Note: This is a column I did for MMA Latest
Fans of Tonya Evinger received some good news last night at the Invicta FC postfight press conference after president Shannon Knapp announced that the “Triple Threat” would be next in line for a bantamweight title shot.
This couldn’t have come at a better time as Invicta is currently without a 135-pound titleholder and Evinger (14-6 MMA, 3-0 IFC) is someone who deserves to fight for it.
Invicta’s bantamweight title picture has been up in the air for the last year. It crowed it’s first champion, Lauren Murphy, at the end of 2013. Murphy’s reign wasn’t that grand as she left for the UFC to fight Sara McMann before she could make her first title defense.
Evinger has been on a tear since she first stepped into the Invicta cage. She looked impressive in her win against Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio at Invicta FC 7, then followed it up with back-to-back armbar submission wins over Ediane Gomes and Cindy Dandois.
Prior to fighting for Invicta, Evinger was a journeywoman who racked up an 11-6 record that included wins over Julie Kedzie and Carina Damm. She’s also faced some tough competition throughout her career, such as Gina Carano, Alexis Davis and Vanessa Porto.
If Evinger is going to fight for Invicta’s bantamweight crown, who should she face?
One possibility is Mexican prospect Irene Aldana. Knapp said Aldana (5-1, 2-0) might be line for a title shot.
Aldana is coming off back-to-back submission wins over Peggy Morgan and Colleen Schneider. The prospect has shown fans that she has a well-rounded game and she’s making headlines along with her gym partner and undefeated strawweight prospect Alexa Grasso. This fight could peak the interest of MMA fans who have recently on the Invicta bandwagon and headline or at least co-headline a future Invicta event.
Another opponent for Evinger is “The Happy Warrior” Roxanne Modafferi, a veteran as well as one of the most beloved women fighters in the sport.
Like Evinger, Modafferi is on an impressive run as of late. In her Invicta debut, she defeated Tara LaRosa in the third fight of their trilogy, which also snapped The Happy Warrior’s six-fight losing streak. Three months later she picked up a split-decision win over rising star Andrea “KGB” Lee.
While Evinger vs. Aldana would grab the attention of casual Invicta fans, this fight would bring in folks who have followed the careers of both fighters. It could also be an entertaining match on the feet or the ground. Some critics would argue that Modafferi should stay at flyweight – her fight with Lee was at 125 – but she could move back and forth between weight classes.
Some critics believe that Invicta should abandon hope of establishing a solid 135 weight class because of the UFC’s roster. While the UFC has several great fighters in the women’s bantamweight division, there are plenty of competitors like Evinger, Modafferi and Aldana who can make Invicta’s 135 weight class just as entertaining and competitive as other organizations. There are also numerous fighters from around the world who would love the opportunity to step into the Invicta cage.
Invicta has the talent and the capability to make their bantamweight division one of the strongest in MMA, it just needs a champion. Like Oberyn Martell said to Tyrion Lannister before the Imp’s trial by combat, Evinger has already told Invicta and the world that she will be its champion.