Searching for a last-minute replacement to the originally scheduled bout between new strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza and undefeated challenger Alexa Grasso, Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp dialed a reliable number.
In stepped newly crowned Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger, looking to defend her 135-pound title against former Cage Warriors bantamweight champion Pannie Kianzad. A weight-cutting snafu stopped Evinger’s performance from having any relation to her championship crown, but it didn’t stop her from performing altogether.
As Knapp put it during the post-fight presser, Invicta FC 14 was above average.
Unlike most main cards in mixed martial arts, a majority of the winners at Invicta FC 14 looked as impressive as ever, making this version of “Ranking Main Card Winners” the most difficult one yet. We rank them below.
5. DeAnna Bennett
The lone main card victor who failed to secure a stoppage Saturday, DeAnna Bennett managed to do enough to earn a close decision on the judge’s scorecards.
Bennett acknowledged how close the fight was during the post-fight interview, admitting she understands why some in the audience may have scored the fight in favor of former Invicta strawweight champion Katja Kankaanpaa.
It was close, but not controversial.
That said, Bennett’s performance didn’t compare to any of the other main card winners. She was victorious, sure; but she also allowed the smaller Kankaanpaa to dictate elongated portions of the bout.
Regardless of how she looked, Bennett finds herself undefeated through eight professional fights, standing out as a prime contender for the Invicta FC strawweight title.
4. Roxanne Modafferi
The “Happy Warrior” looked about as dominant as she ever has in any of her 30 professional bouts against Invicta newcomer Mariana Morais. Victorious in three of her last four, Roxanne Modafferi showcased her improved skillset against a debuting Invicta flyweight.
Modafferi beat Morais to the punch, proving that her push-forward, grind-it-out mentality serves a valuable purpose against less-experienced opponents.
Sticking to her Mortal Kombat “Finish Her!” theme, Modafferi never let her foot off the gas. She ran forward, preventing Morais from creating any sort of offense through any of the 14 minutes and 40 seconds of action. Most other cards would see that Modaferri’s performance be ranked a bit higher, but Invicta FC 14 was different.
3. Cindy Dandois
Cornered by the UFC’s first-ranked bantamweight contender Miesha Tate, Cindy Dandois shined Saturday night.
Candid about her unwillingness to keep the fight standing with a talented striker in Megan Anderson, Dandois took the fight to the ground early and often. She got hit a little too often in the opening seconds of each round, but her capacity to throw Anderson to the mat and outgrapple her younger counterpart ensured she’d leave the Municipal Auditorium victorious.
Following her inspirational message to young girls around the globe, Dandois made sure she fought for what she wanted.
2. Andrea Lee
Fighting in the second bout of the main card, Andrea “KGB” Lee was out to prove she was a better version of the fighter who lost to Roxanne Modafferi last December.
She succeeded in spades, really.
Landing heavy body kicks one after another, Lee staggered Rachael Ostovich numerous times throughout the bout. Those kicks were followed by stiff elbows, punches and takedowns that rarely ever provided the 24-year-old Hawaiian with a chance to catch her breath.
The finish nearly twice in the first round, thanks in part to a heavy body kick that floored Ostovich and the ensuing rear-naked choke that followed in the waning seconds of the first round. The stoppage nearly occurred again in the following round, again as Lee took Ostovich’s back in the waning seconds.
After 14 minutes and 58 seconds of complete and utter dominance, Lee secured the first submission victory of her professional career. There’s no word on what’s next for the 26-year-old from Louisiana. If we’re lucky, “next” happens soon.
1. Tonya Evinger
Tonya Evinger went into the fight the same way she always does: apathetic about the stipulations involved and hungry for a violent finish. Though she didn’t technically defend her Invicta FC bantamweight title Saturday night in Kansas City, Missouri, she still managed to steamroll one of the sport’s better prospects.
Previously undefeated, Pannie Kianzad had nothing to offer the 10-year veteran. She couldn’t stay standing long enough to prove herself dominant on the feet, and she couldn’t squirm long enough on the canvas to prove she could counter with any sort of offense off of her back.
It was about as one-sided as one-sided fights go; and for as many one-sided fights as we had in Kansas City, it says a lot to have Evinger’s victory ranked above all the others.