Invicta FC 13 Reactions from Press Row

Invicta FC 13Invicta Fighting Championships held its 13th event last night (July 9, 2015) from the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada and yours truly was there to cover the event live. It was a star-studded event headlined by a trio of title fights in the atomweight, bantamweight and featherweight divisions. For the results and closing odds from the card, click here. Here are some of my thoughts on the card:

  • This event had a ton of MMA Royalty in attendance. Several UFC executives like┬áLorenzo Fertitta plus UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby were cageside. A ton of top current and former fighters were also there like Frankie Edgar, Fabricio Werdum, Joanna Jedrzejcyk, BJ Penn, Bas Rutten, Josh Barnett, Miesha Tate, Rashad Evans, Tito Ortiz, Tyron Woodley, Kelvin Gastelum, Ben Rothwell and more. Also present was last year’s top UFC signing CM Punk.
  • Joanna Jedrzecjzyk got by far the biggest cheer from the crowd when shown on the big screen.
  • The venue was pretty small, but with the staggered second level of the balcony, it had a unique atmosphere where it felt like the fans were right on top of you.
  • The four horsewomen (sans Ronda) were in attendance to support Marina Shafir, who made her Invicta FC debut in the first fight of the evening, but the bout was over quickly when Shafir was knocked out in just 37 seconds by Amber Leibrock (who was making her pro debut). They shared an emotional embrace right outside the cage and it’s uncertain what Shafir’s future will be after two straight 37 second knockout losses. After the fight, Shafir returned to sit cageside with her friends next to CM Punk. Punk and Shayna Baszler seemed to be getting along pretty well.
  • The fight of the night was Amy Montenegro vs Jamie Moyle. Moyle started strong but faded down the stretch in a bout that had some heavy striking, fun scrambles on the ground and some good clinchwork. Moyle’s first two rounds were able to help her walk away with a split decision but I don’t think she’s ready to fight for a title at this point.
  • Amber Brown looked very legit with her impressive first round stoppage of then-unbeaten Irish kickboxer Catherine Costigan. Brown dominated the fight on the canvas before earning a submission. She’ll likely be fighting for the title next.
  • Pannie Kianzad had a decent performance in victory over Jessica-Rose Clark, showcasing a superior ground game and some fast hands, but I don’t know if she’s ready to fight for the bantamweight title despite Shannon Knapp indicating it was a possibility at the post-fight press conference.
  • The atomweight title fight between Ayaka Hamasaki and champion Herica Tiburcio was very back and forth. Tiburcio almost finished it early and they alternated rounds until the decisive fifth frame where Hamasaki both outstruck Tiburcio and outgrappled her to take the title in what should have been a unanimous decision but ended up being a split.
  • Tiburcio was very gracious in defeat, and seemed more positive than any fighter I’ve ever seen who lost a title. She had a ton of respect for Hamasaki and her performance and she promised to bounce back better than ever. She had trouble wiping the smile from her face at the post-fight press conference which was something different.
  • In the battle for the vacant bantamweight title, Irene Aldana had the biggest crowd support out of everyone on the card with a ton of chants and cheers throughout the contest, but each cheer was a bit quieter as the fight wore on and Evinger was able to dominate Aldana on the ground, eventually finishing her via TKO in the fourth. Aldana has a ton of striking talent, but her lack of wrestling and inability to stay off her back will decide her ceiling in the division.
  • Evinger shows no interest in competing in the UFC. Unless something changes with her attitude, look for her to compete at the Invicta event around December or so.
  • The main event felt very foreboding as Cris Cyborg brutalized Faith Van Duin in 45 seconds. Cyborg has zero contenders in the featherweight division and it feels like her talents are being wasted. That being said, it is going to be very difficult for her to make the 135 pound weight class for a dream fight against Ronda Rousey. Cyborg told Ronda to “stop running” in her post-fight interview, but I doubt Ronda ever takes a catchweight fight against her. Cyborg indicated in the post-fight press conference that she may take a fight at 140 pounds in her next Invicta appearance as she tries to drop down.
  • Shannon Knapp actually checked with press row to see who they thought was the best fight of the night immediately after the event. I have no idea if that went into her decision to award Moyle-Montenegro, but I felt they got it right.
  • Knapp indicated this wouldn’t be the last time Invicta holds an event in Las Vegas, but they may not wait until UFC Fight Week before the promotion returns next time around.

Written by Brian Hemminger

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