A three-round battle between noted strikers Kaitlin Young and Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith earned Fight of the Night honours on Saturday night at Invicta Fighting Championships 1 in Kansas City, Kansas. Both fighters pocketed an additional $1500 in bonuses for their performances.
Sarah “White Tiger” Schneider won an additional $1000 for her Submission of the Night-winning armbar of “Slick” Sally Krumdiack in the opening bout on the main card. Fellow Invicta FC winners Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche and Jessica Penne also received $1000 in two Social Media bonuses.
Young (7-5-1) and Smith (3-2-1) both felt that they had done enough to win their action-packed fight, but the cageside judges ultimately returned a disappointing Split Draw with scores of 29-28, 28-29 and 29-29. Both fighters spoke with MMARising.com after the fight.
“I felt that I was landing more effective shots, but it probably looked like I was moving backward,” Young said. “I feel that having a bit more of an aggressive stance could have pushed [the decision] my way. I was happy with my movement and I felt that I was a little quicker. One thing that I don’t think I did as good of a job with was capitalising after making her miss, so that’s something that I’ll be working on.”
Young felt that she was getting better as the fight progressed and really hit her stride in round three.
“As a fighter and a competitive person, you want to win,” she continues, “but from what I heard a lot of people enjoyed the fight. I thought I was going to get [the win]. I thought it was close, but I thought I won. It’s so hard to tell when you’re in there, but I thought I won and my corner thought I won. I think [Smith and I] are both going to be a little pissy about [the decision].”
“The promotion was great,” Young says. “Hands down, the best promotion I’ve ever fought for. The production was good and they treated us so well. They did several things that really make you put your heart and soul into this. They make sure that it’s worth it if you take a week off of work to come down here. It makes it easier for us as fighters to train harder and put more stock into [the promotion]. If people enjoyed what they saw [on Saturday], please contact Invicta about getting me on the next card in July.”
Smith disagrees with Young on how the fight played out, but shares the same sentiments in feeling that Invicta FC is the best promotion that she has fought for to date.
“This is the best show I’ve ever been on,” Smith told MMARising.com. “They were so cool and accommodating. It was fun. I had apprehensions about fighting on an all-female card, but it turned out really good and I would love to do it again.
“It was a fun fight [against Young],” she added. “I want to learn from it. I definitely change every time that I fight, so it’s going to be fun to see all of the different kinds of changes that I need from this fight and to use those in my training. Next time, I’ll come out a little better. I was planning on [controlling the striking right away]. I’ve got an awesome boxing coach and great sparring partners. I spent a lot of time in Thailand and then had an awesome camp.
“I was surprised,” Smith says of the fight’s outcome. “You get a feeling when you’re fighting where you just know whether you won or lost and I really felt that feeling that I’d won. Maybe if I’d blocked [more] and hadn’t taken so many punches, with the damage that I did to her that would have had a greater bearing on the whole thing. I let her hit me quite a few times. What’s showing on my face [bruises] doesn’t hurt at all, so it’s really stupid if that’s what the judges were counting it on, but it’s probably what they are counting it on.”
Like Young, Smith did express interest in the prospect of a rematch but also referenced the growing number of top challengers at 135 pounds and other potential fights on the horizon. Whether a rematch does take place or not, Young and Smith attracted a peak audience of well over 100,000 viewers during their fight on Saturday night; a number that actually surpassed Bellator 66’s overall average total from eight days prior.
Update (April 30th): Peak viewership for Invicta FC 1 surpassed 250,000 viewers.