In the bantamweight (135 pounds) co-main event of the 13-bout fight card that will take place at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. on Sat., July 28, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu black belt and Cesar Gracie-protégé Alexis Davis (11-5) of Colborne, Ontario Canada will take on former Smackgirl Champion Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano (18-9) of Tokyo, Japan.
“With our second event, we are bringing in top competitors from all over the world in order to deliver a card stacked, from top to bottom, with some of the best matchups in the entire women’s field of MMA fighters,” said Invicta Fighting Championships President and Co-Founder Shannon Knapp.
In other main card action, U.S. Marine and rising bantamweight star Liz “Girl-rilla” Carmouche (6-2) of San Diego, Calif. will square off with St. Louis Park, Minnesota’s Kaitlin Young (7-5-1), who earned “Fight of the Night” honors at the inaugural Invicta event on April 28.
Hard-hitting KO artist Amanda Nunes (6-2) of Salvador, Bahia Brazil will make her Invicta debut against sensational finisher Milana Dudieva (8-1) of Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia Russia in a bantamweight battle.
Kelly Kobold (18-3-1) of St. Paul, Minn. will face off with streaking submission expert Vanessa Porto (14-4) of Sao Paulo, Brazil at bantamweight.
American prospects Barb “Little Warrior” Honchak (5-2) of East Moline, Ill. and undefeated Bethany Marshall (4-0) of Newport News, Va. will meet in a super flyweight (125 pounds) matchup.
Julia “The Jewel” Budd (2-2) of Port Moody, British Columbia Canada will face Elina Nilsson (2-2) of Gothenburg, Sweden at featherweight (145 pounds).
In the opening main card bout, Jiu-Jitsu champion and former high school wrestling star Carla Esparza (6-2) of Redondo Beach, Calif. will square off with Sarah “White Tiger” Schneider (6-5) of Kansas City, Mo. in a flyweight (115 pounds) tilt.
Sara McMann vs. Shayna Baszler
McMann, the first Americn woman in history to earn a silver medal in women’s wrestling, began competing on the mats when she was 14 years old. At 31 years of age, McMann, who holds a Masters Degree in Mental Helath Counseling from Gardner-Webb University, has quickly become a force in the sport of MMA after debuting with a first-round submission (rear-naked choke) victory over Christina Marks on May 28, 2011 and reeling off four more consecutive wins since.
Like McMann, the 31-year-old Baszler, a protégé of former UFC Heavyweight Champion and PRIDE Fighting Championships superstar Josh Barnett, is a fearsome competitor on the ground who has earned the respect of the fight world by earning 13 of her 14 victories with submissions, including her patented hold that she dubbed the “shwing.” Baszler is riding a four-fight win streak.
Alexis Davis vs. Hitomi Akano
Davis is looking to return to the win column after a majority decision defeat to former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman on March 3 snapped a three-fight win streak. The 27-year-old holds a brown belt under Gracie and has been ranked as high as No. 11 in the pound-for-pound women’s MMA rankings.
The 37-year-old Akano is a Judo stylist who has earned 14 of her 18 career conquests by way of submission. She became the second middleweight champion in history for the now-defunct Japanese promotion Smackgirl by forcing Molly Helsel to tap out from an armbar in the second round of their matchup on Sept. 15, 2006. Akano is also looking to rebound from a unanimous decision defeat at the hands of McMann in her last start on Jan. 21.
Liz Carmouche vs. Kaitlin Young
Fresh off her spectacular first-round (1:58) TKO (punches) victory over Ashleigh Curry at the inaugural Invicta event, the 28-year-old Carmouche will look for her second straight win in the cage. Born in Lafayette, La., Carmouche was raised in Okinawa, Japan before returning to The United States and joining the military. She did three tours of duty in The Middle East over the course of a five-year stint with the Marine Corps.
The 26-year-old Young brought the fans at Memorial Hall to their feet at the first Invicta event by engaging in an all-out, non-stop slugfest with Leslie Smith that was declared a draw after the close of three rounds. Young’s superior striking skills stem from her extensive training in Muay Thai kickboxing as well as Tae Kwon Do, which she took up at age 14 and eventually earned a black belt in.
