The ladies once again had the day all to themselves last night (April 5, 2013) as the all-female Invicta Fighting Championships promotion held its fifth event at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri where for the first time two titles were on the line.
Penne opened aggressively, working to get inside and drag Waterson to the canvas but that proved more difficult than expected and she was forced to pull guard in the opening round, eventually gaining top position after securing an omaplata sweep where she looked to put a hurting on the Jackson's MMA fighter.
Waterson's ground game was much sharper than many anticipated as she fended off submission attempts from the champion and threw up several of her own in the first frame, but what really proved she was in it to win it was the second round where she reversed multiple takedown attempts to not only take top position but also passed Penne's guard and even mounted the Reign MMA standout on multiple occasions as well as popping the champ in the face with a stiff jab as she got back to her feet.
With the scores likely even heading into the third round, Penne finally took over, quickly securing a takedown on Waterson and working her over with some efficient ground and pound attack as she advanced position to full mount and back mount. It looked like the fight was about to be finished when she locked in a fully extended armbar on "The Karate Hottie" but somehow, someway, Waterson gritted through the pain and not only survived the hold but took top position briefly.
It looked like Waterson was out of the fight, but as the championship rounds started, Penne continued to aggressively pursue the takedown and after forcing Waterson sprawl, Penne overaggressively continued a takedown attempt right as Waterson threw her legs up and caught her in an armbar from bottom, extending the arm and forcing the champion to instantly tap out in an incredibly shocking outcome.
An incredibly emotional Waterson was overwhelmed in the cage center (pictured above) after pouring so much of herself into the fight and Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp strapped the title around the new champion in what was one of the most entertaining back-and-forth technical ground battles of 2013.
Also on tap was a flyweight title fight between Brazilian veteran Vanessa Porto and Miletich Fighting System's Barb Honchak. Both ladies possessed solid ground games, but surprisingly this bout was entirely contested on the feet.
In the stand-up portion, Honchak worked punching combinations and threw more actively with her hands while Porto tried to counter with her own right hand and mix in leg kicks.
The leg kicks seemed to be effective in the second round as Porto threw them more actively and mixed in her hands but Honchak did not get overwhelmed and started firing back with kicks of her own.
This bout was extremely close and it was a battle of Porto's occasional punches mixed with her leg kicks against Honchak's much more active hands, which she threw aggressively, even if the strikes came up short. Neither fighter hurt the other at any point so the judges were forced to decide who was the more effective striker when it came time to decide the inaugural flyweight champion and they went with Honchak unanimously.
In one of the most anticipated bouts of the evening, former Strikeforce women's 145 pound champion Cris Cyborg returned from suspension and laid an expected beatdown on gritty Australian Fiona Muxlow. "Cyborg" dropped Muxlow with the first strike she threw which set the tone for the fight as she continued to hurt her with every heavy flurry of strikes.
Muxlow, to her credit, did not wilt and instead desperately clung to takedowns against her violent foe, but it was just too much from Cyborg as the motivated former champion threw everything she had into her, eventually landing a heavy knee and flurry along the fence which forced the referee to stop the fight as he'd seen enough.