How long does Virna Jandiroba plan on holding the Invicta FC strawweight title? She never wants to let it go.
“All the girls out there can be sure I’m taking good care of [the belt] and I’ll be holding it for infinity and beyond,” Jandiroba said Saturday night.
You can understand her confidence: Jandiroba put in a strong showing in defeating fellow Brazilian Janaisa Morandin (10-2) on Saturday night in the main event of Invcita FC 31. Jandiroba quite simply dominated all aspects of the fight before submitting here at the 2:32 mark of the second round via an arm triangle at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City.
With the victory, Jandiroba improved to 14-0 with 11 submissions.
“I am the champion, I am the best in the world,” Jandiroba said through an interpreter. “I am the future. I’m here just to show that I am doing what I’m going to do, I am a finisher and this is what I do.”
In the evening’s co-main event, flyweight Pearl Gonzalez put on an inspired performance in dedicating her fight to her father, who recently passed away.
The San Diego-based flyweight put in a strong first two rounds and held on in the third to defeat Brazi’s Daiane Firmino (10-3). The judges’ scores were 30-27, 29-28, and 29-27 for a unanimous decision.
Gonzalez withstood an early Firmino flurry in the opening round and took over the rest of the round on the mat. She put in a truly dominant performance in the second, working from submissions and at one point raining down uncontested lefts on the ground in a manner reminiscent of Brock Lesnar on Frank Mir at UFC 100.
Firmino, to her credit, went for it in round three, knowing she was down two rounds, and turned it into a spirited affair, but it wasn’t enough as Gonzalez held on to win.
“Nobody is taking this sh*t from me,” said Gonzalez (9-3), who is now 3-0 in Invicta since leaving the UFC. “Fighting is my life, this is all I have. This wasn’t the performance I wanted but I’m coming for this f*cking belt.”
The bantamweight matchup between Lisa Spangler and Shanna Young was an entertaining brawl. The bout was primarily a standup affair in which Spangler landed wild punches in bunches and scored occasional takedowns; while Young, fighting for the first time in two years, used an impressive array of high and low kicks.
The bout went down to the wire, as was reflected in the final scores: Spangler, who may have suffered a broken nose early in the bout, earned the split decision nod, getting a pair of 29-28’s to a 30-27 for Young (4-1).
“I train a lot to capitalize on people’s mistakes on takedowns so that’s pretty normal,” Spangler (3-0) said.
Denver’s Mallory Martin (4-2) wants to be known as “the female Justin Gaethje,” and she did her part with an impressive finish of Ontario’s Ashley Nichols.
The upset-minded Nichols (3-3) turned heads by dropping Martin early with a flush straight right. But Martin, who missed the straightweight limit Friday by a pound, regained her composure and instituted her grappling game. Martin recovered for the remainder of the round, dominated the second, and then finally finished things at 1:05 of the third round via TKO after a nasty series of elbows.
“I could have done better,” said Martin, who is 3-0 with three finishes in Invicta. “I honestly thought I was going to finish in the first, she’s a tough girl, round of applause to her I thought this was going to be an easy fight but she was good.”
Flyweight prospect Mirana Maverick (4-1) made a statement by getting back into the cage just six weeks after her first professional loss and getting back into the win column.
Maverick wasted little time against Louisiana’s Victoria Leonardo (2-1), initiating a takedown after a clinch sequence, scoring a takedown, and methodically moving into position to trap Leonardo in an armbar. Leonardo tapped at the 3:26 mark of the opening round, giving Maverick her third finish in her four career wins.
“I have one of the best records in the flyweight division and I want to get to the top as fast as I can,” said Maverick, a Springfield, Mo. native. “As soon as I got it to the ground I knew I’d get it done, man. That flyweight belt is vacant and I want to get it done.”
A point deduction cost Holli Salazar (1-0-1) a win in the evening’s opener. Salazar was deducted a point for a headbutt in the final round, turning what would have been a unanimous-decision win over Audrey Wolfe (1-0-1) into a unanimous draw on scores of 28-28 across the baord.
Full Invicta 31 results can be found here.