On Saturday, Nov. 1, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 9: Honchak vs. Hashi from the RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa.
In the night’s main event, Invicta flyweight champion Barb Honchak looked to make the second defense of her 125-pound title as she squared off with Japan’s Takayo Hashi.
Honchak captured Invicta gold at Invicta FC 5 in April 2013 by dominating Brazil’s Vanessa Porto. The 35-year-old extended her current winning streak to eight with a one-sided performance against current UFC fighter Leslie Smith in December. The win marked Honchak’s fourth victory under the Invicta banner. In addition to her wins over Porto and Smith, Honchak also holds notable victories over The Ultimate Fighter 20 cast members Aisling Daly and Felice Herrig.
Hashi, a former Strikeforce title challenger, was making her Invicta FC debut. The 36-year-old was unbeaten in her last three fights, topping veterans Roxanne Modafferi and Shizuka Sugiyama along the way. Hashi previously competed at bantamweight and has faced notables Cat Zingano, Tara LaRosa and Sarah Kaufman. Hashi had gone five rounds twice in her 20-fight career and had appeared under the Smackgirl, Jewels and Deep Jewels banners in a career that spans an entire decade.
The night’s co-main event featured the Invicta return of Japanese strawweight Mizuki Inoue, who welcomed unbeaten Polish fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz to the Invicta cage. The 20-year-old Inoue bested TUF 20 cast member Bec Rawlings at IFC 6 last July and most recently submitted Emi Tomimatsu under the Jewels banner in August. Kowalkiewicz took her record to 5-0 in May, submitting Invicta veteran Jasminka Cive in the first round at KSW 27.
The nine-fight event streamed live via UFC Fight Pass beginning at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday.
In the main event, Barb Honchak put her flyweight title on the line against Japanese veteran Takayo Hashi. In a grinding affair, Honchak used superior clinch and a mixture of strikes to score points. Hashi did not have an answer, as she was constantly outmuscled by the local favorite. It was a fight that was met with great enthusiasm by those in attendance, but was largely panned for its lack of action. Regardless, Honchak retained her belt via unanimous decision, keeping her in the running for the top pound-for-pound fighter in women’s MMA.
In what could have been a title eliminator fight, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Mizuki Inoue put on a great show. Kowalkiewicz came out of the gate aggressive, throwing a high volume of strikes with precision. Inoue came back in the second round, scoring a big takedown and controlling the Pole on the ground. However, in the third, Kowalkiewicz got back to what made her successful earlier on, overwhelming Inoue with a high work rate. The win likely sets up Kowalkiewicz as the next challenger for Katja Kankaanpaa’s strawweight belt.
Kaitlin Young and Raquel Pa’aluhi put on a Fight of the Night contender in the featherweight division. Pa’aluhi, who took this bout on just a week’s notice, shook off a slow start to an aggressive Young to come back strong. After Young slowed in the second, Pa’aluhi opened up on the feet and dominated Young on the mat. She took a convincing decision, showing that she is a tough out for anybody who steps across the cage from her.
In what was expected to be a barnburner, Jodie Esquibel and Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc did not disappoint with their performances. Rivera-Calanoc was tough and gritty, but Esquibel was just clearly the better, crisper, more technical striker. She used superior quickness and movement to move in and out on Rivera-Calanoc, mixing up kicks and punches to the head and body. The win put her in a great position at 105 pounds, though it will be tough to march toward the title with teammate Michelle Waterson holding the belt.
A competitive, back-and-forth affair occurred in the atomweight division, as Amber Brown and Liz McCarthy put on a show. McCarthy looked good early, hunting Brown down and putting her on her back. However, Brown stifled any attack on the ground that McCarthy presented and was better on the feet. She even opened a giant cut above McCarthy’s eye. Based on damage and effectiveness, Brown was awarded a split decision in a bout that could have gone either way.
Amanda Bell continued her rise to prominence in the featherweight division with a dominant TKO victory over Maria Hougaard-Djursaa. From the opening bell, Bell moved forward aggressively and threw heavy hands at the Danish fighter. She eventually put Hougaard-Djursaa on her back and dropped a high volume of ground-and-pound. With seconds remaining, the referee had seen enough, declaring Bell the winner.
Andrea Lee and Shannon Sinn made their respective Invicta debuts against one another in the flyweight division and it was an entertaining one. Andrea Lee used superior striking, mixing in body shots and power punches to the head. She dropped Sinn in the first round, but failed to finish her. She used the next couple rounds to completely overwhelm Sinn, running a clear-cut unanimous decision. With that performance, Lee is definitely an entertaining performer and could be the next big thing at 125.
In the strawweight division, pro debutant Jamie Moyle took on Jenny Liou Shriver in what turned into a one-sided affair. From the opening bell, Moyle was aggressive and peppered Liou Shriver with a high volume of precise strikes. She even was very dominant on the mat, a place where many speculated Liou Shriver would have the advantage. With the unanimous decision win, Moyle now becomes a prospect to watch out for in the strawweight division.
In the opening bout of the night, Kelly McGill took a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over pro debutant Maegan Goodwin. McGill used more effective striking and superior grappling positions throughout an action-packed fight. Both women landed some huge shots throughout the fight, but it just appeared that McGill was landing more cleanly. The win puts McGill at 2-0 as a pro.
Barb Honchak def. Takayo Hashi by unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45) – for flyweight title
Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Mizuki Inoue by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Raquel Pa’aluhi def. Kaitlin Young by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Jodie Esquibel def. Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Amber Brown def. Liz McCarthy by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Amanda Bell def. Maria Hougaard-Djursaa by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 4:56
Andrea K. Lee def. Shannon Sinn by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Jamie Moyle def. Jenny Liou Shriver by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Kelly McGill def. Maegan Goodwin by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
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