The fight was largely a grappling contest. Penne pulled guard early in the first round and controlled Waterson. Waterson bounced back in the second stanza, securing two takedowns and mounting Penne.
In the third round, Penne sunk in an arm bar and looked to be extremely close to finishing the fight, but Waterson fought though.
The end came in the fourth round when Penne worked for a takedown. Waterson sprawled and worked for a kimura. As Penne defended the submission, Waterson transitioned and locked on an arm bar that forced Penne to tap out.
“You just can’t quit, even when you feel like you can’t go on,” said Waterson following the fight. “She almost got me in the third and I just told myself to keep going. She’s a (expletive) awesome fighter. She has so much heart. I just want to thank her for taking the fight and it’s a dream come true.”
Barb Honchak became the first ever Invicta FC flyweight champion, defeating Vanessa Porto by unanimous decision. The fight played out like a kickboxing bout. Honchak put out a higher volume of strikes. She was able to put together combinations and dictate the pace of the fight. Porto landed hard leg kicks but it wasn’t enough to overcome Honchak’s steady attack.
“I feel awesome. Vanessa, props goes to her. She was an amazing opponent for this title,” said Honchak after the win. “It’s nice to bring a title back to Miletich Fighting Systems.”
Former Strikeforce featherweight titleholder Cris “Cyborg” Santos looked like she hasn’t missed a beat since being away from competition since December 2011 due to testing positive to performance enhancing drugs. She dropped Fiona Muxlow with the first punch of the fight and battered her way to a technical knockout victory.
“I’m very happy to come back and I want to fight soon,” said Santos in her post-fight interview.
The win earned her a shot at the vacant Invicta featherweight title against Marloes Coenen. The two previoiusly fought in Strikeforce in January 2010 with Santos defeating Coenen by TKO.
“I’m very excited to fight Marloes Coenen. She’s a very good fighter,” she said. “I want a good fight in July.”
During the broadcast, Coenen said she hoped Santos won because it’s a rematch she’s been wanting for a long time.
Former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman, on loan to Invicta FC by the UFC, bounced back from her loss to Ronda Rousey by defeating Leslie Smith by split decision. Kaufman had to rebound from adversity when Smith landed a high kick in the second round that knocked Kaufman down. In the end, Kaufman’s boxing proved to be the difference.
“I knew that Leslie was going to be a tough opponent coming in. She might not be the most technical, but what she does she’s really good at,” said Kaufman following the win. “She came in, she gave a great performance. It was an exciting fight for the fans.”
“It doesn’t matter how I feel right now. The judges decided that she won,” said Smith following the loss.
Julia Taylor remained undefeated by defeating veteran Kaitlin Young by unanimous decision. Julia Budd won for the first time in her career by submission and extended her win streak to three by defeating Mollie Estes by rear naked choke while Bec Hyatt settled her grudge with Jasminka Cive, winning by arm bar in the first round.
-Michelle Waterson def. Jessica Penne by submission (arm bar) at 2:31, R4
-Barb Honchak def. Vanessa Porto by unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 48-47)
-Cris Cyborg Santos def. Fiona Muxlow by TKO at 3:46, R1
-Sarah Kaufman def. Leslie Smith by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
-Jennifer Maia def. Zoila Frausto Gurgel by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
-Lauren Taylor def. Kaitlin Young by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
-Julia Budd def. Mollie Estes by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:04, R3
-Bec Hyatt def. Jasminka Cive by submission (arm bar) at 3:30, R1
-Simona Soukupova def. Cassie Rodish by submission (guillotine choke) at 3:20, R2
-Miriam Nakamoto def. Jessamyn Duke by KO at 2:20, R1
-Katja Kankaanpaa def. Juliana Carnerio Lima by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
-Rose Namajunas def. Kathina Catron by submission (flying arm bar) at :12, R1
-Alex Chambers def. Jodie Esquibel by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:35, R1
(Photos courtesy of Esther Lin/Invicta FC)
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