Invicta FC put on their second Phoenix Rising card last night and it produced some highly competitive action and a great story, after Miranda Maverick ran through the field to lift the trophy. The 22-year-old PhD candidate boosted her record to 8-2 on the night and also got to exact some revenge against a former foe.
Maverick got herself into the one-night flyweight tournament final by beating Victoria Leonardo by decision in the quarter-finals and submitting Shanna Young in the semis.
Her win over Leonardo, whom she submitted with an arm bar last year, came thanks to clinical work on the feet. Maverick was able to avoid almost all of Leonardo’s offense, while patiently landing leg kicks, knees, and a few solid punches.
Against Young she was tested with a hard punch, but was able to rally with a couple of takedowns. On the ground she out-worked Young on her way to fight-ending rear naked choke.
In the final she met-up with UFC veteran DeAnna Bennett. Bennett, who beat Maverick at Invicta FC 34 earlier this year, got to the finals after wins over Liz Tracy and Daiana Torquato.
Her quarter-final versus Tracy was mostly an evenly matched wrestling bout. Bennett did edge the contest on the feet, though, landing a couple of clean shots on her opponent. That was enough to get her the one-round unanimous decision victory (quarter and semi final matches were a round each to prevent fighters exceeding the maximum number of rounds permitted by Kansas commission on a given night).
In her semi-final match Bennett weathered an early storm from Torquato. The Brazilian hopped onto Bennett’s back in the opening moments and was looking for a choke. But Bennett was able to squirm out of it. After some work against the fence, Bennett got Torquato down and then attempted a choke of her own, which got her the tap and the final berth.
Maverick vs. Bennett was the only fight to go past the first round. They started off patiently, with Maverick frustrating Bennett with her crafty footwork and clean counter blows. In the second Bennett focused on trying to get a takedown. Maverick defended well, for the most part, and was able to punish Bennett with short elbows to the head.
In third round Maverick switched things up. She went for an early takedown and then swam to the back of Bennett so she could work for a choke. After a couple of minutes of hand-fighting, Maverick locked in a neck crank that looked to have Bennett in trouble. Maverick shifted between a crank and a choke, until a very hard squeeze elicited a tap from Bennett, securing the trophy for Maverick.
Before the tournament final Invicta newcomer Mariya Agapova faced off with Alexa Conners in a flyweight contest. The rangy Agapova, who resembled Joanna Jędryczek in both appearance and fighting style, took the fight to Conners, peppering her with flashy punches and kicks from all over the cage. It didn’t take long for her to hurt Conners with a liver kick. When she smelled blood Agapova swarmed on Conners, dropped her with a flurry and finished the fight with a choke.
Another highly impressive Invicta debut came in the other non-tournament bout of the night. That match saw 21-year-old flyweight Josee Storts, who was 1-0 going into this, take on 41-year-old Helen Lucero, a grandmother who was making her pro debut. Storts was all over Lucero early on, kneeing her in the body and dragging her to the ground. On the mat she landed some vicious ground and pound. A scramble put her on the bottom, but Storts found an armbar there, which she used to get full mount. After some more ground and pound and a little more scrambling, Storts set up a mounted triangle choke. The Invicta debutante then wailed on Lucero with elbows, cutting her up before getting a tap.
The other tournament bouts of the night saw Shanna Young take a decision over Maiju Suotama (in a fight that featured aggression winning out over control) and Daiana Torquato earning a split decision over UFC veteran Milana Dudieva. That fight was a close affair which had Dudieva complaining about the decision. Torquato’s victory came as a result of plenty of clinch control and some decent striking,
The reserve bouts ended up being for naught. They featured Kay Hansen out-grappling Carolina Jimenez and Chantel Coates edge past Flore Hani for decision victories.
Check out the full results below, along with videos of the night’s finishes:
Flyweight: Miranda Maverick def. DeAnna Bennett via submission (rear naked choke) round 3 (3:38).
Flyweight: Mariya Agapova def. Alexa Connors via submission (rear naked choke) round 1 (3:03).
Flyweight: Josee Storts def. Helen Lucero via submission (read naked choke), round 1 (4:21).
Flyweight: DeAnna Bennett def. Daina Torquato via submission (rear naked choke), round 1 (3:34).
Flyweight: Miranda Maverick def. Shanna Young via submission (rear naked choke), round 1 (2:35).
Flyweight: Kay Hansen def. Carolina Jimenez via unanimous decision (10-9, 10-9, 10-19).
Flyweight: Chantel Coates def. Flore Hani via split decision (10-9, 9-10, 10-19).
Flyweight: Shanna Young def. Maiju Suotama via unanimous decision (10-9, 10-9, 10-19).
Flyweight: Miranda Maverick def. Victoria Leonardo via unanimous decision (10-9, 10-9, 10-19).
Flyweight: DeAnna Bennett def. Liz Tracy via unanimous decision (10-9, 10-9, 10-19).
Flyweight: Daina Torquato def. Milana Dudieva via split decision (10-9, 9-10, 10-9).