Invicta is back this week with a cracking title fight, some interesting prospects, and a set of matchups that could add clarity within their respective divisions.
As usual, the matchmaking has been very good this time around. Some more experienced talents are taking on younger, hungry up and comers in some quality action fights.
So we start with the main event, as Jesssica Delboni (12-3) defends her belt against plucky fireball Jillian DeCoursey (5-3). Delboni blazed through the Phoenix Rising tournament last year to take the title from Alesha Zappitella in a rematch after falling short the first time around.
DeCoursey came up through the New York/New Jersey circuit and punched her ticket to the title with a sensational promotional debut where she knocked out Lindsey VanZandt. Delboni could have a grappling advantage here, but DeCoursey cannot be counted out with her physicality and power in her hands. Delboni could be faster and have more cardio, plus she’s got the experience of being in five-round title fights already.
Ketlen Souza (11-3) makes her Invicta and stateside debut, riding a three-fight win streak. Granted, two of those wins were against opponents that were 1-0 and 0-0 with one draw. This streak snapped a rut in which she had back to back losses, one of them to current UFC fighter Ariane Carnelossi. She’s at her best when she can get in her opponent’s face and start doing work inside, especially with her hooks.
She was originally scheduled to face Kristina Williams, but Williams withdrew and will be replaced by Finland’s Maiju Suotama (8-6). Suotama is not a stranger to Invicta, having fought there before and put on some very gritty performances. She’s another smash-first kind of fighter that does a lot of things well in different aspects of the MMA metagame.
But prior to that, former Contender Series participant Valesca Machado (9-3) meets returning Invicta mainstay Liz Tracy (7-4). Tracy’s got back to back wins over Jodie Esquibel and Danielle Taylor, and carries a fair bit of mass on her frame. This allows for her to use heavier grappling and round out her strong top control game.
Machado had a six-fight win streak heading into Contender Series, suffered a loss, but bounced back with a submission win in February. That win, however? It came against an opponent that was 2-4. Here’s what I had to say about her prior to her Contender Series appearance last year:
Brazil’s Valesca Machado (a.k.a. Tina Black, 8-2) holds a win against Julia Polastri, who fought on Contender Series earlier this year, and has a strong kickboxing base. Unfortunately, her technique is all over the place. She puts on a lot of pressure and hits hard, but her whole game feels clunky overall. It works for her, as she’s able to overpower opponents and counter with hard shots.
How much has she improved since then? Guess we’ll find out. But she’s got a big challenge ahead with a sturdy and controlling grappler that isn’t concerned with eating a few shots to land a big on on her opponent.
Hard-hitting Helen Peralta (5-2) comes into this one after garnering a bit of attention at the weigh-ins, and went into The Ultimate Fighter earlier this year with back to back wins. She fell short on the show and now returns to her old stomping grounds with cinderblock hands and metric tons of toughness.
She meets former UFC talent Poliana Botelho (8-5), who started her run there rather impressively with a decision win over Pearl Gonzalez that was followed up with a crushing victory over current World of Stardom champion Syuri Kondo. After dropping three straight, she parted ways with the organization and now makes her Invicta debut against a very game opponent with a solid gas tank and who can match her tenacity.
Finally, Montserrat Rendon (4-0) looks to be Mexico’s next big breakout talent as she makes her promotional debut against strong and durable bantamweight Brittney Cloudy (4-4).
Weigh-ins were not streamed, but this clip was shared on Twitter:
Full card is as follows:
Jéssica Delboni (104.8) vs. Jillian DeCoursey (104.7) – Invicta atomweight title fight
Maiju Suotama (123.0) vs. Ketlen Souza (123.0) – Flyweight
Liz Tracy (115.9) vs. Valesca Machado (115.8) – Strawweight
Kaytlin Neil (125.5) vs. Hannah Guy (126.0) – Flyweight
Helen Peralta (125.9) vs. Poliana Botelho (125.4) – Flyweight
Brittney Cloudy (135.6) vs. Montserrat Rendon (135.0) – Bantamweight
Nadia Vera (115.2) vs. Shauna Bannon (115.4) – Strawweight