Michelle Waterson stepped up to take Friday night’s Invicta FC 10 main event slot, putting her atomweight belt on the line against Herica Tiburcio, when original headliner Cris “Cyborg” Justino was unable to fight due to injury.
Waterson stepped up, but so did her opponent.
Tiburcio looked strong from the opening bell, immediately powering forward and taking the fight to Waterson. The champion looked smooth early on, using the quickness in her jab and kicks to keep Tiburcio at bay.
Waterson did a good job in the first two rounds by countering several of Tiburcio’s takedown attempts, working position and trying to secure an armbar, which she nearly pulled off in the opening frame. But by the end of round two, Tiburcio had managed to land some hard shots to Waterson’s face, bruising and nearly closing her left eye.
Waterson came out fast in the third round, missing with a right kick and then trying to reverse course with a hook kick, but Tiburcio timed the second kick perfectly and drove the champion to the mat. After a brief scramble, Tiburcio caught Waterson with an arm-in guillotine, dropped back, locked her ankles and cranked the choke with everything she had, forcing Waterson to submit.
Tiburcio immediately let out a scream of joy and began crying. After releasing the hold, she immediately embraced Waterson, showing her respect, but at the same time, unbelievably excited for her achievement.
Tiburcio became the new Invicta FC atomweight champions at 1:04 of the third round.
Tonya Evinger continued to make her claim for a shot at the vacant Invicta bantamweight belt with another dominating performance. Despite her claim to not knowing how to do an armbar, Evinger outwrestled Cindy Dandois and ground-and-pounded her, eventually setting up an armbar finish in round two.
Evinger has now finished her last two fight by way of armbar and is in the midst of a six-fight winning streak.
“I don’t even know how to do armbars,” she claimed after the fight, before adding, “I’ve wrestled Olympic medalists, judo girls, and stuff, I know all the tricks. Bring it any time, I’m a wrestler.”
After a rough patch of six consecutive losses that culminated in disappointment on The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale, Roxanne Modafferi has experienced a career resurgence since returning to Invicta, where she has won back-to-back bouts.
Friday night’s victory was against a very tough opponent in young up-and-comer in Andrea Lee, but Modafferi combined her improved boxing skills with her takedowns and grappling prowess to earn a split decision from the judges to stay her on track.
“Andrea Lee was an amazingly strong opponent. She hits really hard,” Modafferi said. “(But) I was ready to go anywhere with the fight.”
Invicta FC 10 Full Results
Herica Tiburcio def. Michelle Waterson by Submission (Arm-In Guillotine Choke) at 1:04, R3
Tonya Evinger def. Cindy Dandois by Submission (Armbar) at 1:23, R2
Roxanne Modafferi def. Andrea Lee by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27), R3
DeAnna Bennett def. Jennifer Maia by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28), R3
Peggy Morgan def. Andria Wawro (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), R3
Alexa Grasso def. Alida Gray by TKO (Strikes) at 1:47, R1
Jinh Yu Frey def. Cassie Robb by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 2:36, R1
Rachael Ostovich def. Evva Johnson by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28), R3
(Photo courtesy of Invicta FC)