PRESS RELEASE – Just three months after its first world championship bout, Invicta Fighting Championships will return to Memorial Hall in Kansas City and crown a champion in it’s Strawweight division as undefeated sensation Claudia Gadelha (9-0) of Mossoro, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil battles streaking star Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza (8-2) of Redondo Beach, CA for the title in the main event of a 12-bout fight card on Saturday, January 5th.
In the Bantamweight co-main event, crowd-pleasing submission ace Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler (15-7) of Sioux Falls, SD will go to war with fellow top-ranked star Alexis “Ally Gator” Davis (12-5) of Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada.
Tickets, priced from $25, for the Invicta FC 4: Gadelha vs Esparza women’s MMA event, go on sale Monday, November 26 at Memorial Hall box office (913-549-4853), online at Ticketmaster.com and InvictaFC.com and by phone at 800-745-3000.
Claudia Gadelha vs Carla Esparza
Just 23 years old, Gadelha (9-0) boasts three world championships and seven national titles in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition and has submitted seven of her first nine opponents. An injury kept the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt sidelined for the entirety of 2011 but, on April 20, 2012, she returned to action, earning a unanimous decision win over Valerie Letorneau in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. Gadelha returned to her homeland and scored a first round (1:35) TKO on Adriana Vieira on September 21.
The 25-year-old Esparza (8-2) has been gaining momentum, winning her last three fights. Her last two victories – a second round (4:28) TKO of Sarah Schneider and a first round (2:53) TKO of Lynn Alvarez – came inside the Invicta FC cage on July 28 and October 6, respectively. To date, three of Esparza’s professional wins have come by way of (T)KO and three by way of submission.
Shayna “Queen of Spades” Baszler vs Alexis “Ally-Gator” Davis – Bantamweight
The 32-year-old Baszler (15-7) lit up Memorial Hall for the second time on an Invicta FC show on October 6, outworking Sarah D’Alelio on the ground and securing a rear-naked choke that forced D’Alelio to tap out at the :37 mark of the second round of their matchup. A fearsome grappler, Baszler has earned the respect of the fight world by earning 14 of her 15 victories with submissions, including her patented hold that she dubbed the “shwing.”
Davis (12-5), a 28-year-old black belt in both Japanese Jujutsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, has been ranked as high as the No. 3 Bantamweight female fighter in the world by the Unified Women’s MMA Rankings. In her last effort at Invicta FC 2 on July 28, Davis submitted Japanese star Hitomi Akano with a rear-naked choke in the second round (3:41) of their matchup.
Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith vs TBD – Bantamweight
Following her second round (2:19) TKO of Kaitlin Young at Invicta FC 3 on October 6, Smith (4-2-1) of Pleasant Hill, CA will return to action to face an opponent to be determined.
Amanda “Lioness of the Ring” Nunes vs Sarah “The Monster” Alelio – Bantamweight
Since making her pro debut in March 2008, Nunes (7-2) has established a reputation as a ferocious power-puncher. The 24-year-old, who began her boxing training at age 16, exploded onto the national MMA scene in The US on January 7, 2011, demolishing Julia Budd with a barrage of punches just 14 seconds into their live, Showtime-televised fight. Nunes made her Invicta FC debut on July 28, submitting Raquel Pa’aluhi with a rear-naked choke in the first round (2:24) of their bout.
D’Alelio (6-3) has competed on all three Invicta FC cards, thus far. The 31-year-old submission ace, who has earned five of her six wins by way of submission and the sixth by TKO, will look to return to the win column after a valiant performance against Baszler. D’Alelio forced Vanessa Mariscal to tap out from a barrage of punches in the second round (3:19) of their meeting at the historic, first Invicta FC event on April 28, and tapped out Vanessa Porto with a rear-naked choke in the first round (3:16) of their Invicta FC 2 bout.
Hiroko “Cat’s Eye” Yamanaka vs Ediane “India” Gomes – Featherweight
Yamanaka (12-2) is a former open weight champion in Japan’s now-defunct Smackgirl MMA promotion and the No. 7 ranked Featherweight according to the Unified Women’s Mixed Martial Arts Rankings. The 34-year-old Muay Thai and submission grappling specialist, put together an eight-fight win streak between November 2008 and July 2011, and emerged a star in Japanese promotion JEWELS during that span.
Gomes (8-2) is a 31-year-old submission expert and member of vaunted South FL based fight squad American Top Team. Hardened in her native Brazil where amateur level competition is non-existent, Gomes was victorious in her first five professional fights – four by way of armbar submission and one via TKO. At Invicta FC on October 6, she forced the highly-touted Malungahu to tap out from a rear-naked choke in the first round (4:19) of their undercard bout.
Joanne Calderwood vs Bec “Rowdy” Hyatt – Strawweight
Calderwood (4-0) is an explosive, 26-year-old national Muay Thai champion in Scotland, who has successfully transitioned to the sport of MMA by going unbeaten in her first four pro starts. On October 6, she reeled off her fourth victory at Invicta FC 3, KOing Ashley Cummins with a brutal knee strike to the body in the first round (3:13) of their matchup. Calderwood’s performance earned her “KO of the Night” honors from the promotion.
Since suffering a defeat in her pro debut on October 15, 2011, the 23-year-old Hyatt (4-1) has been on fire, winning four consecutive fights. In her last start on October 20, Hyatt, the first Australian competitor to sign with Invicta FC, finished Christina Nicole Tatnell just 37 seconds into their matchup with a flurry of punches.
The six-bout preliminary card will be capped off with an Atomweight clash between Stephanie “Macaquinha” Frausto (4-4) of Cincinnati, Ohio and “Sassy” Cassie Rodish (3-3) of Des Moines, Iowa.
Unbeaten Tamikka “Boom Boom” Brents (1-0) of Springfield, IL will take on Amanda “The Lady Killer” Bell (0-0) of Medford, OR at Featherweight.
Jodie Esquibel (2-0) of Albuquerque, NM and “Lightning” Liz McCarthy (1-0) of Tigard, OR will square off at Atomweight.
At Strawweight, Emily Kagan (2-0) of Albuquerque, NM will put her undefeated record on the line against Rose “The Riveter” Namajunas (0-0) of Milwaukee, WI.
“12 Gauge” Paige Van Zant (2-0) of Sparks, NV will face off with Tecia “The Tiny Tornado” Torres (1-0) of Ft. Lauderdale, FL at Strawweight.
After scoring her second consecutive, five-second KO on July 8, Veronica “The Heartbreaker” Rothenhausler (0-0) of Reno, NV will make her much-anticipated professional debut against fellow heavy-handed Featherweight competitor Katalina Malungahu (2-1) of Las Vegas, NV.
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