Two of the top submission specialists in the women’s bantamweight division will face off at Invicta Fighting Championships 2 on July 28th in Kansas City, Kansas. Raging Wolf champ Alexis Davis battles ex-Smackgirl titleholder Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano in the night’s 135-pound co-main event.
The Davis-Akano bout, along with the remainder of the 13-fight card, was officially announced today. Davis has won four of her past six fights and is the fourth Canadian fighter to join the Invicta FC 2 card. Akano has finished 14 opponents to date and looks to rebound from a decision loss in January.
Davis (11-5-0) has battled tough opposition dating back to her April 2007 professional debut against future Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman and she has totalled wins over some of the top female fighters at 135 pounds. The Japanese Jujutsu black belt became Raging Wolf women’s champion in late 2009 and made two successful title defences in bouts with standout wrestler Tonya Evinger before receiving a call from Strikeforce this past July. Davis’s debut in the promotion ended in a workmanlike Unanimous Decision win over Julie Kedzie, but it was a second-round stoppage of Brazilian knockout artist Amanda Nunes in September that solidifed Davis’s spot as a contender at 135.
In March, Davis engaged in a high-paced rematch with Kaufman, but ultimately came up just short on the judges’ scorecards despite a dominant final round. The Ontario native recently left her long-time team at Dayboll Jiu-Jitsu and relocated to California, where she engaged in a competitive grappling match with jiu-jitsu sensation Kyra Gracie this month. With the future of Strikeforce still unclear, Davis will stay busy with a fight outside of the promotion and looks for one of her biggest wins to date in July.
Akano (18-9-0), like Davis, has faced a who’s who of the sport since making her pro debut in late 2004. The Megumi Fujii understudy spent much of the early portion of her career competing in the Smackgirl middleweight division at 128 pounds and she became the promotion’s first middleweight champion in 2006. Akano lost the title in a rematch with Takayo Hashi one year later, but she rebounded with wins in three of her next four fights; two of which took place well above her natural weight class. In April 2009, Akano made her Strikeforce debut in an ill-advised bout with future featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and was stopped for the first time in her career by her much larger adversary.
Since the loss to Santos three years ago, Akano has encountered ups and downs in her career, but she has notched key wins over Brazilian standout Carina Damm and fellow Strikeforce veteran Roxanne Modafferi during that time. At age 37, Akano is entering the twilight stages of her career and now works full-time outside of MMA, but the judoka and BJJ ace remains a dangerous opponent for anyone in the 135-pound women’s division and is famous for her lightning-fast armbar transitions.
Invicta Fighting Championships 2 takes place on July 28th at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas.
Invicta Fighting Championships 2 Fight Card (to date; subject to change):
– Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler (14-6-0) vs Sara McMann (5-0-0) [135 pounds]
– Alexis Davis (11-5-0) vs Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano (18-9-0) [135 pounds]
– Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche (6-2-0) vs Kaitlin Young (7-5-1) [135 pounds]
– Amanda “Lioness of the Ring” Nunes (6-2-0) vs Milana Dudieva (8-1-0) [135 pounds]
– Kelly “Blood Red” Kobold (18-3-1) vs Vanessa Porto (14-4-0) [135 pounds]
– Barb “Little Warrior” Honchak (5-2-0) vs Bethany Marshall (4-0-0) [125 pounds]
– Julia “The Jewel” Budd (2-2-0) vs Elina Nilsson (2-2-0) [145 pounds]
– Carla Esparza (6-2-0) vs Sarah “White Tiger” Schneider (6-5-0) [115 pounds]
– “South Valley’s Own” Angelica Chavez (4-1-0) vs Kikuyo Ishikawa (7-3-0) [105 pounds]
– Sarah “Cheesecake” Moras (2-0-0) vs Raquel “Rocky” Pennington (1-0-0) [135 pounds]
– Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke (5-2-0 AM) vs Suzie Montero (1-0-0) [135 pounds]
– Jocelyn “Lights Out” Lybarger (4-2-0 AM) vs Cheryl Chan (6-2-0 AM) [125 pounds]
– Jessica Philippus (7-1-0 AM) vs “Lightning” Liz McCarthy (6-0-0 AM) [105 pounds]