You could detect an ever so slight hint of bias in the commentary of Julie Kedzie during the Invicta 19 main event. If that’s the case who could blame her, because on Friday night it seemed that all of social media and even the most cynical posters on MMA message boards were rooting for Roxanne Modafferi to have her biggest night in a lifetime of MMA dedication and win the World Flyweight title.
After stealing the show during the weigh ins with her traditional cos play antics (this time an elaborate She-Ra outfit) Roxanne gave everything in a gripping, fast paced fight of the night with Champion Jennifer Maia. Roxanne was constantly on move, peppering Maia with jabs from all angles and spinning backfists and elbows, although it was the champ who responding with the crisper more damaging punches.
If the Happy warrior was to win the title you suspected it was going to be on the ground and in the second and third and rounds it was where some of Roxanne’s best work came as she took down Maia and came achingly close to syncing in armbars. The first three rounds were competitively close and Roxanne may well have been leading on two scorecards, however Maia proved the stronger in the championships round landing harder, significant blows.
Roxanne fans were given hope at the announcement of a spilt decision, but when the third judges score began to be read out at 49-46 it was clear Maia had won the fight. With two hard fought, gruelling wars in a row Maia has proven to be a worthy undisputed Flyweight champion now that Barb Honchank has forfeited the title due to failure to defend in two years. It was unfortunate then that Maia’s victory was greeted with boos from some sections of the crowd. While you can argue paying fans are entitled to react as they like the response was disrespectful to Maia after putting on a great performance and totally against the very spirit that the Invicta promotion is built on.
This was a cracking fight, the best Invicta main event for a long time and worthy of it’s fight of the night award and a credit to both warriors. Roxanne was still smiling as she left the cage and as they always say at the end of Marvel movies “The Happy Warrior will return.”
In the atomweight title fight Ayaka Hamasaki and Jinh Yu Frey were putting on a hell of a fight with some evenly matched striking and at one point Frey looked close to stopping the fight as she rained punches on a grounded Hamasaki. Then in the second round there was a furious exchange, ending with Hamasaki landing a beautiful right that rocked and dazed Frey and opened a massive cut down the left side of her head
Blood poured immediately and the doctor was called in who recommended a halt to the contest. There was controversy over what some saw as an early stoppage, the cut while nasty seemed to be well clear of the eye (for example Paul Felder at the UFC Brazil show was allowed to fight on for longer with a much more dangerous looking cut over his eye) and with it being a championship fight fighters and fans would have liked the contest to be given a chance, although the primary concern for a Doctor should always be the safety of the fighter first and foremost.
Frey visibly disappointed still took the decision with good grace, while Hamasaki seemed upset at winning in such a way. Under the circumstances with what was building into a great fight I don’t think anyone would be against an immediate rematch.
The two title fights rounded off a highly entertaining Invicta show with some impressive stoppages.
Irene Aldana set up what could be spinning into a grudge rematch with bantamweight champ Tonya Evinger by claiming yet another first round stoppage over Faith Van Duin. Van Duin managed to keep Aldana at bay and got some shots in early, but once Aldana got close enough to connect with her hard combinations Van Duin was in trouble, wilted into a ball on the ground and was stopped a split second before the round ended.
Kaline Medeiros (this time sporting a yellow mohawk) seemed on the way to another devastating stoppage when she dominated Manjit Kolekar with punches and slams in the first round. But for the rest of the fight Majit got on her bike and was content to simply dance and circled her opponent, keeping out of her range. Medeiros was frustrated with Majit’s reluctance to engage and was left with trying to catch her with big, swinging punches. Medeiros got the decision anyway and with Mizuki Inoue injured right now she may find herself matched up with Straw eeight champ Angela Lee for her next fight which could be a fine fight.
If the hopes were for the much touted Tiffany Van Soest to showcase her Thai Kickboxing skills with a highlight reel knockout over a 0-0 opponent then maybe Invicta should have picked one that wasn’t a goddamn Marine.
In all seriousness Kal Holliday fought the perfect fight. Right from the opening bell she took Van Soest out of her comfort zone and onto the ground with takedowns and a stinging supplex in round one, proceeding to the pound the hell out of her and work towards a submission. Van Soest was able to land some telling blows and briefly put Holiday down but Van Soest was taken back down a split second later.
Holliday was relentless and in round two got Van Soest’s back and locked in a rear naked choke from which there was no escape.
Funny story is that Holliday who has been eager to get into Invicta for some time accepted the fight having no idea who Van Soest was. When she told family and friends the name of who she was fighting some freaked out that she was fighting someone so experienced and high profile in her professional debut.
In other fights, Julia Jones made a splash in her delayed debut with a first round stoppage when she sunk in a choke on Stephanie Skinner.
Amber Leibrock rebounded from her loss to Megan Anderson by kneeing the hell out of Amy Coleman’s body on the way to an impressive first round stoppage.
In the opener Sunna Daviosdottir comfortably won her professional debut with a unanimous victory over a spirited Ashley Greenaway.
So yet another successful, spirited show from Invicta and hopefully only November to wait for Invicta 20.
Until then, see ya.