Invicta FC 38: Murata vs. Ducote Full Preview

Invicta FC will return on Friday night, including a main event that will see an up-and-coming flyweight in challenge Karina Rodriguez challenge long-time Invicta fighter Vanessa Porto. Also on the show, a new strawweight champion will be crowned as Kanako Murata and Emily Ducote compete. Live from the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas, USA, let’s look at Invicta FC 38.

Bout 1: Serena DeJesus (1-0) vs. Taneisha Tennant (1-0) (Bantamweight)

The evening will open with two bantamweight fighters making their Invicta debut. Both undefeated with one victory, Serena DeJesus and Taneisha Tennant will face off. DeJesus first fought as an amateur in 2014, racking up a 5-2 record before moving to professional MMA, getting a decision victory. Tennant stayed undefeated as an amateur at 3-0, then got a first round stoppage victory in her pro debut.

Bout 2: Shaianna Rincon (2-0) vs. Auttumn Norton (0-1) (Featherweight)

The second bout of the evening is between two fighters very early in their careers. Undefeated featherweight Shaianna Rincon will face Auttumn Norton, who is attempting to come back from a loss. Both fighters have had all of their professional fights within Invicta. Norton had a 7-2 record as an amateur, with Rincon being an undefeated 4-0.

Bout 3: Lisa Verzosa (4-0) vs. Kerri Kenneson (3-1) (Bantamweight)

The third fight will see undefeated Lisa Verzosa face Kerri Kenneson. Verzosa has only been a pro since 2018, although she’s picked up four wins, all via decision. She has been fighting since 2014, finishing her amateur career with a 9-1 record. Kenneson got her first loss as a pro recently, losing in the first round to Stephanie Geltmacher. Unlike Verzosas, Kenneson’s career has happened in promotions outside of Invicta.

Bout 4: Shanna Young (6-2) vs. Maiju Suotama (8-4) (Flyweight)

Shanna Young and Maiju Suotama will face off for the second time this year. While their first meeting was only a one-round fight, Young defeated Suotama in September on an Invicta card. Previously, Young lost on Dana White’s Contender Series, a show where fighters compete for UFC contracts. This is the first proper fight that Suotama has taken in the Invicta promotion.

Bout 5: Mallory Martin (5-2) vs. Cynthia Arceo (5-1-1) (Strawweight)

Mallory Martin got a victory on Dana White’s Contender Series last summer, but sadly didn’t impress UFC brass. She returns to Invicta on Friday, facing Cynthia Arceo, who is making her Invicta debut. Arceo attained a 5-1-1 record within the King of the Cage promotion, 9-1-1 if you include the amateur bouts. On the same night as the strawweight championship bout, either Martin or Arceo could set themself up as a contender.

Bout 6: Vanessa Porto (21-8) vs. Karina Rodriguez (8-3) (Flyweight)

Vanessa Poro and Karina Rodriguez go up against each other in the co-main event of the evening. What was originally meant to be the main event for the Invicta Flyweight Championship was demoted to co-main after Rodriguez missed weight for the fight. Rodriguez is currently on a two-fight winning streak, getting decision victories against Milana Dudieva and DeAnna Bennett. Porto is on a three-fight winning streak, defeating Milana Dudieva and Mariana Morais before facing Pearl Gonzalez for the promotion’s flyweight belt. Porto has been in Invicta since nearly the start, fighting on the promotion’s second card ever in 2012.

Bout 7: Kanako Murata (10-1) vs. Emily Ducote (8-5) (Invicta Vacant Strawweight Championship)

In the main event of the evening, Kanako Murata and Emily Ducote will compete for the currently vacant strawweight championship. The former champion was Brianna Van Buren, who vacated the belt once she got a UFC contract. Murata has been undefeated since 2017, on a six-fight winning streak. She has four wins in RIZIN and most recently defeated Liana Pirosin via submission at Invicta FC 35. Ducote is coming off an Invicta win against Janaisa Morandin via first-round punches. Ducote previously had a 4-4 record in Bellator, notably fighting current Bellator Flyweight Champion Ilima-Lei MacFarlane.

Dana White’s Contender Series Season 3 Episode 8 Full Report

On Tuesday, another episode of the Contender Series aired, with MMA fighters getting the opportunity for a UFC contract. On this week’s five fight card, the main event saw two undefeated light heavyweights in Herdem Alacabek and William Knight face off. Whether either of them or others earned contracts was determined by their performances. Let’s look at the first fight of the evening.

