Miletich Fighting Systems was once one of MMA’s elite teams, producing numerous champions in the UFC and other promotions under the watchful eye of MMA pioneer Pat Miletich. The camp’s latest champion, Barb “Little Warrior” Honchak, captured the Invicta FC flyweight title on Friday night.
In the Invicta FC 5 co-main event, Honchak outpointed Brazilian Vanessa Porto in a closely-contested five-round fight to become the inaugural Invicta FC champion at 125 pounds. She is proud to bring the belt back home to MFS and believes that her team will rise to the top of the MMA world again.
Honchak (8-2-0) showcased her much-improved striking skills throughout Friday’s bout with Porto (15-6-0), which was contested entirely on the feet. She used jabs and quick combinations to keep Porto on the defensive, particularly in the later rounds, and employed swift footwork to limit the damage from Porto’s hard leg kicks. Porto had success with her kicks in the middle portion of the fight, but Honchak took control in the final ten minutes and left no doubt in the judges’ minds. Scores were 50-45, 49-46 and 48-47 for Honchak, whose Unanimous Decision win earned her the Invicta FC Flyweight Championship.
“When I was originally looking at her and my own tapes, I was expecting [Porto] to stand, but she was saying that her ground game was better than mine so I really thought it could have gone anywhere,” Honchak told MMARising.com after the title fight. “She was hard for me to get my hands on. She backed up and moved and she was really hard to grab. My attempts to clinch up with her didn’t really happen.”
In recent bouts, Honchak has shown great improvement in her striking technique. That was perhaps never more evident than in Friday’s title tilt and Honchak’s progression as a striker has come as a result of many long hours of training in the gym.
“We’ve been working a ton on striking,” she says. “Junior Hernandez, my head coach, has really been working a lot with me on my standup. He is an amazing boxer and he’s got great hands and kicks.
“We were ready for [Porto]. We knew that she had that powerful striking and kicks,” Honchak adds while pointing to her swollen left leg. “I noticed my knee after the first round, but then I ignored it. I had no idea that my leg was going to look like that. It didn’t feel that bad when I was in there. I checked a few kicks with my shin, but I didn’t know that she hit me that much there.”
Honchak knew that most of Porto’s power shots came from her right hand and right foot, and she circled to her right throughout the fight in order to avoid stepping into Porto’s most damaging strikes. She felt fully prepared for her opponent and was comfortable with how the fight played out.
“Bringing another world championship back to Miletich Fighting Systems means a lot to me, and being the first one in this generation to do it…I can’t even describe what that means,” Honchak says. “I’m very, very proud to bring that title back to MFS. I think we have quite a few people who are getting ready to make impressions in the next couple of years. I really do think that MFS is going to come back hardcore. Junior is an amazing head coach, Pat is becoming more invested in the gym once again, and we have a great solid team right now.
“There has been [an MFS] champion in almost every weight class,” Honchak adds. “They’ve had 14 world champions all together so far. Up until two weekends ago, Matt Hughes was still the record holder for number of [UFC] title defences. The current owners who bought the gym about a year ago, one of the things they wanted to do was to bring MFS back to life. One of their goals was to get world champions back in the gym again. The title win meant a lot to me.”