Invicta FC 23 kept a solid month of MMA rolling Saturday night in Kansas City, MO. A flyweight showcase made all the more timely by the UFC’s announcement that it was launching a women’s flyweight division, the event featured a headlining bout between top 125lb’ers Vanessa Porto and Agnieszka Niedzwiedz. Also on the card, LFA women’s flyweight champ Andrea “KGB” Lee, and Ultimate Fighter 18 fighter and women’s MMA pioneer Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi.
Early in the night, longtime vet Ediane Gomes took Pam “Bam” Sorenson to a split decision in Gomes’ return to action. The Brazilian used positional dominance and superior striking to pick up the victory over a game Sorenson. Gomes (11–4) had not fought since 2015, and breaks a two fight losing streak. Sorenson drops to 5-2. The bout was contested at featherweight, a class up from where each fighter usually competes.
The popular Andrea KGB Lee started strong against wrestler Liz Tracy, and looked to be setting up a massacre. However, Tracy proved to be a game opponent, managing to hang in there to the very end despite Lee’s clearly superior striking. Lee (7-2) showed enough to capture the victory, and said after the fight that she’d love to fight for Invicta FC gold later in the year. Tracy, in her Invicta FC debut, managed to sway one judge her way, with the bout ending in a split decision.
A couple of former UFC prospects battled it out next, with Kelly Faszholz getting the better of Elizabeth Phillips to take home a unanimous decision win. Faszholz improves to 4-2 with the win, and snapped a two fight losing streak.
In atomweight action, former champ Herica Tiburcio took a close split decision over Tessa Simpson.
The co-main event of the evening featured Roxanne Modafferi, The Happy Warrior, taking on the dangerous Sarah D’Alelio. It proved to be a happy night for Modafferi, and a very unhappy evening for D’Alelio. The latter dropped The Happy Warrior early, but Modafferi bounced back nicely, and dropped D’Alelio later in the round. That led to a number of submission attempts including an arm-bar that her opponent escaped by dropping Modafferi on her head. Looking wobbly heading back to her corner, Modafferi regrouped for the second.
Early in the second, Modafferi dropped D’Alelio again, and the veteran spent much of the time on the ground controlling D’Alelio, working for a rear naked choke after taking the back. She would finish the round on top, and in the third, it was all Roxy. The TUF 18 competitor once again unloaded on her foe, utilizing some much improved striking to push her opponent back against the cage, then took her down and finished with some nasty elbows, splitting D’Alelio open and ending the fight at 1:37 of the third round.
In the main event, Vanessa Porto took on Poland’s Agnieszka Niedźwiedź. While Porto seemed to find success early, in the second Niedźwiedź controlled the action on the ground, looking to sink in a triangle and arm-bar at various points.
Heading into the third round, the bout could have gone either way. Early on, it seemed as if Niedźwiedź might be able to replicate her success in the second, but Porto managed to regain her feet, and began finding her range. By the end of the third, Porto had bloodied her foe, but in the end, it wasn’t enough. Agnieszka Niedźwiedź took the decision on all three judge’s scorecards (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). She improves to 10-0 with the win.
The event put a number of fighters back in the mix, though who fights for flyweight gold next may depend on what happens with The Ultimate Fighter 26. You can expect a number of these fighters to try out for the show.
Agnieszka Niedźwiedź def. Vanessa Porto by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Roxanne Modafferi def. Sarah D’Alelio by TKO (elbows), Round 3, 1:37
Herica Tiburcio def. Tessa Simpson by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Kelly Faszholz def. Elizabeth Phillips by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Andrea Lee def. Liz Tracy by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Ediane Gomes def. Pam Sorenson by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Tiffany van Soest def. Christine Ferea by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Shaianna ‘Yaya’ Rincon def Brooksie Bayard by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)