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Megan Anderson vs. Amber Leibrock – Invicta FC 15’s Fight to Watch



Megan Anderson Invicta

It is safe to say that Megan Anderson’s Invicta debut did not go to plan in September when she was out-grappled and eventually submitted by Cindy Dandois. There were mitigating circumstances, not only because this was Anderson’s first time fighting outside of Australia, but because it was a massive step up in competition against a more experienced and desperately underrated opponent.

There was definite disrespect towards Dandois, never from Anderson herself, but from her fast-growing fan base. They had all but written the W onto Anderson’s record, already talking about matching her up with Cris Cyborg after she secured what was being touted as a routine victory.

Having won four straight in Australia and installed as a significant betting favorite, Anderson has admitted to being overconfident going into the fight. Against lesser opposition that might not have cost her the win. Against a fighter in Dandois, who already held wins over Marloes Coenen and Daria Ibragimova, it turned an already difficult task into an impossible one. Dandois submitted Anderson by triangle choke approaching the halfway point in round two.

It was a pivotal moment in Anderson’s young career. Her reaction to what must have been a devastating defeat could not have been better. Opting to stay and relocate to the United States, Anderson now trains at Glory MMA. Already a fighter with good footwork and mobility, who works behind a strong jab and has fast hands and combinations, all signs point towards us seeing the best version of Anderson we have seen yet when she steps into the Invicta cage January 16.

Anderson faces Amber Leibrock in the opening bout at Invicta FC 15, and the above is part of what makes it such an intriguing contest. Leibrock, like Anderson, is a natural 145 pounder who looks in great fighting shape at the weight. On top of that, like Anderson, Leibrock is at a developmental point in her career where we should be seeing significant improvements every time she steps into the cage.

The Bay Area Fight Academy prospect made her Invicta debut in July against the Fourth of the Horsewomen, Marina Shafir. In stark contrast to Anderson’s first foray into the Invicta cage, all of the hype was on Leibrock’s opponent. Shafir was known not only for her association with Ronda Rousey but for an impressive run of six first round submissions — five amateur contests and her professional debut — which had seen her earmarked as most people’s top prospect at 145 pounds.

Amanda Bell had knocked Shafir out in August 2014, but it still hadn’t tempered the level of expectation attached to her. In fact, we were told in the build-up to the fight that the defeat had only made Shafir stronger and refocused her desire to build a career at the top level. This was supposed to be the start of a new chapter that saw the fighter cruise to the summit of the 145-pound mountain.

It took Leibrock only 37 seconds to knock Shafir out. Reading the result in isolation you could be forgiven for thinking this was a flash knockout, but it wasn’t. Leibrock had already found a home for her lead left and her aggressive combinations when Shafir was forced to back up in a straight line eating punches. A solid right hand dropped her, and more of them once Shafir hit the mat turned the lights out.

The bout between Anderson and Leibrock might be tucked away neatly as the first of nine on the Invicta FC 15 card, but it is a great fight between two evenly matched featherweights. Both are comfortable fighting at range; both have accurate jabs and lead punches; both have fast hands and know when to see an opening and let them go; both are great athletes who are mobile around the cage; both are underrated on the ground.

The featherweight talent pool is fractured, with the best in the world split between Bellator and Invicta. That has amplified the perception that featherweight is the most shallow of the five major women’s weight classes. It is also not a weight class packed with great athletes. To see two 145 pound fighters who are this mobile colliding is exactly what is needed at an awkward time for the division.

More than that, for Anderson this is a chance to show the world the fighter we hoped to see against Cindy Dandois in September last year. And now, maybe even a better one than that.

For Leibrock, a second win against another top prospect would show her to be excelling among her peers and cement her status as the next big thing at 145 pounds.

Don’t log onto Fight Pass late on January 16. You’ll miss a fight with genuine show-stealing potential. One, or perhaps both of the fighters involved, will walk out of the Invicta FC 15 cage having sent a message to the rest of the featherweight division that they are here to stay as a major threat.

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Invicta 27 Officially Announced




The all-women promotion, Invicta FC, returns to Kansas City, Missouri on January 13th, 2018 for Invicta 27. The promotion announced on their website, the promotions inaugural 2018 event will start the new year off with a fan-friendly main event, Sarah Kaufman (18-4 1 NC) vs. Pannie Kianzad (8-2).

