Esparza Injured, Gadelha vs Hamasaki Now Set For Invicta FC 6A knee injury has forced Invicta FC Strawweight Champion Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza out of her July 13th title defence against Jewels champ Ayaka Hamasaki at Invicta Fighting Championships 6 in Kansas City, Missouri. Hamasaki now faces Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha on the card.

Gadelha announced the fight change on Saturday and confirmed details of Esparza’s injury today. A timetable for Esparza’s return is not yet known and Gadelha and Hamasaki, who are both undefeated in their mixed martial arts careers, may compete for an interim title belt.

Gadelha (10-0-0) was initially slated to face Esparza in January for the inaugural Invicta FC title at 115 pounds, but a broken nose sidelined the Brazilian and Esparza went on to win the title by outpointing Australian prospect Bec “Rowdy” Hyatt. Gadelha returned to action this past month and earned a Unanimous Decision win over Hérica Tibúrcio. The decorated BJJ black belt has finished seven of her opponents to date. Gadelha was originally matched up against Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood on the Invicta FC 6 card, but she now moves into the co-main event to face one of Japan’s top female fighters.

Hamasaki (9-0-0) became the first Jewels Lightweight Queen Champion in December 2010 when she defeated two contenders in one night. She has since made three successful Jewels title defences and scored a third-round submission win over Lacey “The Ladie” Schuckman at Invicta FC 2 in July. She most recently eked out a close decision win over veteran contender Emi “Kamikaze Angel” Fujino at Jewels: “22nd Ring.” As a result of Esparza’s injury, Hamasaki will no longer challenge for Esparza’s Invicta FC title next month, but she will face another tough opponent when she returns to Kansas City.

Invicta Fighting Championships 6 takes place on July 13th at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. The event is headlined by an Invicta FC Featherweight Championship rematch between Marloes “Rumina” Coenen and Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino.


Invicta Fighting Championships 6 Fight Card (to date; subject to change):

– Marloes “Rumina” Coenen vs Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino [Invicta FC Featherweight Championship]
– Ayaka Hamasaki vs Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha
– Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio vs Lauren Taylor
– Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith vs Jennifer Maia
– Jessica Penne vs Nicdali “The Night Queen” Rivera-Calanoc
– Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood vs TBD
– Ediane “India” Gomes vs Julia “The Jewel” Budd
– Bec “Rowdy” Hyatt vs Mizuki Inoue
– “The Queen of Mean” Miriam Nakamoto vs “Diamond” Duda Yankovich

– “Thug” Rose Namajunas vs Tecia “The Tiny Tornado” Torres
– Ashley “Smashley” Cummins vs Emily Kagan
– “Miss” Mollie Estes vs Veronica “The Heartbreaker” Rothenhausler
– Cassie “The Hulk” Robb vs Livia “T-Rex” von Plettenberg



(Photo Credit: Esther Lin, /