Invicta Fighting Championships crowned two new champions on Friday at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Kansas.
Michelle Waterson defeated Jessica Penne to become the new Invicta FC Atomweight Champion in a back and forth battle in the main event.
The fight was largely a grappling contest. Penne pulled guard early in the first round and controlled Waterson. Waterson bounced back in the second stanza, securing two takedowns and mounting Penne.
In the third round, Penne sunk in an arm bar and looked to be extremely close to finishing the fight, but Waterson fought though.
Then end came in the fourth round when Penne worked for a takedown. Waterson sprawled and worked for a kimura. As Penne defended the submission, Waterson transitioned and locked on an arm bar that forced Penne to tap out.
“You just can’t quit, even when you feel like you can’t go on,” said Waterson following the fight. “She almost got me in the third and I just told myself to keep going. She’s a (expletive) awesome fighter. She has so much heart. I just want to thank her for taking the fight and it’s a dream come true.”
Barb Honchak became the first ever Invicta FC flyweight champion, defeating Vanessa Porto by unanimous decision. The fight played out like a kickboxing bout. Honchak put out a higher volume of strikes. She was able to put together combinations and dictate the pace of the fight. Porto landed hard leg kicks but it wasn’t enough to overcome Honchak’s steady attack.
“I feel awesome. Vanessa, props goes to her. She was an amazing opponent for this title,” said Honchak after the title win. “It’s nice to bring a title back to Miletich Fighting Systems.”
Former Strikeforce featherweight titleholder Cris “Cyborg” Santos looked like she hasn’t missed a beat since being away from competition since Dec. 2011 due to testing positive to performance enhancing drugs. She dropped Fiona Muxlow with the first punch of the fight and battered her way to a technical knockout victory.
“I’m very happy to come back and I want to fight soon,” said Santos in her post-fight interview.
The win earned her a shot at the vacant Invicta featherweight title against Marloes Coenen.