While it started out hot, the women’s division in the UFC has cooled down as of late, providing less than stellar fights. On Saturday, the world’s premier women’s MMA promotion, Invicta FC, will hold its seventh event, with three titles on the line.
With the UFC newly announcing a 115lb division, this card features three very key fights which could very well lead to a fight for the UFC title. In the co-main event, current Invicta champion Carla Esparza is defending her title for the first time against the undefeated Brazilian Claudia Gadelha for the de facto #1 rank in the division.
Also on the card at 115lbs, arguably the best striker in women’s MMA, the undefeated Joanne Calderwood, takes on undefeated Finn, Katja Kankaanpaa, who is almost certain to look to grind the Scottish Calderwood into the fence for three rounds. Rounding out the stars at 115lbs, Tecia Torres, coming off a big win over Rose Namajunas, will face women’s MMA pseudo-star Felice Herrig. Expect all six to be in the UFC shortly.
The other two title fights are very relevant as well. For the 125lb title, Barb Honchak will see her first title defense coming against Leslie Smith, who’s only loss in Invicta was a controversial decision to current UFC bantamweight Sarah Kaufman.
Ironically, it’s Invicta’s inaugural title fight at 135lbs, the division which the UFC currently has, which is the least interesting of the three. Lauren Taylor has looked good but not great in Invicta, and Miriam Nakamoto is still unproven.
Invicta 7 also features some fighters on the decline, who are badly in need of wins. Sarah D’Alelio looked fantastic against the UFC’s Amanda Nunes, but fell completely flat to Lauren Taylor. D’Alelio is fighting women’s MMA veteran Tonya Evinger, who currently is on a three fight win streak professionally, although she lost her last fight in 2013 on TUF 18 to Raquel Pennington.
Former Bellator champion Zoila Frausto Gurgel looks to snap her two fight losing streak and re-enter relevancy, although many question whether she ever deserved to be the Bellator champion to begin with after her controversial wins over Jessica Aguilar and Megumi Fujii. Gurgel faces former Invicta title challenger Vanessa Porto, who turned in a completely flat performance against Barb Honchak, and yet was mysteriously shocked when the decision was not in her favour.
The women’s 145lb division, once the only division that mattered in women’s MMA, has quickly become a mess. After Rousey dropped down to 135lbs, there was simply nobody left for Cyborg to fight, and this card does little to help that situation. Julia Budd, who may well be knocking on the door to a fight with Cristiane Justino, really isn’t in the Brazilian’s league. It doesn’t help either when Budd, who is 3-0 under the Invicta banner, is being fed a fighter making her Invicta debut.