When a fighter gets cut from the UFC roster, it’s easy to sit back and ponder the reasons they were released in the first place – and whether or not they deserved to be ousted from the promotion in the first place. But overall a mixed martial artist’s worth shouldn’t be about how long their UFC tenure was or their record prior to being released but what they do after they experience that career setback. More often than not, fighters who get cut by the UFC will go on and find success in other promotions and reach new milestones.
Angela “Overkill” Hill is such a fighter. Less than a year after she was released from the UFC – following back-to-back losses to Rose Namajunas and Tecia Torres – Hill strung together two impressive wins in the Invicta cage and is set to challenge Livia Renata Souza for the strawweight title at Invicta FC 17.
Hill’s came into the UFC as one of the fighters in “The Ultimate Fighter 20” with a 2-0 record and an accomplished kickboxer. There were some doubts – mainly pundits who said “well that was kickboxing and this is MMA” argument.
Carla Esparza would eliminate Hill from the “TUF 20” tournament. She dropped a decision to Tecia Torres at UFC 188 in her octagon debut, then was submitted by Namajunas.
Hill signed with Invicta shortly after the UFC let her go. She finished Alida Gray, who came in with a loss to Jessica Aguilar, in her Invicta debut. “Overkill’s” next Invicta bout came sooner than some expected as she stepped in on short notice for Alexa Grasso to fight Stephanie Eggink in what many speculated would be a title eliminator bout between the Mexican prospect and the former XFC champion. While Eggink had more experience and a proficient grappling background, Hill knocked out Eggink and earned her first “Performance of the Night” bonus.
Which brings us to now. Some questioned as to why Hill was getting a championship bout over Grasso, who many speculated – included the writer of this long-winded column – the future of Invicta’s 115-pound division. Perhaps the Invicta brass felt Grasso, who’s had to withdraw from two scheduled bouts and didn’t feel confident she’d make it for Invicta FC 17. Perhaps the title shot is Hill’s reward for stepping into a big-fight situation.
Perhaps they feel Hill’s striking will match well with Souza, who’s not only got a nasty grappling background but also good hands herself. Whatever the reason(s), Invicta, who many compliment for putting on good, competitive bouts, felt this would be another barn burner.
And I think it will be.