Undefeated, young, beautiful—what’s not to like about Pannie Kianzad?
Well that depends on who you ask. Take Invicta bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger for example. She isn’t a big fan of using sex as a selling point in women’s MMA, which is what she believes Kianzad is doing to garner more attention.
Needless to say, the 23-year-old prospect’s recent “rolling in the hay” comments didn’t sit well with Evinger. During an interview with Combat Press, the champ declared war on the “arrogant” Kianzad for carrying herself in a way that could potentially “ruin the image” of women’s MMA:
“She’s just so arrogant. I think it’s funny how she called out me, Raquel [Pa’aluhi] and Aldana. Like, damn, you just called out the top three and you’ve had only one fight in the U.S. Pannie is ridiculous. I did an interview with her on MMARoasted with Adam Hunter and all this b—h does is talk about sex. …The fact that she’s fighting me, I think she’s in for it. I’m basically fighting a hooker. I plan on beating the s–t out of her. She might be tough [and] she might be talented, but I’m gonna beat the f–k out of her.”
Evinger will get an opportunity do everything she said on Saturday night when she faces Kianzad in the main event of Invicta 14. Both fighters were on-hand at the official weigh-ins in Kansas City on Friday to clear the final hurdle for the event.
Evinger stepped onto the scale at 135.2, while Kianzad weighed in at 136.7. With both fighters failing to meet their obligations and make weight, the fight was downgraded from a bantamweight title fight to a regular catch-weight bout. There are few things more disappointing things to fans and a promotion than fighters missing weight in a world title bout.
But the show must go on.
As Evinger alluded to, there is a bit of an unknown factor surrounding Kianzad as a contender. While she boasts an 8-0 professional record, she has yet to compete against the upper-echelon sharks in the division. One could even make the case that this title fight is being taken way ahead of schedule.
Evinger has been competing professionally for nearly a decade against the likes of Gina Carano, Sara McMann, Alexis Davis and Julie Kedzie. She absolutely demolished Irene Aldana in July to win the Invicta title and extend her winning streak to seven. Not to mention, Invicta 14 will be taking place in her backyard in Missouri, where the crowd will surely be on her side.
It’s a lot to ask of a young fighter to kick in the castle doors and take the queen’s throne. However, Kianzad appears to be up to the task. The Iranian-Swedish contender vows to put on a show on Saturday.
“I love fighting in enemy territory, to be the underdog,” Kianzad told Combat Press. “This is what we do, what we train for, what we desire. I work very hard for my fights and I know we will put on a show.”
The full results from Friday’s weigh-ins are listed below.
Main Card (UFC Fight Pass 8 p.m. ET)
Tonya Evinger (135.2)* vs. Pannie Kianzad (136.7)*
Katja Kankaanpää (115.6) vs. DeAnna Bennett (117.4)*
Roxanne Modafferi (124.9) vs. Mariana Morais (125.9)
Rachael Ostovich (125.8) vs. Andrea Lee (125)
Cindy Dandois (145.6) vs. Megan Anderson (145.1)
Jamie Moyle (115.6) vs. Sharon Jacobson (116)
Jinh Yu Frey (105.8) vs. Liz McCarthy (105.4)
JJ Aldrich (115.7) vs. Rosa Acevedo (118.2)*
Aspen Ladd (125.7) vs. Amanda Bobby Cooper (125.1)
Rachel Wiley (155) vs. Felicia Spencer (155.3)
* Didn’t make weight on first attempt (No 1-pound allowance in title fights)