Invicta FC 42 went down Thursday, September 17 and saw the crowning of a new atomweight champion for the all-female fighting out.
In the main event, Ashley Cummins had another shot at gold, this time against Alesha Zappitella. Cummins had first fought for the atomweight title in February, taking on now-former champion Jinh Yu Frey. Frey, however, missed weight for the fight. She relinquished her title, and only Cummins was eligible for the belt that night — but it was Frey earning the win then jumping over to the UFC.
Zappitella meanwhile was getting her first shot at gold in the promotion, after winning two straight bouts against Kelly D’Angelo and Lindsay VanZandt. She holds wins over Jillian DeCoursey and Amber Brown from earlier in her Invicta FC tenure.
In the co-main event, bantamweights Liza Verzosa and Raquel Canuto threw down. Verzosa (formerly Spangler) was looking to bounce back from the first loss of her career, against Julija Stoliarenko for the 135lb title back in March.
Invicta FC 42 gets underway at 8PM ET from the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas. The cards streams live exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
Jennifer Chieng vs. Helen Peralta
Helen Peralta attacked the lead leg of Jennifer Chieng, and later tried out a spinning attack before pressing Chieng up against the fence. From there, she worked in knees while no doubt thinking takedown. When they did go to the ground, it was Chieng on her back, closing her guard and trying to lock her hands around Peralta’s head. Peralta worked in a few shots, but as time ran down in the frame she disengaged and let Chieng back up.
Round two saw a similar approach with Peralta pressing Chieng into the fence. Chieng appeared to have no answer for tat, unable to reverse for long stretches of time. Towards the end of the round, there was a little flurry, with Peralta eventually tying up one of Chieng’s hands, leaving her vulnerable to additional strikes. Chieng, however was saved by the bell.
The final round saw more clinch work initiated by Peralta, who landed a sharp elbow. Peralta had a clear power advantage. And she used that to control the entire fight, en route to a completely unsurprising unanimous decision.
Victoria Leonardo vs. Liz Tracy
Liz Tracy entered her flyweight bout with Victoria Leonardo off major meniscus surgery. After being told her career was over, she proved doctors wrong, and got right into a kickboxing match early in the first round. Both ladies landed at various points, with Tracy getting her kicks going up high, despite a significant height advantage for Leonardo.
In the second, Tracy briefly secured a takedown, but Leonardo was not down for long. After lots of time on the feet in the first round and a half, Leonardo then decided the ground game was the way to go, soon taking Tracy down. Tracy looked for a leg lock in response, and as Leonardo rolled out of it, Tracy released the hold, with the pair scrambling back up.
Round three had the pair back to kickboxing initially, the pair circling, and occasionally exchanging. With the open scoring platform, one judge had awarded the bout to Leonardo heading into the third, but the other two had it even, 19-19. Meaning it was still anybody’s fight. Tracy held center, while Leonardo stayed on the outside, circling. Both women peppered their attacks with kicks, and they’d go to the bell, with Leonardo taking the decision.
Jéssica Delboni vs. Herica Tiburcio
Delboni was quick with her hands, catching Tiburcio flat-footed in the pair’s strawweight bout at Invicta FC 42. Tiburcio was in her first bout since 2017, after taking time off to start a family. Which might have explained some of her timing issues.
Jessica Delboni maintained that striking edge in the second, adding knees, and just being a little quicker to the punch. The knees in particular, when Tiburcio closed the distance, were a nice addition to Delboni’s offense. Tiburcio did find more success in the second frame, keeping up with her opponent and even leading the attacks frequently. The only problem, she was getting hit more often than her opponent, which generally does not bode well in terms of outcome.
The third round saw the pair go toe-to-toe once again, with Tiburcio holding center a little more. The kept the action up right to the final bell, with Delboni earning the unanimous decision win.
Lisa Verzosa vs. Raquel Canuto
The opening round of the bantamweight co-main event at Invicta FC 42 played out on the feet. In what was essentially a kickboxing bout early, both women had their moments. Canuto fought at a measured pace, but by the time they headed to the second, things had picked up a little.
More exchanges and kicks opened the third, particularly from Canuto. She held center, walking Verzosa down at times. Canuto continued to work in her kicks, but Verzosa was firing over the top, and following up her strikes. She was also switching up the angles, giving Raquel Canuto a number of different looks. No takedown to be found through the entire frame in the second.
In the third, Canuto was absolutely looking for a takedown at times, but early on, it wasn’t to be found. Verzosa displayed some decent defense, as the pair continued to exchange. Canuto picked things up just a smidgen in the third, and Verzosa might have slowed a tad. Canuto followed a leg kick with a crisp combination in the final ten seconds, with the fight going the distance. In a very close fight, Verzosa won the split decision.
Ashley Cummins vs. Alesha Zappitella
Within the first two minutes of the opening round, Ashley Cummins had landed a big knee on Alesha Zappitella. Zappitella appeared no worse for the wear, but the blow no doubt caught her attention. Zappitella stayed outside, circling, which was not going to help the wrestler’s chances of landing a takedown. Moments later, Zappitella slipped under a bunch and shot for a takedown, only to be stuffed.
Whether that knee would change Zappitella’s approach remained to be seen. She’d clearly need to keep it in mind when changing levels. Cummins would fire a leg kick in the second, perhaps a dangerous decision against a wrestler. She’d mainly focus on her hands, however. Cummins would land some heavy punches in the clinch a little past the midway mark. Zappitella would go back to circling, and land a kick to the leg of Cummins. Zappitella then dropped for a leg, but was stuffed.
Round three saw Zappitella finally get to spend some time on the ground. She worked from half guard, with well over half a round remaining, looking to slice through into mount. Cummings locked her ankles looking to prevent that, but Zappitella managed to move to side control. Cummins would try to clasp her hands and control Zappitella, who began working in short elbows and punches. Zappitella stayed heavy on her opponent, adding elbows to the thigh as Cummins again tried to tie her up. Cummins would scramble out in the final 30 seconds.
In the fourth round, Zappitella got the fight to the ground early again. This time, she began working on a Von Flue (or Von Preux, if you prefer) choke. With a bit of adjusting, she forced the tap! Alesha Zappitella wins the Invicta FC atomweight title in style.
Invicta FC 42: Cummins vs. Zappitella Results:
Ashley Cummins def. Alesha Zappitella by submission (Von Flue Choke), Round 4, 1:20 — for the Invicta FC atomweight title (vacant)
Lisa Verzosa def. Raquel Canuto by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Jéssica Delboni def. Herica Tiburcio by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Victoria Leonardo def. Liz Tracy by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Helen Peralta def. Jennifer Chieng by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)