The ladies had the night all to themselves yesterday (Oct. 6, 2012) as Invicta Fighting Championships held it's third event: Invicta FC 3: Penne vs Sugiyama in Kansas City, Kansas.
Both ladies were incredibly skilled, showcasing some solid striking and grappling skills throughout their bout, but Penne's physical advantages were immense. Time and time again, she utilized her four inch height and advantage as well as leveraging submissions and sweeps from unique angles.
After a first round primarily spent in top position and dropping short strikes, Penne was taken down early in the second, but the story doesn't end there.
Despite Sugiyama not leaving any vulnerabilities from inside her guard, Penne isolated an arm by hooking it with her own own arm and both her legs using her incredible flexibility which put the Japanese Jewels champion in danger of a triangle choke. With the window now open, Penne attacked, latching on the choke. Sugiyama toughed it out for a while, stacking the American and surviving inside the choke for about 30 seconds but once Penne adjusted her position and tightened the hold, Sugiyama was forced to tap for the first time in her career.
With the victory, Jessica Penne was crowned the Invicta FC Atomweight Champion.
In the evening's co-main event, long-time veteran Shayna Baszler put the entire women's 135 pound division on notice by delivering a beating to Sarah D'Alelio and halting the prospect's momentum.
Baszler scored on the feet and especially on the canvas where she was plastered to D'Alelio's back hunting for submissions in a first round that saw all kinds of transitions. She even closed out the frame by stomping and crushing D'Alelio's calf with her heel which looked extremely painful.
"The Queen of Spades" continued to showcase a rebirth of aggression by really opening up her ground and pound in the second round after again scoring a nifty takedown in the opening seconds. After blasting D'Alelio with an assortment of strikes, she dove on her exposed neck and forced a tap despite never even getting her hooks in.
In another thrilling bantamweight battle, Leslie Smith and Kaitlin Young looked to settle their score hearkening back to their Fight of the Year candidate at the first Invicta show which ended in a draw. While the first bout was almost entirely spent on the feet, this fight was composed almost exclusively in the clinch and on the ground.
Smith worked to attack from top control during scrambles while Young tossed up submission after submission but could not get anything to lock in.
In the second round, a takedown attempt from Young backfired and Smith not only advanced to dominant position, but she caught Young in a mounted crucifix. With both arms trapped, Young was defenseless as Smith brutally smashed her in the face with repeated right hands. After Young ate a significant amount of strikes and with no ability to free herself, the ref put a halt to the action. It was a terrific performance all around.
The flyweights were also showcased. Miletich Fighting Systems own Barb Honchak displayed a wide assortment of skills in her three round thrashing of scrappy Irish fighter Aisling Daly to easily win a unanimous decision. She'll likely be fighting for the title at the next Invicta show in 2013.
Her likely opponent was also on display as Brazilian Vanessa Porto dropped down to 125 pounds and thoroughly dismantled Tara LaRosa over the course of three rounds. Porto looked sharp, accurate and very powerful, regularly landing an overhand right which rocked or dropped LaRosa while mixing in a painful amount of leg kicks which had LaRosa limping and buckling throughout the contest.
LaRosa started slow and could not secure any of her takedown attempts which had been thrown from deep on the outside. By the time she picked up the pace in the second round, the damage had been done and she could not recover as Porto easily won all three rounds on the judges scorecards.
A new player in the bantamweight division announced her arrival as Cat Zingano bullied a game Raquel Pennington in their main card attraction. Zingano utilized a wide assortment of trips in the first round but could not keep Pennington on her back and spent the majority of the frame pressing her opponent into the fence and throwing heavy knees to the legs and body.
In the second round, however, Pennington seemed to have worn down a bit from the tidal wave of pressure from Zingano and after a beautiful lateral drop takedown, Zingano was able to eventually secure a fight-ending submission on her sturdy foe.
Atomweights Michelle Waterson and Lacey Schuckman showcased considerable heart in their bout as the larger Schuckman attempted to utilize her size, strength and wrestling advantage while Waterson countered with a technical edge as well a superior striking. With both ladies trading the first two rounds, it came down to a decisive scramble which saw Waterson come out on top and eek out a close split decision.
Lastly, opening up the main card was a featherweight bout which featured the extremely athletic former kickboxer Julia Budd taking on short notice replacement and grappler Danielle West. West put up a fight trying to get the bout to the ground early with a clinch but Budd's size and strength advantage was evident as she actually took the submission fighter to the ground, passing to mount swiftly before blasting her with a series of punches and elbows to force a quick first round stoppage.
Budd will likely be a top contender once Invicta has the depth to promote a 145 pound title, having won both of her Invicta bouts via first round stoppage due to ground and pound.
So what did you make of last night's Invicta event, Maniacs?
Did the ladies steal the show once again? Are you changing your minds at all about them fitting in with the big boys? Who had the most impressive showing?
For complete quick results and main card play-by-play coverage of Invicta FC 3 click here.