Ayaka Hamasaki vs Amber Brown Title Bout Headlines Invicta FC 16Invicta FC Atomweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki is set to make the first defence of her title on March 11th at Invicta Fighting Championships 16 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Japanese standout faces off against rising star Amber “The Bully” Brown in the 105-pound championship main event.

Invicta FC officials announced the fight today along with eight additional matchups. In one, Vanessa Porto battles Jennifer Maia for the Invicta FC Interim Flyweight Championship. Teammates Alexa Grasso and Irene Aldana will also be in action in featured bouts on the Invicta FC 16 card.

Hamasaki (12-1-0) dropped down to 105 pounds in 2014 after suffering her lone career setback against upcoming UFC title challenger Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha at Invicta FC 6. The former long-standing Jewels champion racked up back-to-back wins as an atomweight in Japan before returning to the Invicta FC cage in July. She engaged in a closely-contested five-round bout with then-champion Hérica Tibúrcio at Invicta FC 13 and prevailed via Split Decision to become Invicta FC’s first Japanese titleholder.

Brown (6-1-0) also made a name for herself in Japan, where she made two appearances for Pancrase in mid-2013. After succumbing to a second-round neck crank from the much larger Emi “Kamikaze Angel” Fujino at Pancrase 247, Brown earned a big victory two months later when she upset highly-touted Japanese prospect Kikuyo Ishikawa at Pancrase 250. The win earned Brown a spot on the Invicta FC atomweight roster and she has since racked up three straight victories. Brown most recently submitted late replacement Shino VanHoose at Invicta FC 15 this past month.


Porto (18-6-0) challenged unsuccessfully for the Invicta FC Flyweight Championship in April 2013, but she has since bounced back with three impressive victories including two inside the Invicta FC cage. In her most recent fight at Invicta FC 12, Porto avenged a loss from seven years earlier by outpointing Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi.

Maia (12-4-1) has also won three straight fights since she suffered a controversial decision loss to DeAnna “The Argentine Assassin” Bennett at Invicta FC 10. She followed up on back-to-back knockout wins by edging out Dayana Silva via Majority Decision at Imortal FC 2 in December, and now looks for her first Invicta FC win since her promotional debut in 2013.

With Invicta FC flyweight champ Barb “Little Warrior” Honchak sidelined, Porto and Maia will compete for the interim title in a bout that will be contested over five rounds.


In other featured action at Invicta FC 16, would-be strawweight title challenger Alexa Grasso (7-0-0) returns to action following injury setbacks and faces off against Stephanie “Snowflake” Eggink (4-2-0), who has not fought since she was submitted in round five of an Invicta FC Strawweight Championship bout by Katja “Killer Bunny” Kankaanpää in September 2014.

Grasso is one of the fastest rising stars in the 115-pound women’s division, but injuries have forced her to withdraw from Invicta FC title bouts on two occasions. She is 3-0 inside the Invicta FC cage and most recently earned a Unanimous Decision win over Deep Jewels champion Mizuki Inoue at Invicta FC 11. Eggink brought a three-fight winning streak into her Invicta FC debut against Kankaanpää, and she appeared to be mere moments away from being crowned the Invicta FC Strawweight Champion before falling victim to a late-fight triangle choke.

Grasso’s teammate, recent bantamweight title challenger Irene Aldana (5-2-0), will also be in action on the card. Aldana faces off against TUF 18 contestant Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke (3-3-0, 1 NC), who returns to Invicta FC following a disappointing stint with the UFC. Aldana proved that she is more than just a knockout artist by winning her first two Invicta FC bouts by submission, but she was soundly beaten by Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion Tonya “Triple Threat” Evinger in July. Duke has dropped three straight fights and looks to pick up her first win since November 2013.


At 125 pounds, the aforementioned Roxanne Modafferi (18-12-0) and DeAnna Bennett (8-1-0) square off in a bout between two top contenders. Modafferi has won three of her four Invicta FC bouts and she most recently stopped Mariana Morais in September. Following a highly controversial decision win at Invicta FC 14, Bennett was awarded an Invicta FC strawweight title shot this past month, but she was finished by a kick to the body from champion Livia Renata “Livinha” Souza in just 90 seconds.

Former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion Hérica Tibúrcio (9-3-0) looks to get back into the title hunt when she takes on hard-hitting rising star Jinh Yu Frey (4-1-0). Tibúrcio captured the 105-pound title with a thrilling submission win over Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson in late 2014, but her reign on top was short-lived and she dropped a razor-thin decision to Ayaka Hamasaki at Invicta FC 13. Frey has posted back-to-back Invicta FC wins since suffering a contentious Split Decision loss to Jodie Esquibel at Invicta FC 8 in 2014.

Rounding out the card, flyweight prospect Andrea “KGB” Lee (4-1-0) looks to solidify her spot on a short list of title contenders when she takes on veteran submission specialist Sarah “The Monster” D’Alelio (8-6-0), who moves down from bantamweight for her 125-pound debut. Bantamweight “Killer” Kelly McGill (2-0-0) returns to Invicta FC to face multi-time amateur champion “ALO” AmberLynn Orr (11-1-0 amateur), who makes her pro debut. Opening up the card, Ashley “Doll Face” Greenway (0-0-0) meets Sarah Click (0-0-0) in a battle between strawweight pro debutants.

Invicta Fighting Championships 16 takes place on March 11 at Trinidad Pavilion at Tropicana Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event streams live on UFC Fight Pass.



(Photo Credit: Esther Lin, AllElbows.com / InvictaFC.com)