Jiu-jitsu practitioners Alexis “Ally-Gator” Davis and Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio each pocketed an extra $1000 for Submission of the Night winning performances at Invicta Fighting Championships 2 on Saturday in Kansas City, Kansas. Both fighters spoke with MMARising.com after the event.
Davis became the first woman to ever submit Japanese veteran Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano in MMA competition. A rear-naked choke finished Akano in round two. D’Alelio needed just over three minutes to earn a tapout victory over Vanessa Porto via an impressive reverse triangle armbar.
Davis (12-5-0) engaged in striking exchanges with Akano (18-10-0) during the opening round and took her Japanese foe to the mat in the later stages. She landed punches from the top and set the tone for the fight with her ground dominance. After rocking Akano in round two, Davis took her back down and moved to back control. She used punches to set up the fight-ending rear-naked choke and Akano reluctantly tapped out at the 3:41 mark of the second round.
Prior to the fight, Davis had stated that she hoped to get herself back into Strikeforce title contention with a win over Akano, but she now sees a bright future in either Strikeforce or Invicta FC. Though she now holds the distinction of being the first woman to ever submit Akano, that wasn’t necessarily the game plan coming in.
“The plan was to fight smart,” Davis told MMARising.com after the fight. “She’s not quite as aggressive as some of the opponents I’ve fought in my last couple of fights, so I knew that she was going to pick her moments. I wanted to be wary of going charging forward like I usually do. I wanted to play my own game and pick my moments to attack, and I think [not getting overly aggressive] is one of the things that helped to push me to get the victory.
“You can never underestimate your opponent,” Davis added. “I know that I have a very good jiu-jitsu background and that’s my bread and butter, but I wasn’t going to underestimate her at all. I was confident that I would have a stronger standup game than her because she’s not as aggressive, but she’s a very talented fighter and it was an honour to fight her.”
While getting the submission was a secondary goal to walking away with a victory, Davis understands the magnitude of her accomplishment in submitting her more experienced foe.
“She’s a tough fighter and she’s been in this game a lot longer than I have and has nearly 30 fights now,” Davis noted. I’m really happy being able to accomplish that [submitting her] and hopefully I’ll be able to compete in more jiu-jitsu tournaments in the future.”
Davis has also noticed a lot of improvement in her own game in recent months since making the move to California to begin training with the Combat Sports Academy (CSA).
“It helps to have a different set of eyes and everybody can bring something new to your game,” she says. “I think it’s really great when people go out and travel to train in different styles and different backgrounds. You may not use everything, but if you take those bits and pieces that will work for you, it’s going to be something that’s going to help you improve.”
Looking ahead, Davis is content whether her next fight is in Strikeforce or Invicta FC and welcomes new challenges that will help her to become a better fighter. She would particularly like a matchup with a certain former Strikeforce champion.
“I’m quite content with either [promotion],” Davis says. “With Invicta, they’re really helping to push the women. With Strikeforce, you’re competing with guys and all trying to get on the card. Media-wise, it’s a huge advantage to be a part of Strikeforce and I love being a part of Zuffa productions. That’s what’s great about them is that they understand that we all need to get these fights so they allow us to take fights with Invicta. It’s gone very well and it’s good that we have that connection.
“I have had my eye on [fighting] Miesha Tate for a while,” she concludes. “I’d pretty much like to fight anyone because I’d love to face Sarah Kaufman again or else Ronda Rousey. Anyone who is in the top ten and will help me improve. If they’re a great fighter and want to be in a title contention spot themself, then I’m willing to fight them.”
D’Alelio (6-2-0) was equally impressive in notching the biggest win of her career. After exchanging kicks and power punches with Porto (14-5-0), D’Alelio took the Brazilian down to the mat and avoided Porto’s armbar and kneebar attempts. She was able to take Porto’s back and first locked on a reverse triangle choke, then added in an armbar that forced Porto to hastily submit just 3:16 into the fight. D’Alelio felt that her performance was strong enough to propel her into an October title bout with Sara McMann, but also spoke highly of teammate Davis.
“Honestly, more than any of the other girls on the card, I think that [Davis and I] proved that we should be in there fighting for titles,” D’Alelio told MMARising.com. “Whenever [Invicta] holds a show, put [Davis] and I on them. Girls that can finish fights.”
Leading up to the fight, Porto indicated that she planned to finish D’Alelio with strikes, but doing so did little more than anger and motivate D’Alelio to make a statement with an impressive win.
“[Porto] was telling everyone that she was going to knock me out and I was like, ‘Okay, no.’ The last person that said that they were going to knock me out got their arm broken and their shoulder dislocated. Don’t make me mad. That [statement] pissed me off. I wanted to go out there and show [Porto] that no, you’re not knocking me out, and to show everybody else that I don’t care what you try to do to me. I can fight on the ground with the best of them. I guarantee it.”
D’Alelio recently received her BJJ purple belt, but for the second consecutive Invicta FC event, she demonstrated ground skills that far exceeded her belt level. Despite her opponent’s reputation as a strong jiu-jitsu fighter in her own right, D’Alelio entered the fight expecting to hold a decided advantage if the fight hit the mat.
“I kind of expected something like that, yeah. I train with guys who are bigger and stronger than me regularly. It makes me not afraid of anyone my size. No girl my size scares me. I’m not going to go so far as to say that I would beat everybody, but I can give anybody a run for their money. I know that for a fact.
“It’s not the fights where I’ve seen [my improvement],” D’Alelio adds. “It’s at the gym. People who used to kick the crap out of me…no more, at all. I train with some of the best Thai boxers in the world and they don’t beat the s–t out of me anymore. In my opinion, Miriam Nakamoto is the best standup fighter I’ve ever seen. She’s not quite as technical as Anderson Silva, but when I watch her fight I see things that Anderson does. On my good days, I can hang with her [in training].”
As she looks ahead to her next fight, D’Alelio hopes to compete again in October and would like to face either of Saturday’s main event participants, Sara McMann or Shayna Baszler. Failing that, she will fight “any 135-pounder out there. Any of them except for [teammate] Alexis.”