Invicta FC 20 was a milestone for the all-women’s MMA league. Four and a half years after its first card, Invicta FC 20 had two title fights and several sentimental segments about the success of the league and the fighters who have come through Invicta. Leslie Smith, a UFC fighter who fought at Invicta FC 1, was the side line reporter and conducted all of the post-fight interviews. This was a fun celebration of the league and the honoring of all of the champions and successful fighters who have moved onto bigger leagues was well done. This card was not without its drama and bad production but I personally feel that gives the league more charm. These fighters and commentators aren’t apart of Invicta to become rich, they do it for the love of the sport and to support women’s MMA.
Catchweight (118.4 LB) – Miranda Maverick def. Samantha Diaz – Submission rear-naked choke – (RD 1 – 4:26)
The first fight of the night saw the overweight 19 year old Maverick take on Diaz. To make weight Diaz cut off a large portion of her hair. The two fighters went into the clinch early where Diaz was able to get in position and slam Maverick to the ground. On the ground Diaz attempted an armbar submission but Maverick was able to escape. Both fighters were scrambling and moving around on the ground looking for a submission position. Maverick clearly grabbed the cage but it wasnt seen by the ref (the first of several ref mishaps) and took the back of Diaz. Maverick wrapped her arms around the neck of Diaz looking for the rear-naked choke and after struggling to wiggle out of it, Diaz ultimately tapped.
Bantamweight – Alexa Conners def. Stephanie Egger – Decision split – (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
This was an eventful busy 3 round match that had a controversal ending. In the first round (and most of the fight) Conners was the aggressor. She forced Egger up against the cage and threw a flurry of attacks. The fight then went to the ground after a failed super man punch by Conners. Egger was in position for a rear-naked choke, but Conners was able to escape. The fighters got back to their feet and partook in a slug fest to end the first round.
More of the same happened in the second round, it was the third round when things became interesting. By the third round Eggers was exhausted. Her lead leg was bruised from the leg kicks thrown by Conners and she would kneel over like a basketball player during a time out. But there are not time outs in MMA, unless the god loving ref (he says god bless before every match he calls) messes up. Conners attacked Eggers to the point where Eggers retreated until their was no more room to retreat. With her back against the cage, Eggers had nowhere to go and was eating the flurry of attacks from Conners.
Conners landed several blows to the head of Eggers which forced the mouth piece out of Eggers mouth. During this sequence Conners was looking for the TKO throwing everything she had at Eggers and it looked like the TKO was imminent. The ref stopped the fight which I, the commentators, and Conners thought was a TKO, but it was a time stoppage so the Eggers could retrieve her mouth piece. Eggers took advantage of the time stoppage leaning on her knees catching her breath.
Conners stopped celebrating when the ref shouted at her telling her the fight wasnt over. Conners won the decision, but that was an atrocious call from Mike England separating the two fighters in that situation. The commentators explained that it is a strategy for some fighters to spit their mouth piece out on purpose to look for a time stoppage. I don’t believe that is was Eggers did, but England didn’t seem to take that into consideration.
Strawweight – J.J. Aldrich def. Lynn Alvarez – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
The match between Aldrich and Alvarez was another busy 3 round fight but Aldrich is clearly the better fighter. Aldrich was very active, moving around in all three rounds making it difficult for Alvarez to land any attacks. Alvarez did get some knees to land in the clinch and some jabs to land while standing up, but Aldrich landed so many more. After the second round, Alvarez had severe swelling and a cut by her left eye and even though she had an open wound by her eye, it wasnt deemed to dangerous to stop the fight.
In the third round Aldrich continued her dominance and Alvarez began bleeding from her nose. Even though Aldrich dominated this fight, Alvarez hung tough and refused to be finished. Alvarez has a lot of tough losses on her resume and this one will be added to it. It shouldnt be much longer before Aldrich gets a title shot for the strawweight belt.
Catchweight (140.6 LB) Pam Sorenson def. Jessical-Rose Clark – Decision split – (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Pam Sorenson missed weight by 5 pounds for her match against Clark, and she looked bigger in the ring. This was an interesting fight as a lot of it was spent on the ground and in the clinch with Clark in the offensive position. But while on her back, Sorenson was more affective at landing strikes and attempting submissions. Both fighters scored take downs and went for submissions in all three rounds, but I agree with the judges that Sorenson was the more offensive fighter even though she spent most of her time in a defensive position.
