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Invicta FC 18: Grasso vs Esquibel Review

Invicta FC 18: Grasso vs Esquibel

Watch: UFC Fight Pass

July 29th, 2016

Scottish Rite Temple – Kansas City, Missouri 

Invicta has never been a promotion to disappoint, & tonight was no exception. In the 18 shows they have put on so far, I have yet to be let down at the end of the night. As UFC is limited to 2 divisions, it is always a pleasure to see what the other top women MMA fighters are up to.

Amberlynn Orr vs Sijara Eubanks (Bantamweight)

This fight marked the Invicta debut for Orr, and the third fight for Eubanks (1-1 so far).

R1: Things started with a good combo from Eubanks early, letting her hands go. Orr moved around and tried to keep distance with her legs. Eubanks planted her feet when throwing kicks, allowing Orr to move out of range and slip with ease. Eubanks took Orr down, though she landed in Orr’s half guard where she did a good job of pulling Eubanks in as if trying for a triangle, but Eubanks was still able to get some strikes in. Eubanks trapped her left arm, then her right in a Crucifix, and it was all downhill from there.

Winner: Sijara Eubanks (ref stoppage)

Jessica Hoy vs Aspen Ladd (Bantamweight)

This was the Invicta debut for Hoy (1-0 so far), while Ladd brought a record of 3-0. Ladd weighed in over by 3.1 pounds for fight even though this was a step up in weight for her.

R1: Ladd was aggressive coming out of out of the gate, pushing the fight while Hoy was circling. Ladd’s hands were getting through, straight jabs as well as a nice left hook. Ladd utilized cage work trying to take Hoy down, but Hoy doing a decent job of staying composed and not letting Ladd take her down. Ladd was doing obvious damage due to a number of shots, but Hoy did sneaky damage to Ladd’s eye.

R2: They went back to the cage immediately, Hoy able to turn Ladd and press her, trying for trip. Ladd got Hoy down and in side control then passed her using a knee pass. Ladd started firing punches and Hoy didn’t seem to have an answer. Once Ladd started dropping elbows, the ref stepped in to save her.

Winner: Aspen Ladd

Tessa Simpson vs Simona Soukupova (Atomweight)

R1: Simpson came out throwing combos while Soukapova was usually throwing one or 2 max at a time. Soukapova stepped into punches many times, with Simpson moving backwards many times which caused Soukapova to want to move forward and into her shots. Soukapova’s face was peppered up by the end of the round. Very smart fighting by Simpson, attacking while she moved and also changing her attacks from top to bottom.

R2: Simpson was firing off the overhand right a bunch, but also adding more leg kicks into the mix. Soukapova started to get more punches in, though she was still eating a lot in the process. Simpson landed a teep kick to Soukapova’s face. Clench work against the cage had Simpson at advantage but she let things return to the middle of the cage where she was even more dominant.

R3: Soukapova landed a big shot early that Simpson did not like, and Soukapova got more aggressive, though Simpson pressed her to the cage and got an uppercut out of the break. Soukapova realized she was down 2 rounds, so she knew she had to do something. She added knees to the clench, and threw some elbows against Simpson that seemed to do damage. Simpson’s face started to show serious wear and she took over in the last couple of minutes big time. Soukapova started hitting a ton of knees and figured out Simpson’s timing. Simpson was rocked about 20 seconds before the bell and dropped, then spent the end of the round just fighting to stay on her feet.

If the fight would have gone another minute, the result would have been very different I feel.

Winner: Tessa Simpson (29-28 x2 / 29-27 on 1)

Megan Anderson vs Peggy Morgan (Featherweight)

Peggy Morgan was finally back after a year, and Anderson was on a 2 fight streak that she wanted to keep going at Peggy’s expense. These are big girls, featherweights at 6’0” for Megan and 6’1” for Peggy.

R1: Anderson came hard with the rights early, affecting Morgan. Morgan went for a single leg takedown, but Anderson wouldn’t let her take her down. Knees by Anderson began coming at a steady pace, dropping Morgan and her face began to swell dramatically from it. Morgan tried to take her down, but Anderson’s knees prevented that. Morgan tried to press Anderson against the cage for a trip, but Anderson just wouldn’t go down. Morgan’s face looked disfigured with all the swelling and eventually went out due to strikes, then Anderson jumped all over her with hammerfists until the ref stopped it.

Cyborg was said to be watching Anderson and when asked if she was willing to fight her, Anderson simply said “I don’t give a shit”. It’s hard not to love a girl like that.

Winner: Megan Anderson

Jessamyn Duke vs Cindy Dandois (Bantamweight)

Dandois came to the ring with Miesha Tate in tow. She brought a 6-2 record, while her opponent Jessamyn Duke had an extremely lackluster 3-4-1. As one of the “Four Horsewomen” alongside Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler and Marina Shafir, she is definitely the jobber of the group.

R1: Dandois brought her double leg immediately, but Duke did a good job of pushing off to get back to her feet. Dandois put Duke against Cage, then got her in a judo headlock and rolled her to the ground, submitting her with a crank as she laid in strikes. A walk in the park for Dandois and another unimpressive showing from Duke.

Winner: Cindy Dandois

Lynn “Weapon X” Alvarez vs Mizuki (Strawweight)

Alvarez brought her 6-3 record against Mizuki’s 11-4.

