An atomweight matchup between Jewels Rough Stone Grand Prix winner Kikuyo Ishikawa and “South Valley’s Own” Angelica Chavez headlines the preliminary portion of Invicta Fighting Championships 2 on July 28th in Kansas City, Kansas. The bout was one of many announced today.
Also confirmed for the event is a bantamweight bout between B.C. native Sarah “Cheesecake” Moras and Colorado’s Raquel “Rocky” Pennington. Rounding out the preliminary card, two-time amateur champ Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke makes her pro debut against Suzie Montero at 135 pounds.
Ishikawa (7-3-0) has enjoyed a rapid rise up the ranks in Japan since moving from her home in Okinawa in 2010. Now training alongside former Shooto champs Shinichi “BJ” Kojima and Shuichiro Katsumura in Yokohama, the 28-year-old has won five of her past six fights, with the lone defeat coming via Split Decision against unbeaten Jewels Featherweight Queen Champion Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama. In her most recent bout earlier this month, Ishikawa competed at home in Okinawa for the first time and took a dominant Unanimous Decision win over teen prospect Shino VanHoose at Pancrase Progress Tour 6. She now looks for one of the biggest wins of her career when she makes her U.S. debut in July.
Chavez (4-1-0) has taken gradual steps up in competition in bouts in her home state of New Mexico, where she has developed a significant fan following. The 24-year-old Kajukenbo practitioner has earned submission finishes in all four of her victories, including a February 2011 win over Jennifer Berg in which Chavez battled back from early adversity and trapped Berg in a fight-ending guillotine choke. Chavez has at times been a target of criticism from peers over perceived favouritism from officials, including in the bout with Berg, but she nevertheless remains one of the most technically proficient fighters at 105 pounds. The Chavez Dojo representative now aims to rebound from her first professional setback when she competes outside of New Mexico for the first time against her toughest opponent to date.
Moras (2-0-0) began her amateur career with a pair of victories under the Valley Fight banner in Chilliwack, British Columbia, before travelling abroad to live and train alongside Cage Warriors star Rosi Sexton in England. She fought twice overseas and won both bouts, including her May 2010 pro debut. Moras returned home to British Columbia four months later and now fights out of Toshido Mixed Martial Arts in Kelowna. She is coming off of her most impressive win to date in April; a second-round TKO of the previously unbeaten Julianna “The Venezuelan Vixen” Peña in a bout where Moras broke Peña’s arm with an armbar. At just 24 years of age, Moras is one of the top young prospects in the women’s bantamweight division.
Pennington (1-0-0) amassed a stellar 7-1 record as an amateur with five submission victories before turning pro earlier this year. Her lone career defeat came via Split Decision against Tuff-N-Uff and Ultimate Reno Combat champ Taylor “No Mercy” Stratford two years ago. In March, the 23-year-old Pennington made her professional debut and stopped Kim Couture with a series of knees to the body in the second round. Before she takes on Moras in July, Pennington is first expected to battle Tori Adams at a Rocky Mountain Bad Boyz event in Colorado on June 22nd. Like Moras, Pennington is a bright prospect in the 135-pound division, and a win over Adams would build momentum for the Kongo Do fighter as she prepares to compete again just five weeks later.
Duke (5-2-0 amateur) joins a group of talented fighters making their pro debuts on the Invicta FC 2 card. The 25-year-old former Tuff-N-Uff and Absolute Action MMA titleholder has won four of her past five fights and has gone to a decision only twice in her young career. Duke has primarily competed at 145 pounds, but the 5’11” Kentucky native dropped down to the bantamweight division for her final amateur fight in late March and put on an impressive showing by submitting Elizabeth Phillips early in the second round. She will stay at 135 for her pro debut on the Invicta card.
Montero (1-0-0) gives up an edge in MMA experience to her opponent, but the 30-year-old striker has been competing as a kickboxer for nearly a decade; a stretch that includes a 2004 amateur bout with Gina Carano. In 2009, Montero looked for a new challenge and began jiu-jitsu training for a series of grappling tournaments in her native Florida. Fighting out of the renowned American Top Team, Montero made the jump to mixed martial arts in October and won her pro debut with a convincing Unanimous Decision victory over Kim Couture. She has not fought since the bout with Couture, but looks to spoil Duke’s pro debut when she returns in July.
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]
(Photo Credit: Jewels blog)