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Invicta FC 29’s Kianzad channeling self-belief to break losing streak

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Former Invicta title challenger Pannie Kianzad spoke about her upcoming fight with Bianca Daimoni at this Friday’s Invicta FC 29.

After dominating the regional scene and lifting a bantamweight title in Cage Warriors, Pannie Kianzad (8-3) moved to Invicta in 2015. Since then she has faced a relative murderer’s row of competition. This Friday, she’s hoping to turn that tough experience into a victory over promotional newcomer Bianca Daimoni (7-2).

Kianzad’s first bout in Invicta was against current UFC talent Jessica-Rose Clark. She won that match via unanimous decision. After that the Iranian-born Swede lost in a title fight to UFC title challenger Tonya Evinger. After that she lost to Invicta bantamweight title challengers Raquel Pa’aluhi and Sarah Kaufman.

“I think that it’s a great experience to fight those girls and I think it’s going to benefit me more in the future,” said Kianzad of her Invicta run. “I’m pretty young still in this sport. I’m making my 12th fight and I’m only 26. It’s definitely been a good learning experience.”

“It’s going to be a big difference fighting Bianca Daimoni now. She’s not Sarah Kaufman, but she’s still good,” added Kianzad. “It’s going to benefit me a lot from being in those fights, especially because, at some points, I could keep up with Sarah; that makes me feel really confident for this fight.”

Looking back on her tenure so far with Invicta, Kianzad said candidly, “I’ve had my ups and downs.” She then revealed that after losing to Evinger, her first loss ever, she was sidelined with injuries for around 18 months.

“That really took a big toll on me mentally, because I wasn’t sure if I could recover from that. I wasn’t sure if I could come back, but I just kept hanging in there and I came back stronger. But everything after that, it’s definitely been a struggle, especially fighting the girls I fought. But it’s made me stronger.”

From a technical aspect, Kianzad said her wrestling and ground game have improved the most over her trial of fire against Invicta’s very best. She also said, though her background is in striking, she has substantially sharpened her stand-up game over the last year.

“I’ve got more power into my strikes now than I did a few years back,” she said. “And I could feel that against Sarah and I was more game than ever.”

Kianzad credits her improvements to Arte Suave, a Copenhagen based gym she joined from RumbleSports about a year and a half ago. Arte Suave is owned by former UFC fighter Joachim Christensen. Kianzad’s head coach there is Nikolai Koubti and her training partners are UFC fighters Mads Burnell and Damir Hadzovic.

“I’m actually really proud of my camp,” said Kianzad who added that she’s been working with a professional nutritionist for the first time in six-year MMA career.

Despite being on a three-fight losing skid, Kianzad is eager and excited to show how well prepared she is come Friday evening. She’s also happy to be back in an Invicta cage, a promotion she has nothing but good things to say about.

“I really love fighting for Invicta,” she said. “Because you never feel like you’re just another fighter. In the big leagues, it’s common that you feel like you’re [expendable] and you fear that, ‘If I don’t do this; maybe they will cut me. Maybe I won’t get any fights,’ but they treat us so well. And I like fighting for an all female promotion right now because we can get the attention we deserve.”

Kianzad said the opportunities to show her personality and engage with “real fans” were also benefits of the Invicta experience. But even though she’s more than content with competing in Shannon Knapp’s promotion, Kianzad was realistic in admitting she’d jump at the chance to compete in the UFC.

“Of course, I would love to, if the UFC would come to Copenhagen, I would love to represent in Copenhagen,” said Kianzad, referring to her most recently adopted home of Denmark. “That would be a dream come true, but I would never sit and wait for it. I would like to keep busy and if it happens, it happens.”

To attract the UFC, Kianzad will need an impressive showing against Daimoni; who has never fought outside of Brazil.

“I’m really confident, like I always am, because even though it hasn’t gone my way the last three fights, I’ve had to be really tough,” said Kianzad. “I’m never going to stop believing in myself because if I stop, I won’t have anyone else believing in me. If I believe in myself, I know I am going to do great and I feel really strong for this bout. And I feel that a lot of the aspects in the fight will be one-sided and I will be the one pushing forward. So I hope I finish her.”

You can watch Pannie Kianzad vs. Bianca Daimoni this Friday night on UFC Fight Pass. Invicta FC 29, live from the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, MO, starts at 8PM ET. It’s headlined by a bantamweight title fight between MMA pioneer Sarah Kaufman and the undefeated Katharina Lehner.


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