Invicta Fighting Championships unveiled their 11th event, an eight-bout card in Los Angeles, earlier this week. While the main event title bout between featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino and challenger Charmaine “Not So Sweet” Tweet will deliver fireworks, there are two names attached to the event that really have me excited: Alexa Grasso and Irene Aldana, who train at Lobo Gym in Zapopan, Mexico.
Aldana (4-1 MMA, 1-0 Invicta) welcomes prospect Melanie Lacroix to the Invicta cage while Grasso (6-0, 2-0) faces Mizuki Inoue in the co-feature bout.
Those who have followed Invicta FC in the last year watched these two competitors put on some amazing performances. Back in September 2014 Aldana submitted UFC alumna Peggy Morgan with a rear-naked-choke and earned her first “Performance of the Night” bonus.
On the same night Aldana submitted Morgan, Grasso grinded out a decision win over Ashley Cummins in a bout that Invicta fans picked as the “Fight of the Year.” Three months later she submitted Alida Gray with an arm-triangle choke, which earned her a performance bonus.
Lacroix comes in with a 3-2 record that includes a 1-1 run in 2014 where she returned to competition after a six-year layoff. Despite two losses she hasn’t been finished. This should be a pretty good bout to begin the main card.
While Aldana takes on an opponent with similar experience, Grasso faces her toughest challenge. Inoue has already accumulated a lot of experience in her career. She opened a lot of eyes of American fans after her win over Bec Rawlings in 2013 then won two of her three next bouts, including a submission win over Emi Tominatsu for the Deep Jewels Lightweight title. Her momentum was derailed after a split-decision loss over Karolina Kowalkiewicz at Invicta FC 9.
Inoue and Grasso are not only hard-hitting and tough, but also are just scratching the surface of how good they are. While the UFC could in both of their futures, I think the winner of this match could earn a title shot against current Invicta strawweight champion Katja Kankaanpää.