Sunday, January 23, 2022

Invicta Champ Angela Hill Back in UFC as Replacement vs. Jessica Andrade

Almost immediately after it was announced, Maryna Moroz had to pull out of her UFC 207 fight with Jessica Andrade due to an injury. In searching for a late replacement (albeit for a fight scheduled just a few weeks out), the UFC turned to Invicta FC, re-signing their current strawweight champion, Angela Hill, to replace Moroz. Combate’s Ana Hissa broke the news on Twitter:

Hill was the most unknown and least experienced member of the cast of The Ultimate Fighter season 20, which hosted the UFC Strawweight Championship tournament through the semi-finals. With just one pro MMA fight (albeit more experience in Muay Thai), she was outmatched as #16 seed, losing to #1 seed Carla Esparza in the first round by submission. She rebounded on the finale by battering Emily Peters-Kagan in a lopsided decision, only to be outgrappled by both Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas and then cut.

At that point, Invicta signed her. Thanks to a combination of more appropriate matchmaking and skill improvements training at Alliance MMA in San Diego, Hill got two straight finishes en route to taking the Invicta title from Livia Renata Souza. She successfully defended the title against late replacement Kaline Medeiros on November 18th. After the fight, she talked about considering a drop to atomweight to become a two division champion.

Andrade is a very interesting test to gauge Hill’s improvements. While her grappling has clearly advanced a lot in 14 months since her loss to Namajunas, Andrade is likely physically stronger than anyone else she’s ever fought, and it may not even be close. Andrade was physically strong 20 pounds up at bantamweight before moving down, and her grappling looked better than ever in her last fight, a first round submission of Joanne Calderwood.

No word yet what will happen next with the Invicta title.

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