Contributor: Eriksson Lau
#1 Barb Honchak vs. #2 Leslie Smith (125 title)
Wasn’t exactly Smith’s best performance, and it wasn’t Honchak’s either. But, Honchak’s “anti-Diaz” gameplan was working. I don’t know how many times, and how easily she hit that double with the outside trip takedown. That was extremely frustrating to watch, not to mention, I believe, the most timid Leslie Smith fight I’ve ever seen (And I’ve seen all her Invicta fights, and her fight with Kerry Vera in Bellator).
I always root for the “different” and “unique” fighters, but today, the basics won. Honchak’s cleaner, tighter technique, application of the takedown, ground control and movement were better. She decided to brawl a few times with Smith, but for the most part she was taking the rounds decidedly. Check out some of the best grappling exchanges between the two. That omoplata sweep was a thing of fucking beauty.
It’ll probably be around half a dozen months before we see Honchak again, let some flyweight contenders grow.
Check out Honchak’s back take, and Smith’s omoplata sweep in these gifs here! (I also kind of analyze it)
#10 Lauren Taylor vs. Miriam Nakamoto (135 title)
It sucks. Injuries sucks. Not much more I can add. You train 8 or whatever weeks, and then get a fight stopping injury in the cage is just horrible. Robert Sargent via Twitter: Miriam Nakamoto was out for all of 2011 due to ACL reconstruction surgery. So, this knee injury is absolutely troubling. Another thing that sucks, women have wider hips, womb, something like that, so they are more susceptible to knee damage.
Rounds 1 and 2 Nakamoto showed her dangerous Muay Thai. Nakamoto is a fighter you don’t want to be on the outside or she’ll kick the living shit out of you, so you obviously want to take her down/close distance. BUT, when you get close enough she’ll grab the Thai plum and attack you with elbows and knees. Taylor was able to turn it on in the 3rd, but I can’t help but think if Nakamoto’s knee didn’t give, that takedown would not have even happened…
Sidenote: Wouldn’t it have been awesome if Lauren Taylor (Murphy… ugh, my bad. I hate name changes makes everything a little more confusing) said during the post fight interview ” I’m really happy to be fighting here for Invicta, and in front of all the fans, but I can’t accept this belt. I worked hard to be here, but I didn’t beat Nakamoto tonight. Thank you, Shannon and everyone at Invicta for this opportunity. Hopefully Miriam’s injury isn’t too serious, and we can do this again. ” *Takes off belt, and puts on Miesha* That’s what I was thinking the moment the fight was stopped. Nothing worse than an inconclusive… anything. Motherfucker, we need closure..
#3 Carla Esparza vs. #2 Claudia Gadelha (115 title)
Gadelha apparently got a fever and whatnot sick and stuff, I mean, some are speculating that it was a weight cut issue, and the sickness was a cover, but whatever the case was the fight didn’t happen.
Now, with Esparza calling out Tecia Torres, it’s possible this fight might not even happen. This is the 2nd time Gadelha has pulled out against Esparza, so I wouldn’t blame Invicta, and there is a considerable buzz with a CHAMP calling out someone.
Gadelha and Esparza/Felice Herrig exchanged many words on Twitter. Gadelha trying to keep interest in a fight with Esparza?
There’s a lot of shit talk, so I’m just gonna link it please ignore the randoms tweeting alongside.
They talk “running” aka “ducking”
Esparza skeptical about Gadelha withdrawing
In comes best friend Felice Herrig
Some more… I don’t think Gadelha is handling this situation too well… is it just me or is the aggressive Brazilian female fighter on Twitter becoming a thing?
and somemore shit about butts and yeah… Just look up Esparza/Herrig/Gadelha’s Twitter timeline if you want more. I did not include the ass competition, my apologies.
(Ed. Note: He’s not kidding, there really was trash-talking about asses between them, it was certainly….something.)
#6 Felice Herrig vs. #13 Tecia Torres (115lbs)
Tecia Torres just proved, decisively, she belongs in the top 10, and top 5 strawweights in the world. Knowing she trains with Jessica Aguilar, I wanna see that fight. But, Tecia Torres absolutely dominated Felice. It wasn’t even close. And I’m not even gonna say Felice wasn’t game. She didn’t gas, andlooked confident and ready, just ran into a better fighter. Tecia’s hands and kicks were better. Her takedown defence was superb (Felice had some deep penetration with her takedown attempts too) and some of the best backward moving striking I’ve seen. Period.
I feel for Felice, though (if you read her post-fight reflection I linked above). She tried, I felt, she threw all she had at Tecia, but as Tecia Torres so bluntly put it, it was “total domination”. I don’t think anybody expected that. The way she delivered that comment in the post fight interview really bothered me (even with Felice’s overzealous, over-sexualized persona, and the weigh in bullshit, but still. Perfect time for Tecia too take the high road, and at least sound a little more humble. You just gave this girl your best shots, and went 3 hard rounds with her). I might be reading a little too much into this… onto the next fight.
