Sarah Kaufman to Face Katharina Lehner for Bantamweight Title at Invicta FC 29

Sarah Kaurman at Invicta FC 27
Sarah Kaufman Credit: Dave Mandel/Invicta FC

Canada’s Sarah Kaufman will have a chance to win another high profile title when she faces Katharina Lehner at Invicta FC 29 with bantamweight gold on the line.

The puzzle pieces in Invicta FC sometimes move almost quicker than you can keep up with. As quickly as Yana Kunitskaya was the bantamweight champion in the all-female MMA promotion, she wasn’t. Kunitskaya took over from Tonya Evinger, who vacated to jump to the UFC and fight Cris Cyborg. Then Kunitskaya, like Evinger, vacated the title to face Cyborg in the UFC, at this weekend’s UFC 222. That left the 135lb title in Invicta in limbo. Now, the issue has been rectified by the promotion booking a bantamweight title fight between former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champ Sarah Kaufman and Germany’s Katharina Lehner. The fight will take place at Invicta FC 29.

Bloody Elbow was first to report the news, which was subsequently confirmed by Lehner. Cageside Press spoke to Kaufman earlier this year, and she indicated that a title shot was definitely a possibility, though more than anything she was looking to stay active after struggling to find fights since parting ways with the UFC.

Kaufman (19-4, 1NC) held gold in Strikeforce back in 2010. She defeated a host of top names there, including eventual UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, and UFC flyweight title challenger Roxanne Modafferi. With wins over Alexis Davis, Leslie Smith, Shayna Baszler, and other veterans peppering her record, it’s safe to say that Kaufman is one of the most experienced fighters on Invicta’s roster. After losing the Strikeforce title to Marloes Coenen, she went on a three-fight win streak. That earned her a shot at then-champion Ronda Rousey. Her bid to regain the Strikeforce title failed; Rousey would go on to become one of MMA’s biggest stars. Kaufman, meanwhile, struggled in the UFC, going 1-2 (1NC) in the promotion.

Since the promotion opted not to re-sign her in 2015, Kaufman’s gone 2-0. The wins came over Jessica-Rose Clark and Pannie Kianzad; the latter came at Invicta FC 27 earlier this year. A win over Lehner should go a long way to propelling Kaufman back to the UFC, which she feels “needs my talent” in their bantamweight division. Yet don’t expect Kaufman to bounce straight back to the UFC necessarily, as some others have done.

German Kathrina Lehner (7-0), meanwhile, will be returning to Invicta FC for the second time in her title fight against Sarah Kaufman. While she picked up the win last time out, her debut wasn’t as successful as hoped. That’s after she missed weight for the fight. Hopefully, there’ll be no such issues this time around. The undefeated Lehner is coming off a win outside Invicta, at Hype FC 7 in December against Gemma Pike.

Invicta FC 29 takes place May 4 and will air exclusively on UFC Fight Pass. No location has been announced for the card as of yet.