The first significant MMA event of 2022 arrived on Wednesday night, with Invicta FC 45 bringing an atomweight title fight to Kansas City, Kansas.
The rematch between Alesha Zappitella and Jessica Delboni had been in the works since last summer. Zappitella had won the pair’s first meeting, albeit by a close split decision. Delboni then went on to win the single night Phoenix Series atomweight tournament in June, securing another shot at the title in the process.
Come Wednesday night, things started out differently for Zappitella. She secured an early takedown, something she struggled with in the pair’s first meeting. But from there on out, it was Delboni’s fight. The Brazilian shored up her takedown defense, and began landing combos as the fight wore on. Ultimately, she controlled the action en route to a one-sided unanimous decision to claim the atomweight title.
A handful of other fighters made some big noise on the night, perhaps none more so than Hailey Cowan. Cowan earned herself a second-round submission over Monica Franco via rear-naked choke, with the ref looking on. And on, and on, even as Franco tapped. Cowan released the hold of her own accord, with the ref never actually stopping the fight — but there was no protest from Franco.
Following the victory, Cowan called for a fight on UFC 271 — which happens to take place on her birthday. That would no doubt be quite the present for the LFA alum.
Full results and a gallery of highlights from Invicta FC 45 can be found below.
Invicta FC 45: Zappitella vs. Delboni 2 Results
Jéssica Delboni def. Alesha Zappitella by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) – for the Invicta FC atomweight title
Ramona Pascual def. Shamir Peshewa by TKO (knee and punches), Round 1, 1:00
Hailey Cowan def. Monica Franco by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2, 3:17
Helen Peralta def. Elise Pone by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
Katie Saull def. Tamika Jones by submission (armbar), Round 1, 4:30
Sarah Kleczka def. Maria Jose Favela by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)