Heading into her Invicta FC strawweight title fight last September, Finnish star Katja “Killer Bunny” Kankaanpaa had split her last two fights and it wasn’t clear how she’d respond against Stephanie Eggink.
Kankaanpaa was able to get through some rough patches and eventually land a fifth-round submission to claim the Invicta 115-pound title.
“It was a tough fight and I had my moments both in good and bad,” Kankaanpaa told MMAWeekly.com. “Eggink has been the toughest opponent I’ve ever had. She had long legs and very good triangle technique, and that’s why I had a bit trouble on the ground. Despite my mistakes I’m pretty happy (with) my performance.
“My stand-up skills had improved a lot and conditioning was perfect. I was mentally strong and able to finish the fight when got the chance. I think eventually my determination and relentlessness was what turned the fight for me.”
Having been nearly a half a year since winning the title, Kankaanpaa has stayed true to what got her the championship in the first place.
“It felt amazing to win the title,” said Kankaanpaa. “It was something unique, (but I’ve changed) nothing special, just lots of condition and basic training, trying to just perfect my skills.”
Kankaanpaa (10-1-1) will make her first Invicta strawweight title defense on April 24 in Kansas City against Brazilian standout Livia Renata Sousa (7-0).
“She’s a good grappler and very active, and I think she wants to submit me,” Kankaanpaa said of Sousa. “I have prepared myself for any situation. I will fight according to my own game plan, do my own things, and that will be enough to win the fight.
“I think this is just a fight among the others. I feel the same as before the previous fight against Eggink. This time it’s all about the title, but still, I have no extra pressure about that.”
For Kankaanpaa the goal is simple, keep defending her title and establish herself as the best strawweight in the world.
“I have three-fight contract with Invicta FC and my goal is to defend my title victoriously for these three times,” she said. “I heard that in the Chinese horoscope the year 2015 is gonna be Killer Bunny’s year.
“Thanks to all for the support and I hope that as many as possible is able to come to Kansas to see Invicta FC 12. There’s gonna be great fights and lots of energy inside the cage.”
(Photo courtesy of Invicta FC/Esther Lin)