Oh, but first. Carla Esparza’s call out was cold. You could tell she isn’t the confrontational type, stumbling with her words a little in her Tecia Torres call out. However, I don’t know about you, but I felt like Esparza’s words had serious “I’m gonna fuck you up so bad” feel to Torres (beating her “sister” and “best” friend, as well as the “total domination” comment). She also stated during the Invicta 7 post fight conference that the call out was “personal” and “I wanna bring a little blood to Tecia’s face”. Sidenote: I believe it’s pronounced TEE-SHA, not Tih-sha like Esparza is pronouncing it.
Listen around 5:35 for about a minute…
#7 Joanne BADMOFO Calderwood vs. #5 Katja Kankaanpaa (115lbs)
I’m just gotta start my saying, I love Joanne Calderwood, and Katja. However, I thought Calderwood was a little overrated (ranked in the top 10 without ever beating a top 10 opponent, that Rory McDonald treatment. Quality of opposition is my biggest factor in ranking girls). BUT, finally she was given the opportunity, and defeated an elite, elite grinder. Katja just needs one takedown, and she’ll win the round, but Calderwood has excellent hips like Miesha Tate said, and a decent understanding of how to prevent the takedown. I would really like to see Calderwood show a little more urgency when she’s defending the takedowns, or showing a few counter takedown/clinch moves, such as “switch”, rolling knee bar, and kimura counter.
Sometimes I really don’t understand how fights are put together. Tecia Torres and Joanne Calderwood are two undefeated fighters brought up through Invicta. But, Calderwood has fought 3 fighters, who are more so grinding, grapplers (Cummins, Norma Rueda, Kankaanpaa) while Tecia has fought strikers, and well-rounded exciting fighters (Rain, Namajunas, VanZant). Fight with Mizuki Ionue, would be technical striking jizzery.
Julia Budd vs. Charmaine Tweet (145lbs)
Safe to call this the worst fight of the card? Budd seems keen on challenging Cyborg, but she’s in for the beating of a life time. Nunes slept her, but Cyborg doesn’t put people to sleep. She just wails on them til the ref can’t watch any more. However, I am declaring Julia Budd the best fighter at Cyborgweight (no longer will I be ranking Cyborg, she has transcended this division and it is hers now). That’s right. Better than Ediane Gomes. Better than Marloes Coenen. I said it.
(Ed Note: Mr. Lau was executed and kicked in to a shallow grave after his talk of Marloes Coenen after this piece was run.)
#3 Vanessa Porto vs. #7 Zoila Frausto Gurgel (125lbs)
She may have lost, but Frausto showed some beautiful combinations, and looks to have found her “love” again for the sport. Fluid as hell, but she’s not fully there yet. Porto did just enough, but I hope the last 2 minutes of the fight, we’ll be more reoccurring in Zoila’s future fights. I don’t think we’ve ever seen such fluidity in Zoila’s striking. Wonder what they’ll do with Porto. I think she’s gonna become a top 10 gate keeper, and is at least 3 more wins away from a Honchak rematch. The best thing for Porto is a Honchak loss.
#11 Sarah D’Alelio vs. Tonya Evinger
A much deserved win here for Tonya. When she doesn’t gas, she’s a very dangerous fighter. Pressure striking plus the threat of the takedown has been mastered to a tee by Cain Velasquez and is one of the most effective styles of fighting out there. I’m very happy to see the almost 8 year veteran of the sport get the win, especially since Miesha Tate was commentating (I believe they are not the best of friends), who I felt was extra critical during Evinger’s fight. Fighting in front of her MIssouri, she came back from one round down to take the next two and after Miesha saying on TUF something of the nature that “her worst enemy has always been herself” and gassing against Pennington in the “get into the house” fight, it is great to see her redeem herself beating a girl in the top 10, even if D’Alelio was short notice.
#15 Nina Ansaroff def. #8 Munah Holland via round 2 KO
Wow. When you throw caution to the wind as many times as Nina did, if you get countered just once, it’s gonna do some damage. I often hear, and also think that, the women have “less power” than the men, but that’s also because most women don’t throw power hooks, the way Ansaroff was throwing them. Every. Single. Time. She could have easily been in Munah Holland’s place, but Holland was never able to land a solid punch on her. The kicks of Ansaroff were excellent, some of the best I’ve seen in MMA. Also, really like how she used the takedown as a defensive weapon.
Similar to how Bigfoot Silva thwarted Mark Hunt for much of rounds 1 and 2 with kicks, Ansaroff used footwork, lots of kicks, and wild counter hooks + takedowns, and it makes sense. Munah only used boxing WITHOUT cutting the cage off, and the girl with more weapons won. The flyweight division better be watching Nina THE STRINA Ansaroff, especially if she bridges the gap of power hooks (which, were actually thrown with crisp technique, and she has the right arm length to do so) with set up strikes.
Invicta put the entire event for free up! CLICK HERE!
-Eriksson can be reached @ErikssonLau or at http://wmmanalyze.com/