Bout 1: Karl Reed (6-1) vs. Julius Anglickas (6-1) (Light Heavyweight)

The first fight of the evening was also a light heavyweight bout. Former LFA Champion Julius Anglickas fought Karl Reed, who had an identical record of 6-1. Reed tried for a single leg takedown in the first minute of the fight. He couldn’t get it, with Anglickas staying standing up against the cage. They took turns having their backs up against the cage. Anglickas got the first takedown of the fight, getting on Reed’s back. Reed got back up, then they went back to stand-up with under two minutes left in the round. Reed his first takedown with over a minute left. Back to stand-up with a few seconds left in the round, Anglickas strung together a few good punches. Anglickas had a decent first minute of the second round, throwing kicks and punches. He landed another takedown after a few moments of looking for one. Just like last time, Reed got right back up. While up against the cage, there was a timeout called by the referee as Reed was hit in the groin. Anglickas landed another takedown when they resumed, but Reed got up immediately after. They were clinched up against the cage for long enough that referee Jason Herzog brought them back to stand-up. Reed got a takedown with a minute left in the second round. When they stood back up and separated, Anglickas had some good strikes again. In the final round, Anglickas had a great combination of knees and punches, then went into a body lock up against the cage. Anglickas got another takedown. On the back of Reed, Anglickas put in a rear naked choke which made his opponent tap out. 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Reed 10 9
Anglickas 9 10

Bout 2: Tony Gravely (18-5) vs. Ray Rodriguez (15-5) (Bantamweight)

In the second fight, we went to a lighter weight division in the bantamweight division for Tony Gravely versus Ray Rodriguez. Both fighters had quite experienced records. Gravely was coming forward with strong punches early on. He got a takedown in the second minute after Rodriguez landed a combo. After landing punches in top position, Gravely tried for a guillotine choke. He couldn’t secure it, as Rodriguez got up shortly after. Gravely got another takedown as the first round was closing out. Gravely had a good start to the second round, although Rodriguez landed a takedown and took his back in the second minute of the round. Gravely scored a slam takedown and then assumed the dominant position on the ground. Gravely tried for a rear naked choke with a minute left in the round. Rodriguez slipped out of the hold before the round ended. At the start of the final round, Rodriguez tried to come forward with a running strike but didn’t really connect. He slipped and had to fight out of a guillotine attempt. Rodriguez got on the back of Gravely. On the ground, Gravely took the back of Rodriguez and started to throw tons of punches. After numerous unanswered strikes, the referee stepped in and ended the bout.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Gravely 10 10
Rodriguez 9 9

Bout 3: Shanna Young (6-1) vs. Sarah Alpar (8-4) (Bantamweight)

The third fight was another bantamweight clash, with Shanna Young and Sarah Alper competing. Alpar was coming forward with strong punches at the start, landing a single leg takedown shortly after. Alpar landed another takedown and took Young’s back. She put in a rear naked choke which made Young tap out. Sarah Alpar got the third stoppage victory of the evening.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Young 9
Alpar 10

Bout 4: Brok Weaver (13-4) vs. Devin Smyth (9-1) (Welterweight)

On the co-main event of the show, Brok Weaver and Devin Smyth fought in a welterweight bout. Weaver came from the Island Fights promotion, with Smyth having a 10 fight record in numerous promotions. Right at the start of the first round, Smyth threw a kick and got a takedown. They stood up against the cage, with Smyth getting a slam takedown the second time. Smyth tried for many for takedowns throughout the round, but wasn’t as successful. At the very start of the second round the referee called a timeout as Smyth was hit with a low kick. Smyth shot for another takedown but it was defended by Weaver. Weaver got much more offense in through the second round. Smyth got a takedown in the final minute of the second round. Smyth’s corner was in his face screaming as the round ended. Weaver was landing even more punches in the final round, with Smyth stopping the flurries with clinches. The round ended after a dominant round by Weaver. The judges all picked Brock Weaver as the winner of the fight (30-27, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Weaver 9 10 10 29
Smyth 10 9 9 28

Bout 5: Herdem Alacabek (5-0) vs. William Knight (4-0) (Light Heavyweight)

In the main event, undefeated light heavyweights Herdem Alacabek and William Knight fought for a potential UFC contract. In the opening minutes, both fighters were going wild with strikes. Alacabek landed a takedown halfway through the first round. He tried for a rear naked choke but couldn’t keep it in. Knight took top position in the final minute, where Alacabek tried for an armbar but didn’t get it. A lot of clinch strikes were thrown in the second round. Alacabek got a slam takedown halfway through the second round. Knight scored a takedown in the final minute of the round. He postured up and started to tee off on Knight. Knight landed a knee in the first minute of the final round which rocked Alacabek. Later on, Knight took Alacabek to the ground and went back to ground and pound. Knight landed an elbow that cut open Alacabek. The referee stepped in and ended the fight with under 30 seconds left in the contest.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Alacabek 10 9
Knight 9 10

At the end of the episode, Dana White offered contracts to Tony Gravely, Sarah Alpar, Brock Weaver and William Knight. White said he wants Alpar to drop a weight class and he wants to develop Knight.