[WMMA] A Preview of Invicta FC 3: Penne vs. Sugiyama
STUDIO MMA, AUSTIN, TX — Invicta boss Shannon Knapp has a good thing going… a very good thing going. Invicta 1 and Invicta 2 featured frenetic action, vigorously contested stand-up and grappling battles, and remarkable savvy and technique. Those first two in the Invicta series treated us to a handful of the greatest fights in the history of women’s MMA, including the vicious, back-and-forth brawl between Kaitlin Young and Leslie Smith, the mesmerizing grappling of Jessica Penne in her TKO of Lisa Ellis, and Alexis Davis’ overpowering submission of Hitomi Akano.
Tonight, Kansas City will certainly bear witness to memorably MMA fireworks, as several of the women who thrilled us in the earlier Invicta events are back, alongside some very exciting newcomers.
Here is a quick breakdown of the main card.
Julia “The Jewel” Budd [3-2-0 MMA]
Danielle “The Honey Badger” West [4-3-1 MMA]
Budd was utterly dominant in her last outing, TKOing Elina Nilsson in the first round at Invicta 2. But West has heavy hands, and Budd has been susceptible to the punch in the past.
Studio MMA Pick: Budd via TKO, Round 1.
Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson [9-3-0 MMA]
Lacey “The Ladie” Schuckman [7-5-0 MMA]
Don’t expect this 105-pound affair to go the distance. Both of these women are partial to finishing their opponents. In partciular, The Karate Hottie has 5 submissions (including a flying armbar) and 2 TKOs in her last 8 appearances. Waterson is the favorite here, but The Ladie can take the fight anywhere.
Studio MMA Pick: Waterson by Submission, Round 2.
Tara LaRosa [21-2-0 MMA]
Vanessa Porto [14-5-0 MMA]
Count ‘em: together these ladies have racked up 42 MMA fights. By any measure — but especially in WMMA — that is what we call lots of experience. LaRosa has only lost once in her last 19 fights. She has finished 15 foes, 12 via submission. Porto is coming off a gamely-fought loss to Sara D’Alelio, but do not underestimate her. Porto has had her share of big fights, including an appearance against Cris Cyborg and a big win over Germaine de Randamie. She has stopped 13 opponents. This is going to be one hell of a match-up.
Studio MMA Prediction: Porto via TKO, Round 2.
Barb “Little Warrior” Honchak [6-2-0 MMA]
Aisling “Ais The Bash” Daly [13-3-0 MMA]
Honchak was utterly dominant in her TKO finish of Bethany Marshall at Invicta 2. She looks to ride that momentum into her clash with Irish combatant Daly, who has KO/TKOd five and submitted six foes. Though Ais lost a decision in her last outing, she submitted the previous three ladies she faced. Yes, we doubt she’ll be able to handle Honchak who has won five straight and seems to become more fierce with each step into the cage.
Studio MMA Prediciton: Honchak via TKO, Round 1.
Cat “Alpha” Zingano [6-0-0 MMA]
Raquel Pennington [3-1-0 MMA]
These are tough (understatement) women. Cat Zingano’s debut in the Invicta promotion may mark the first big step in her rise to stardom. She is simply a ferociously powerful 135-pounder, finishing her last fight with a KO slam. Take notice, bantamweights. Pennington is 3 and 1 as a pro. However, notably, all of those fights took place this year! Zingano should not look past her. This is going to be a seismic collision.
Studio MMA Prediction: Zingano via KO, Round 1.
Kaitlin Young [7-6-1 MMA]
Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith [3-2-1 MMA]
We are giddy with excitement for this one. The first fight between Young and Smith was an extraordinary display of gritty striking and heart by both women. It ended in a well-deserved draw, and at Invicta 3, we get to find out who has wants it more this time. Kaitlin lost to Liz “Girlrilla” Carmouche at Invicta 2, but that, by no means, lowers her stock. Leslie trains with the Diaz brothers and has seen her skills grow by leaps and bounds. Put your seat belts on, folks.
Studio MMA Prediction: Young by Decision, Round 3.
Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler [14-7-0 MMA]
Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio [6-2-0 MMA]
Baszler lost a hotly-contested decision to Sarah McMann at Invicta 2, but beware — she is a submission machine. This will prove dangerous for D’Alelio, who, though adept on the ground, likes to bang and pound. The Monster’s only two losses have come to two of the greats in the division — Ronda Rousey and Julie Kedzie. She has finished all others. This could be FOTN.
Studio MMA Prediction: D’Alelio via Decision, Round 3.
Inaugural Championship Fight
Jessica Penne [9-1-0 MMA]
Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama [8-0-0 MMA]
There are fighters and then there are artists. Jessica Penne is an artist, and her multi-dimensional, calculated, zen approach to MMA is a thing to behold. In her stunning and bloody TKO finish of Lisa Ellis at Invicta 1 we got to witness, truly, some of the craftiest Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the history of the sport capped off with effective Muay Thai striking. Penne trains under Rafael Cordeiro, Mark Munoz, and Jake Ellenberger, and has made her mark defeating much larger women.
Sugiyama is an undefeated juggernaut. However, she is not the finisher that Penne is and, as many observers postulate, the competition in Japan is just not quite the same caliber as that in the United States. Look for Penne to shine here.
Studio MMA Prediction: Penne via Submission, Round 2.
Let’s see how our predictions hold up. Don’t miss this event folks! It streams live at www.InvictaFC.com tonight at 7PM ET/4PM PT.
Photo: Invicta’s Facebook page