Invicta FC 3 Results: Nine Thoughts About This Weekend's All-Women MMA Card
Even though it shared a crowded weekend with the UFC, ONE FC, and former WWE star Dave Bautista, the Kansas City-based Invicta FC kept itself from getting lost in the shuffle.
Throughout the night, the action was punctuated with quick finishes, all-out brawls, and some great displays of skill between world-ranked fighters.
Altogether, there were a few major upsets, the crowning of a new pound-for-pound champion, and the appearance of a particularly frightening potential bantamweight dark horse.
If you missed it, here are a few thoughts, highlights, and general notes plucked from the 14-fight regional card.
Jessica Penne Is Now a Pound-for-Pound Fighter
Penne didn't just claim her spot at the top of the atomweight rankings with a win over formerly undefeated Naho Sugiyama.
She also ousted the last top-ranked Japanese in an MMA division, in a trend that's seen the likes of Shinya Aoki and Megumi Fujii take hard losses over the last few years.
That, plus her dominant and masterful use of the triangle choke, made the long-limbed Penne one of the best female fighters on the planet.
Invicta FC did well to set up a hierarchy of talent, signing the best fighters that women's MMA can offer. Hopefully, they can continue to do so in other weight classes starving for some more structure.
Maybe It's Time for Tara LaRosa to Hang It Up
LaRosa deserves some credit for surviving a one-sided beating at the hands of tough Brazilian fighter Vanessa Porto, but she looked bad through all 15 minutes.
Unranked Porto was faster, landed the harder shots, and repeatedly found a home for her leg kicks, badly bruising LaRosa's leg early in the fight.
LaRosa could only struggle to fight back, flopping on failed takedown attempts and getting rocked by heavy overhand rights.
Moreover, it's the second time in two fights LaRosa's come in heavy and out of shape. If that's how she returns to the ring in 2012, she should reconsider how she'll fare in 2013 against better, sharper, hungrier opponents.
Never Make Jessamyn Duke Angry
In the third fight of the night, Jessamyn Duke (a rather massive bantamweight) pulled out her mouthpiece to complain that Marciea Allen was pulling her hair.
When the referee didn't stop the fight, Allen took advantage of the situation and tried to finish Duke with some quick ground-and-pound.
Duke weathered the storm, hulked out, and snapped a fight-ending armbar on Allen in a fit of rage. Cooler heads prevailed in the aftermath, but I feel sorry for the next fighter who manages to piss her off.
Carla Esparza's Sponsors Spent Wisely
Esparza was in full control during her entire match with Lynn Alvarez, and she even got some extra cage time delivering almost a full minute of uninterrupted ground-and-pound.
That's a win-win for her and her sponsors.
It's debatable whether the referee needed to let Alvarez absorb that much punishment, but Esparza's stylish Alienware-branded one-piece ring-wear got a lot of good looks from Internet viewers.
Great, dominant win from one of MMA's best strawweights.
Cat Zigano Has Great Taste in Fight Apparel
Who else can wear rainbow leopard-print shorts with such confidence?
Joanne Calderwood Has Some Killer Knees
Calderwood was never in trouble during her fight with the overmatched Ashley Cummings, and the brutal knee to the liver she used to finish the bout was painful to watch.
If that's the kind of power the Muay Thai champion is bringing to future events, she could wind up crippling a lot of fighters.
Hopefully, she'll be able to use some range and put together combinations a bit more efficiently against her future opponents.
Stephanie Frausto Might Be a Whole New Fighter
Right from the opening bell, the younger sister of Zoila Gurgel flat-out raced across the cage, got into the clinch, and dragged Amy Davis to the mat.
A tight guillotine finish came soon afterward, but what proved most impressive was the dogged determination Frausto showed when Davis attempted to shake off the submission attempt. If Davis was a bit taller or stronger, she could've put Frausto in some serious trouble.
Luckily, Frausto kept her cool, shored up her position, and waited for just the right moment to sink in the choke. That was one of the more impressive finishes of the night, and shows that a year of practice can do wonders for a struggling young fighter.
A Better Michelle Waterson Still Isn't That Good
Sure, the atomweight fight between Mrs. "Karate Hottie" and Lacey Schuckman was entertaining, but the lack of a finish speaks volumes about both.
In particular, Waterson had two solid armbar attempts that she should've finished but let slip through her fingers at the last minute.
Eventually, she won her match on a close (but debatable) split decision. As it stands, she needs to work on her submissions and grappling before getting back into the cage—and it probably wouldn't hurt her to bulk up a little for more success fighting in the clinch.
Tecia Torres, Kaiyana Rain Have Bright Futures in MMA
Although they went to a decision, Torres and Rain kept up a blistering offensive pace that put some recent UFC flyweight fights to shame.
With a variety of high kicks, spinning backfists, and fast-paced clinch fighting, Torres took a one-sided victory, but Rain never looked like she was out of her element. It was a frantic affair, and if both fighters improve, they'll cause a lot of problems for other strawweight prospects further down the road.
Overall, every fighter showed up and put in a credible performance. That's about as much as can be expected for a regional show, and hopefully, Invicta FC will continue to improve from here on out.