Invicta Fighting Championships just announced its twelfth card will take place on Friday, April 24th in Kansas City, Missouri, at the Municipal Auditorium. Invicta FC 12 will broadcast live on UFC Fightpass. The main event will be 115 lb champion Katja Kankaanpaa taking on challenger Livia Souza for the belt. Sources confirm the co-main event to be Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi (17-11) versus the Brazilian Vanessa Porto (17-6). Porto is ranked #2 in the 125 lb flyweight division, while Modafferi is within the top 10. The winner of this fight will go on to challenge current champion Barb Honchack for the title belt.
Porto fought Honchack for the belt in 2013, losing by decision. The Brazilian and Modafferi have fought once before at 135 lbs on Fatal Femmes Fighting in 2008, with Modafferi winning by TKO to take the FFF belt. The Brazilian is now coming off a decision win against Ana Maria in March of 2014 in Fatality Arena, Brazil.
The Happy Warrior is also back on a winning streak, triumphing in back-to-back bouts against Tara LaRosa and up-and-coming prospect Andrea “KGB” Lee. After finishing the Ultimate Fighter 18 in September 2013, she moved back to her home country of the USA from Japan, where she had spent eight years training and teaching English. Roxanne joined Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas. Under the tutelage of head coach John Wood and the Syndicate team, she has recreated herself as a fighter.
“My background is Judo and Jiu-jitsu, so I’ve always struggled with the striking part of my game,” Roxanne admitted. “I take several private striking lessons weekly with Coach John. He knows exactly how to explain things to me so I can understand. I couldn’t have turned my career around without him.”
The 32-year old shares an apartment in Las Vegas with her mother, and teaches kids jiu-jitsu and a teen’s MMA classes at Syndicate.
“I’m very passionate about teaching, both adults and children. I became a teacher of ESL (English as a Second Language) in Japan just to pay the bills, but found that I’m very passionate about it.”
After Invicta 11: Cyborg vs Tweet took place in California, Invicta FC was silent on their next show for a while. Fighters never know when they’re going to get the call to fight, so it behooves them to be in good shape and around their fight weight.
“I wasn’t sure when the next Invicta would be, so I’ve been gearing up for a fight for a few months now,” Modafferi shared. “I’m more than ready. I think Porto is very well rounded, strong, and out for blood, so I’ve been working with my coach to handle what she has to throw at me. She has a strong right hand, good kicks, and is very capable on the ground. I’m sure she wants a belt pretty badly. It’s too bad for her that I’ll be the one stopping her a third time. I feel more confident than ever in my abilities. ”
Vanessa Porto trains out of the MMA University with her trainer and husband Pedro Iglesias. She and Modafferi were originally slated to fight on Invicta 10 in December 2014, but visa troubles forced Porto out of the match.
Roxanne debuted in 2003, making this her 12th year of professional fighting. Amateur bouts, especially for females were rare, and she jumped straight to pro, debuting in “Smack Girl” in Japan. This will be Roxanne’s 31st fight if you include two of her TUF 18 matches, which aren’t technically on the official record.
“It’s amazing to see how much MMA has changed over the years,” Roxanne remarked. “Techniques, training methods, nutrition, weigh-cutting, etc. So many things have been refined and perfected. Looking back to my early fights, I’m surprised I won so many fights with such poor striking ability. I won with my grappling skills and ‘konjo,’ which is Japanese for ‘guts.’ I left half of my heart in Japan, but I’m so glad I came to Syndicate.”
Roxanne spoke about some of her goals.
“More than a belt, I just want to prove myself against strong opponents. I want to beat Porto, who I know has gotten better over the years, and rematch Barb Honchak, who I lost to a few years ago by choke. You never know when a fight could be your last, so right now, Vanessa is the only one in my sight. I also want to win at least one fight by knock out.”
Despite her last comment, the Happy Warrior admitted that she hates violence and can’t stomach movies or anime with too much blood and guts.
“I’m very big into censoring little kids from harsh images and topics in media, also anti-bullying, and anti-violence. I want everyone in the world to be happy and peaceful. Striving for the ideal and setting good examples are so important. Raising our kids well will create a great future for our world. I feel like being “The Happy Warrior” is my job, and I want to spread positivity to everyone I can touch with my influence. That’s my daily motivation.”
Stay tuned for updates to the official Invicta 12 card April 24th, Kansas City, shown on UFC Fightpass.
“I’d also like to thank my sponsors for their love and support: the fans, first and foremost, Remove it Restoration, Dragon Do, Herbal Papaya, Fightchix, Outlaw Fight Gear, SkinnyFats restaurant, Top Notch Fighter, Aardvark Painting, Dr. Steckel of Kinetic Performance Edge, Sportsfood, Dominate Your Game, War Tape World Wide, wetdryvac.net, Sportscombatlaw.com, and Alienware.”
Follow the fighters on social media for updates. On Twitter she’s @Roxyfighter and Instagram is roxyfighter. Vanessa is @Vanessaportomma on Twitter and Vanessaporto25 on Instagram.