Invicta’s Halloween cards are always fun, and this week’s card is no different. Originally scheduled to have two title fights, only one will be contested at Invicta 38. But, that doesn’t mean that fans aren’t still in for a night of entertaining fights this Friday, November 1st.
In the headliner, Japan’s Kanako Murata (10-1) takes on Emily Ducote (8-5) for the vacant strawweight title, which was dropped by Brianna Van Buren back in June. Van Buren won the title at the inaugural Phoenix Rising tournament and promptly got signed to the UFC. Her departure opens the possibility for one of Japan’s brightest prospects to put her athleticism and tenacity on display with a stellar wrestling approach and wily striking game. Murata’s on a great run with submission wins over Angela Magana, Mexico’s Saray Orozco, and Liana Pirosin in her Invicta debut.
Ducote made her big step up in the pros in Bellator’s flyweight, and had a 4-4 record in the organization having faced champion Ilima-Lei MacFarlane twice. While she fell short, she managed to give the champion fits. She moved on to a catchweight fight in XFN, and finalized a drop to strawweight by defeating Invicta standout and former Aspera FC champion Janaisa Morandin with ground strikes. It should also be noted that Ducote’s ground game is pretty crafty. It’ll be interesting to see a revitalized Ducote bringing that same power from 125 to a savvy wrestler. Their grappling battle should be a treat.
Mexico’s Karina Rodriguez (8-3) was set to challenge for the flyweight championship, but unfortunately missed weight. She’ll still face champ Vanessa Porto (21-8), but without the belt on the line. Porto’s on a three fight win streak after crumpling Milana Dudieva, strangling Mariana Morais, and winning the title against Pearl Gonzalez via technical decision—after an eyepoke. Rodriguez has that slick, technical boxing that her teammates Alexa Grasso and Irene Aldana possess, and can work a good takedown game with a steady pace and nimble defensive movement. It’s a shame we won’t get the five-rounder we were supposed to get, but these things happen. And the fight is still a very good stylistic matchup.
As for the rest of the bouts, fireplug Mallory Martin (5-2) might not have gotten that UFC contract after being on Contender Series this year (their loss, she totally deserves it), but she gets to test herself against the tough striker Cynthia Arceo (5-1, 1 draw).
Another Contender Series participant in Shanna Young (6-2) faces the very strong Maiju Suotama (8-4). Lisa Verzosa (formerly Spangler, 4-0) is always fun to watch, and she aims to put on a show against New England’s Kerri Kenneson (3-1). Shaianna Rincón (2-0) returns after taking some time off for maternity leave and meets hard-hitting Auttumn Norton (0-1 pro, 6-2 amateur). Syndicate MMA rep and friend/training partner of Roxanne Modafferi Serena DeJesus (1-0) makes her Invicta debut against Taneisha Tennant (1-0).
Check out the full weigh-in video, and all the awesome Halloween costumes, right here.
Full fight card is as follows:
Kanako Murata (114.9) vs. Emily Ducote (114.2) – Strawweight title
Vanessa Porto (124.2) vs. Karina Rodríguez (126.1)* – Flyweight
Mallory Martin (115.8) vs. Cynthia Arceo (116) – Strawweight
Shanna Young (125.7) vs. Maiju Suotama (124.2) – Flyweight
Lisa Verzosa (135.5) vs. Kerri Kenneson (135.6) Bantamweight
Shaianna Rincón (143.8) vs. Auttumn Norton (146) – Featherweight
Serena DeJesus (135.7) vs. Taneisha Tennant (135.9) – Bantamweight
*Fined 25% of purse, will now be a non-title fight.
Invicta FC 38: Porto vs Rodriguez starts at 8:00pm EST (5:00 PM PT) and will be streaming live exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
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