Invicta Fighting Championships once again returned to Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. for its third event on Saturday, Oct. 6.

Capping off the 14-fight card was the upstart promotion’s first title fight, as atomweights Jessica Penne and Naho Sugiyama clashed in the headlining bout.

In addition to the main event, the promotion again focused on both veterans and rising talent as names like Tara LaRosa, Aisling Daly and Cat Zingano made their promotional debuts at the event.

The full card streamed live on Invicta’s website beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

Penne submits Sugiyama to claim inaugural Invicta atomweight title

Invicta crowned its first champion—in the atomweight division—as Jessica Penne handed Naho Sugiyama her first defeat and captured the 105-pound strap with a second-round submission.

The first round saw Penne score early with her jab. Sugiyama looked to close the distance, but Penne put her on her back and spent the majority of the round working diligently from the half guard. Sugiyama worked her way back to the feet late in the round and aggressively threw her right hand, but failed to connect.

In the second frame, it was Sugiyama that ended up on top after Penne worked for a takedown from the clinch. Penne’s length came into play once she found herself on her back, setting up a triangle choke near the fence that forced the previously undefeated Japanese fighter to tap.

“I’m up in the clouds right now,” Penne said in her post-fight interview. “I put a lot of pressure on myself, but I train with the best and they keep me focused.”

Baszler too sly for D’Alelio

The “Queen of Spades” Shayna Baszler made her case for a bantamweight title shot with a dominant grappling performance against Sarah D’Alelio.

Baszler fell short on the scorecards against Sara McMann in her last outing, but she removed any need for the judges with a signature win over the less experienced D’Alelio.

In the opening round, Baszler took D’Alelio’s back and worked hard for a rear-naked choke or twister, but D’Alelio was able to survive the onslaught.

D’Alelio was not so lucky in the second frame as Baszler scored early on the feet with a big knee and then quickly followed her opponent to the ground. Smelling blood, Baszler slapped on a rear-naked choke that forced D’Alelio to submit less than a minute into the stanza.

Baszler’s submission win—the 14th of her career—may have earned her a rematch against McMann.

Smith stops Young; settles prior draw

The last time that Leslie Smith met Kaitlin Young, the pair battled to a split draw in the most memorable fight in Invicta’s young history.

There would be no need for judges in the second meeting, despite a very close first round that could have created controversy once again. Young scored early on the feet and from the clinch, and threatened to submit Smith with an armbar and then a triangle from her back. However, Smith escaped and finished the opening round with a barrage of strikes along the cage.

In the second round, Smith used the momentum to overwhelm Young. After a scramble that saw both fighters appear to have an advantage, Smith landed in side control. She then moved to the mounted crucifix, disabling Young’s defense, and rained right hands until the referee was forced to halt the contest.

Honchak dominates Daly

The “Little Warrior” Barb Honchak stated her case for a spot in the inaugural Invicta flyweight title fight with clear-cut decision win over Ireland’s Aisling Daly.

Honchak’s pace and control were simply too much for Daly, despite her unorthodox striking attack. Honchak’s wrestling gave her a clear edge when the two hit the ground, frequently threatening the Bellator veteran with submissions.

Daly showed why she’s only been finished once, repeatedly escaping Honchak’s rear-naked choke attempts and countering with kimura attempts from her back.

Yet, after 15 minutes, there was little doubt who was victorious. Daly wore a nasty hematoma on her forehead, while Honchak walked away with her sixth straight victory.

Porto cruises past LaRosa

In her flyweight debut, Brazilian Vanessa Porto picked up a lopsided decision win over women’s MMA legend Tara LaRosa.

Unlike her Invicta debut where Porto’s aggressive attack spelled her doom, the Sao Paulo native was relaxed and calculated from the opening bell. Her patient approach helped her rock LaRosa with numerous right hands and chop down the lead leg of the more experienced veteran.

By the midway point of the fight, LaRosa was unable to mount any offense due to the damage done to her left knee. However, the New Jersey native did not quit and continued to desperately look for a takedown as Porto kept her distance.

There were no surprises on the scorecards as Porto claimed a unanimous decision, looking at home in her 125-pound debut.

