Just when it looked like DeAnna Bennett’s pressure might win her the fight, Karina Rodriguez was awarded the win — and title shot — at Invicta FC 35.
The main event of Invicta FC 35 on Friday night saw Deanna Bennett and Karina Rodriguez clash for the second time. Their first meeting came just over a year ago, and it was Bennett, an Ultimate Fighter alum, who walked away with the split decision victory.
This time around, the stakes were higher. A title shot was on the line. It was the final of Invicta’s flyweight tournament.
The pair both charged out of the gate, looking for any advantage they could find. Rodriguez looked lighter on her feet. She was able to move in and out fluidly, landing her right hand in the process. She added leg kicks to that, tripping Bennett up. As the round wore on, however, Bennett displayed a power advantage, wobbling Rodriguez momentarily. Soon enough, Rodriguez was backing up, moving out of harm’s way. Ultimately, a close first round in the main event, with Rodriguez controlling the early part of the round, but Bennett coming on strong in the second half.
Round two had DeAnna Bennett continuing to walk forward, keeping Rodriguez on the outside. Two minutes in, Bennett would shoot for a takedown, clasping her hands and driving Rodriguez into the fence. The double became a single, which in turn became a grappling exchange, with Bennett unable to seal the deal. Rodriguez would eventually slip free, and the pair re-engaged, trading. Rodriguez landed a right, and fired a kick to the body, which was nearly caught. It did, however, allow Bennett to tie up her opponent by the cage. Bennett again came up short, but went back to the well later, shooting for another takedown. While Rodriguez continued to shake off these attempts, she was losing in terms of control time, constantly on the defensive.
The third round of Bennett vs. Rodriguez 2 saw an early kick to the body by Rodriguez that landed hard. Bennett then went into grappling mode, which once again favored DeAnna. She held on to a single leg attempt, trying to hoist up her opponent, and finally getting her down. Rodriguez, however, was up in a flash — only to be scooped up and dumped down again. This repeated a third time, with Bennett on her opponent like glue.
The fight would finish with Bennett in the driver’s seat, putting pressure on Karina Rodriguez. But never, ever leave it in the hands of the judges. In something of a surprising move, all three judges awarded the fight to Karina Rodriguez, two rounds to one. She now moves forward to a date with flyweight champ Vanessa Porto.
Karina Rodriguez def. DeAnna Bennett by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)