When many fighters who step into the ring or cage as a professional for the first time, they make the most of it, especially when it’s a woman making her pro MMA debut in the Invicta cage. Amber Leibrock did just that when she finished Marina “The Supernova from Moldova” at Invicta FC 13 in her first professional fight.
After a few quick exchanges, Leibrock rocked Shafir with a couple of overhand rights and sent The Supernova to the canvas. As Shafir tried to lock the leg, Leibrock unleashed some ground-and-pound until referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the fight. Some fans and critics are chastising Leibrock for grabbing the cage as Shafir was trying to pull her down, as well as Mazzagatti – who is no stranger to criticism – for not seeing it. That might be dirty pool in some peoples’ eyes, but if the referee doesn’t see it … you probably know the rest.
Just before Leibrock was getting her hand raised, Julie Kedzie, commentator and Invicta matchmaker, said Leibrock was “bringing new blood” to the 145-pound division. Leibrock solidified this notion after she said she wanted to fight the best at featherweight. While Invicta FC ended the night with longtime champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino successfully defending her title against Faith Van Duin in 45 seconds. In the first fight of the evening, Lebrock finished Shafir in 37. Leibrock may be the future of the promotion’s 145 weight class that has rising talent like Amanda Bell, Layota Walker and Peggy Morgan – as well as newcomers such as Hannah Rogers and Megan Anderson.
Leibrock won a four-fighter TUFF-N-UFF tournament to get her Invicta contract.This win over Shafir gives her some notoriety and shows fans that she is one of the young guns in this division, which is what Invicta kind of needs, especially if Justino actually makes the 135-pound weight cut and leaves the promotion to fight UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Invicta is happy for their talent that moves on to bigger things but they have to be concerned of a potential exodus of their talent.
Of course they don’t have to worry about losing 145 fighters to the UFC. The biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world doesn’t have a women’s featherweight division … not yet. Bellator has one, but they rarely showcase those bouts. They haven’t even crowned a champion, which surprises me because they’ve signed notable fighters like Julia Budd and Marloes Coenen. You’d think they would want someone to carry a championship and be one of the faces of the company. Perhaps they are waiting for someone big enough to sign with them.
For a 145-pound woman fighter, Invicta is the biggest stage and Leibrock has a chance to make it her’s. She could someday fight for Invicta gold and maybe even face Justino, assuming she doesn’t leave Invicta or finds a way to still be the promotion’s champion while fighting in the UFC.
And why not face the Cyborg? Leibrock wants to fight the best and there is no one better at 145 right now.