Invicta Fighting Championship returned to the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City, Missouri with Invicta 7: "Honchak vs. Smith" last night (Dec. 7, 2013). The event was originally scheduled to showcase three title bouts but the Strawweight fight was scrapped last minute due to an illness.
It was a solid night of fights that saw the promotion crown a new bantamweight champion in Lauren Murphy, who upset Miriam Nakamoto due to injury. It also saw the promotion create a new star in Tecia Torres, who may be the future of women's mixed martial arts (MMA).
However, there were also some issues regarding the online streams and that overshadowed what could have been an amazing event. So without wasting any more time, let's discuss last night...
Honchak retains, but fails to impress...
Okay, now that I've got your attention, let me explain. The bout between Barb Honchak and Leslie Smith was entertaining but it wasn't exactly a masterful display of technique. Smith's striking style is incredibly awkward and Honchak, though the Flyweight champion, had difficulty dealing with Smith's size.
On paper it should have been a great bout. Both have put on exciting performances inside the Invicta cage, but last night looked like a bit of a regression. Maybe there was a lack of chemistry. Maybe it was just that Honchak found it too problematic keeping the fight grounded.
No matter the case, it just didn't live up to the expectations I had set in my mind. Honchak retained the Flyweight title and Smith showed that she's better suited at flyweight than bantamweight. I dunno, just really forgettable.
Miriam Nakamoto should probably hang 'em up...
Miriam Nakamoto is an incredibly talented stand up artist. It could event be argued that outside of Holly Holm, she's the most technical striker in the women's bantamweight division. The difference is that Nakamoto has a history of knee injuries.
Nakamoto blew out her ACL a few years ago that kept her on the sidelines while she had surgery and went through rehab. But she rebounded because she's such a great striker fighting against people who just can't compete. That's a sad reality of mixed martial arts (MMA).
Nakamoto's stand up is so dominant that even after a terrible injury, she was still light years ahead of her competition. Last night she blew out her knee again. She let out an audible yell as her ligaments tore on a takedown.
At 36 years old and another awful knee injury, it's probably time to reevaluate. She's too old to get the call from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and she'll likely return when she's 37 or 38. That's around the time when people retire from competition. She's good enough that she could train the next generation of female fighters. That's real job security.
Tecia Torres steals the show...
The hype surrounding the strawweight bout between Tecia Torres and Felice Herrig was focused solely on Herrig. Herrig attracts media and fan attention because she's willing to use sex appeal to garner headlines. That's not necessary a negative thing either.
If you looked at their attire, Herrig sported a skirt filled with some pretty big sponsors, clearly the most lucrative for the entire show. But being able to take photos is totally different than being able to fight. What we saw last night was a one-sided affair where Torres was just better everywhere.
Torres was the strong, faster, and more technical fighter. Herrig is known as a striker and Torres just dominated her in all aspects of the stand up game. I'm not sure she's ready for Carla Esparza but she's definitely a fighter to watch over the next couple of years.
- There were some pretty big expectations for Joanne Calderwood. She's super technical as a striker with amazing head movement. It was likely that if she dominated Katja Kankaanpaa, she'd be next in line for a shot at the strawweight belt. She won, but it wasn't a spectacular performance. That's why she's likely getting passed over for Torres.
- Felice Herrig is serviceable as a fighter but she's in no way elite. If she's ever brought up to the UFC whenever they add the strawweight division, it will be because of her personality away from the cage. That's just a reality and it's a harsh one at that.
- Julia Budd is absolutely massive. Her strength on the ground was impressive as she was able to just "big sister" Charmaine Tweet on the ground. I don't know if she's the woman to give Cris Cyborg any problems, but she's the best option at the moment.
- Alright, now with all the fighter breakdowns out of the way, this final thought is going to be a bit lengthy. How long are we going to accept Invicta's poor business decisions/practices? How long are we just going to be Invicta apologists because it provides an outlet for female fighters? It's no longer a story that Invicta again failed to provide a serviceable stream last night. People who paid for the fights were met with a blank screen before the promotion finally took down the pay wall. Invicta President Shannon Knapp said that anyone who paid for the card would get a refund. This includes the people who ordered the show on televised PPV. That's a great business model for the fans but they're just giving away a revenue source. Even when asked about it, her response was that "it's whatever." That was her real response! At this point she needs a television contract or I just can't see this promotion working out. I don't want them to fail but it makes it so difficult to really root for their success. I honestly feel sorry for the money mark. That person or persons is a complete sucker.