the title in one of 2020’s fights of the year.
The first round of the title fight was timid, with both women measuring their strikes and not looking to tip their hands. Tennant upped her volume in the second and succeeded at using her reach to keep Verzosa at range and prevent her from brawling on the inside. In the last few seconds of the second round, Tennant decided to bring on the brawl and surprised Verzosa with the hardest punches of the fight so far, dropping her just before the buzzer. Verzosa was very much saved by the bell. She had no idea where she was when the ref stepped in to end the round.
In the third Tennant rocked Verzosa with a front kick and some follow up punches. But then the referee stopped the action so some water could be removed from the canvas. Once the fight was restarted Tennant continued to harry Verzosa with hard push kicks to the body and counter punches whenever Verzosa got too close. Like the previous round, this one had its rock ‘em sock ‘em moments with Tennant opting to thrown down and test her luck in close quarters. She was able to hit Verzosa hard in those exchanges, but also caught a few punches herself.
Verzosa had slowed down considerably in the fourth, allowing Tennant to carry on with her gameplan; hurt her at range with push kicks and then catch her with combos whenever she got inside. Verzosa was able to get a clinch for a few minutes, though, but failed to exact any meaningful damage out of it. In the fifth, Tennant cruised until the final 30 seconds when she tried to get a finish on the feet. Tennant wouldn’t get the stoppage, though, and she almost opened herself up for a Hail Mary armbar from Verzosa. Ultimately Tennant took the title on the scorecards thanks to her smart gameplan and clinical striking.
The win took Tennant to 4-1 with her only loss coming to Danyelle Wolf on last year’s edition of the Contender Series.
Before the title fights were settled Brogan Sanchez earned a win after a violent display opposite Emilee King.
Sanchez was given a point deduction early in this one for striking a grounded Emilee King with a knee, while King was working on an unorthodox choke attempt. From the restart Sanchez got out of that choke (versus a possibly still stunned King) and then landed some heavy ground and pound from full mount. The ref should have stepped in to stop the fight there, but he let it go. Sanchez, maybe after seeing the ref’s resistance to stepping in, opted to switch to a rear naked choke and got the submission just before time expired.
Invicta vets Liz Tracy and Jodie Esquibel (who also had four fights in the UFC) threw down in a catchweight bout (Tracy missed the strawweight limit by a pound). Esquibel was able to tag Tracy a few times in round one. Tracy responded in the second, reddening Esquibel’s thigh with a series of leg kicks. Towards the end of that round Tracy upped her intensity, bloodying up Esquibel’s face with some heavy punches and a kick on the nose. It was all even on the scorecards heading into the final round. Tracy looked to be the fighter who was trying to win that final round, whereas Esquibel appeared more concerned with not losing. Tracy was able to back her opponent down and put on pressure, while avoiding most of the counter strikes that were sent back at her. Esquibel did score a takedown right on the buzzer, but that was about all the offense she landed in that round. Two of the three judges agreed with that statement and awarded the round, and thus the fight, to Tracy.
Kicking off the main card was a fun brawl that saw Serena DeJesus take on Contender Series and UFC alum Lauren Mueller. DeJesus took the initiative in the first round, despite struggling to keep her hair out of her eyes (she was sporting a fresh bob after cutting her hair to make weight). After beating her opponent to the punch throughout the round she eventually dropped Mueller with a crisp left hand. In the second DeJesus worked Mueller’s body with leg kicks and landed some nice punches. Mueller responded with some hard combos, but it wasn’t enough to win the round. DeJesus continued to hunt down and hurt Mueller in the third, earning a split decision victory.
The prelims were aired live on YouTube and can be viewed in their entirety below:
Strawweight title: Emily Ducote def. Danielle Taylor by KO (head kick), round 1 (2:51).
Bantamweight title: Teneisha Tennant def. Lisa Verzosa by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46).
Flyweight: Brogan Sanchez def. Emilee King by submission, round 1 (4:28).
Catchweight: Liz Tracy def. Jodie Esquibel by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).
Bantamweight: Serena DeJesus def. Lauren Mueller by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Flyweight: Helen Peralta def. Caitlin Sammons by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Marisa Messer-Belenchia def. Katie Saull by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28).
Atomweight: Natalie Salcedo def. Katie Perez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Featherweight: Kayla Yontef def. Carlene Chandler by TKO (ground and pound), round 2 (3:13).