As Dorothy in Wizard of Oz said when the flying monkeys attacked “Holy shit Toto, people are getting fucked up!!!”
As an unashamed Invicta fan I had an absolute blast with their 18th show last weekend. It was a night of dominating performances, some short and sweet finishes and a few awesome displays of warrior courage as women shrugged off heavy cuts and bruises to fight on till the bitter end.
The big highlight on the card was the return of Alexa Grasso from over a year off from injuries and looked as sharp as ever with her lightening fast standup that punched and kneed the hell out out of Jodie Esquibel (herself a strong boxer) to a unanimous decision. Grasso’s relentless performance that left a gutsy Esquibel a bloody mess in the final round, showed again why a bright future has been predicated for her. She has an exciting, all action crowd pleasing style that leads to great fights and she has the appealing looks and personality that promoters are crying out for at the chance to make a superstar.
Ultimately if fate follows through as it should Grasso’s future will be with UFC (Dana White has already expressed his admiration for her skills) but I hope that the will be an opportunity to match her up with Straw weight champion Angela Hill before she’s out the door.
Invicta has a realistic approach when it comes to making stars. It realises that it can never hold on to those who break out from the pack, instead it’s role is to act as a platform for women’s MMA giving fighters a chance to display their skills in the hopes of making it to the bigger leagues and in doing so provide it’s loyal fanbase with some top quality entertainment.
You know those fights that are built on bad tempered grudges and then when the bell rings they kinda just dissolve into a regular match? That didn’t happen in this co main event where Christine Stanley took a fight on two days notice in the hopes of getting her hands on Agnieszka Niedzwiedz who seems to have come in with a mouthy attitude that has pissed quite a few people off. The bad blood that had seen a very tense staredown at the weigh ins (Shannon was nervously standing between the two) carried over into the fight with both smacking talking and mocking each other at times.
The fight while not a war was an entertaining affair with Stanley showboating in psycho Diaz fashion and landing some heavy shots but it was Niedzwiedz with some stunning takedowns and controlling the fight on the ground that took the fight on a decision. Niedzwiedz showed she can back up the hype she has brought and Stanley ever the badass frankly looked like she had no fucks to give that she lost the decision. There was no new found respect for the two foes either as they continued the war of words on twitter after.
The rest of the card saw some real defining victories.
Cindy Dandois got a measure of the respect that she feels Invicta has not afforded her by catching Jessamyn Duke (who looked devastated in defeat as fighting is obviously something that means so much to her and I can’t help but root for her in turning her record around and I’m not a jounalist so I can say shit like this) in a sick Scarf Hold Armlock in the first round. With another win after dominating current Invicta darling Megan Anderson last year Dandois must feel she’s entitled to a big match next time out, maybe even against Cyborg who she was supposed to have fought earlier this year. Although a bit of back and forth with Amanda Bell may see a fight between those two if the title match does not pan out.
Dandois’s rival in the race for a title shot Megan Anderson scored a blistering first round stoppage against Peggy Morgan. Aside from Cyborg Anderson has become probably the heaviest hitter in Invicta and tore the TUF alumni apart who although gutsy for surviving the relentless assault (that left her with a massively swollen face) was finally dropped with a minute to go from which there was nowhere back. The featherweight division has become a hard hitting, exciting division but the question remains if anyone can survive against the fearsome champion.
It wouldn’t be a women’s only show without a traditional armbar finish and we got it in Mizuki Inoue’s second round win over Lynn Alveraz. Inoue was like a tenacious pitbull all over Alveraz and again proved herself one of the most exciting fighters in Invicta’s straw weight division.
Tessa Simpson vs Simona Soukupova in the atom weight division went the distance in what was possible the most dramatic fight on the card. Simpson dominated the first two rounds with crisp striking, beating Soukupova to the punch with a mixture of punches and front face kicks and seemed to be cruising. However the third was a complete turnaround as Soukupova had Simpson hurt with some punishing blows that closed the Texan’s left eye and in chasing a knock out dropped Simpson in the last thirty seconds. Simpson manged to survive and although the last round could have been a 10-8 against her the judges disagreed and she took the decision.
Both remaining two bouts ended with some sick ground and pound with Sijara Eubanks beating Amerlynn Orr in the opener. Aspen Ladd again showed tons of promise with a heated display of striking and wrestling that really should have been stopped a lot earlier as she got the mount and openend up on defenceless Jessica Hoy.
Invicta 18 was a fun show, no absolute classic matches but everything on the card was entertaining in one way or another and there were some great performances that bode well for Invicta’s future cards and their ability to keep producing some positive MMA viewing and as Julie Kedzie has said “good violence”,
Til Next Time