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Tiburcio Subs Waterson, Claims Invicta Atomweight Title

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Friday night might have marked the start of a serious rivalry in the 105-pound weight class, as 21-year-old Brazilian Herica Tiburcio collected a third-round submission win over Michelle Waterson at the Arena Theater in Houston, Texas to become the new Invicta FC atomweight champion.

After a pair of close rounds to begin the fight that saw each fighter threatening with submissions, Tiburcio dumped Waterson on the canvas early in the third after the Team Jackson-Winkeljohn fighter missed a hook kick. Following a brief positional battle on the mat, Tiburcio locked her grip and clamped down on a deep arm-in guillotine, forcing Waterson to tap at the 1:04 mark.

Overcome with emotion, the Brazilian delivered Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza’s patented “Alligator Crawl” in celebration as the tears rolled down her cheeks.

Established as a top prospect coming into the fight after battling highly-regarded strawweight Claudia Gadelha to a decision last year, Tiburcio proved that the move down to compete in the 105-pound ranks was the right choice, pulling off the upset to claim the atomweight title in her promotional debut.

The loss ends Waterson’s brief reign atop the division and halts her winning streak at six, but could set the stage for future battles between these two talents in the future. Tiburcio will turn 22 on New Year’s Day and Waterson will hit 29 just five days later, so depending on how things shake out going forward – and given how entertaining this back-and-forth battle was – it wouldn’t be surprising to see these two face off for the title again somewhere down the line.


Tonya Evinger is on a rampage.

Since suffering consecutive losses to future UFC title challengers Alexis Davis and Sara McMann, “Triple Threat” has been on fire, and that roll continued Friday night in her hometown of Houston as she submitted Cindy Dandois early in the second round to pick up her sixth consecutive victory.

Returning off a three-year layoff, Dandois had little to offer Evinger, who quickly took her back and controlled the action on the canvas in the opening round. Early in the second, “Battlecat” shot for a takedown and Evinger quickly countered, secured back mount and worked towards the finish, ultimately getting a hold of Dandois’ right arm and securing the tap just over a minute into the second stanza.

The win should earn Evinger an opportunity to challenge for the vacant bantamweight title in 2015. After failing to make it into the Ultimate Fighter house on Season 18, the 33-year-old veteran is proving that she’s one of the top 135-pound talents in the sport, regardless of where she’s competing.

Official Result: Tonya Evinger defeats Cindy Dandois by Submission (Armbar) at 1:23 of Round 2.


Viewed as a contest pitting the old guard against the next generation, Roxanne Modafferi and Andrea Lee paired off in an entertaining bantamweight affair that showed “The Happy Warrior” isn’t yet ready to cede her place in the division to Lee or any other emerging talent.

The veteran Modafferi, who broke a six-fight losing streak with a win over Tara LaRosa at Invicta FC 8 in September, dictated the terms of the bout for the majority of the contest, using her clinch game and takedowns to neutralize Lee’s dangerous kickboxing arsenal, ultimately picking up a split decision victory.

Every time Lee landed, Modafferi was able to counter, showcasing the tremendous improvements she’s made in the striking department since relocating to Las Vegas to train with the group at Syndicate MMA. On the ground, the TUF 18 contestant and women’s MMA pioneer was able to keep Lee on her back, score from top position and threaten with submissions when the young Louisiana native gave up her back.

In the end, two of three judges saw it in favor of Modaferri, who moves to 17-11 with the victory.

Official Result: Roxanne Modafferi defeats Andrea Lee by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)


In a battle that could determine the next challenger for Invicta FC flyweight champion Barb Honchak, unbeaten Pit Elevated product DeAnna Bennett and Chute Boxe representative Jennifer Maia went toe-to-toe for 15 minutes in a close, technical affair.

The bout played out as a battle of Maia’s aggression and Bennett’s ability to slip and counter. Throughout the fight, Maia was the one coming forward, pushing the pace and taking the fight to Bennett, but “The Argentine Assassin” showed a steely resolve, standing in the pocket and firing counter shots at every turn.

It was a fast-paced, high output affair for the full 15 minutes and when the cards were read, it was Bennett that got the nod, picking up the unanimous decision with scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28. Though not a popular verdict, the victory could set the still undefeated Bennett up for a title shot in 2015.

Official Result: DeAnna Bennett defeats Jennifer Maia by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).


Midway through Friday night’s fight card, 2-2 TUF 18 contestant Peggy Morgan welcomed 3-1 Andria Wawro into the Invicta FC cage for the first time in a featherweight matchup that proved to be a closely contested affair.

All three rounds were tight – Wawro throwing and landing the bigger, heavier punches, while Morgan utilized a more technical, traditional boxing approach. Neither fighter did any serious damage in the opening two rounds, making the final frame a “winner takes all” round, and while Wawro was able to land a couple wild overhand rights, Morgan controlled the action along the cage and doled out a series of unanswered uppercuts that lumped up Wawro and proved to be the deciding factor in the fight.

After a two-fight losing streak competing in the bantamweight ranks, “The Daywalker” returns to the win column by moving back up in weight, pushing her record to 3-2 in the process.

Official Result: Peggy Morgan defeats Andria Wawro by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).


Alexa Grasso is the real deal and a future superstar in the women’s strawweight division.

The 21-year-old native of Guadalajara, Mexico needed just 1:47 to pick up her sixth consecutive win to start her career, blasting veteran Alida Gray with a series of strikes that sent her to the mat. From there, the unbeaten standout unleashed a barrage of unanswered strikes that prompted the stoppage.

Given the UFC’s recent debut in Mexico City and expressed intention to return in 2015, don’t be surprised if the Lobo Gym standout finds herself fighting in the Octagon in her home country some time next year.

Official Result: Alexa Grasso defeats Alida Gray by TKO (Strikes) at 1:47 of Round 1.


After missing weight and giving up a percentage of her purse, Texas native Jinh Yu Frey made sure to pick up a win bonus on Friday night, earning a first-round submission win over Cassie Robb in front of the partisan crowd in Houston.

While Robb was able to close the distance quickly, the decision proved costly, as Frey controlled the clinch, climbed on her back and sunk in the rear naked choke from a backpack position. Robb tried to slam her off by plunging to the mat, but Frey stayed sticky, tightened up the choke and secured the tap.

It was a strong bounce-back performance for the 29-year-old Frey, who dropped a close split decision to Team Jackson-Winkeljohn veteran Jodie Esquibel back in September and moves to 3-1 with the win. With the loss, Robb drops to 0-3 as a pro, with all three setbacks coming inside the Invicta FC cage.

Official Result: Jinh Yu Frey defeats Cassie Robb by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:36 of Round 1.


In an opening bout battle between Invicta FC newcomers, 23-year-old Hawaiian Rachel Ostovich and Kentucky-based Evva Johnson went the distance in a fight that will stand as a learning experience for both fighters.

The opening round was the closest of the three five-minute frames, with Ostovich, decked out in her Wonder Woman attire, landing the more significant strikes while Johnson threatened with an armbar when the two went to the canvas. Round Two belonged to Ostovich, who controlled the frame with powerful grappling, while Johnson earned the nod in the third after spending the majority of the round in back mount, searching for a submission.

When the cards were read, it was Ostovich that picked up the split decision victory to move to 2-1, while the setback gives Johnson the first loss of her professional career.

Official Result: Rachel Ostovich defeats Evva Johnson by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)