Kansas City, Kan. — On Friday, Sept. 6, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted its second Phoenix Series tournament from Memorial Hall. The event aired exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
The tournament final featured a rematch between Miranda Maverick and DeAnna Bennett. Bennett pressed forward on the feet in the opening stanza as Maverick looked to counter. After trading leg kicks, Maverick scored with a front kick to Bennett’s midsection. The fighters opened up with their hands as the round progressed, with Maverick landed a heavy counter in the pocket. Bennett looked for a takedown late in the round, but Maverick stayed on her feet. The second frame featured a number of flurries from both fighters, but each was able to evade significant damage. Bennett changed levels for a takedown, but Maverick reversed it and took her to the ground briefly. Bennett quickly worked back to her feet and finished the round in the top position. In the fight’s final round, Maverick secured a single leg along the fence and tripped Bennett to the ground. As Bennett looked to stand, Maverick transitioned to her back. Bennett was able to defend numerous choke attempts, but as the round came closer to an end, Maverick was able to get her arm under the chin. The tap from Bennett came with less than two minutes left as Maverick took home the tournament championship and exacted revenge for her previous defeat to Bennett.
The night’s co-main event pitted Kazakhstan’s Mariya Agapova against Invicta veteran Alexa Conners. After trading body kicks, Agapova started to open up with combinations. A superwoman punch prompted Conners to shoot for a takedown, but she could not get Agapova to the ground. A heavy kick to the liver stunned Conners and Agapova followed with a massive right hand. Smelling blood, Agapova pounced on Conners, taking her back. She applied a rear-naked choke and Conners submitted.
In non-tournament action, Josee Storts impressed in her Invicta debut, submitting fellow newcomer Helen Lucero in the fight’s first round. Storts went straight to work, pushing Lucero to the fence and bringing her to the ground. She gained mount and began battering Lucero. Lucero swept to top position, but Storts used an armbar attempt to regain mount. The 21-year-old set up a topside triangle choke attempt. Lucero spun to top position, but the choke was sunk in and Storts unleashed a barrage of elbows to split open Lucero’s forehead. Lucero was forced to tap, handing Storts her second career victory.
DeAnna Bennett earned the second spot in the tournament final with a submission win over Brazilian Daiana Torquato. Torquato jumped on Bennett’s back right away and then transitioned for a standing arm-triangle choke. Bennett remained calm and escaped the submission attempt. She pushed Torquato to the fence before scoring with a powerful double-leg takedown. Bennett took the back of Torquato and secured both hooks. She patiently got her arm under Torquato’s chin and coerced the tap.
In the tournament semifinals, Miranda Maverick clashed with Shanna Young. The pair stayed at range initially. Young caught Maverick with a heavy left hand, forcing the tournament’s youngest fighter to shoot. She latched onto a single and dragged Young to the ground. Young tried to use the fence to work back to her feet, but gave up her back in the process. Maverick capitalized, taking Young’s back. She flattened her out and applied a fight-finishing rear-naked choke to punch her ticket to the final.
The second tournament reserve bout featured Invicta staple Kay Hansen against unbeaten Venezuelan prospect Carolina Jimenez. Hansen was quick to look for a takedown and took the fight to the canvas. Jimenez showcased her grappling prowess, sweeping to the top position. The pair traded positions repeatedly, with Hansen slowly taking control of the contest. In the fight’s final minute, Hansen took the back of Jimenez and worked for a rear-naked choke. The finish did not come, but Hansen exited the cage with the clear-cut win.
In the night’s first tournament reserve bout, Kansas native Chantel Coates walked home with a split decision over newcomer Flore Hani. Coates cracked Hani with a right hand, prompting the French Polynesian fighter to shoot. Coates timed it perfectly, catching Hani with a flush head kick on the entry. Hani was able to survive and bring the fight to the ground. Coates worked back to her feet and the pair spent the rest of the bout in the clinch. The back-and-forth action was like a chess match and two of the judges scored the bout in favor of Coates.
The final quarterfinal fight was a clash of styles as Tennessee’s Shanna Young edged out Finland’s Maiju Suotama. Suotama wasted little time closing the distance after blocking a head kick attempt from Young. Suotama was able to change levels and get Young to the ground. She was able to smother Young with her control, but Young did not panic and was able to work to top position. Once on top, Young unleashed a barrage of punches. That onslaught was the difference as Young moved on to the semifinal round.
Missouri native Miranda Maverick picked up her second win over Victoria Leonardo to move onto the tournament semifinals. Leonardo was relentless with her pressure, forcing Maverick to her back foot. Maverick was patient at range, scoring with counters. Maverick initiated the clinch and looked to bring the fight to the mat. Leonardo was able to separate, but Maverick’s ability to control the distance was enough to convince the judges to hand her the victory.
Veteran DeAnna Bennett edged out Liz Tracy in a back-and-forth battle in the second quarterfinal bout. Tracy closed the distance early, but Bennett muscled her to the mat for a moment. After jostling for position in the clinch, Tracy earned the fight’s first takedown. It was short-lived as Bennett worked back to the feet. Bennett opened up with her striking late and cracked Tracy with multiple shots. She followed it with a late takedown to earn the unanimous decision nod and her spot in the semifinals.
The quarterfinal action kicked off with a match-up between UFC veteran Milana Dudieva and Brazilian newcomer Daiana Torquato. Torquato was aggressive early, pinning her Russian foe against the cage. From the clinch, Torquato scored with short knees and elbows. Dudieva looked to use her judo, but Torquato was wise to it and kept the fight upright. Torquato’s pressure proved to be the difference on the scorecards as two of the judges at cageside awarded her the decision and a spot in the semifinals.
Miranda Maverick def. DeAnna Bennett by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 3, 3:38 – flyweight tournament final
Mariya Agapova def. Alexa Conners by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:03
Josee Storts def. Helen Lucero by submission (triangle choke). Round 1, 4:21
DeAnna Bennett def. Daiana Torquato by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:34 – flyweight tournament semifinal
Miranda Maverick def. Shanna Young by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:35 – flyweight tournament semifinal
Kay Hansen def. Carolina Jimenez by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – flyweight tournament reserve bout
Chantel Coates def. Flore Hani by split decision (10-9, 9-10, 10-9) – flyweight tournament reserve bout
Shanna Young def. Maiju Suotama by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – flyweight tournament quarterfinal Miranda Maverick def. Victoria Leonardo by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – flyweight tournament quarterfinal
DeAnna Bennett def. Liz Tracy by unanimous decision (10-9 x3) – flyweight tournament quarterfinal
Daiana Torquato def. Milana Dudieva by split decision (10-9, 9-10, 10-9) – flyweight tournament quarterfinal
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.