For long-time fans of Invicta Fighting Championship (Invicta FC), it has to be pleasing to see the promotion running a major show in Las Vegas, Nevada, piggy-backing off the latest "International Fight Week" of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
It may also spark rumors of UFC Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey and Invicta Featherweight Champion Cristiane Justino crossing paths in "Sin City" since Cyborg is set to defend her title in tonight's main event inside "The Chelsea" in The Cosmopolitan Hotel.
If you're concerned about getting overloaded on mixed martial arts (MMA) fights this week, Invicta 13, which will stream live online at 11 p.m. ET this evening via UFC Fight Pass, should be an easy pill to swallow. The shows always stand out as different and fun to watch. And with only three fights on the main card (two of which are title defenses, one for a vacant title) it may not be a long, drawn-out affair.
Let's take a closer look:
145 lbs.: Cristiane 'Cyborg' Justino (13-1, 1 NC) vs. Faith Van Duin (5-1)
If you've been a regular Invicta viewer or been to one of its live events with "Cyborg" on the card (I've covered two in Kansas City) you get to witness quite a spectacle. The subject of whether or not she can make a weight cut to 135 has been hotly debated (and new rules may make that even harder for her), but at 145 pounds she is a truly terrifying sight, smashing her way through opponents with ease. Although her title fight with Marloes Coenen went four rounds, every one of those rounds was a one-sided beating, while her last opponent (Charmaine Tweet) only lasted 46 seconds.
That's not to say Faith Van Duin has no chance.
That would be unfair and disrespectful to Van Duin, who has fought some respectable competition, including two battles with recent Bellator MMA signee Arlene Blencowe. She earned a shot at "Cyborg" with arguably the best performance of her career, a second round rear-naked choke of Amanda Bell at Invicta FC 12. It also earned her a "Performance of the Night" bonus.
Unfortunately, unless Van Duin can get "Cyborg" to the ground quick, she's liable to get lit up on the feet, as most opponents don't stand with the ferocious Brazilian for long.
Final prediction: Cristiane Justino retains the title via first round knockout.
135 lbs.: Tonya Evinger (15-5) vs. Irene Aldana (5-1)
It can be argued that Tonya Evinger is the best women's Bantamweight not currently on UFC's roster. It could also be argued that Invicta's current business arrangement with Zuffa would make that a moot point. Either way, since her surprising upset loss to Raquel Pennington in an eliminator fight for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), she's reeled off three straight wins in Invicta, bringing her win streak up to six in a row. Eighty percent of her wins end in decisive fashion -- six by knockout and six by submission. She may even be sending a message to Ronda Rousey with two straight armbar wins.
If "Triple Threat" Tonya wants to switch brands and chase UFC's champ, however, she'll have to go through Aldana first.
Win or lose Aldana has never been in a fight that's gone the distance, coming up roses 83 percent of the time. In her early career she was a first round buzzsaw with knockouts, but after a stand-and-bang loss to Larissa Pacheco, she redeveloped her fight game and has two straight Invicta wins by rear-naked choke. Evinger is vulnerable to being tapped -- it accounts for 80 percent of all her losses, but it's hard to doubt Evinger at this stage in her career.
Final prediction: Tonya Evinger wins the vacant title via third round armbar.
105 lbs.: Herica Tiburcio (9-2) vs. Ayaka Hamasaki (11-1)
Tiburcio surprised many observers by taking "Karate Hottie" Michelle Waterson's title in her Invicta FC debut in Dec. 2014, submitting the popular fighter in the third round with a guillotine choke. Waterson has since moved on to UFC and will make her debut at the TUF 21 Finale this weekend against Angela Magana, while Tiburcio stays to defend against Hamasaki. Her opponent is well rounded -- two knockouts, four submissions, five decisions. Tiburcio is a submission wizard though, tapping out 80 percent of her wins, and only being outpointed when it goes to the judges.
Final prediction: Herica Tiburcio retains the title via second round rear naked choke.
That's a wrap!
MMAmania.com will deliver live coverage of Invicta FC 13 "Cyborg vs. Van Duin" later tonight (Thurs., July 9, 2015), with the first main card streaming live online at 11 p.m. ET (Prelims will not stream on UFC Fight Pass).
For more news and notes on Invicta FC 13 click here.