Kansas City, Kan. — On Friday, June 7, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 35: Bennett vs. Rodríguez II from Memorial Hall. The entire fight card aired exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
There’s a new No. 1 contender in the flyweight division as Karina Rodríguez defeated DeAnna Bennett to earn a title shot against champion Vanessa Porto. The pair had met previously at Invicta FC 28, with Bennett earning a decision victory. The rematch began with a tightly contested first round. Rodríguez popped her jab over and over to keep Bennett at range. Bennett took her time adjusting, but eventually found her range and scored with punches of her own. The pair traded combinations through the frame, as the entire round was spent on the feet. In the second frame, Bennett used her boxing to set up her takedown attempts, but unlike the pair’s first meeting, Rodríguez was able to keep the fight upright. Bennett’s control along the fence changed the flow of the fight. The last stanza began with a big body kick from Rodríguez. That prompted Bennett to shoot and eventually secure the fight’s first takedown. That would be the story of the remainder of the fight, as Bennett worked relentlessly to bring the fight to the mat. The fight went the distance and it was Rodríguez’s name called when the scorecards were revealed.
UFC veteran Viviane Pereira put the first blemish on the record of atomweight Alesha Zappitella with a dominating performance in the night’s co-main event. Zappitella came out firing punches, but despite her clear speed advantage, she could not get inside the range of the former strawweight Pereira. The Brazilian used her counter striking to batter the smaller Zappitella at range. A series of jabs forced the face of Zappitella to swell. Zappitella tried to implement her wrestling attack, but Pereira stuffed all of her attempts to get the fight to the mat. In round two, the constant shots from Pereira appeared to break the nose of Zappitella, as it poured blood and she was forced to breathe through her mouth. Pereira dropped Zappitella with a right hand just as round two came to a close. The final round was more of the same, as Pereira cruised to the lopsided decision victory.
Japan’s Kanako Murata put the strawweight division on notice in her promotional debut, submitting Brazilian Liana Pirosin inside the first round. Murata powered into a quick takedown and looked for a choke. Pirosin scrambled free and briefly took Murata’s back and looked for a choke. Murata squirmed free and regained top position. She passed to Pirosin’s back, trapping her left arm with a leg. That allowed her to slap on a rear-naked choke and coerce the tap from the Brazilian less than halfway through the opening frame.
Lisa Spangler remained unbeaten, edging former bantamweight title challenger Katharina Lehner by unanimous decision. The fight was spent on the feet throughout its entirety with neither fighting wanting to give an inch. Spangler threw low kicks in the opening frame as Lehner peppered with jab, as both looked to find their range. The technical striking chess match continued throughout the first round. In round two, both fighters took turns opening up and firing overhand rights. The low kicks of Spangler took their toll on the German fighter as the fight progressed. In the final stanza, Lehner’s pace slowed and she took deep breaths. Spangler threw with more volume in the fight’s final minutes, putting the finishing touches on a decision victory to remain undefeated.
Minnesota’s Kaitlin Young used her striking prowess to get the better of former featherweight title challenger Faith McMah. Young went to work right away with kicks to the lead leg of the Kiwi fighter. McMah stayed on the outside, absorbing each kick. Young was able to close the distance and score with elbows over the top of McMah’s guard. In round two, McMah earned a brief takedown, but she could not keep Young down. Young continued to batter McMah’s lead leg, slowing her movement. In the third round, Young poured it on with a barrage along the fence. The onslaught hurt McMah, who crumbled to the canvas, forcing the referee to intervene.
In a clash of California bantamweights, it was Stockton’s Chelsea Chandler who stopped Los Angeles fighter Brittney Victoria by second-round TKO. The pair threw heavy punches right away. Chandler waded through Victoria’s punches and initiated the clinch. When they separated, Chandler cracked Victoria with a heavy right hand that hurt her. She followed her to the mat and unleashed a barrage of elbows and took Victoria’s back as the round expired. Round two began much the same, but another right hand from Chandler hurt Victoria badly. Chandler again dropped heavy elbows, but Victoria was able to survive. An armbar attempt from Chandler allowed Victoria to scramble to her feet. That was short lived, however. Chandler dropped Victoria once again and put her away with a flurry of punches.
Atomweights Kelly D’Angelo and Jillian DeCoursey put on a show in the night’s third bout. The power punching of D’Angelo was the story of the first round. She battered DeCoursey with punches and scored with heavy hammerfists when DeCoursey looked for a takedown. The tide turned early in round two, as DeCoursey was able to change levels and get the fight to the ground. She couldn’t keep it there, as D’Angelo scrambled back to her feet. The pair continued to trade heavy shots and takedowns throughout the final frame, but it was D’Angelo who was able to frequently find top position. A late heel hook attempt from DeCoursey was too little, too late, as the fight was sent to the judges at cageside, who returned a unanimous verdict for Missouri’s D’Angelo.
Thailand’s Loma Lookboonmee returned to the Invicta cage and spoiled the promotional debut of Brazilian Monique Adriane after three, hard-fought rounds. The kicking arsenal of Lookboonmee was on full display as she spun Adriane around like a top just moments into the fight with a body kick. The Brazilian countered the kicks with heavy punches to keep the fight close. Lookboonmee secured the fight’s first takedown with a trip. She dropped heavy elbow from half guard. The second round was electric, as both fighters turned up the pace. Adriane caught a kick and planted Lookboonmee on her back, but the Thai fighter scrambled to her feet. Adriane tried to repeat the feat moments later, but Lookboonmee reversed it and put the Brazilian on her back. The final round was spent largely on the feet with Lookboonmee repeatedly kicking the midsection of Adriane. A late takedown from Lookboonmee sealed the deal as she swept the scorecards.
Kicking off the night’s action was a battle of debuting strawweights as Kentucky’s Genia Goodin took on California’s Valerie Wong. Goodin’s height and reach advantage was quickly neutralized as Wong looked for a takedown. However, it was Goodin who brought the fight to the ground and maintained top position. Wong was active from her back, looking for submissions, but Goodin showcased good defense. It was more of the same in the second frame, as Goodin looked for a leg lock, but Wong countered with a rear-naked choke attempt. The third stanza was all Goodin, who used her clinch game to keep Wong pinned against the fence. The judges were split, but it was Goodin who left the cage victorious.
Karina Rodríguez def. DeAnna Bennett by unanimous decision (29-28 x3) – flyweight tournament final
Viviane Pereira def. Alesha Zappitella by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Kanako Murata def. Liana Pirosin by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:10
Lisa Spangler def. Katharina Lehner by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Kaitlin Young def. Faith McMah by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 3:52
Chelsea Chandler def. Brittney Victoria by TKO (punches). Round 2, 3:58
Kelly D’Angelo def. Jillian DeCoursey by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Loma Lookboonmee def. Monique Adriane by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Genia Goodin def. Valerie Wong by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
About Invicta FC:
Invicta Fighting Championships is a world championship, all-pro 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, Invicta is committed to pioneering the future growth of women’s MMA by promoting the best possible match-ups between female competitors and identifying and developing future superstars of the sport. Follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights), Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights), and Instagram (@InvictaFC) for all the latest information.