R1: Mizuki’s fighting style was her leaning in more for punches, while Alvarez stood upright while still throwing shots. There was a lot of feinting from Alvarez and good lateral movement. Mizuki charged in with shots and kicks, Alvarez having to run backwards to try to avoid them. Mizuki used short elbows in the clench. Two single leg attempts by Mizuki were stuffed, but she was able to get Alvarez down eventually. She easily got the mount then half guard to flatten Alvarez. Back to mount and getting shots off, Alvarez bucked her, but she got Alvarez’s back. Alvarez almost got caught in a triangle near the end of the round. Good showing from Mizuki.

R2: Mizuki flew out of the gate, but Alvarez also got some shots in the exchanges as well. Alvarez tried to trap Mizuki’s arm but it didn’t last. Mizikui got in knees and leg shots while in the clench, then an armdrag takedown on her opponent. She then got a mount to North/South to try to trap Alvarez’s arm, but in doing so, Alvarez spun out, though Mizuki ended on her back. Mizuki tried for (and secured) an armbar, which caused Alvarez verbally tap.

Winner: Mizuki (Armbar)

 Christin Stanley vs Agnieszka “Aga” Niedzwiedz

Aga is yet another in a seemingly long line of Polish women killers, coming in at 7-0 professionally in her Invicta debut. Stanley was a last-minute replacement, but no slouch, coming in at 5-1.

R1: Aga led with her leg and still punching through. Stanley swung hard when opportunity presented itself. Stanley looked like she was trying to confuse Aga, but it wasn’t happening. Stanley ran from Aga and Aga raised her hands in a moral vistory, then Stanley dropped her hands and started talking trash. Stanley was pretty much just firing off 1 shot at a time, making her less than effective. Aga got her down, then pressed her to the cage and fired punches while clenching. Aga had her back against the cage and was able to use her trip. She hooked Stanley’s leg for trips as well as lifting knees. Very good round from Aga.

R2: Aga had just a slight advantage in timing which gave her the majority of the shots landed in the early exchanges. Stanley grabbed the fence as she was being pulled, but still Aga was able to get her down, then to her back as Stanley got to her feet. Aga looked fine even when taking shots, as if she was just sparring. A hard right by Stanley as Aga was charging in did a number on her. Stanley did a good job of sprawling when pressed against cage. Aga took Stanley down at the end of the round to throw elbows but the bell sounded before she could capitalize.

R3: Aga blew Stanley a kiss at the bell for R3 and then both ladies did a shimmy before mixing it up. Stanley looked to stalk Aga, hands down, mouth open, throwing shots. Aga started backing up a bit. Key lock by Aga but let go of it and the ref stood them up for some reason. Stanley attempted a spinning back kick which led to Aga clenching her back and delivering knees. Takedown by Aga and again Stanley used the cage to wall walk. Aga locked in a vicious choke at the last moment, but Stanley narrowly made it to the bell.

This was a very good fight and Aga looked great. Another Polish woman in the MMA game who may be a threat.

Winner: Agnieszka Niedzwiedz (30-27 on all cards)

 Alexa Grasso vs Jodie Esquibel (Strawweight)

It has been a very long road for Grasso, being 17 months since her last time in a cage. Multiple injuries have plagued her getting back into the Strawweight contender mix, but she’s back baby! At 7-0, Grasso wanted to continue that win streak after working so hard for her return. Esquibel’s 5-1 record was nothing to sneeze at, as the powers at Invicta weren’t looking for anyone to have a night off.

R1: Esquibel was aggressive out the gate, stepping in with her kicks and pressing the action. Grasso’s precision made up for slightly lower rate of action. Grasso used clench against the cage to throw knees to the chin. Esquibel shot in but it ended up going Grasso’s way as she was able to control her and land several shots while Esquibel was charging. A nasty body kick by Grasso to the liver slowed Esquibel down, then Esquibel shot on Grasso again, but she took elbows to the side as a result. Esquibel kept pushing Grasso against the fence, but it hardly ever paid off for her as Grasso was better at fighting off the cage.

R2: Grasso had most of the action in the center of the cage in her favor, but Esquibel was able to move forward through one of the exchanges and put Grasso on her butt. Grasso’s jab became more of a factor, keeping distance and landing at regularity. She was so good at fighting from the outside, and when Esquibel would try to come in, she always seemed to pay for it. Grasso’s nose was bloodied up by the end of the round due to getting connected on so often.

R3: Grasso was able to continue her dominance, then about half way through the round, she landed a combination that busted Esquibel’s nose up and the blood started to flow like a faucet. Esquibel realized she had to knock Grasso out or submit her to win, so she turned it up as an act of desperation, but she met elbows coming in. Esquibel proved she had heart, but was by no means a match for Grasso’s high level skills, Grasso proved after 17 months off that she still should be the #1 contender for the belt.

Winner: Alexa Grasso

About the author


I found out the business was a work at the age of 3 and have been a mark ever since. I grew up with a crazy cast of colorful characters around me and wrestling has been in my blood ever since I can remember. I may have taken one too many unprotected chair shots to the head, but I never stay down for long.

Happy to be part of the Wrestling With Words family, whether writing articles about the glory of 6:05, reviewing WWE or MMA PPVs, or jacking my jaw about MMA on Tap or Snap.


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