After hosting a thrilling atomweight title fight in its last event, Invicta FC is ready to crown another women's divisional champion in its fourth fight card.
As announced on the official Invicta FC website, the regional promotion's first 2013 event will feature a 115-pound main-event bout for the first Invicta FC Strawweight Championship. Like the company's last three cards, Kansas City's Memorial Hall will serve as the venue.
On January 5, top-ranked Carla Esparza (8-2) will vie for the strawweight belt against Brazilian prospect Claudia Gadelha (9-0), who will be fighting abroad for the just the second time in her career.
Here's how the card looks so far, with a full slate of fights currently confirmed for January:
Invicta FC 4 Main Card
- Carla Esparza (8-2) vs. Claudia Gadelha (9-0)
- Shayna Baszler (15-7) vs. Alexis Davis (12-5)
- Leslie Smith (4-2-1) vs. TBA
- Amanda Nunes (7-2) vs. Sarah D'Alelio (6-3)
- Hiroko Yamanaka (12-2) vs. Ediene Gomes (8-2)
- Joanne Calderwood (4-0) vs. Bec Hyatt (4-1)
Invicta FC 4 Preliminary Card
- Stephanie Frausto (4-4) vs. Cassie Rodish (3-3)
- Tamikka Brents (1-0) vs. Amanda Bell (0-0)
- Jodie Esquibel (2-0) vs. Liz McCarthy (1-0)
- Emily Kagan (2-0) vs. Rose Namajunas (0-0)
- Paige VanZant (2-0) vs. Tecia Torres (1-0)
- Veronica Rothenhausler (0-0) vs. Katalina Malungahu (2-1)
According to MMA Rising, Esparza was initially expected to face undefeated Japanese strawweight Ayaka Hamasaki (8-0), the current reigning JEWELS lightweight champion. However, Hamasaki pulled out of the match in order to defend her title at Jewels 22nd Ring in Tokyo this December.
Gadelha is currently recognized as a member of Team Nova Uniao—the same camp supporting UFC champions Jose Aldo and Renan Barao, as well as Hacran Dias and Bellator fighter Marlon Sandro. Her fight against Esparza will be her first in the United States and her second in North America.