Invicta Fighting Championships hosted its inaugural event from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., on April 28. The all-women’s promotion put together an 11-fight card that featured a number of well-known female fighters, including former Strikeforce champion Marloes Coenen battling Romy Ruyssen for the second time. The entire event streamed live on the promotion’s website.

Coenen too much for Ruyssen (again)

Former Strikeforce 135-pound champion Marloes Coenen moved up in weight to battle Romy Ruyssen for a second time. The Dutch fighter Coenen handed the Frenchwoman Ruyssen her sole loss in their previous meeting.

Ruyssen missed weight for the bout, handing 25 percent of her fight purse to Coenen before they ever stepped into the cage. Despite the size advantage, Ruyssen again fell short against the veteran.

In the first round, Ruyssen immediately pressed Coenen against the cage, but she grasped the fence to maintain the position. Referee Greg Franklin quickly took a point for the infraction. Coenen caught a kick from Ruyssen, but the French fighter jumped guard. Coenen pounded away from top position before a questionable stand-up late in the frame.

Coenen forced the action against the cage for the remainder of the fight, dominating the clinch and clearly frustrating Ruyssen. Ruyssen jumped guard multiple times, but was rewarded with elbows from Coenen.

In the end, Coenen was just too much for the younger Ruyssen and took a clean sweep on the judges’ scorecards.

“I thought I broke my finger in the first round,” Coenen explained. “I’m not too happy with my performance, but I promise I will do better in my next fight.”

As a parting shot, Coenen called out Strikeforce champion Ronda Rousey.

Penne gets late stoppage over Ellis

Jessica Penne’s 105-pound debut proved to be successful she was able to stop veteran Lisa Ellis in the third round.

Penne (top) pounds away at Ellis (Jayare Gallegos)

Both fighters scored in the striking and grappling departments in the first round. Ellis was the early aggressor, but it was Penne who seemed fresher as the fight progressed.

The middle stanza saw Ellis gain the top position, but Penne attacked with submission attempts from her back. A late armbar attempt from Penne was met with a vicious slam from Ellis, but Penne swept to side control as the round closed.

In the final frame, the pair traded combos. Ellis suffered a nasty cut and blood poured over both fighters. A suplex from Ellis was reversed by Penne and she moved to mount. Once there, a series of blows from the top spelled the end for Ellis.

“I just had to just keep going and going,” Penne stated about her relentless transitions. “This fight challenged me in so many ways.”

Carmouche dismantles Curry

Former Strikeforce title challenger Liz Carmouche wasted little time dispatching of former professional boxer Ashleigh Curry.

Carmouche secured a body lock and a takedown, moving immediately into the mount. After briefly switching into side control, she regained the mount and rained punches from the top position, forcing Curry to cover up and the referee to call the fight just two minutes into the bout.

With the win, Carmouche snapped a two-fight losing streak.

Young and Smith battle to draw

In a fast-paced back-and-forth affair, Leslie Smith and Kaitlin Young put on a show in the Invicta cage.

Smith caught a kick early and put Young on her back, but the pair spent the majority of the fight exchanging on the feet. Smith attacked with volume, whereas Young landed with power.

Despite the frenetic action, both fighters continue to push forward throughout the entire fight. Both fighters worked for armbars late in the fight, but neither was willing to quit.

The big shots continued until the final bell, where the judges scored the fight a split draw.

D’Alelio overwhelms Mariscal

Strikeforce veteran Sarah D’Alelio put on the most dominant grappling display of the night prior to forcing Vanessa Mariscal to tap out to strikes. D’Alelio closed the distance early and quickly scored a takedown. She quickly took Mariscal’s back, maintaining the position for the entire first round, but was unable to secure a rear-naked choke. It was more of the same in the second round, but D’Alelio abandoned the choke attempts in favor of ground-and-pound. Mariscal was clearly overmatched and tapped to the onslaught.

Schneider finishes Krumdiack by armbar

Sarah Schneider showcased high confidence in her grappling skills, finishing off Sally Krumdiack with an armbar in the opening round. Krumdiack pressed forward early and clinched along the fence, but Schneider bloodied her from inside. Schneider worked for a takedown, but eventually pulled guard. She worked for a triangle and even mounted Krumdiack before transitioning to the armbar and coaxing a tap.

Davis submits Rivera-Calanoc

Amy Davis used her ground skills, not her striking, to finish Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc in an atomweight affair. Rivera-Calanoc pressed the action early and used her wrestling to put Davis on her back. Davis countered with a triangle from the bottom, coming very close to finishing the fight in the opening frame. Rivera-Calanoc would survive and again pushed the pace in the second round. As she scored with a takedown, Davis reversed and gained top position. Davis looked for a triangle from the top, but Rivera-Calanoc left her arm exposed, allowing for an easy kimura that forced her to tap.

Maloy slips past Gutierrez by decision

In a slow-paced, tentative fight, 125-pounder Sarah Maloy took home a unanimous decision win over Michelle Gutierrez. The pair spent the entire first round feeling one another out, but neither found a rhythm. In the middle frame, the fighters rocked one another simultaneously, but it was Gutierrez that got the better of the exchange. The final frame was equally uneventful, but Maloy did enough to convince the judges on the scorecards.

Miller successful in MMA debut over Estes

Former Olympic wrestling bronze medalist Randi Miller survived an onslaught of knees from her taller opponent Mollie Estes before scoring a third-round TKO win. Miller was unable to establish her wrestling in the opening frame, as Estes unloaded with knees. However, in the second round Miller brought the fight to the ground and rained punches. It was more of the same in the final frame, as Miller forced the referee to intervene.

Cummins takes decision over Bagherdai

Ashley Cummins made Sofia Bagherdai pay for coming in over the strawweight limit, taking a unanimous decision win. Cummins used her wrestling to neutralize the striking attack of Bagherdai from the opening horn. The weight cut appeared to slow Bagherdai as the fight progressed, allowing Cummins to repeatedly score with takedowns en route to the decision victory.

Rodish chokes out Wright

Atomweight Cassie Rodish wasted little time dispatching of Meghan Wright. Rodish—stepping in on late notice—quickly clinched and forced Wright to the mat with her back against the cage. As Wright tried to stand, Rodish slapped on the fight-ending choke.


Marloes Coenen def. Romy Ruyssen by unanimous decision (30-26 x3)

Jessica Penne def. Lisa Ellis by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 2:48

Liz Carmouche def. Ashleigh Curry by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 1:58

Leslie Smith fights Kaitlin Young to a split draw (29-28, 28-29, 29-29)

Sarah D’Alelio def. Vanessa Mariscal by submission (strikes). Round 2, 3:19

Sarah Schneider def. Sally Krumdiack by submission (armbar). Round 1, 3:01

Amy Davis def. Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc by submission (kimura). Round 2, 3:47

Sarah Maloy def. Michele Gutierrez by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)

Randi Miller def. Mollie Estes by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 3:27

Ashley Cummins def. Sofia Bagherdai by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Cassie Rodish def. Meghan Wright by submission (guillotine choke). Round 1, 0:36

Top Photo: Coenen (R) battles Ruyssen (Jayare Gallegos)

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  • Rick Rodriguez

    Awesome website, and nice photos.