Amanda Nunes vs. Milana Dudieva
The 23-year-old Nunes grabbed the attention of a national audience in The United States for the first time on Jan. 7, 2011 when she scored a brutal KO (punches) on Budd just 14 seconds into their Strikeforce Challengers series matchup, live on Showtime. All six of Nunes’ professional victories have come by way of KO, four of them inside of the first round.
Dudieva has also earned a reputation for finishing her opponents, claiming three of her eight career wins by way of KO and four of them by way of submission. Her Invicta debut will also mark her first start in The United States.
Kelly Kobold vs. Vanessa Porto
Kobold is a 10-year veteran of the sport, who went unbeaten in her first 18 starts as a professional. After suffering three consecutive losses between 2007 and 2008, the 29-year-old took a three-year hiatus from competition and made a successful return to action on April 15, 2011, submitting Pipi Taylor with an armbar in the first round (2:05) of their matchup in Owatonna, Minn.
The 28-year-old Porto will enter the bout on a four-fight win streak. Her latest effort saw Porto score a one punch KO on Luana Teixeira just 41 seconds into their matchup on March 10. Porto has earned 10 of her 14 career wins by way of submission.
Barb Honchak vs. Bethany Marshall
Honchak is a 32-year-old student of UFC veteran Steve Berger. She will enter the Invicta cage for the first time on a four-fight win streak that began with a unanimous decision victory over seasoned Muay Thai striker Felice Herrig on Jan. 14, 2011.
Marshall is a 24-year-old Muay Thai and submission grappling stylist who has claimed three of her four professional victories to date by way of submission. In her last start on March 25, 2011, she submitted Stacy Grant with a toe hold in the second stanza (1:49) of their matchup in Norfolk, Va.
Julia Budd vs. Elina Nilsson
Budd is a 28-year-old lifelong athlete as well as a burgeoning fitness model and trainer who began her prize fighting career in the sport of Muay Thai where she chalked up several notable wins, including one over superstar Gina Carano, before transitioning to MMA. She is a student of former UFC competitor and world-ranked Shooto fighter, Lance Gibson.
After suffering back-to-back losses in her first two professional bouts, Nilsson has since reeled off two straight victories – a unanimous decision over Melissa Lan on March 27, 2010 and a second round TKO (punches) on Danielle West on May 7, 2011.
Carla Esparza vs. Sarah Schneider
The 24-year-old Esparza is a former No. 2 ranked NCAA wrestler and Pan-American Championships Jiu-Jitsu tournament winner who has gained recognition for being one of the top wrestlers in women’s MMA. She is trained by fight guru Colin Oyama.
Also a standout grappler, the 31-year-old Schneider has notched five of her six career professional wins by way of submission. She earned her second straight win by forcing Sally Krumdiack to tap out from an armbar in the first round (3:01) of their matchup at the first Invicta event.
The Invicta event will kick off with a five-bout preliminary card. In an atomweight (105 pounds) matchup, Angelica Chavez (4-1) of Albuquerque, N.M. will face Kikuyo Ishikawa (7-3) of Gushikawa, Okinawa Japan.
In a bantamweight matchup between two undefeated future stars, Sarah Moras (2-0) of Kelowna, British Columbia Canada will face Raquel Pennington (1-0) of Colorado Springs, Colo.
After compiling a 5-2 record under amateur status, 25-year-old Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke (0-0) will make her much-anticipated professional debut against unbeaten 30-year-old Suzie Montero (1-0) of Pompano Beach, Fla. at bantamweight.
One-half of the 26-year-old twin MMA fighter duo, Jocelyn “Lights Out” Lybarger (0-0) of Phoenix, Ariz. will make debut under professional status opposite Cheryl Chan (0-0) of Surrey, British Columbia Canada at super flyweight.
Jessica Philippus (0-0) of Marshall, Mo. will battle Liz McCarthy (0-0) of Tigard, Ore. at atomweight.
All bouts have been approved by the Kansas State Athletic Commission.
About Invicta Fighting Championships:
Invicta Fighting Championships is a world championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight series dedicated to providing female athletes with a major platform to hone their skills on a consistent basis. Founded in 2012 by longtime MMA executive Shannon Knapp and sports aficionado Janet Martin, Invicta is committed to pioneering the future growth of women’s MMA by promoting the best possible matchups between female competitors and identifying and developing future superstars of the sport.