Barb Honchak retained her Invicta flyweight title with a unanimous decision over Takayo Hashi at Invicta FC 9 on Saturday in Davenport, Iowa.
Honchak clinched with Hashi almost any time she wanted, picking up the judges’ nod with scores of 50-45, 49-46 and 49-46.
“It’s awesome,” Honchak said of the win. “She’s so tough and she’s so strong. She came out game, a lot more game than I expected … I think she’s improved her hands quite a bit.
“Just working against the cage, that’s where I can control her.”
Honchak pressured her Hashi early on and secured a clinch where she landed knees and pressed her opponent against the cage. While there, Honchak prevented Hashi from establishing any kind of advantageous hold. In the final minute, they broke apart and Honchak scored points with strikes.
Honchak again utilized the clinch in the second round, pressing Hashi against the fence. Besides a few knees and short punches, Hashi was unable to land any substantial strikes while her opponent pressured her against the boundary of the cage. Honchak landed a number of knees while keeping the clinch game going.
In the third, Honchak again went to the clinch, but Hashi was able to work towards a takedown. Despite being in trouble while on her back, Honchak was able to work her way back to her feet and attempt another clinch. Hashi kept her at bay and the two traded punches before clinching again at the end of the frame.
There was — you guessed it — more clinching by Honchak in the fourth round, controlling Hashi throughout the stanza. It wasn’t until the final moments of the round that Hashi scored a takedown and worked from the ground for a matter of seconds before going to the final round.
The last round had the fight’s largest share of striking. Hashi and Honchak traded punches for much of the round, and Honchak landed a leg kick that appeared to make her foe limp. Despite moments when the two would clinch, Honchak was able to work in elbows as the two separated en route to the unanimous decision.
In the co-main event, Karolina Kowalkiewicz defeated Mizuki Inoue in a razor-close split decision with scores of 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28.
The first round remained fairly competitive for a time, but Kowalkiewicz later found opportunities to actively throw punches in bunches. Inoue countered at times, but spent a large portion of time evading her opponent’s active striking pattern.
In the second, Inoue was able to bring her opponent to the ground with a well-executed hip toss. While there, Inoue secured Kowalkiewicz’s back and worked towards a rear-naked choke, trading grappling moments with strikes before the round’s time expired.
Both fighters kept active offenses in the third round, trading strikes from the moment the time period started. Kowalkiewicz and Inoue peppered each other with a number of combinations, each of them landing at various times in the round to cap off the evening’s closest match-up.
With the win, Kowalkiewicz extended her perfect record to 6-0.
Raquel Pa’aluhi earned a win on a week’s notice, beating Kaitlin Young in their Invicta fight by unanimous decision with scores of 29-28 from all judges. Young looked to be out in front early, picking her opponent apart on the feet by landing various punch combinations.
In the second round, however, Pa’aluhi was able to take her foe down the ground and control the bout from a grappling aspect. Over the final 10 minutes of the fight, Pa’aluhi stayed active with submission attempts, but also found her timing to land more shots than Young while in a standing battle.
Earlier, Jodie Esquibel dominated her fight with Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc, winning a unanimous decision with scores of 30-27 across the judges’ panel. Esquibel used striking combinations to outpoint her opponent, and capitalized on opportunities to ground Rivera-Calanoc.
The remainder of the results can be seen below.
Amber Brown def. Liz McCarthy by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Amanda Bell def. Maria Hougaard Djursaa by TKO (punches) at 4:56 of Round 1
Andrea K. Lee def. Shannon Sinn by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jamie Moyle def. Jenny Liou by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Kelly McGill def. Maegan Goodwin by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Photo Credit: Scott Hirano, Invicta FC