Kansas City, Missouri (Dec. 7, 2013)
Barb Honchak won a hard-fought, unanimous decision victory to retain her Invicta FC Flyweight World Title over challenger Leslie Smith in Saturday’s Invicta Fighting Championships 7 at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri.
Honchak (9-2) and Smith (6-4-1) traded blows throughout this all-action bout. In the end, it was Honchak’s more accurate striking and her ability to take Smith to the ground and inflict punishment that was the difference. All three judges scored the bout 49-46.
“I knew Leslie would be tough,” said Honchak, who has now won seven fights in a row. “I wanted to take her down because that’s what I’ve been working on.
I thought we had a great striking battle. I think we had one close round, but at least four of the rounds were mine:”
When asked about the judges’ scoring at the post-fight press conference, Smith agreed with their decision.
“Barb was the better fighter tonight,” said Smith. “I feel like I never turned it on 100 percent. It wasn’t a surprise to me at the end because I feel like I could have fought a much better fight.”
Lauren Murphy (8-0) won the inaugural Invicta FC Bantamweight Championship via fourth round TKO when the previously unbeaten Miriam Nakamoto (2-1, 1 NC) had to stop fighting due to a knee injury.
Murphy and Nakamoto traded blows in the first two rounds before the undefeated Murphy turned the tide with a takedown towards the end of the third. Nakamoto appeared to injure her knee during the takedown and struggled to get back up with Murphy repeatedly landing blows to close out the round.
Just :23 seconds into the fourth, Nakamoto slipped, then grabbed her right knee as she fell to the canvas in pain. Referee Mike England immediately ended the bout.
“When I came back in the third I just wanted to keep it going the next couple of rounds,” said Murphy. “I think she’s an amazing fighter and if she wants a rematch I’d be happy to do it.
“I saw her nose was bloodied and I could taste the blood in my mouth from when she hit me. Nothing gets you more excited than two people beating the sh.. out of each other.”
Invicta Fighting Championships Strawweight contender Claudia Gadelha was forced to withdraw from Saturday’s scheduled title bout against Carla Esparza after contracting a bacterial infection.
“Claudia ran a high fever late Friday evening and went to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a bacterial infection in her intestines,” said Shannon Knapp, President Invicta Fighting Championships. “We know Claudia wanted this title opportunity more than anything and all of us at Invicta wish her a speedy recovery.”
Tecia Torres (3-0) put on a dominant performance to keep her undefeated record intact against Felice Herrig (9-5) with a unanimous decision (30-27 three times). Herrig, who was making her highly-anticipated Invicta debut, was completely dominated by the shorter Torres, who showcased an impressive arsenal of strikes and kicks.
“What shocked me was my total domination,” said Torres. “I’ve always looked up to her, so it was an honor to be in the same cage. Everything just came together. People think I’m one dimensional, but not tonight. “I think I’m pretty close to the title, but I’m in no rush.”
In a battle of the undefeated, Joanne Calderwood (8-0) handed fellow strawweight contender Katja “Killer Bunny” Kankaanpaa (8-1-1) her first loss with an unanimous decision scored 29-28 by all three judges.
“I’ll just fight whoever is in front of me,” said Calderwood when asked if she deserves a shot at the Invicta Strawweight belt. “That’s my job. I’ll leave the rest up to them.”
Julia Budd (6-2) defeated fellow Canadian Charmaine Tweet (4-4) to remain undefeated in four bouts under the Invicta banner with a convincing unanimous decision victory (30-27).
After their fight, Budd didn’t back down when asked by Invicta analyst Miesha Tate if she’d like to fight Invicta Featherweight World Champion Cris Cyborg Justino.
“I’m looking to be the best and looking to fight the best,” Budd said. “Whoever they put in front of me, I’m happy to fight.”
Vanessa Porto (16-6) kicked off the PPV telecast with an unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 twice) over Zoila Frausto Gurgel (12-4) in a three-round flyweight match.
Tonya Evinger (12-6) closed out the free one-hour live viewing portion with a unanimous decision (29-28 three times) over Sarah D’Alelio (7-5).
In the opening bout of the evening, flyweight Nina Ansaroff (6-4) scored a TKO (strikes) at 3:54 of the second round over Munah Holland (5-3).