Invicta FC Strawweight Champion Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza makes her first title defence at Invicta Fighting Championships 7 on December 7th in Kansas City, Missouri. Esparza is expected to face unbeaten BJJ black belt Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha in a bout that may headline the card.
MMARising.com confirmed event date and location details with Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp today, and plans for the Esparza-Gadelha title tilt with multiple sources close to the negotiations. The fighters were first set to face off at Invicta FC 4, but Gadelha was forced out due to a broken nose.
Esparza (9-2-0) scored back-to-back TKO triumphs in her first two fights under the Invicta FC banner, which set up a strawweight title fight with Gadelha in January. However, when Gadelha withdrew from the fight on short notice, Esparza was matched up against Australian prospect Bec “Rowdy” Hyatt in a bout that was much more competitive than some had anticipated. Esparza prevailed via a hard-fought Unanimous Decision to become the first Invicta FC Strawweight Champion. The two-time All-American wrestler had planned to defend her belt against Ayaka Hamasaki at Invicta FC 6 in July, but an untimely knee injury forced Esparza out of the championship fight.
Gadelha (11-0-0) is one of the most skilled female grapplers in MMA today, and she has finished eight of her 11 opponents to date. After scoring her first TKO victory in September, Gadelha had been set to make her Invicta FC debut against Esparza on January 5th. However, Gadelha sustained a broken nose in training and she watched as Esparza defeated Hyatt for the vacant strawweight title. After recovering from her injury, Gadelha returned to action in May and defeated prospect Hérica Tibúrcio at Max Sport 13.2. In her much-anticipated Invicta FC debut in July, Gadelha handed former Jewels champion Ayaka Hamasaki her first career defeat via third-round TKO.
Invicta Fighting Championships 7 takes place on December 7th at a venue to be determined in Kansas City, Missouri. The 115-pound title fight between Esparza and Gadelha may headline the all-female card, but the promotion has not yet officially announced any matchups for the event.