Note: This is a column I wrote for MMA Latest News
During Invicta FC 12, president Shannon Knapp said Invicta Fighting Championship’s July 10th event in Las Vegas would possibly have title matches. Two title fights have already been announced for the event – Cris “Cyborg” Justino vs. Faith Van Duin for the featherweight title and Herica Tiburcio vs. Ayaka Hamasaki for the atomweight strap.
If Invicta decides to include a third title match for their card, it should be one that will crown a new bantamweight champion. The promotion hasn’t had a 135-pound titleholder since Lauren Murphy became the inaugural champion back in 2013. Murphy vacated the title after she signed with the UFC to fight Sara McMann on short notice.
The two fighters who should be considered for this contest are veteran Tonya Evinger and Mexico’s Irene Aldana. Both Evinger and Aldana have experienced success in the Invicta cage. Evinger, a wily veteran in the sport, is currently riding a six-fight winning streak. She debuted for Invicta back in December 2013 where she controlled Sarah D’Alelio for three rounds to score a decision. She has back-to-back submission victories over Ediane Gomes and Cindy Dandois. The “Triple Threat” is also hungry for her first world championship and wants to be face of the promotion.
In the other corner, you have Aldana, who like Evinger, has racked up back-to-back submissions over Peggy Morgan and Colleen Schneider. She suffered her first loss in 2013 where she was knocked out by Larissa Pacheco in the first round. Aldana also has strong hands, winning her first three fights via first-round knockout – all of them under a minute. Her recent performances have caught the eyes of fans.
A fight between these two would be a scrap. While Aldana has displayed knockout power, Evinger is also a proficient striker. Evinger’s wrestling has been her bread and butter in her last couple of bouts, but Aldana’s grappling has been improving since she debuted in the Invicta cage.
Unlike Invicta’s last few title bouts, this one would feature two fighters who have previously fought in the cage. Although having fighters like Tiburcio, Livia Renata Souza – who just captured the Invicta strawweight championship from Katja Kankaanpää – compete for a world championship in their first foray in the Invicta cage, they are really only known to hardcore fans and not to the casual folks. Although Invicta FC 12 was a good event, there were more empty seats in the Municipal Auditorium then there should have been for a promotion having an event at their home base (especially for their third-year anniversary).
With Invicta heading into Las Vegas – a new territory – they’re dealing a fanbase that may not be as passionate or knowledgeable when it comes to women’s mixed martial arts as a whole. Like folks in who watch professional wrestling, hardcore fans may turn up their noses at those with less knowledge than them but the casual fans are the one who will be purchasing the tickets.
Evinger vs. Aldana makes for a good story, one that Invicta could promote the hell out of. In Evinger you have the tough veteran who has finally reached the last rung of the Invicta ladder and is so close to gaining her first title. With Aldana, you have the hot prospect who is climbing the ranks and capturing the Invicta title would the first of many milestones in her career.
Invicta FC 13 is taking shape. It’s already confirmed two title bouts and the 105-pound match between Irish star Catherine Costigan and Amber Brown have given it some legs, but Evinger vs. Aldana could make it the event of the year.