Roxanne Modafferi: Rebirth of the Happy Warrior

Last night’s Invicta Fighting Championships event the first female MMA trilogy fight in the IFC cage where Tara LaRosa took on Roxanne Modafferi for the third time. In the end, Modafferi, also known as “The Happy Warrior” got the decision.

Modafferi and LaRosa first squared off in 2006 with the latter getting the decision. They fought four years later where “The Happy Warrior” picked up the split-decision. Since then both fighters had bumps in the road. La Rosa was 3-3 in her next six fights while Modafferi was riding a six-fight skid.

At Invicta FC 8, Modafferi and La Rosa – fighters and rivals – entered the cage, dancing to the tune of the latter’s walkout music of “American Pie.” But once that bell rang it was all business.

While LaRosa was throwing wild shots, Modafferi displayed some good old-fashioned technical striking and improved footwork. From a striking standpoint, Modafferi never looked as good as she did last night.

Modafferi made her professional MMA debut in 2003 and enjoyed some success in Japan, including making it to the semi-finals of the Smackgirl World ReMix 2004 Openweight tournament. Over the years she’s fought some dangerous opponents and won several regional titles in the United States and the Land of the Rising Sun. In 2007 she won the K-GRACE 1 openweight tournament. Recently she starred on the 18th season of the UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter” as a member of Team Tate and even fought in the octagon against Raquel Pennington back in 2013.

Although Modafferi is a pioneer of the sport – one of the most beloved – she showed that you can teach old warriors some new tricks and this improved striking is something to add to her already dangerous arsenal of groundwork.

The sky is the limit for Modafferi in terms of her future. During the post-fight interview she told Kedzie that she’s gunning for a rematch with current Invicta FC strawweight champion Barb “Little Warrior” Honchak. The Little Warrior submitted Modafferi in 2011 with a rear-naked-choke in the third round.

Personally I think there’s a chance Modafferi could make a splash in Invicta’s bantamweight division – a weight class that has no current champion. Tonya Evinger submitted Ediane Gomes last night and staked a claim for the 135-pound women’s title. A fight between Modafferi and Evinger for the bantamweight strap would be a good scrap on the ground or on the feet.

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About Al Stover

I graduated from Eastern Washington University with a bachelor's degree in journalism. I currently work as a Staff Reporter for the Cheney Free Press. I have interviewed characters like cage fighters, drag queens and dungeon masters. I like Batman, coffee, MMA and beer.
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