Catchweight (117 LB) Ashley Yoder def. Amber Brown – Submission armbar – (RD 2 – 2:31)
Both of these fighters, Yoder and Brown, look big for strawweights and Brown used to fight at atomweight. Brown took Yoder to the ground in the first round and controlled most of the round from their. Yoder went for an arm lock that Brown was able to escape from and Yoder got into dominant position to land some ground and pound to end the first round.
Yoder scored one of the coolest submissions I have ever seen in the second round of this fight. While on the ground, Yoder locked up Browns arm which left Browns face exposed. While holding Browns arm locked with one arm, Yoder used her other fist to brutalize Brown. To get out of the awful position, Brown tried to wiggle out of Yoder’s grasp but Yoder grabbed her arm and fully extended it in an arm lock. This looked painful but Brown gave a thumbs up to the ref showing that she was fine. Shortly after Brown realized that she was unable to escape after enduring the pain of a hyper extended arm for several seconds. This was an impressive finish by Yoder, who also apologized for missing weight in her post fight interview.
Atomweight – Herica Tiburcio def. Simona Soukupova – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Tiburcio is a stocky atomweight who was the atomweight belt holder just two fights ago. At the age of 23 and after two straight losses, she needed a win against the much older Soukupova who is 39.
I bet most opponents hate fighting against Tiburcio as she is constantly bouncing around and is very active. In the first round Tiburcio landed leg kicks and took Soukupova to the ground from the clinch. She stayed in control on the ground and landed some ground and pound. This left Soukupova with swelling under her eye and she pushed the cut man away in between rounds out of frustration.
Tiburcio was the aggressor again in the second round where she landed a brutal over hand jab, upper cut combination. Soukupova landed some of her own attacks and attempted a take down. The third round is where Soukupova became more aggressive knowing she would need a submission to win the fight. She tagged Tiburcio a couple of times, but Tiburcio was able to clinch up and recover. In the clinch Tiburico tried to stomp the feet of Soukupova which created a loud bang on the mat (those would hurt if they landed). Soukupova scored a take down late in the third looking for a submission, but it was too little too late.
Strawweight – Angela Hill (c) def. Kaline Medeiros – Decision unanimous – (50-45, 49-46, 48-47)
The first of the two title fights on this card featured strawweight fighters Angela Hill and Kaline Medeiros. Hill was supposed to defend her belt against Alexa Grasso but she was picked up and signed by the UFC. As a fill in Medeiros was given her chance at the belt and despite giving it her all, she lost the decision unanimously.
A lot happened in the 25 minutes these two spent fighting. Medeiros threw her signature over hand right during the whole match looking to connect with power. When the fight went to the mat, Hill attempted a couple of triangles but was not able to submit the 37 year old veteran. Hill appeared to control the fight landing more significant strikes. The moment that I believe perfectly represented this fight happened in the 5th round when Hill clipped and stunned Medeiros. Instead of diving at the legs or clinching up with Hill, Medeiros punched her way out of the situation driving Hill back on her heels. Hill won this fight unanimously, but the much older Medeiros gave it her all and fought hard all 5 rounds.
Bantamweight – Yana Kunitskaya def. Tonya Evinger (c) – Submission armbar – (RD 1 – 1:59)
Tonya Evinger hadn’t lost in years and has successfully defended her Invicta bantamweight belt multiple times. The headlining fight for this card featured the veteran fighter Evinger and the Russian new comer Yana Kunitskaya.
This fight didn’t last long and ref Mike England left his fingerprints on the decision. Evinger took Kunitskaya to the ground almost right away. After some maneuvering, Evinger was standing up while Kunitskaya was on the ground almost doing a hand stand. Kunitskaya got Evinger’s arm in a lock and Evinger was placing her foot on the face of Kuitskaya trying to force her to let go. That is a legal move, but not according England. The ref shouted at Evinger to get her foot off the face of Kunitskaya which led to the tightening of the arm lock and the tap from Evinger. This was such a strange finish and the ref interference was immediately discussed by the commentators. Evinger screamed in dismay. Leslie Smith came in the ring to do the post-fight interviews which I quickly turned off because it was awkward and I was tired.
Invicta FC 21 is two months away in January of 2017.