Invicta Fighting Championships will return to "The Sunflower State" this Saturday night (Oct. 6, 2012) at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas.
The entire card will be streamed live on InvictaFC.com on fight night, beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
Headlining the main event will be the inaugural Invicta FC title fight in the atomweight division between Jessica Penne and undefeated Japanese standout Naho Sugiyama. Both ladies are adept on the ground and this bout has some serious potential to showcase some wild scrambles.
Lastly in a pair of high profile flyweight bouts, female MMA legend Tara LaRosa battles veteran Brazilian Vanessa Porto while Ireland's own Aisling Daly takes on Barb Honcheck in fights with serious title implications.
Check out our Invicta FC 2: Penne vs Sugiyama preview and predictions below:
105 lb title.: Jessica Penne (9-1) vs. Naho Sugiyama (8-0)
Jessica Penne is a very long and scary 105-pounder. She's spent the majority of her career fighting larger ladies outside her more natural atomweight division but she only ever was defeated by the significantly larger Zoila Gurgel when she competed in the inaugural Bellator 115 pound tournament. She proved her worth by putting on a hell of a show against Lisa Ellis at the first Invicta FC event, winning by third round TKO after opening Ellis up with a gnarly cut.
Sugiyama has been very impressive while competing in Japan for both the Jewels and Valkrye organizations. Sugiyama has some pretty solid grappling skills and prefers to control her opposition on the ground while occasionally going for submissions. While she doesn't have the best striking, she can at least hold her own long enough to try and get the fight to the canvas.
The biggest factor in this fight will be Sugiyama's first trip to fight outside of Japan and the effect of jetlag as well as Penne's significant size advantage. Penne is going to be at least four inches taller with a large reach and she knows how to use her length well especially with leverage for submissions and sweeps during scrambles on the ground. Sugiyama will put up a fight, but Penne should take over eventually.
Final Prediction: Jessica Penne via submission in round three
135 lbs.: Shayna Bazler (14-7) vs. Sarah D'Alelio (6-2)
Shayna Bazler was a staple of women's MMA about five years ago and she became highly regarded for her incredible submission skills. She's still one of the only fighters, male or female, to have pulled off a twister in a professional bout. Bazler returned from a long hiatus to headline the last Invicta show against undefeated Olympian Sara McMann and she handled herself very well, losing an extremely close decision that could have gone either way.
Sarah D'Alelio has been one of Invicta's best success stories. She was likely known more for her semi-controversial verbal submission to Ronda Rousey on Strikeforce Challengers more than anything, but a drop to 135 pounds has suited her well. In her two bouts with Invicta since the Rousey loss, D'Alelio has stopped both of her opponents, one by strikes and the other by a surprise submission against lethal Brazilian Vanessa Porto.
D'Alelio will be the stronger fighter physically, but she's still raw in terms of pure technical skill and there may be no female in MMA right now with more finesse and flair on the canvas than Bazler. If this fight goes to the ground, D'Alelio will put up a fight but Bazler will likely take over at some point. Bazler also showcased some improved stand-up in her last bout, rocking Sara McMann in the waning seconds so she's not helpless on the feet either.
Final Prediction: Shayna Bazler via submission in round two
135 lbs.: Leslie Smith (3-2-1) vs. Kaitlin Young (7-6-1)
Now THIS is the fight you should all be excited about. Leslie Smith and Kaitlin Young put on one of the year's best fights (male or female) the last time they battled at the first Invicta FC show, resulting in a draw. Both ladies laid into each other with a tremendous volume of punches and kicks over the course of three action-packed rounds.
Young is stronger technically and has an experience as well as a slight height and reach advantage, but Smith's ridiculous output of ceaseless strikes really disrupted her rhythm. Young will likely be looking to land with power while Smith throws her punches in bunches (she was coined "Little Diaz" by the announcing team during their back-and-forth slobberknocker.
This time around, Young should be prepared for Smith's attack and she'll be ready to respond with better counter strikes while trying to utilize her technical advantages on the feet. Regardless, this should be incredibly fun.
Final Prediction: Kaitlin Young via decision
125 lbs.: Tara LaRosa (22-2) vs. Vanessa Porto (14-5)
Tara LaRosa is one of the all-time great female fighters. A native of the east coast, she lived and trained in Philadelphia for years, dominating her competition and compiling a near spotless record during one of the division's more impressive runs against premier opposition. While Strikeforce was featuring 135 and 145 pounds and Bellator showcased 115, LaRosa was left in the dust at 125 pounds with no major promotional push. She'll finally get to showcase her skills tomorrow.
Vanessa Porto has also stepped in against some of the best in the world from 125 pound and up throughout her busy seven-year career. After making a name for herself in Brazil, she proved her worth by hopping over to America and defeating some of the top talent in the US as well. She debuted with Invicta earlier this summer and was surprisingly upset by Sarah D'Alelio after getting stuck in a wild reverse triangle armbar during a scramble and now she's dropping back down to her more natural flyweight.
Both of these ladies are incredibly evenly matched. Both Porto and LaRosa are decent on the feet but they love to go to the ground and either work punches, top control or submissions. This fight could come down to conditioning or who's the more aggressive. Porto's best shot is likely going to be early in the fight as LaRosa has a reputation for being a slow starter. If Porto can't capitalize in the opening round, expect to see LaRosa take over.
Final Prediction: Tara LaRosa via submission in round two
125 lbs.: Aisling Daly (13-3) vs. Barb Honchak (6-2)
Aisling Daly is one of the most exciting female fighters out there, always looking to finish a fight either by knockout or submission and more than earning her nickname "The Bash" for her constant pressure and overwhelming strikes on the feet. Daly has defeating a wide assortment of top talent in the past five years and she's still just 24 years old. While she's coming off a decision loss to Rosie Sexton back in her native Ireland, that's nothing to be ashamed of as Sexton is one of the best female 125-pounders of all time.
Barb Honchak, after getting off to a bit of a rough start to her career, has absolutely exploded as of late. She's currently riding a five fight win streak which includes high profile victories over the likes of Felice Herrig, Roxanne Modafferi and most recently Bethany Marshall in her Invicta debut. Honchak is competent on the feet but she's extremely powerful with her wrestling, top control, offensive submission attacks and particularly her ground and pound.
Daly will likely have an edge when the fight is on the feet but if it goes to the canvas, Honchak will take over. Daly was outgrappled in two of her most high profile defeats by Lisa Ellis and Rosie Sexton so it's not out of the realm of possibility that history repeats itself here.
Final Prediction: Barb Honchak via unanimous decision
So what do you expect Maniacs?
Is there a specific bout at this upcoming Invicta show that you're particularly excited about? Who do you think will be the first Invicta champion?