On Friday, December 5th, an intimate crowd witnessed an amazing feat as the Invicta FC organization crowned a new Atomweight champion. In stunning fashion, Herica Tiburcio was able to secure a guillotine submission on Michelle Waterson to capture the belt. We knew Herica would be difficult to deal with on the ground, but her key footwork and striking allowed her to be the better fighter on this night.
It was a spectacular ending to a night highlighting some of the best fighters in the world and gave a good impression for the promotion heading into 2015. Tonya Evinger put on a show in front of her hometown with a dynamic submission of Cindy Dandois and Alexa Grasso almost stole the night with her TKO of Alida Gray. Here are highlights from all the exciting action from Invicta FC 10 Waterson - Tiburcio.
For those unfamiliar with Herica Tiburcio (9-2) Friday set the stage to showcase an outstanding star in women's mixed martial arts. Give tons of credit to Shannon Knapp and Julie Kedzie for taking the chance to place her right into a title match. Many were unfamiliar with what the Brazilian was capable of but after Friday there is no question if she was ready for that spotlight. Not only did she capture the Atomweight crown but she stole the hearts of the MMA landscape with her emotional reaction when Invicta CEO Shannon Knapp brought the title into the cage.
In regards to the fight, Herica looked as poised as Tecia Torres matching Waterson on her feet toe-for-toe. Waterson seemed off her game and not as polished as her last outing. We are curious if the fear of the takedown ability caused a hesitation for Waterson as we barely saw any of her patent leg kicks. Herica almost ended the fight earlier with a nasty key lock submission that had many of us in attendance wondering if we would see her bone rip through her skin.
It was a physically dominating performance but not too much to disallow the repeat. We will see who Shannon has in store for both of these women but after capturing the Atomweight title could there be a threat for either of these ladies to move to Strawweight for more lavish opportunities? No matter the case, it is nice knowing the top of the Atomweight division is in good hands courtesy of another well-deserved champion in Herica Tiburcio.
Tonya Evinger (15-6) continues her tear through the 135 division and should be next in line for a title fight in the Invicta organization. She made quick work of Cindy Dandois (5-2) but remarked after the fight how strong the Swedish fighter is saying she was one of the more naturally stronger girls she has ever faced.
Triple Threat finished Dandois early after securing a takedown and locking in a cross face. After repeated blows to the face, Tonya was able to secure the arm bar on Cindy to end it. They don’t call her “triple threat” for nothing as the last two fights she has been able to end the match in different ways. There is nothing left but 135 gold for her now but the question remains on who that will be.
Miriam Nakamoto is one of the names that would make since but outside of her beef with Lauren Murphy we have not heard much on what her future plans are. She is still selling her undefeated apparel so we think she still has some unfinished business.
No one was gaining more momentum in the women's mixed martial arts world than Andrea KGB Lee (2-1), who only after two fights has brought tons of eyes to her extraordinary skill set and likeable personality. She faced the improving Roxanne Modafferi (17-11) who has been getting better and better with her striking but was an underdog going into the match.
The fight started off with Andrea displaying her patent leg kicks and elbows while Roxy seemed a little more robotic than her last outing. If this match would have stayed on the feet it may have gone slightly different. It did not though as once it got to the ground the fight turned in Modafferi’s favor. KGB was still active on the mat as well but you could tell by the end of the second the flight was clearly going in Roxy’s favor.
KGB may have gassed coming into the third while Modafferi pressed on and on to grind out the win. It was a well-deserved split decision for the happy warrior and more than likely she will face either Deanna Bennett, get the match which Vanessa Porto or she may get a shot at Barb Honchak, There are many options for the flyweight division.
One of the reasons why there are options at 125 in Invicta FC is due to the victory by Deanna Bennett (6-0). She won a somewhat controversial unanimous decision against Jennifer Maia (9-4-1). While both ladies stayed pretty even through the course of the night there was still a slight advantage to Bennett who landed cleaner shots.
In the third round, the pace was too much to handle for Maia and she found herself retreating instead of finding openings. While many felt Maia won the fight and there is a case that could be made. The judges scored the fight as a unanimous decision but it clearly should have been a split. The correct fighter won which is all that matters, but this was not one of the only fights to question the Texas scoring on.
Maia will have to regroup, while she has gone 1-1 in her last two fights, this is the second one she has dropped in Invicta. She clearly has the talent to remain at the top level of the Flyweight division but she may be relegated to gatekeeper. Bennett has already crashed the top ten in and wouldn't be surprised to see her get a top five spot. She needed to beat Maia to prove it and not only did she do that but in impressive manner.
The fight that had everyone up in arms was the battle between Peggy Morgan (3-2) and Andria Wawro (3-2). Wawro came in too heavy but they went ahead with the match anyway. While Morgan looked better and more comfortable at 145, it still seemed as if Wawro was controlling most of the fight. Peggy had her moments but it seemed as if the pace was dictated by Wawro.
The fight went in unanimous favor while most of us scored Andria for the win two rounds to one. Peggy should be happy to get back in the win column and if she stays at 145 we could see more talent start to infuse the division. Another star on the horizon is Alexa Grasso. She had an outstanding and somewhat surprising TKO victory over Alida Gray. We knew she had the ability but she showed a pure speed advantage in the fight and dropped Gray during the course of an exchange.
Gray disputed the early stoppage but it was clear Grasso completed the finish. It was another solid performance by the standout strawweight and should move her considerably up the rankings. A match up with either Stephanie Eggink or Mizuki seems appropriate unless she gets lured up to the UFC. They have another Mexico card on the way so it could be a possibility.
The night started with impressive victories by Rachael Ostovich and Jinh Frey. Rachael was able to win two convincing rounds on her way to victory against Evva Johnson (1-1), Frey beat Cassie Robb (0-3) and was able to secure a very nice first round submission.
It was another exciting night of mixed martial action for Invicta FC. Their next card is scheduled for February and we should see how things develop for the card in the next few weeks.
Full results from Invicta FC 10:
Herica Tiburcio def. Michelle Waterson via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 3, 1:04 – to claim atomweight title
Tonya Evinger def. Cindy Dandois via submission (armbar) – Round 2, 1:23
Roxanne Modafferi def. Andrea K. Lee via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
DeAnna Bennett def. Jennifer Maia via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Peggy Morgan def. Andria Wawro via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Alexa Grasso def. Alida Gray via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:47
Jinh Yu Frey def. Cassie Robb via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:36
Rachael Ostovich def. Evva Johnson via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)