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Waterson Defends Title at Invicta FC 8

Read on for the results from Invicta Fighting Championships 8...

KANSAS CITY, Mo. --- Invicta FC atomweight champion Michelle Waterson looked every inch a superstar in the making, as she ripped apart teak-tough challenger Yasuko Tamada in the main event of Invicta FC 8 at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. The “Karate Hottie” scored a standing TKO in the final few seconds of the third round, showing no ring-rust despite over a year away from action.

The Greg Jackson trained 105lbs striker tore into her Japanese challenger from the opening bell, ripping Tamada with lead kicks to the face followed by three and four punch combinations. Waterson – anxious to capitalize on the buzz which began to build around her after her fight of the year caliber title win over Jessica Penne in April 2012 – then dropped her challenger with a push-kick, the timing of which was something to behold.

In the last minute of the first, Waterson clubbed the Japanese veteran around the cage, ended the round by slamming in some nasty knees to the stomach.

Tamada’s right eye didn’t come out for the second round, and the Karate Hottie made a target of it. The game but outgunned challenger continued to struggle with the champion’s velocity and variety in another one-sided round in the second, but Waterson looked a little gassed walking back to her corner.

Waterson paced herself to start the third, but caught her second wind and then came the devastating finish.

The Karate Hottie slammed in a sickening shin to the guts, but the teak-tough Tamada continued to throw back. However, Waterson simply wouldn’t be denied, and set about destroying her target with knees, kicks and punches along the fence.

Tamada has never been finished in her nine-year career, but she was stopped on her feet by reference Greg Franklin.

“She was one tough, tough, opponent,” Waterson said afterwards. “I wanted to stop her so bad. She took everything and I was like “why don’t you fall”. I really wanted to show the improvements I’ve made in my time off. I can’t wait to get back in there.”

Waterson goes to 12-3 and seems like a star in the making. Tamada went to 15-9-3.

In the co-main event and after spending much of the previous four rounds second best, Finish Katja Kankaanpaa pulled out a final-round submission victory over Stephanie Eggink to win the Invicta strawweight world title. The belt was vacated by Carla Esparza, who was let out of her Invicta contract to accept a spot on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Eggink started off very well, winning perhaps three of the four completed rounds, almost scoring a triangle submission in the third and perhaps coming within seconds of getting a ground and pound win in the fourth.

However, at the start of the last round, almost out of nowhere, the Fin got a takedown into side control and slapped on a dragon sleeper for a great come-from-behind victory at 2:03 of the fifth and final round. Her record improves to 10-1-1 while Eggink drops to 4-2.

Kankaanpaa said: “I don’t give up, that’s why I am champion. I won’t stop, you have to stop me.”

Tonya Evinger ruined Ediane Gomez’s plans to welcome Cris Cyborg to the 135lbs division, cranking an armbar for the upset win in the very first round of their bantamweight clash.

Evinger scored a nice takedown early on, and scrambled into what looked like a near submission with a toe-hold. Brazilian vet Gomez escaped, but ate a right cross when they got back to the feet. Another takedown and scramble saw the American take a full mount for a few seconds and land some nasty ground and pound. Gomez bucked her way right into a sweet armbar, which ended a very impressive evening for Evinger at 3:31.

“I’d like the chance to fight for the vacant Invicta title,” said Evinger, who is now 5-0 in her last five.

In the third fight between friendly rivals, Roxanne Modafferi showed improved stand-up in taking a unanimous decision 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 over veteran Tara La Rosa. “The Happy Warrior” – who was a character member of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter to feature women – landed some crisp jabs in the opening round, and took that stanza on speed and work rate alone. “Roxy” landed a straight right hand down the pipe to drop her friend in the first minute of the final round, but elected to let her back up and pepper her with strikes.

La Rosa continued to throw single shots in a gesture of defiance, but many of her punches and all of her kicks were telegraphed. An all-out assault in the final few seconds stole La Rosa a round on one judge’s scorecard, but that was the limit of her success.

Modafferi, one of the nicest humans on the planet, was thrilled to snap a six fight losing streak and win the trilogy that started in 2006. She goes to 16-11 while La Rosa, once the best female MMA fighter in the world, dropped to 21-5.

DeAnna Bennett savaged Michelle Ould with knees to the body in the opening round of their 125lbs fight, landing half a dozen nasty shots to the ribs and gut when she had the California locked in a Thai clinch against the cage. The horn probably saved Ould from a first round finish, as she was clearly in some discomfort after soaking up knee after knee from the aggressive Bennett. It was only a matter of time before Bennett, who holds a win over The Ultimate Fighter’s Julianna Pena, hit her sweet spot again – and the strike came in the form of a kick to the liver, which had Ould fold to the floor for a 1:34 second round stoppage.

Bennett, who is getting better and better, is now 5-0 and probably one fight away from a title shot. Ould drops to 7-4.

In the first ever 155lbs fight in Invicta Charmaine Tweet gave Veronica Rothenhausler the business end of a beating, grounding and pounding the Alpha Male (Alpha Female?) prospect in the very first round. The pair had exchanged some pretty pointed tweets in the building up to this lightweight fight, and there was venom in every strike the pair threw in what was a wild fight while it lasted. Rothenhausler landed a stiff jab and a right hand which looked to stun Tweet for a moment, but Tweet landed her own cross which seemed to knock the Californian’s confidence right out of her. A take down led to a choke attempt, which Tweet abandoned in favor of some vicious punches to the face which ended the grudge fight.

Canadian Tweet, who fought Ronda Rousey earlier in her career at 145lbs, went to 6-4 while Rothenhausler dropped to 1-1.

Mexican bantamweight Irene Aldana tapped out Peggy Morgan in the opening round. The Invicta newcomer dropped Morgan, an Ultimate Fighter veteran, in the opening minute with two crisp right crosses. Morgan scrambled and survived for a while, but Aldana got her again with the right and, this time, followed her down to the canvas, secured the body-triangle and got the tap from a rear-naked choke. Aldana is now 4-1, with all four wins inside the distance.

In a cracking 115lbs encounter Mexican Alexa Grasso didn’t get the promised knockout, but looked plenty impressive in taking a unanimous 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 decision over Ashley Cummins. Grasso, now 5-0, landed some very crisp punches and slammed home enough kicks to the mid-section to remain in control throughout. Game St. Louis native Cummins dropped to 3-3.

Boxing specialist Jodie Esquibel overcame a slow start to use her punches to outscore Jinh Yu Frey down the stretch. The Jackson/Winklejohn atomweight is now 4-1 in MMA while Texan Esquibel dropped to 2-1. Scores were 29-28, 28-29 and 29-27

And in the opening bout of the evening in Kansas City, amateur ranks standout JJ Aldrich impressed in her pro debut, outworking the previously unbeaten strawweight Delaney Owen over three rounds. Aldrich, who holds unpaid wins over UFC fighter Kailin Curran and current Invicta fighter Ashley Greenway, was always in control and pounded out a 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 scorecard.