Kansas City, Mo. — On Friday, Nov. 18, Invicta Fighting Championships hosted Invicta FC 20: Evinger vs. Kunitskaya from the historic Scottish Rite Temple. The event streamed live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Russia’s Yana Kunitskaya stunned the bantamweight division by submitting champion Tonya Evinger in the first round to become the new titleholder. Evinger immediately took Kunitskaya to the ground as the fight began and she started to work from side control. Kunitskaya recovered her full guard and attacked with an armbar. Evinger tried to stand and escape, but Kunitskaya locked on and forced Evinger to submit less than two minutes into the fight.
UPDATE: On Thursday, Dec. 1, the Evinger-Kunitskaya fight was overturned to a no-contest by the Missouri Office of Athletics.
The strawweight title stayed around the waist of Angela Hill after five hard-fought rounds against challenger Kaline Medeiros. Medeiros came out looking to bring the fight to the ground, but once there, she was forced to defend a deep triangle attempt from the champion, as well as numerous elbows. The takedowns of Medeiros were the story of the second round, as she was able to keep Hill down on the mat. As the fight turned toward the championship rounds, it was Hill’s footwork and efficiency in her striking that were the story. She was patient and selective with her offense, frustrating Medeiros from the outside. Medeiros showed heart, coming forward until the final bell, but it wasn’t enough, as all three judges gave Hill the decision.
Former atomweight champion Herica Tiburcio showcased an improved striking attack to get the best of Simona Soukupova by unanimous decision. The Brazilian Tiburcio’s speed advantage was evident from the opening bell as she fired combination after combination. She then took Soukupova to the ground and punished her with ground and pound. It was more of the same in the middle frame as Tiburcio peppered Soukupova with punches and outside leg kicks. Soukupova found her range late in round two and carried it into round three. She pinned Tiburcio to the fence and scored with knees. It was too little, too late, however, as Tiburcio claimed victory.
Making her Invicta debut, strawweight Ashley Yoder ruined the 115-pound debut of former atomweight title challenger Amber Brown. Brown lived up to her “Bully” moniker early in the fight, powering Yoder to the canvas and moving to the mount. Yoder stayed composed, recovering her half guard and then using an omoplata to sweep to the top position. Once on top, Yoder turned the tide of the fight. The second stanza saw Yoder score with a beautiful hip toss along the cage. Brown tried to escape out the back, but Yoder used her hips to pin Brown to the mat and rained punches. Brown left her arm exposed and Yoder slapped on a deep armbar to coerce the tap.
The match-up between Pam Sorenson and Australia’s Jessica-Rose Clark was a grueling affair, with Sorenson earning a split decision win in her Invicta debut. The pair jostled for position along the fence throughout the first round as both fighters tried to wrestle the other to the ground. In round two, Clark muscled Sorenson to the mat, but it was Sorenson that went on the offensive. She repeatedly threatened with armbar attempts, preventing Clark from attacking. Sorenson’s striking was on point in the final round, as Clark’s output waned. When it was all said and done, Sorenson walked away victorious.
In her return to the promotion, strawweight J.J. Aldrich put on a boxing clinic against veteran Lynn Alvarez. Alvarez did her best to control the distance with kicks, but Aldrich was patient with her counter striking. Once Aldrich found her range with her left hand, she peppered the face of Alvarez with straight punches. Midway through the fight, the left eye of Alvarez was heavily bruised. Aldrich never slowed down; delivering a steady stream of strikes that further damaged the face of Alvarez. There was never any doubt on the scorecards as Aldrich swept the scorecards.
Bantamweight Alexa Conners got in the win column, spoiling the promotional debut of Swiss judoka Stephanie Egger. The pair spent the majority of the fight on the feet, with Conners pressing the action. Egger frequently found herself with her back to the cage, but she used her reach to keep Conners at range. As the fight progressed, Conners began attacking the body and nearly earned a stoppage in the final frame. On the scorecards, two of the three judges rewarded Conners with the split decision verdict.
Kicking off the action, strawweight Miranda Maverick submitted fellow newcomer Samantha Diaz by rear-naked choke in the first round. The pair tried to gauge their range on the feet, but Maverick eventually took the fight to the mat. She was forced to defend an armbar attempt from Diaz, but she eventually took Diaz’s back and locked in the fight-finishing choke.
Yana Kunitskaya def. Tonya Evinger by submission (armbar). Round 1, 1:59 – for bantamweight title
Angela Hill def. Kaline Medeiros by unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 48-47) – for strawweight title
Herica Tiburcio def. Simona Soukupova by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Ashley Yoder def. Amber Brown by submission (armbar). Round 2, 2:31
Pam Sorenson def. Jessica-Rose Clark by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
J.J. Aldrich def. Lynn Alvarez by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Alexa Conners def. Stephanie Egger by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Miranda Maverick def. Samantha Diaz by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 4:26
About Invicta FC:
Invicta Fighting Championships is a world championship, all-pro mixed martial arts (MMA) fight series dedicated to providing female athletes with a major platform to hone their skills on a consistent basis. Founded in 2012 by longtime MMA executive Shannon Knapp, Invicta is committed to pioneering the future growth of women’s MMA by promoting the best possible match-ups between female competitors and identifying and developing future superstars of the sport. Follow Invicta on Twitter (@InvictaFights), Facebook (Facebook.com/InvictaFights), and Instagram (@InvictaFC) for all the latest information.