Zingano chokes Pennington

After a tumultuous last few weeks where she went from competing at Invicta, then Strikeforce, and back to Invicta again, Cat Zingano showed why she’s yet to taste defeat by submitting fellow Colorado-based bantamweight Raquel Pennington.

The first round saw a slow, methodical pace as Zingano used her wrestling to force Pennington against the cage. Late in the round, Zingano scored with a takedown, but she ran out of time before establishing any offense.

In the second frame, it was more of the same early, but Zingano eventually scored with a lateral drop and put Pennington on her back. Once on the ground, Zingano’s edge was apparent as she effortlessly moved to mount and then Pennington’s back. A rear-naked choke forced Pennington to tap and kept Zingano’s perfect record intact.

Waterson squeaks by Schuckman

Making her Invicta debut, atomweight Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson took a razor-thin decision win over Lacey Schuckman.

Waterson rocked Schuckman with a kick to the face early in the opening round, but it was Schuckman who found herself in the dominant position when the fight found its way to the ground. Schuckman threatened with a rear-naked choke and delivered ground and pound, but Waterson used an armbar attempt to survive.

The middle stanza was very reminiscent of the first, only the positions were reversed. Waterson was the one who worked from the top and briefly threatened with a choke.

In the final round, both fighters pushed the action, hoping to convince the judges they had done enough to win. Schuckman got the better of the grappling exchanges, but Waterson had the more accurate strikes. When it was all said and done, Waterson earned the decision on two of the three scorecards.

Budd overwhelms West

Canadian featherweight Julia Budd proved to be too much for her last-minute opponent, British fighter Danielle West.

West looked for the clinch early along the fence, but Budd out-muscled her and eventually landed in side control. Budd quickly moved to the mount and began to unload on West. West used the fence to escape briefly, but Budd swarmed and forced a stoppage near the midway mark of the opening round.

Budd now has two straight wins in the Invicta cage, moving her record to 4-2.

Preliminary Card Summary

Carla Esparza picked up a third straight win and second straight under the Invicta banner by demolishing Lynn Alvarez from the opening bell. Esparza put Alvarez on her back, moved to mount, and punished Alvarez until the referee was forced to intervene.

Strawweight Joanne Calderwood used her reach to keep Ashley Cummins at distance before delivering a massive knee to Cummins’ abdomen that sent her crashing to the mat. With the knockout win, Calderwood kept her record unblemished.

Stephanie Frausto needed less than a minute to secure victory in her Invicta debut, submitting Amy Davis with an arm-in guillotine choke.

Towering, 5-foot-11 bantamweight Jessamyn Duke used her reach and submission game to stop Marciea Allen and keep her undefeated record intact. Allen pulled Duke’s hair at one point, which only angered Duke and she quickly applied the fight-finishing armbar.

In a battle of debuting strawweights Tecia Torres used a slick striking attack and strong takedown defense to take home a unanimous decision win over Kaiyana Rain.

Brazilian featherweight Ediene Gomes survived an early onslaught to hand Katalina Malungahu her first professional loss. Once the fight hit the ground, Gomes dominated, securing a fight-ending rear-naked choke.

Jessica Penne def. Naho Sugiyama by submission (triangle choke). Round 2, 2:20 (inaugural atomweight champion)
Shayna Baszler def. Sarah D’Alelio by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 0:37
Leslie Smith def. Kaitlin Young by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 2:19
Barb Honchak def. Aisling Daly by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Vanessa Porto def. Tara LaRosa by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Cat Zingano def. Raquel Pennington by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 3:32
Michelle Waterson def. Lacey Schuckman by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Julia Budd def. Danielle West by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 2:32
Carla Esparza def. Lynn Alvarez by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 2:53
Joanne Calderwood def. Ashley Cummins by knockout (knee to the body). Round 1, 3:13
Stephanie Frausto def. Amy Davis by submission (guillotine choke). Round 1, 0:48
Jessamyn Duke def. Marciea Allen by submission (armbar). Round 1, 4:42
Tecia Torres def. Kaiyana Rain by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Ediene Gomes def. Katalina Malungahu by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 4:19

Photo: The Invicta FC Atomweight Belt (Jeff Vulgamore/The MMA Corner)

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