Note: This is a column I wrote for MMA Latest News
There is much hype going into Invicta Fighting Championships’ 13th event, which takes place July 10th.
The promotion will leave its home base in Kansas City, Missouri and travel to new territory – specifically Las Vegas, which many consider the “Fight Capital of the World.”
The event already features two title – possibly three – title bouts, including the featherweight championship match between Cris “Cyborg” Justino and Faith Van Duin. Irish prospect Catherine Costigan is also expected to make her Invicta debut against Amber Brown.
As they’ve done in the past, Invicta reached out to fans through social media, asking for their dream matches. The Invicta faithful sent their picks by the droves, pleading to the promotion, president Shannon Knapp and matchmaker Julie Kedzie that (insert random WMMA fighter here) deserves to be on the card because (insert random reason here). It’s no different than any other day if you watch Invicta’s Twitter feed for a few minutes.
It’s great that fans give suggestions and try to help their favorite athlete, but with Invicta bringing their event into a city that already has its fair share of major and minor combat sporting events – don’t forget International Fight Week and all of the festivities that come with it – the promotion is going to promote the heck out of their card to generate casual fan interest.
I’ve already suggested that a bantamweight title match between Tonya Evinger and Irene Aldana would make a good addition to the card, but one star who could be an asset to the card is featherweight prospect and recent signee Marina Shafir. Invicta signed “The Supernova from Moldova” earlier this year. Shafir is 1-1 as a professional and went 5-0 as an amateur. Most fans know her as the “Four Horsewomen” friend and partner in crime to UFC women’s bantamweight champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.
Some die hard WMMA fans may take umbrage of having Shafir on the card because she hasn’t fought in the Invicta cage, doesn’t have the experience as some of the other 145-pound Invicta fighters or is famous from her association with Rousey. However, I’m sure these same fans would tune into the event to see her fall, as well as the fans who would “boo” Shafir because of her friendship with Rousey.
Then you have the folks who have actually watched Shafir train and fight and say “You know this kid has got something” would watch to see how she does in her first foray in the Invicta cage. And of course, you have the die hard Rousey fans who would watch Shafir because she is a longtime friend of the Rowdy one.
As far as opponents are concerned, there are a few choices. One suggestion is Amanda Bell, who scored a 37-second knockout win over Shafir in the Supernova’s second pro fight. Some might say a rematch is too soon and I agree if Bell isn’t healthy. However, I think this fight would bring some drama to the card – and by drama I mean a compelling story. In one corner you have Shafir looking to avenge her first pro loss and in the other you have Bell, who is looking to rebound from her defeat against Van Duin at Invicta FC 12 back in April.
Sijara Eubanks is another candidate for Shafir. Both have strong grappling backgrounds and similar experience. Eubanks is coming off a win against Gina Begley in a featherweight bout. If Eubanks decides to stay at 145, the Supernova would be a good match.
If Bell or Eubanks aren’t available, there’s always Tamikka “Boom Boom” Brents or Ediane Gomes. Invicta could always bring in a new fighter to test Shafir.
Shafir signing with Invicta created some buzz for the both of them. Imagine if the Supernova debuted at Invicta FC 13, won her match, then later in the evening stood in the cage with Justino – providing the Cyborg gets past Van Duin first.