On Friday, Dec. 5, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 10: Waterson vs. Tiburcio from the Arena Theatre in Houston.
The event was headlined by the promotion’s atomweight champion, Michelle Waterson, who squared off with Brazil’s Herica Tiburcio.
Waterson entered her second title defense riding a six-fight winning streak, including three straight inside the Invicta cage. The 28-year-old was in action less than two months ago at Invicta FC 8, where she scored a third-round TKO of Yasuko Tamada. The win marked the Jackson’s MMA product’s 10th finish in 12 career victories.
Tiburcio, meanwhile, was originally slated to make her promotional debut at Invicta FC 9 on Nov. 1 against Japan’s Ayaka Hamasaki, but was forced off the card due to visa issues. The 22-year-old had tasted defeat just twice in her career. Six of Tiburcio’s eight career wins had come via submission.
The night’s co-main event featured the red-hot Tonya Evinger against Belgium’s Cindy Dandois. Evinger had won five straight, including back-to-back wins over Ediane Gomes and Sarah D’Alelio in the Invicta cage. Dandois was making her promotional debut.
Also on the card were two pivotal contests in the flyweight division as UFC veteran Roxanne Modafferi took on Andrea Lee and unbeaten DeAnna Bennett met Brazil’s Jennifer Maia. The event also featured the return of Mexico’s Alexa Grasso.
Invicta FC 10 kicked off Friday at 9 p.m. ET with the entire event streaming live via the UFC’s digital network, UFC Fight Pass.
The night’s main event saw the atomweight championship change hands as Brazil’s Herica Tiburcio submitted Michelle Waterson in the third round via guillotine choke. Tiburcio was aggressive from the beginning of the fight. She caught a kick from Waterson and took the fight to the ground. Waterson countered with an armbar from her back, but Tiburcio escaped. Tiburcio attacked with a guillotine, but Waterson scored a takedown and moved into mount late in the frame. Waterson was able to get the fight to the ground early in round two, but Tiburcio used a leg lock to get the top position. Waterson was able to regain the top position, but Tiburcio attacked Waterson’s arm along the fence. Waterson refused to tap as the round closed. In round three, Waterson missed a hook kick and Tiburcio planted her on the ground. She locked up a guillotine choke and rolled to her back, forcing Waterson to submit.
In the co-main event, bantamweight Tonya Evinger earned her second straight armbar victory, submitting Cindy Dandois in round two. Evinger came out throwing big shots, prompting Dandois to look for a takedown. Evinger ended up on top and quickly looked for the crucifix. She dropped left hands, which caused Dandois to give up her back. Evinger looked for the TKO finish, but it didn’t come. In round two, Dandois immediately looked for a takedown, but again it was Evinger that claimed the dominant position. She took the back of Dandois and then transitioned for the armbar to end the bout.
Veteran Roxanne Modafferi handed Andrea Lee the first loss of her career via split decision. Lee scored early and often with her striking, but Modafferi was able to close the distance and get the fight to the ground. Lee fought hard to get back to her feet, but Modafferi stuck to her like glue along the cage. In round two, Lee absorbed a head kick from Modafferi before being taken down once again. Lee was able to move to mount briefly before the round closed. The last round saw Modafferi work hard for the finish, taking Lee’s back and raining punches. When it was all said and done, Modafferi got the nod on the scorecards from two of the three judges at cageside.
Flyweight DeAnna Bennett remained undefeated, earning a hard-fought decision over Brazil’s Jennifer Maia. Bennett landed with her hands and kicks early in the fight, slowing Maia’s forward advance. Maia responded by pressing Bennett against the cage and earned a slick throw from the clinch. Bennett was able to break free and score with more body kicks. Maia marched forward as the fight progressed, but it wasn’t enough, as Bennett earned the nod from the judges.
Peggy Morgan made a successful return to the featherweight division, outlasting promotional newcomer Andria Wawro in a stand-up battle. Morgan used her jab well, keeping Wawro at bay. Wawro came forward and scored with overhand rights, but Morgan was able to absorb the shots. Morgan pinned Wawro against the cage in the final round, landing an onslaught of right hands. All three judges rewarded Morgan for her efforts, giving her the unanimous decision win.
Mexican strawweight Alexa Grasso remained undefeated, stopping former World Series of Fighting title challenger Alida Gray in the first round with punches. Grasso connected with a combination early that hurt Gray. Grasso chased her to the fence and continued to score with strikes. A right hand from Grasso sent Gray the mat and Grasso flurried for the TKO win.
Atomweight Jinh Yu Frey got back in the win column with a first-round submission over Cassie Robb. Frey scored early with her hands, prompting a takedown attempt from Robb. Frey avoided it and transitioned to Robb’s back. Once there, she secured both hooks and sunk in the fight-finishing rear-naked choke.
Flyweight Rachael Ostovich picked up a hard-fought win in her Invicta debut, besting fellow newcomer Evva Johnson by split decision. Ostovich’s power punching and well-timed takedown were the difference over the first two rounds, but Johnson fought back with numerous submission attempts. In the end, two of three judges scored the fight for Ostovich.