The Invicta FC cage was in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday for Invicta FC 28: Mizuki vs. Jandiroba. Union Event Center played host to the nine-bout, all-female fight card.
Brazilian Virna Jandiroba kept her undefeated record intact and picked up the vacant Invicta FC strawweight championship in the main event by defeating Mizuki Inoue by split decision. One of the judges scored the fight for Inoue, but Jandiroba dominated with her superior grappling and top control.
Jandiroba set the tone early when elevated the 23-year-old Japanese fighter into the air and slammed her to the canvas in the beginning the opening round. Inoue stayed active off her back. She landed punches and elbows from the bottom and was constantly moving. Despite Inoue’s best efforts, Jandiroba maintain top position and inflicted damage. At the end of the first frame, Inoue’s left eye was badly swollen.
Each time the fighters clinched, Jandiroba would takes Inoue down. The scenario played out over and over through five rounds. From striking distance, Inoue landed combinations and right hands, but inevitably fell victim to Jandiroba’s takedowns. Inoue was difficult to control and there were several exciting scrambles that ensued but Jandiroba ability to maintain position prevailed.
Inoue stepped into the title fight when Jandiroba’s original opponent Janaisa Morandin withdrew on March 2 due to injury. Inoue last fought in July 2016 but has been one of the most touted prospects in the women’s 115-pound division.
“I think my stock has been raised a lot, not just because of the belt but by beating Mizuki who is a world class fighter who has fought the who’s who of the division, so I know I made my name here,” said Jandiroba following the win.
“Her groundwork is really amazing. Her defense work has been topnotch. I was not expecting to have such a hard time on the ground,” added the newly crowned champion. “She kept active. She kept hitting me, even from the bottom, so props to her. She’s very, very good.”
In the co-main event, The Ultimate Fighter 26 cast member DeAnna Bennett returned to the Invicta cage and picked up a split decision win over rising Karina Rodriguez. Bennett was able to use her size and strength to control Rodriguez in the clinch position. Rodriguez landing punches but Bennett rarely gave her enough space to work her striking game. While the judges scored the fight a split decision, there was little doubt that Bennett had done enough to secure the victory.
The win was Bennett’s first since September 2015 at Invicta FC 14. She fought to a majority draw in her official UFC debut in December and was in desperate need of a win in her Invicta return.
“It feels good to be back in here, get a win next to my name. It’s been awhile,” she said after the win. “She’s really tough and I knew she would be strong. She put on a really good fight.”
Milana Dudieva was originally slated to face Inoue on Saturday but when Inoue was moved to the title fight she got a change of opponent. Instead she faced UFC veteran Christina Marks in a flyweight fight. Dudieva snapped a four-fight losing streak by finishing Marks in the second round via strikes.
The first round was slow paced with neither fighter establishing their game. The second round was playing out the same way with each fighter feeling each other out and trying to find their range. Dudieva found hers with a right hand that send Marks crashing to the canvas late in the round. The Russian saw her opportunity to finish and did with a series of punches before the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
In other strawweight action, Pearl Gonzalez handed rising prospect Kali Robbins her first career loss via unanimous decision. It was Gonzalez’ promotional debut after losing back-to-back fights in the UFC.
The opening round was a back and forth battle on the ground with reversals, sweeps and submission attempts. In the second round, Gonzalez landed strikes early before being taken down. Once the fight hit the ground, several scrambles took place but Gonzalez was in dominant position most of the time. In the third round, Gonzalez punished Robbins as Robbins committed to takedown attempts.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be back in the win column,” she said following the fight.
Invicta FC 28 Results:
– Virna Jandiroba def. Mizuki Inoue by unanimous decision (49-46, 46-49, 49-46)
– DeAnna Bennett def. Karina Rodriguez by split decision (30-27, 27-30, 30-27)
– Milana Dudieva def. Christina Marks by TKO (strikes) at 3:57, R2
– Pearl Gonzalez def. Kali Robbins by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-27)
– Minna Grusander def. Fernanda Barros by TKO (strikes) at 4:26, R2
– Kal Schwartz def. Kay Hansen by TKO (strikes) at 4:27, R2
– Kerri Kenneson def. Chelsea Chandler by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
– Jillian DeCoursey def. Rebekah Levine by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
– Tracy Cortez def. Kaytlin Neil by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)