To quote Staind,” It’s been awhile,” since Invicta Fighting Championships had someone wearing the bantamweight championship around their waist.
Tonya “Triple Threat” Evinger culminated a nine-year journey to win the Invicta FC bantamweight championship after she defeated Irene Aldana at Invicta FC 13.
Aldana, prospect from Mexico, came in with back-to-back submission wins over Peggy Morgan and Colleen Schneider. Some looked at Aldana as the next big thing at 135 pounds, including UFC President Dana White. Some folks even called her a female Cain Velasquez. This was when Velasquez was the UFC heavyweight champion. Anyone who follows the sport knows that he recently dropped the title to Fabricio Werdum, who was apparently in attendance at Invicta FC 13.
A similar fate happened to Aldana when Evinger, who is no stranger to playing spoiler, dominated her in the cage. After four rounds, the Triple Threat finished Aldana.
Evinger, who had been advocating for a title shot, stood in the center of the cage with the belt around her waist. She proved her doubters wrong and even gave an “F you.”
I’m happy for Evinger, especially since she’s focused on being the Invicta FC bantamweight champion for a long time, which is reassuring for the promotion.
For many fighters the goal is to make it to the top level of competition and Invicta has seen its fair share of talent leave for the UFC including former titleholders Lauren Murphy (135), Michelle Waterson (105) and Carla Esparza (115). But like Oberyn Martell when he met with Tyrion Lannister in the moments leading up to the Trial By Combat, Evinger pledged that she will remain the queen of Invicta’s Casterly Rock, which is more than we can say for the promotion’s current featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino.
After she made short work of Faith Van Duin, the Cyborg called out UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey – something she’s done numerous times in the past. Justino already has a UFC contract and will get a shot at Rousey if she can make the 135-pound weight cut.
If Justino does successfully cut to bantamweight, where does that leave Invicta? Someone joked that on the Invicta FC 13 poster, Justino was turning her back on the promotion. President Shannon Knapp is happy for her fighters to achieve higher success but with Justino gone that leaves a hole in terms of star power.
It’s fine if Justino wants to leave. It gives other fighters an opportunity to be at the top of the featherweight mountain, as well as let Evinger’s star shine brighter.
Now that Evinger is the bantamweight champion, it will be interesting to see what the future brings, not just for Invicta, but also for the Triple Threat.