As Invicta Fighting Championships enters perhaps the last card of its eventful debut year, the first six months have been nothing short of successful for the brainchild of Shannon Knapp and Janet Martin. Hundreds of thousands of eager viewers have tuned in, and this has been a flagship year for women’s Mixed Martial Arts in North America. Invicta FC has been balancing creating new stars along with providing old favorites with a new place to fight, which factors much into this article. With only two events under its belt, there are still plenty of fighters (both well known and upcoming) that still have yet to make their debuts for Invicta FC. This third event is no different than the other two, with thirteen promotion debuts, including a Scot having a breakout year of sorts, and an old favorite making her long awaited promotional debut.
Here is a “3-for-3″ pack — Three promotional debuts to look forward to at Invicta FC 3 this Saturday night.
Opponent: Barb Honchak
When your only career losses are to the likes of Lisa Ellis, Rosi Sexton and Sheila Gaff, and you’ve racked up sixteen wins around the world otherwise, your presence is likely to turn heads. Daly makes herself very easy to pick out of a crowd with her tenacious fight style, and her hair style, which is always a bright color. “Ais the Bash” (Daly’s first name is pronounced Ash-Ling) burst onto the scene at age 19, winning her first nine pro bouts, and compiling an overall 85% finish rate (en route to Saturday’s Invicta FC debut against Honchak. Daly is no stranger to grueling fights, pushing Ellis and Sexton to all out wars. Her sixteen pro fights make her the fourth most experienced pro fighter on the card, and while injuries have hampered her in 2012, she enters with her last three victories coming by way of submission. Honchak’s last two victories have been via stoppage as well, and given both fighters’ ability to act quickly from the start, this could very well be fight of the night, even in the face of some of the other bouts on the card.
Opponent: Ashley Cummins
Years from now, when we sit down to compile an official Mixed Martial Arts trivia book, Calderwood will be the answer to two trivia questions. Calderwood is the first professional women’s MMA fighter to hail from Scotland, and is the first fighter to appear for the Super Fight League and Invicta Fighting Championships (the two announced a strategic partnership in September.) After turning pro earlier this year, Calderwood has quickly racked up three wins with two coming by knockout and is enjoying a breakout campaign. You can attribute that to her decorated Muay Thai career, for which Calderwood has won countless titles and championships. In perhaps her most impressive MMA win to date, Calderwood dominated Lena Ovchynnikova at SFL 3, in a gritty fight which saw the underdog Scot end up with bite marks in her arm near the end during a submission attempt. “Bad Mofo Jojo” steps into the Invicta cage against Cummins (who carries a previous Invicta win over Sofia Bagherdai) and an 8-0 amateur career to add to her perfect 3-0 pro records. These dualing undefeated records will meet on the prelim card of the night’s event, and barring a draw or no contest, one will walk away tasting their first career loss.
Opponent: Vanessa Porto
We are often quick to throw out the term “Pioneer” quite liberally nowadays. By definition, “pioneer” is that who is among the first to explore or settle a new country or area. LaRosa has been fighting since 2002, back when women’s MMA was starting to find its footing. Would that make her a pioneer by definition? I’d say so. LaRosa is 21-2 overall, and holds victories over a who’s who of women’s MMA – Amanda Buckner, Julie Kedzie, Shayna Baszler and more. LaRosa has moved back to the Pacific Northwest, is currently training with Ivan Salaverry, and has been one major face missing from both Invicta events previously. In fact, timing and circumstances have kept LaRosa out of the spotlight of Bellator and Strikeforce too. She regularly fights at 125, a weight class Strikeforce has never aired a fight, and she has been fairly inactive the last couple years due to injury when Bellator has been slowly building its flyweight division. When LaRosa steps into the Invicta cage to face Brazil’s Porto, it could be the opening of a few doors. A win against Porto could put her on Bellator’s radar for their rumored 2013 women’s flyweight tournament, and could result in fights overseas with the Super Fight League under the terms and conditions of the new partnership. You’ll always know it’s LaRosa walking to the cage when you see her dressed in her trademark white. She isn’t in the night’s main event, but anytime LaRosa is fighting, be sure to tune in.
Other notable debuts at Invicta FC 3: Michelle Waterson (vs. Lacey Schuckman) / Cat Zingano (vs. Raquel Pennington) / Stephanie Frausto (vs. Amy Davis)
Invicta Fighting Championships’ third event is available to stream free of charge at InvictaFC.com, starting at 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST. The card is Invicta’s largest yet, boasting 28 fighters from six countries and is headlined by the first ever title fight, pitting Jessica Penne and Naho Sugiyama for the Atomweight (105 lbs) championship.
PHOTO CREDIT – JANET MARTIN / INVICTA FC