Invicta Fighting Championships gave us two title fights for its first event in 2023 on Wednesday night.
Taneisha Tennant vs. Talita Bernardo
And New! Talita Bernardo dethroned Taneisha Tennant and won the Invicta FC bantamweight championship. From the start of the fight, Bernardo was adamant about getting it to the ground. Tennant threw a few kicks, one of which was caught by Bernardo, who used the position to get into back control. Bernardo worked on a body lock and rear-naked choke, but it was more of a face crank (which is still painful!) until the first round ended. Tennant fared well in the second round, as she landed a few right hands that stung Bernardo. The ’Triple Threat’ worked her way out of several submission attempts.
As the fight progressed, Bernardo kept Tennant grounded. The Brazilian would shoot in for takedowns and Tennant couldn’t stave them off, so she spent most of her time on the ground. She defended well against submission attempts, but Bernardo was relentless. She went for armbars, kneebars and ground-and-pound. The fifth round was spent in the north-south position, where Tennant tried to secure a leg scissor choke and an inverted triangle choke, but she didn’t have either of them. Bernardo stayed on top for the remainder of the round and that was it.
Bernardo is now 3-0 under the Invicta FC banner.
Kristina Williams vs. Ketlen Souza
Ketlen Souza is the new Invicta FC flyweight champion. The Brazilian had little to no issue with Kristina Williams, who she dominated en route to a unanimous decision. After Williams came out throwing combinations and kicks, Souza slowed her down by clinching. Soon, Souza got the fight to the ground, where she threw up an armbar attempt. Williams got out of it and returned to her feet.
In the second round, Souza landed a beautiful spinning hook kick on the jaw of Williams, who ate it like it was nothing! WOW! Souza tried again, but she fell and Williams ran over to get into top position. She postured up, but Souza wrapped up her arms so she could not throw punches. The referee came in and stood them up, but they found themselves on the ground again after Williams tripped Souza. As soon as they hit the ground, Souza threw up a triangle choke before she transitioned to another armbar attempt. It was secure, but the time ran out.
Once again, Souza got Williams to the ground, where she drew first blood after connecting with a nasty elbow. The cut over Williams’ right eye was a doozy. The fourth and fifth rounds saw Souza and Williams exchange punches and kicks, but ‘Esquentadinha’ got the better of the ‘Warhorse’ in all of them. Dominant performance for Souza, who was her first major world title.
Serena DeJesus vs. Olga Rubin
Olga Rubin returned to the win column with a unanimous decision against Serena DeJesus. There was no going to the ground in this one, as Rubin and DeJesus were perfectly fine standing and trading throughout the fight. One of the most significant moments came in the second round, where ‘Big Bad’ Olga connected with a left hand that had the ‘Southpaw Outlaw’ on wobbly legs. Rubin went in for the finish, but DeJesus clinched and survived the rest of the onslaught. Despite being wobbled, DeJesus continued to come forward and throw punches. However, she was met with another left hand that stunned her. Solid fight between these two.
Claire Guthrie vs. Auttumn Norton
Claire Guthrie turned in a solid performance against Auttumn Norton. ‘Grizzly’ got the ‘Natural’ down early, but it was not for long. Norton returned to her feet and connected with a left hand, but Guthrie scored another takedown. The rest of the fight saw Norton press forward and try to find a home for her punches, but Guthrie circled away and stayed on the outside.
Marisa Messer-Belenchia vs. Elisandra Ferreira
Elisandra introduced herself to the Invicta FC family with a fun fight against Marisa Messer-Belenchia. ‘Lili’ went after the ’Spider Monkey’ immediately, stunning her with several right hands at the start of the first round. Messer-Belenchia clinched and pressed Ferreira up against the cage. Ferreira responded, tripping Messer-Belenchia and getting her to the ground, where she found herself in an armbar attempt. Ferreira slammed Messer-Belenchia, who she punched and elbowed for the remainder of the round. It was the same in the second and third rounds, as Ferreira would get off some solid punches before Messer-Belenchia clinched. In the end, Ferreira got the split decision.
Katie Saull vs. Rayanne dos Santos
Rayanne dos Santos got her first Invicta FC win with a unanimous decision against Katie Saull. Both women were tentative in the first round, but Dos Santos turned it up in the second round, where she got in top position and went for an arm-triangle. Saull kicked Dos Santos off and got up, but she found herself on the ground again after being dropped with a right hand. Down on the judges’ scorecards, Saull came into the third round with the intention of getting of finish, which she almost got in the form of a few armbars. But Dos Santos was privy to her attempts and wiggled her way out of them. From there, the promotional newcomer stayed in top position and controlled Saull. After Dos Santos hit Saull with a hammerfist to the back of the head, the referee stood them up. They exchanged for the final seconds of the third round before the horn signifying the end of the fight sounded.
Fatima Kline vs. Laura Gallardo
Fatima Kline defeated Laura Gallardo by unanimous decision in our first fight of the night. The ‘Archangel’ found success on the feet and the ground, sweeping the judges’ scorecards for her third consecutive win. With her win against Gallardo, Kline sent a message to Valesca Machado, the newly crowned Invicta FC strawweight champion.
Fatima Kline def. Laura Gallardo by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Rayanne dos Santos def. Katie Saull by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Elisandra Ferreira def. Marisa Messer-Belenchia by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Claire Guthrie def. Auttumn Norton by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Olga Rubin def. Serena DeJesus by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Ketlen Souza def. Kristina Williams by unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 48-47)
Talita Bernardo def. Taniesha Tennant by unanimous decision (48-46 x3)
About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)