Invicta Fighting Championships will return to "The Sunflower State" this Saturday night (July 28, 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.
Also on tap are some other extremely intriguing 135 pound bouts which feature fighters like Canada's Alexis Davis, former Strikeforce title contender Liz Carmouche, elite striker Kaitlin Young and even Brazilian powerhouse Amanda Nunes.
Lastly, undefeated Japanese grappler Ayaka Hamasaki takes on Lacey Schuckman in a 115 pound showdown.
Our Invicta FC 2 preview and predictions are posted after the jump:
135 lbs.: Shayna Baszler (14-6) vs. Sara McMann (5-0)
Shayna Baszler has been competed in women's MMA for a very long time, nearly nine years now. The submission ace also known as "The Queen of Spades" possesses extremely solid submissions skills, some of the most advanced and unique in all of somen's MMA. Baszler was one of the first fighters (male or female) to ever catch an opponent in a twister and she has experience against some of the best in the world ranging from Sarah Kaufman to Cristiane Santos.
Sara McMann took home the silver medal in the 2004 Olympic games and when she came back to the states, she felt her job wasn't finished just yet. The incredible athletic specimen took up Brazilian jiu-jitsu and transitioned to mixed martial arts and the rest is history. She has steadily increased her opposition level, recently defeating Japanese grappler Hitomi Akano in her last bout to prove she can hang with the division's elite.
Baszler is catch wrestling based and is a protege of Josh Barnett so she really knows what she's doing on the canvas, but the problem will be controlling an Olympic caliber ground fighter in McMann. The other issue for Baszler is the fact that she's spent so much time since her last fight that McMann has had her entire career in women's MMA take place in the interim. I feel Baszler's experience will help her stay in the fight, but McMann's athletic gifts and incredible learning curve will put her over the top.
Final Prediction: Sara McMann via decision
135 lbs.: Alexis Davis (11-5) vs. Hitomi Akano (18 -9)
Alexis Davis is one of the top female fighters hailing from Canada. The veteran got her start in 2007 (against eventual Strikeforce women's champion Sara Kaufman) and her strength of competition hasn't dropped much since. She's stepped into the cage against some extremely talented ladies and has been victorious more often than not. Most recently she scored a rematch against Kaufman and held her ground, putting on one of the most entertaining fights of 2012 in an absolute war although she came out of it on the losing end.
Hitomi Akano is an extremely dangerous submission-based fighter out of Japan. The "Girlfight Monster" is a protege of legend Megumi Fujii and has one of the best armbars in the business. Akano has also faced elite competition, making it to the finals of the single night Strikeforce women's number one contender event before losing a decision to Miesha Tate and then recently dropping a hard-fought decision to current main eventer Sara McMann.
I feel Akano will be game, but Davis is going to be bigger, stronger and a better striker as well. Akano's best strength is the ground but Davis is no joke there either, even recently competing in the world grappling expo's pay-per-view event against Kyra Gracie. I think Davis can not only win this fight, but potentially earn a stoppage via strikes either on the feet or on the ground.
Final Prediction: Alexis Davis via TKO in round two
135 lbs.: Liz Carmouche (6-2) vs. Kaitlin Young (6-5-1)
Now THIS is one of the fights that excites me the most on the main card. Liz Carmouche is a former Strikeforce 135 pound title challenger. The "Girl-rilla" is an ex-marine who trains out of Team Hurricane Awesome and is one of the most impressive athletic and physical specimens in the women's 135 pound division. She recently bounced back from a pair of high profile defeats to soundly beat Ashleigh Curry at the first Invicta event.
Kaitlin Young is one of the most entertaining and talented strikers in the women's 135 pound division. Her biggest claim to fame was winning three fights in one night including a knockout over Miesha Tate with all three victories lasting just 1:45 combined. Davis is a beast in terms of striking and she proved it in her last fight, a thrilling back-and-forth war against Leslie Smith on the inaugural Invicta show which took home "Fight of the Night" and was also one of the best fights, male or female, of the year.
Young is going to want to keep this fight standing as Carmouche has some of the most dangerous ground and pound in the division. If she can keep it on the feet, she'll likely be working to use her length with kicks and jabs to keep Carmouche at bay. Carmouche definitely wants to close the distance either in the clinch or on the ground and something tells me she'll be able to neutralize Young's elite striking by getting inside, but she'll have a hard time putting the veteran away.
Final Prediction: Liz Carmouche via decision
115 lbs.: Ayaka Hamasaki (7-0) vs. Lacey Schuckman (7-4)
Ayaka Hamasaki is one of the most promising young female 115-pounders on the planet. The undefeated kickboxer and grappler is the reigning Jewels 115 pound champion and defended her title last May via first round submission. Hamasaki is dangerous both standing and on the ground and she'll be looking to prove it in the Invicta cage here in America for the first time.
Lacey Schuckman is a very game fighter as evidenced by the fact she took this fight on short notice for Jasminka Cive in the first place. She is a ground-based fighter with a "finish or be finished" mentality. She will be looking to either submit or knock out Hamasaki on the ground.
While Schuckman has faced some tough names, she hasn't been able to string together consecutive victories for a couple years now. I feel Hamasaki is too technical and dangerous for Schuckman here, despite the fact that she's dropping down a weight class.
Final Prediction: Ayaka Hamasaki via submission in round one
135 lbs.: Amanda Nunes (6-2) vs. Raquel Pa'Aluhi (2-2)
Amanda Nunes is one of the scariest female fighters today. "The Lioness" is always looking to tear her opponents' heads off and she stopped six fights in a row via strikes including Strikeforce's Julia Budd in just 14 seconds in her debut on the Challengers event in 2011. Nunes experienced a setback against co-main eventer Alexis Davis in her bantamweight debut, but she's still just as lethal as ever.
Raquel Pa'Aluhi is fearless. She stepped in for this fight on less than two week's notice when Leslie Smith went down with an injury. Pa'Aluhi has faced elite competition like Sarah D'Alelio and Sara McMann although she's come up short on both instances.
If Pa'Aluhi can weather the early storm from Nunes, she's got a shot, but that's asking a lot of a fighter who hasn't had much time to prepare for a beast like Nunes. I'm expecting Nunes to come out throwing bombs and trying to end this quick and she'll probably be able to pull it off.
Final Prediction: Amanda Nunes via TKO in round one
So what do you think, Maniacs?
With no UFC, Strikeforce or Bellator taking place this weekend, will you be tuning in to Invicta Fighting Championships? Who are you most looking forward to watching compete on this fight card?