The third offering of Invicta FC happens tonight, live from Kansas City, KS. While the promotion has provided a venue for some of the best female fighters in North America, some fighters from overseas are also taking advantage of this opportunity to put themselves on the North American WMMA map.
Invicta fighters looking to make their name in North America
Headlining the card and fighting for Invicta’s inaugural atomweight title is Japan’s Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama. The 34 year old Sugiyama is a perfect 9-0 in her MMA career and is a champion in Japan’s Jewels promotion and has also competed for GCM . “Sugi Rock” is known for her grappling game and being able to control her opponent on the mat. A win over Jessica Penne would give her titles on both sides of the Pacific and provide no better introduction to the North American audience.
Aisling “Ais the Bash” Daly makes her return to Kansas City, having previously fought there in Bellator 26. The Irish fighter is hard to miss because of her hot pink hair and is known for being a hard puncher with good submission skills. She is currently the #4 ranked women’s flyweight fighter in the world and is looking to build on her reputation with a victory over rising Invicta star Barb Honchak.
Joanne “Bad Mofo JoJo” Calderwood is a Scottish muay thai champion who also holds the honour of being the first women’s MMA fighter to hail from the region. The 3-0 Calderwood’s only other fight outside Scotland was for India’s SFL and is hoping to establish herself with a highlight reel KO over Ashley Cummins.
Danielle “The Honey Badger” West enters the card on extremely short notice to take on the always dangerous Julia “The Jewel” Budd. The American-born West, now living in the UK, is known for being a tough as nails fighter as well as a renaissance woman. She writes novels, makes soap and claims life is “one long Dead Milkmen album”. She trains out of New Wave Academy in England with UFC veteran Nick Osipczak and comes into the fight with Budd feeling no pressure as a late replacement. She will be looking to wow the audience with an upset win in addition to her colourful personality.
While much of the event’s media has been focused on Jessica Penne and Shayna Baszler, North American audiences would be doing themselves an injustice to sleep on the talent being imported for this card. Win or lose, these women are all warriors and will likely be walking out of Invicta with their North American fanbase significantly expanded.
To see an interview with Daly, Calderwood and West conducted by NSSRadioTV, click here.
The complete Invicta lineup for tonight:
105 pounds (atomweight title fight): Jessica Penne (9-1) vs. Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama (8-0)
135: Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler (14-7) vs. Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio (6-2)
135: Raquel “Rocky” Pennington (3-1) vs. Cat Zingano (6-0)
135: Kaitlin Young (7-6-1) vs. Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith (3-2-1)
125: Barb “Little Warrior” Honchak (6-2) vs. Aisling “Ais The Bash” Daly (13-3)
125: Tara LaRosa (21-2) vs. Vanessa Porto (14-5)
105: Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson (9-3) vs. Lacey “The Ladie” Schuckman (7-5)
145: Julia “The Jewel” Budd (3-2) vs. Danielle “The Honey Badger” West (4-3-1)
115: Carla Esparza (7-2) vs. Lynn “Lights Out” Alvarez (5-2)
115: Ashley “Smashley” Cummins (3-0) vs. Joanne Calderwood (3-0)
105: Amy “Lil’ Dynamite” Davis (3-3) vs. Stephanie “Macaquinha” Frausto (3-4)
135: Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke (1-0) vs. Marciea “Black Widow” Allen (1-0)
115: Tecia “The Tiny Tornado” Torres (7-0 amateur) vs. Kaiyana Rain (5-1-1 amateur)
145: Ediane “India” Gomes (8-2) vs. Katalina Malungahu (2-0)