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UFC signs Invicta champ Emily Ducote, books her against former title challenger Jessica Penne

The former Invicta FC strawweight champion will debut on July 16.

Emily Ducote after she beat Alesha Zappitella at Invicta FC 47.
Emily Ducote after she beat Alesha Zappitella at Invicta FC 47.
Dave Mandel / Invicta FC

The UFC has signed Invicta FC strawweight champion Emily Ducote and placed her in a fight with former UFC title challenger Jessica Penne (per MMA Junkie). That fight is scheduled for July 16 at the UFC Long Island Fight Night event. Ducote is coming in on short notice, replacing fellow former Invicta FC strawweight champion Brianna Fortino (née Van Buren).

Ducote has a career record of 11-6. She fought in Bellator between 2016 and 2019. During that run she earned a spot opposite Ilima-Lei MacFarlane for the vacant Bellator flyweight title. Ducote lost that fight due to an armbar in the fifth round.

She debuted with Invicta in 2019 and won her debut, over Janaisa Morandin, by first round TKO. That earned her a shot at the vacant Invicta strawweight title (vacated by Fortino). She lost that fight, to Kanako Murata, by split decision.

In her next bout, in the main event of Invicta FC 40, she defeated UFC veteran Julianna Lima by unanimous decision. That set her up for her second shot at a vacant Invicta strawweight title (this time vacated after Murata signed for the UFC).

At Invicta FC 44 Ducote defeated Danielle Taylor by first round TKO to win the belt. Last month she defended her title against former Invicta FC atomweight champion Alesha Zappitella.

The fight with Zappitella was called off after two rounds after Ducote inflicted a nasty cut on Zappitella’s left eye-lid.

Including Ducote, seven of Invicta’s eight former strawweight champions have signed for the UFC. Joining Ducote, Murata and Fortino on that list are Virna Jandiroba, Angela Hill, Livia Renata Souza and current UFC champion Carla Esparza (who was Invicta’s inaugural 115 lb champ).

Ducote’s next opponent Penne unsuccessfully challenged Joanna Jędrzejczyk for the UFC strawweight belt in 2015. In 2012 Penne became Invicta’s first ever atomweight champion.