Invicta FC bantamweight world title fight serves as dual main event at Phoenix Series 3

February 6, 2020

Kansas City, Mo. – The fastest-paced format in mixed martial arts returns on March 6, when the bantamweights get their chance to run the gauntlet of the PHOENIX SERIES, fighting up to three times in one night. The world’s premier all-women’s combat sports organization, INVICTA FC, presents PHOENIX SERIES 3 from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., with an action-packed event also featuring an Invicta world championship fight.

The PHOENIX SERIES is an eight-woman, single-elimination tournament that takes place in one night. Both the quarterfinal and semifinal bouts are contested over a single five-minute round. The winners of those two frantic stages meet in the finale, which is fought over three, five-minute rounds. The innovative format presents fighters with unique challenges and fans with an explosive, rapid-fire night of MMA action. The eight tournament participants will be matched up during a random draw prior to the event. The full tournament format and rules can be viewed here.

Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp said, “We have something very special with the PHOENIX SERIES format and, after the strawweights and flyweights gave us two memorable tournaments last year, we very excited to see what the bantamweights can do in this unique environment.”

The tournament field includes three-fight Invicta veteran “Scary” Kerri Kenneson (3-2), the return of California’s Brittney “Bombshell” Victoria (3-1), three unbeaten combatants in Erin Harpe (2-0), Taneisha “Triple Threat” Tennant (2-0) and “Grizzly” Claire Guthrie (1-0), decorated striker “Hurricane” Hope Chase (2-1), Nevada product Auttumn “The Natural” Norton (1-1), and “No Mercy” Taylor Guardado —née Stratford, who battled the likes of Ronda Rousey and Raquel Pennington in the amateurs — makes her long-awaited pro debut.

The PHOENIX SERIES format debuted last May, when strawweight Brianna Van Buren ran the gauntlet in a reputation-making night. The California fighter was immediately called up to the UFC following her tournament victory. When the PHOENIX SERIES returned last September, it was 22-year-old flyweight Miranda Maverick who made a name for herself by scoring two stoppages in three fights en route to lifting the trophy. Maverick returns this Friday at Invicta FC 39 in Kansas City to take on former UFC star Pearl Gonzalez in a fight that could catapult her into an Invicta word title fight.

“We are looking for one of these eight women to seize the moment,” Knapp said. “We’ve purposely invited athletes who are in the earlier stages of their careers to compete in the tournament. This is the chance for one of them to make the MMA world take notice.”

The event will also showcase a world championship fight as undefeated 24-year-old phenom Lisa “Battle Angel” Verzosa (5-0) squares off with The Ultimate Fighter alum Julija Stoliarenko (8-3-1) of Lithuania for the vacant Invicta FC bantamweight title. Verzosa — née Spangler — has earned four of her five career victories inside the Invicta cage. The Washington-based fighter most recently defeated Kerri Kenneson at Invicta FC 38. Stoliarenko will make her promotional debut riding the momentum of a four-fight winning streak since leaving the TUF house. All eight of her career wins have come via first-round armbar submission.

Elsewhere on the card, strawweight veterans Amber “The Bully” Brown (7-6) and Sharon “The Dream Catcher” Jacobson (6-5) will collide for a second time. The two-time national wrestling champion Jacobson took home a decision win over Brown in the quarterfinal round of the inaugural PHOENIX SERIES tournament last May.

Also in the strawweight division, 20-year-old Californian Kay Hansen (5-3) tangles with Brazilian Liana Pirosin (7-3).

Finally, the card will feature two tournament reserve match-ups as Serena “The Southpaw Outlaw” DeJesus (1-1) meets Julia “Chicago” Ottolino (1-0) and Oklahoma’s Mitzi “The Mauler” Merry (2-1) returns against newcomer Morgan Hickam (1-2).

PHOENIX SERIES 3 will take place from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. The event will stream live on UFC Fight Pass at 7 p.m. CT. Tickets to the event can be purchased through Eventbrite.

TRENDING > Khabib Nurmagomedov brushes aside $100 million Saudi offer for McGregor or Mayweather

PHOENIX SERIES 3 full fight card

  • Bantamweight Title: Lisa Verzosa vs. Julija Stoliarenko
  • Bantamweight Tournament Final: TBD vs. TBD
  • Strawweight: Amber Brown vs. Sharon Jacobson
  • Strawweight: Kay Hansen vs. Liana Pirosin
  • Bantamweight Tournament Semifinal: TBD vs. TBD
  • Bantamweight Tournament Semifinal: TBD vs. TBD
  • Bantamweight Reserve Bout No. 2: Mitzi Merry vs. Morgan Hickam
  • Bantamweight Reserve Bout No. 1: Serena DeJesus vs. Julia Ottolino
  • Bantamweight Tournament Quarterfinal: TBD vs. TBD (Randomly Drawn)
  • Bantamweight Tournament Quarterfinal: TBD vs. TBD (Randomly Drawn)
  • Bantamweight Tournament Quarterfinal: TBD vs. TBD (Randomly Drawn)
  • Bantamweight Tournament Quarterfinal: TBD vs. TBD (Randomly Drawn)

PHOENIX SERIES 3 Quarterfinalists

  • Auttumn Norton
  • Brittney Victoria
  • Claire Guthrie
  • Erin Harpe
  • Hope Chase
  • Kerri Kenneson
  • Taneisha Tennant
  • Taylor Guardado