On Friday night, September 23, at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Invicta Fighting Championships will host their 19th event, headlined by two highly anticipated title tilts.
In the co-main event, Invicta FC atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki aims to be the first to make two successful belt defenses as she tangles with fan favorite and striking savant Jinh Yu Frey. In the main event, interim Invicta FC flyweight champion Jennifer Maia looks to build off her exciting title win in a tangle with a well-traveled veteran who is experiencing an incredible career resurgence in Roxanne Modafferi.
Check out all the action of this eight-fight card live on UFC FIGHT PASS. Here’s a breakdown of the matchups:
JENNIFER MAIA (C) VS. ROXANNE MODAFFERI - INTERIM FLYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
For sure, current Invicta FC flyweight champ Barb Honchak casts a large shadow over this division even in her absence, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun in the meantime. And fun is what fight fans had as the interim belt was battled over by Brazilian rivals Jennifer Maia and Vanessa Porto at Invicta FC 16 in March. In easily one of the best MMA bouts this year and in company history, Maia and Porto battled for five rounds to an obvious Fight of the Night bonus and a well-deserved unanimous decision win for the 27-year-old Maia.
From one gritty vet to another, Maia, who is enjoying a four-fight win streak, will put the interim title on the line against “The Happy Warrior,” Roxanne Modafferi. Remember that six-fight losing streak Modafferi went through? Watching The Happy Warrior compete in Invicta FC, it feels like that rough patch was a million years ago as Modafferi has bested the tried and tested as well as fiery up and comers. With takedowns, top game and some tricky standup, Modafferi has looked more impressive than ever in her 13 years as a pro with her 4-1 Invicta FC record. Expectations for this championship clash are that it should be an up and down and all around affair with a heavily invested audience as the beloved Modafferi takes on the budding star Maia.
AYAKA HAMASAKI (C) VS. JINH YU FREY - ATOMWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
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It might sound cliche to say “striker vs. grappler,” but when champion and challenger are as proficient as they are in their own designated areas, that’s what this is at Invicta FC’s highest level. Current atomweight champ Ayaka Hamasaki is a takedown artist and ground technician who won the belt by out-wrestling BJJ star Herica Tiburcio, then she dominantly defended the belt against Amber Brown by securing a third round armbar submission in March. Owning a stellar 13-1 pro record, Hamasaki was a wizard on the ground against Brown, grabbing double wristlocks from every angle to hunt for kimuras, armbars and sweeps. When one is so good on the mat, why wouldn’t Hamasaki fight for all she’s worth to get her opponent to the floor?
On the opposite end of the spectrum, but with the exact same mindset is Hamasaki’s challenger Jinh Yu Frey. The 31-year-old out of Arlington, Texas is riding a three-fight win streak in Invicta FC, which was most recently highlighted by Frey’s technical tune-up of former champ Tiburcio in March. For three rounds, Frey lanced Tiburcio with straight punches and solid kicks, including a crushing knockdown of Tiburcio at the end of the second round. As she looks better and better sniping her opponents from range, it should be no surprise to anyone that Frey will only want this scrap on the floor if she drops Hamasaki first.
IRENE ALDANA VS. FAITH VAN DUIN - BANTAMWEIGHT
Outside of current Invicta FC bantamweight champ Tonya Evinger, no one has been able to last a round with Mexico’s Irene Aldana, let alone hand her a loss in Invicta FC. Besides the failed title try, Los Lobos Gym’s Aldana has had three Invicta FC opponents who she has earned stoppages over in about six minutes combined fight time. Set to struggle with the fast finisher is the submission savvy Faith Van Duin. New Zealand’s Van Duin made her first run in Invicta FC as a featherweight, where she went 1-1 with a Performance of the Night sub of Amanda Bell and a TKO loss to Invicta FC champ Cris “Cyborg.” In June, Van Duin made her first successful drop to bantamweight with a unanimous decision win in her home country at Brace 41.
MANJIT KOLEKAR VS. KALINE MEDEIROS - STRAWWEIGHT
Kaline Medeiros made one heck of a first impression on the Invicta FC faithful with her shock of blue hair and her one-sided drubbing of Alline Serio in May. It was quite an entrance as “The Dark Angel” made her Invicta FC debut on incredibly short notice and Medeiros proceeded to lay the smack down en route to a second round TKO against her fellow Brazilian. Now, Medeiros is playing the unwelcome party role to the undefeated Manjit Kolekar. The first fighter from India to be signed to Invicta FC, Kolekar has been stacking win upon win in her home nation’s MMA scene to a 9-0 pro record with seven finishes, including five in the first round.
TIFFANY VAN SOEST VS. KALYN SCHWARTZ - STRAWWEIGHT
Bo did it, Deion did it and “Time Bomb” is doing it as well. Tiffany Van Soest is a two-sport athlete, as the California fighter signed a joint deal with Invicta FC and Glory kickboxing. The latter is Time Bomb’s first passion, with Van Soest owning a 15-2-1 pro kickboxing record. The former is a new venture for Van Soest, as she will be making her pro and Invicta FC debut against Kalyn “.50 Kal” Schwartz. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Schwartz has earned an unblemished 6-0 amateur MMA record heading into her pro MMA debut. While the pressure is squarely on Time Bomb’s shoulders, Schwartz has a huge opportunity to blow up Van Soest’s hype train with a big win in Kansas City.
JULIA JONES VS. STEPHANIE SKINNER - ATOMWEIGHT
The undefeated Julia “Jewels” Jones had quite a 2015 with three straight wins, including a big unanimous decision win over Paulina Granados in September. Russian-born and American-raised, Jones will aim to ride her 4-0 pro hot streak right over her opponent Stephanie Skinner. A teammate of a litany of Invicta FC alums like JJ Aldrich, Shannon Sinn and Raquel Pennington, 303 Training Center’s Stephanie Skinner will also be making her Invicta FC debut in this bout on the back of a pair of pro wins in 2014. “The Scrapper” has a deceptive 4-5 pro record, as Skinner has gone 4-2 over her last six bouts, including three finishes after starting her career with three losses.
AMBER LEIBROCK VS. AMY COLEMAN - FEATHERWEIGHT
In her first two forays into the featherweight division, Amber Leibrock has split the difference in Invicta FC, but nabbed bonuses on both occasions. In her Invicta FC debut, the Californian earned Performance of the Night honors with a lightning quick KO of judoka Marina Shafir, then took a loss to rising star Megan Anderson in the Fight of the Night in January. Up next, Leibrock will collide with Invicta FC debutant Amy “Donkey Kong” Coleman. The Knoxville native made her pro debut last year and has earned two pro wins and an Invicta FC contract.
ASHLEY GREENWAY VS. SUNNA RANNVEIG DAVIDSDOTTIR - STRAWWEIGHT
At Invicta FC 16, well-tested amateur MMA veteran Ashley “DollFace” Greenway made her long-awaited pro debut in a barnburner of a scrap against Sarah Click. It was a doozy of a debut where Greenway grabbed the unanimous decision after showing a ton of tenacity, a good gas tank and a solid ground game. Now, DollFace will put her perfect 1-0 pro record on the line against Iceland’s Sunna Rannveig Davidsdottir, but you can call her “Tsunami.” Hailing from the same gym as UFC welterweight Gunnar Nelson, the Mjolnir product has had an impressive amateur career, including winning the gold medal in the 2015 IMMAF European Open Championships as a flyweight.