Witness #InvictaFC29: @mmasarah vs @klwmma LIVE from the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, MO this FRIDAY, MAY 4th! Tickets are still available: https://t.co/k9bfluX8uE pic.twitter.com/3Rc6kTZ9D7
— Invicta FC (@InvictaFights) May 1, 2018
Friday night, the action inside the Invicta FC cage returns to the Scottish Rite in Kansas City, Missouri for an eight-fight affair that will see a new champion crowned in the bantamweight division.
Streaming live on UFC FIGHT PASS starting at 8pm ET / 5pm PT, the event features a handful of familiar names mixed with several newcomers looking to make a mark for themselves inside the Invicta FC cage.
Here’s a look at what’s on tap for Friday night’s festivities.
Sarah Kaufman vs. Katharina Lehner for the vacant Invicta FC bantamweight title
When Yana Kunitskaya matriculated to the UFC earlier this year, the talented Russian gave up her title and now these two standout talents will clash in a battle to determine who will be next to sit atop the 135-pound weight class.
Kaufman made her return to the Invicta FC cage earlier this year with a unanimous decision win over Pannie Kianzad, her second consecutive victory since her first run in the UFC came to a close. The former Strikeforce titleholder is well rounded and has a ton of experience, making her a tough out for anyone that steps into the cage against her and with a victory here, Kaufman should move one step closer to a potential return to the Octagon.
The undefeated Lehner picked up a first-round stoppage win over Alexa Conners in her promotional debut and followed it up with a decision win at home in Germany late last year. Prepping for the contest at the Jackson-Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the unbeaten standout should enter the cage equipped with a sound game plan and always exhibits unwavering confidence in the cage.
Pannie Kianzad vs. Bianca Daimoni
Don’t let Kianzad’s three-fight skid fool you – the Iranian-born, Denmark-based bantamweight was unbeaten prior to those three outings and those setbacks have come against Tonya Evinger, Raquel Pa’aluhi and Kaufman, so it’s not like she’s losing to run of the mill competition.
Daimoni makes her promotional debut boasting a 6-2 record, and she is eager to make a quick impression in the Invicta FC bantamweight division. She has fought exclusively in her native Brazil to this point, so it will be interesting to see what impact – if any – the transition to competing in the American Midwest has on her.
With the division currently being realigned after losing a pair of titleholders last year, this is a terrific opportunity for both women to stake a claim to a place near the top of the rankings and potentially set themselves up for a title shot in the not too distant future.
Pearl Gonzalez vs. Barbara Acioly
Gonzalez struggled in a pair of UFC appearances in 2017, but got right back into the win column by bouncing Kali Robbins from the ranks of the unbeaten in her Invicta FC debut in March. The San Diego-based fighter had won six straight prior to her cup of coffee in the UFC and can re-establish herself as a threat in the 115-pound weight class with another impressive performance here.
Acioly lost to former Invicta FC title challenger Takayo Hashi last time out and will be looking to halt a two-fight slide when she steps into the cage with Gonzalez, but the Brazilian upstart collected four straight victories to begin her career and is still just 25, so it’s possible that her recent struggles are simply a result of growing pains that will prove positive in the long run.
Depending on how this one plays out, a future date with newly minted strawweight champ Virna Jandiroba down the line isn’t out of the question.
Julia Avila vs. Marciea Allen
Unbeaten through her first four professional bouts, the 29-year-old Allen is one to watch in the bantamweight division, boasting decision wins over current UFC contender Marion Reneau and the promotion’s inaugural flyweight champion Nicco Montano.
Competing inside the Invicta FC cage for the first time in more than five years, Allen returns on a three-fight winning streak and carrying a resume chock-full of familiar names. With victories over veterans like Carina Damm and Jan Finney, the “Black Widow” has shown she can hang with experienced foes and should be a tough test for the undefeated Avila on Friday night.
Liz Tracy vs. Cheri Muraski
Tracy makes her sophomore appearance competing under the Invicta FC banner here, looking to build on her unanimous decision win over Susy Watson in February. The Oregon native is just 4-2 in her career, but each of her losses, which came against current UFC fighters Ashley Yoder and Andrea Lee, were the result of split decision verdicts that went the other way.
Muraski has split a pair of appearances inside the Invicta FC cage, defeating Tracy Cortez before falling to Brogan Sanchez in a battle of undefeated upstarts by split decision last time out. The Easton BJJ representative has solid skills on the ground and will be looking to prove she’s still one to watch in the flyweight ranks going forward.
Sarah Kleczka vs. Lisa Spangler
Neophytes to the professional ranks collide in this bantamweight matchup as Kleczka seeks her second straight victory since turning pro as she takes on Spangler, who makes her professional debut after a lengthy and successful amateur career.
Last time out at Invicta FC 25, Kleczka collected a split decision win over Amber Lynn Orr, continuing the undefeated run she enjoyed as an amateur into the professional ranks. Just 22 years old, Spangler posted a 9-1 record during her days on the amateur circuit, with her only setback coming against Invicta FC veteran Kal Schwartz.
These two young ladies are legitimate prospects and this clash could be a glimpse into the future of the 135-pound weight class.
Allison Schmidt vs. Macy Chiasson
Featherweight sophomores meet in their joint Invicta FC debuts as the AKA product Schmidt squares off with 26-year-old Louisiana native Chiasson.
Returning for the first time in 18 months, Schmidt is looking to build on a second-round submission victory from her professional debut, while Chiasson scored a third-round stoppage win in her first start back in November.
The featherweight division is relatively thin and while these two still need more seasoning, the opportunity is there for a couple more impressive performances to result in the winner of this one making an expedited run up the rankings in the 145-pound weight class.
Helen Peralta vs. Cheyanne Vlismas
The opening bout of the evening pits fighters coming off their first pro wins against one another in the strawweight division.
Peralta collected a first-round TKO victory over Jade Ripley in her promotional debut earlier this year, pushing her winning streak to eight overall. Fighting out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Vlismas posted a third-round finish over Karla Hernandez in her professional debut back in March.
Both have shown flashes of potential during their amateur days and made the successful transition to the professional ranks, so it will be interesting to see what kind of gains they’ve each made in advance of this one and whether they profile as potential contenders down the line.