Dudieva vs. Gomes Sizzles, Rodriguez Wins Rematch Over Torquato at Invicta FC 46

Karina Rodriguez, Invicta FC 46
Karina Rodriguez, Invicta FC 46 Credit: Dave Mandel/Invicta FC

For those who enjoy the wilder side of MMA — all-out brawls with two fighters tearing down the house — the Invicta FC 46 co-main event was right up their alley.

Former UFC talent Milana Dudieva faced of with promotional newcomer Denise Gomes in the flyweight scrap, and the pair unquestionably stole the show.

In the early going, it was Dudieva putting on a strong performance, especially in the second frame. Towards the end of the round, the Russian flyweight dropped her opponent more than once. Gomes proved crafty, surviving just long enough to clear the cobwebs; after the second knockdown, Dudieva pursued the finish, locking up in a clinch and firing knees, doing all she could to separate and find some space — but Gomes was saved by the bell.

The tables were turned in the third frame. Gomes battled back, ripping the body as Dudieva, apparently spent after a reportedly rough weight cut, covered up. Gomes then began piling it out, battering Dudieva until she slumped down against the fence. The fight might have been stopped there, but the ref gave Dudieva an extra chance to survive — which was wholly unnecessary. Dudieva tried to get a leg between her and Gomes, but mostly just ate further ground n’ pound until the fight was finally called, giving Gomes the third-round TKO victory.

Denise Gomes improved to 5-1 with the victory, and has not lost since her professional debut in 2017.

In the main event, Daiana Torquato found the takedown in the opening round of her flyweight title fight rematch with champ Karina Rodriguez. Rodriguez was the aggressor in the early going of the round, but Torquato, who stepped into the bout on short notice, got the fight where she wanted it late care of an outside trip — which may have stolen the round for the challenger.

Come the second round, Rodriguez again had to fight off the wrestling of Torquato, and was able to get back to her feet when the fight did hit the mat. But Brazil’s Torquato found herself planted on her back again late in the second round, and finishing rounds on her back was not going to be a good look for the judges — especially with Torquato active on top, working the body and looking to pass into mount.

Heading into the third, the open scoring in Kansas City saw one judge ruling the bout a draw to that point. Otherwise, it was Torquato with the lead. Once again in round three, Rodriguez had to spend a good chunk of time just keeping Torquato off of her. It was a more successful round for the champ, with a little more being shown in the stand-up department, but still a very close round, in which Torquato won the bulk of the clinch battles.

Round four saw an early clinch controlled by Torquato; Rodriguez eventually would break free. Plenty of clinch work and single strikes followed. The champ would fire a fierce body kick in the second half of the round, but Torquato caught it, leading to a takedown. Rodriguez nearly had the upper hand, but in the scramble that ensued, Torquato reclaimed top position. Rodriguez would escape out with under a minute to go, and would land a right hand in a brief exchange ahead of the buzzer.

Entering round five, two judges had the fight dead even. One had Rodriguez ahead by a round, in what was to that point a very close fight.

An early clinch in the final round of the Invicta FC 46 main event saw Torquato again controlling the head; an elbow was fired off the break, and Torquato would land with a right hand back at distance. Rodriguez worked her jab, but it was another right from Torquato making an impact a moment later. The challenger had a body lock in place within a minute, but couldn’t drag Rodriguez down. They’d break, and the champ would connect with a left hand in the process.

Once again, Torquato would drive Rodriguez into the fence, looking for a takedown. But it wasn’t there, and back at center, Rodriguez began turning it up. Not that Torquato didn’t answer. But in the final minute, it was the champ on the attack, before one final clinch ran down the clock.

The final round made all the difference. Two judges scored it for Rodriguez, giving her the split decision win with scores of 48-47 and 49-46 in her favor. The dissenting judge had it 48-47 for Torquato.

Given the bout came on short notice, there’s a chance the pair meet again down the road. But for the time being, it was Karina Rodriguez with her second straight win, improving to 10-4 with four wins in her past five fights.