Invicta Fighting Championships returned home to Kansas City on Friday night for Invicta FC 12: Kankaapaa vs. Souza. The headlining bout featured strawweight champ Katja Kankaanpää putting her belt on the against Livia Renata Souza at the Municipal Auditorium.
After three rounds of fighting, it looked as if Kankaanpää’s first defense of her belt would be a successful one.
Souza had a strong opening frame, taking Kankaanpää’s back, locking on a body triangle and attacking with rear-naked choke attempts for the latter part of the round.
In the second and third rounds, however, the champion turned the tide. Each time the fight hit the mat, Kankaanpää took control with her methodical ground and pound. On the feet, she held tight in the clinch, using an assortment of knees to the legs, body, and head.
As round four got underway, Souza looked tired, her stand-up getting sloppier as the seconds ticked away. Kankaanpää’s strikes were still sharp and finding their target.
Souza clinched and drug Kankaanpää to the canvas, but again ended up back to the mat on the receiving end of the champ’s ground-and-pound attack.
As time slipped away, with two minutes left in the round, Souza slipped on a triangle choke. Kankaanpää defended for a time, looking fairly comfortable, but the Brazilian kept shifting her hips, trying to find the appropriate angle… and she finally did.
Kankaanpää tapped at the 3:58 mark.
Souza had never fought before in the United States, but she brought with her an unblemished record and a desire to leave a lasting impression on America.
“Katja is a tough girl. She’s a really champion. I respect her. But I never give up,” said Souza after the fight. “Now America knows my name.”
Roxanne Modafferi is one of the pioneer’s of the women’s side of mixed martial arts. She had gone through a rough patch where she lost six fights before rebounding to win her last two outings entering Friday’s fight with Vanessa Porto. Her opponent had also won her two most recent fights.
There was something more on the table, however, as the two had met before, seven years ago, when Modafferi handed Porto the first TKO loss of her career.
As much as Modafferi’s striking and aggression have improved since then, it wasn’t enough to win the rematch.
Modafferi was extremely active on her feet, but Porto showed herself to be the more accurate and powerful striker, besting Modafferi in the majority of their exchanges. She also scored several takedowns that earned points with the judges.
Modafferi was active off of her back, seeking submission after submission, but Porto’s takedowns and top position, coupled with her superior striking, were enough to earn a unanimous nod from the judges and avenge their first meeting.
“It was a great relief to have this fight,” said Porto. “I trained hard. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
Though most had expected Amanda Bell to continue her climb towards a featherweight title shot, New Zealander Faith Van Duin had other thoughts and slammed the door on Bell’s three-fight winning streak.
Van Duin did a good job negating Bell’s powerful punches, continuously taking the fight to the mat, where she was more in her element. Van Duin poured on the submission attempts until she finally caught Bell in a bulldog choke early in the second frame.
After the fight, Van Duin wasn’t shy, calling for a shot at the belt currently wrapped around Cris Cyborg’s waist.
Raquel Pa’aluhi continued to prove to be one of the fighters to watch in the bantamweight division. She pulled off a bit of an upset on Friday night, winning a unanimous decision over Ediane Gomes. The victory puts Pa’aluhi on a three-fight winning streak, turning around a career that had been headed in the opposite direction two-and-a-half years ago.
Invicta FC 12: Kankaanpää vs. Souza Full Results
Livia Renata Souza def. Katja Kankaanpää by Sumbission (triangle choke) at 3:58, R4
Vanessa Porto def. Roxanne Modafferi by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Faith Van Duin def. Amanda Bell by Submission (rear-naked choke) at 0:38, R2
Raquel Pa’aluhi def. Ediane Gomes by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Latoya Walker def. Peggy Morgan by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Lacey Schuckman def. Jenny Liou by TKO (strikes) at 1:53, R1
Sharon Jacobson def. Delaney Owen by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Shannon Sinn def. Maureen Riordon by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Sijara Eubanks def. Gina Begley by TKO (strikes) at 4:59, R1