KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Sept. 26, 2012) - In the wake of her canceled Strikeforce debut, undefeated sensation Cat "Alpha" Zingano (6-0) of Denver, Colo. will rejoin the much-anticipated Invicta Fighting Championships women's Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight card at Memorial Hall in Kansas City on Saturday, Oct. 6 and battle highly-touted prospect Raquel "Rocky" Pennington (3-1) of Colorado Springs, Colo. in a featured bantamweight (135 pounds) matchup.
Pennington's original Invicta FC opponent, Kim Connor-Hamby, has withdrawn from the event due to injury.
Following the cancellation of Zingano's scheduled Sept. 29 Strikeforce matchup with Amanda Nunes, Invicta FC officials offered Zingano and Nunes the opportunity to square off with each other on the upcoming Invicta FC card. An injury that Nunes had sustained, however, prevented her from accepting the opportunity.
Zingano was originally tabbed for action on the Invicta FC 3 card, but Invicta FC officials sent her to Stikeforce after the opportunity to face Nunes, a top contender, arose.
"We are excited about bringing Cat back into the fold and to be able to give her the opportunity to compete on an Invicta FC card after preparing as much as she did for her scheduled fight with Amanda," said Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp.
The 5-foot-6, 30-year-old Zingano tip-toed her way into combat sports after becoming the only girl to join her high school wrestling team and, later, competing in college where she earned All-American honors.
In 2007, she began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Mauricio Zingano, whom she later married, and went on to win a number of tournaments, including the 2007 World Jiu Jitsu Championships. Her success in the grappling art and a third round TKO victory in her only amateur MMA bout were the catalysts behind the launch of her professional fighting career.
To date, Zingano has been unstoppable in the hybrid combat sport, earning four of her six victories by way of either KO or submission. All three of her last wins came by way of KO or TKO.
Pennington's start will be her second in the Invicta FC cage. The 5-foot-7, 24-year-old earned a unanimous decision over Sarah Moras at the last Invicta FC event on July 28 and, less than six weeks after that, returned to action in Honolulu, Hawaii where she submitted Raquel Pa'aluhi with a guillotine choke in the first round (3:52) of their meeting.
Before her professional debut in March when she scored a second round (2:25) TKO on Kim Couture with a series of knee strikes to the body, Pennington enjoyed a healthy amateur career that spanned three years and saw her amass a record of 7-1.
Tickets for Invicta FC 3: Penne vs. Sugiyama, priced from $25, are on sale and can be purchased at Memorial Hall box office (913) 549-4853), online at Ticketmaster.com and InvictaFC.com and by phone at (800) 745-3000.
In the Invicta FC 3 main event, superstar Jessica Penne (9-1) of Laguna Hills, Calif. will face off with undefeated phenom Naho "Sugi Rock" Sugiyama (8-0) of Kyoto, Japan at atomweight (105 pounds) in the first-ever Invicta FC women's world title bout.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt Shayna "The Queen of Spades" Baszler (14-7) of Sioux Falls, S.D. will return to action in the bantamweight co-main event and take on Invicta FC 2 winner Sarah "The Monster" D'Alelio (6-2) of San Jose, Calif.
Prolific strikers Kaitlin Young (7-6-1) of St. Louis Park, Minn. and Leslie "The Peacemaker" Smith (3-2-1) of Pleasant Hill, Calif. will face off in a highly-anticipated bantamweight rematch to their April 28 slugfest at the inaugural Invicta FC event that ended in a majority draw.
Another Invicta FC 2 victor, Barb "Little Warrior" Honchak (6-2) of Bettendorf, Iowa, will collide with rising star and furious finisher Aisling "Ais The Bash" Daly (13-3) of Dublin, Ireland in a flyweight (125 pounds) contest.
Invicta FC will welcome one of the original pioneers of women's MMA, submission expert Tara LaRosa (21-2) of Woodstown, N.J., who will lock horns at flyweight with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Vanessa Porto (14-5) of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson (9-3) of Albuquerque, N.M. will also make her first start under the Invicta FC banner against Lacey "The Ladie" Schuckman (7-5) of Lakewood, Colo. in an atomweight scrap.
In the leadoff main card bout, Julia "The Jewel" Budd (3-2) of Port Moody, Canada will meet Elaina "Beef" Maxwell (7-4) of San Jose, Calif. at featherweight (145 pounds).