Steve Juon looks at Invicta's debut on PPV this Saturday


Invicta FC 6 Preview - A Historic Card in a Historic Month
- Steve Juon, Wrestling Observer (@angrymarks)

July 2013 is shaping up to be a historic month for mixed martial arts. On July 6th we witnessed Anderson Silva, the longest reigning UFC champion in the company, lose his middleweight title to Chris Weidman. On July 13th we will witness history again.

The rapidly growing Invicta Fighting Championships promotion is holding their 6th event in Kansas City, their first ever on traditional (cable or satellite) PPV, and will also be crowning their first ever featherweight champion. The main event features the most recognizable name in women's MMA other than Ronda Rousey. If you say the word "Cyborg" to even the most casual of fans, they know who you are talking about. Her physique is unmistakable and her level of aggression inside the cage makes people compare her to Wanderlei Silva in his prime. It's fair to say the heavily anticipated rematch between Cristiane 'Cyborg' Santos and Marloes Coenen is the reason this show moved from iPPV to traditional PPV. It's a fight three years in the making, as Cyborg first beat her back in 2010 when she was the Strikeforce women's featherweight champion. Coenen wants to avenge that loss.

This is not the only history being made on the 13th though, as an inter-promotional fight puts the undefeated Jewels 115 pound champion Ayaka Hamasaki against the also undefeated Claudia Gadelha, making her Invicta FC debut. Leslie Smith, the woman who lost a close (some would say controversial) split decision to Sarah Kaufman at the last event, faces Jennifer Maia in a #1 contender's match with the winner facing flyweight champion Barb Honchak. And Mizuki Inoue, whose only professional loss was to the aforementioned Hamasaki, also makes her Invicta debut taking on the popular 'Rowdy' Bec Hyatt.

Invicta offers plenty of bang for the buck, as there are 13 fights scheduled, and Invicta President Shannon Knapp vows to show as many of them possible in the time allotted for the PPV starting at 9 PM ET this Saturday. If you live in Kansas City or the surrounding states though, the Ameristar Casino is the place to be. Invicta's fans and fighters are both passionate about the sport, which makes for an outstanding environment for live fights. Ryan Pike, who covered UFC 161 in Winnipeg for the Observer, said that the crowd at the MTS Centre was already 80% full for the first preliminary fight. My experience at Invicta FC 5 was much the same. The fans come early, they get very loud, and every fighter gets treated like a superstar.

Here's one other thing to keep in mind going into Saturday night. Before the last Invicta event I wrote for the Observer that Ronda Rousey was the high tide that had raised all ships in women's MMA. Thanks to the cordial relationship between Shannon Knapp and Dana White, that's even more true, as the women of UFC's bantamweight division are free to fight for Invicta when they are not otherwise booked and vice versa. The undefeated Lauren Taylor could be the next Invicta bantamweight to wind up on a UFC card, but her 7-3 opponent Sarah D'Alelio may have something to say about that. The "3" on her record is not so bad given they are Ronda Rousey, Julie Kedzie and Shayna Baszler, so don't count her out in this fight. All of this plus former atomweight champion Jessica Penne, undefeated strawweight Joanne Calderwood and too many more to name here are in action on Saturday night in Kansas City.

- Steve Juon writes for Wrestling Observer, Fight Game Blog, and his own website Visit for videos and interviews from the post-fight press conference this Saturday.

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