While mixed martial arts fans are waiting on pins and needles for the next event from Invicta Fighting Championships, we now know the main event. According to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, Shannon Knapp announced that featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino will make her long-awaited title defense against Canadian star Charmaine Tweet at Invicta FC 11.
The event is scheduled for Feb. 27 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. If the date and name sound familiar, it should. That weekend, is UFC 184 at the Staples Center – the same city as the Shrine Auditorium – and one of the fights on the card is the UFC women’s bantamweight title bout between Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano. So here we have it sports fans, a chance for the Cyborg and the Rowdy one to cross paths and I’m sure we’ll see Justino attend the UFC event. For the last month, whispers have been going around that UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta is pursing a deal with Justino.
While these two will be in the same city and probably be pushed together to meet by promoters and fans, I’m not going to hang my hat on Cyborg vs. Rousey until the fight becomes real. However there is another story here – the classic tale of a challenger who is not only getting the opportunity of a lifetime but also going up against what many could consider the “unstoppable force” in women’s mixed martial arts.
Standing the opposite side of Justino at Invicta FC 11 is Tweet (6-4), who in the last few years has really come into her own as a fighter.
Tweet, who is “Not So Sweet” inside of the cage, has gone 5-1 in her last six bouts. She dropped a decision to Julia Budd in her Invicta FC debut back in December 2013 before she rebounded from the loss with a first-round rear-naked choke submission over Anna Barone and a first-round TKO victory over prospect Veronica Rothenhausler in a match where she was dominant. The Not So Sweet fighter was scheduled to meet Faith Van Duin at Invicta FC 10 however the latter pulled out of the fight due to medical concerns.
There’s no doubt that Justino brings power to the fight but Tweet has fought tough opponents. She’s only been finished twice – a submission loss to Rousey and a KO loss to Barone – in her career. Her loss to Budd was against an opponent with a good striking background. Tweet also has good striking, ground skills and the height advantage. Still, Justino fights like a train and if Tweet can weather the storm and get Justino to the canvas, she might have a shot.
And Tweet is also motivated for this fight. Since her fight with Van Diun was called off, Tweet has waited and waited and – accidentally injured a training partner in the process – and waited until now.
Combat sports is full of amazing stories of fighters overcoming odds and with Invicta entering a new era, perhaps Tweet will be one of its champions.