Kaufman returns to Invicta FC after a three-year stint with the UFC. The Canadian athlete fought once prior, in the female-only promotion, defeating Leslie Smith via split decision. Both women earned Fight of the Night honors for their efforts. In her previous three bouts, Kaufman posted a record of 1-2. The former Strikeforce bantamweight champion lost her final two UFC bouts against Alexis Davis and Valentina Shevchenko. Her most recent bout was a victory over Jessica Rose-Clark, in the Battlefield FC promotion.

The veteran Kaufman made her debut in 2006, nearly six years before her opponent. Pannie Kianzad made her professional debut with the Estonian promotion MMA Raju, in 2012. Kianzad began her career undefeated in eight bouts. On the way, capturing the Cage Warriors bantamweight championship. The Iranian-Swede holds an identical record to Kaufman in her previous three bouts, 1-2. Currently, she finds herself on a two-loss skid.

In the co-main event, Vanessa Porto (19-8) faces Mariana Morais (12-5). The Brazilian, Morais, is coming off a disappointing title challenge in the flyweight division of the KSW promotion. Ariane Lipski submitted her in 58 seconds. Porto, however, is fresh off her Invicta 26, TKO victory over, Milana Dudieva.

Porto is an Invicta FC veteran, having fought in seven of the promotions twenty-six held events. Throughout her career, the veteran faced the best women the world had to offer. The thirty-three-year-old has fought the likes of Roxanne Modafferi (twice), Agnieszka Niedzwiedz, Barb Honchak, Tara LaRosa, Jennifer Maia (twice), Tonya Evinger, Germain De Randamie, Amanda Nunes, and Cris “Cyborg” Justino.

The first card of 2018 for Invicta holds a plethora of inexperienced women. Of the 17 women booked for the card, only four women hold ten or more professional fights on their record. Another four women will make their professional MMA debut: Loma Lookboonmee, Jade Ripley, Helen Peralta, and Akeela Al-Hameed. The Invicta 27, the card will feature nine bouts. The event will take place at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri on January 13th, 2018. The card will proceed as follows:

Pannie Kianzad (8-2) vs. Sarah Kaufman (18-4 1 NC) – Bantamweight Division

Vanessa Porto (19-8) vs. Mariana Morais (12-5) – Flyweight Division

Sharon Jacobson (4-2) vs. Ashely Nichols (3-1) – Strawweight Division

Ashley Cummings (5-4) vs. Stephanie Alba (3-2) – Atomweight Division

Brogan Walker-Sanchez (4-0) vs. TBA – Flyweight Division

Felicia Spencer (3-0) vs. Akeela Al-Hameed (0-0) – Featherweight Division

Mallory Martin (1-2) vs. Tiffany Masters (2-1) – Strawweight Division

Melissa Wang (1-0) vs. Loma Lookboonmee (0-0) – Atomweight Division

Jade Ripley (0-0) vs. Helen Peralta (0-0) – Strawweight Division

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Mackenzie Dern victorious in Invicta debut 



Late Friday night, Mackenzie Dern (5-0, 1-0 Invicta FC) won her co-main event booking, defeating Kaline Medieros (8-6, 2-2 Invicta FC), at Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzwiedz, via submission (armbar) with only fifteen seconds remaining in the fight.

Much of the fight was controlled by Dern. The heralded prospect displayed her power, visibly damaging her opponent with multiple overhand rights. Striking is an under-developed aspect of her attack, only when compared to the twenty-four-year-olds black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Above all, she showed a progression of her striking skills. Dern looked to be bigger and physically stronger than her veteran opponent. She utilized forward pressure and found the proper timing for her overhand right throughout.

The veteran Medeiros showed her toughness throughout the fight. She defended and scrambled out of some bad positions during the grappling exchanges. Ultimately, she tapped when caught in a deeply planted armbar.  While Medeiros did earn a few hard trip takedowns, it factored minimally in the result as she refused to follow Dern to the mat. The Boston native suffered her second straight loss, Friday night. Her first was to, former Invicta strawweight champion, Angela Hill.

Dern made her professional debut in July of 2016 with Legacy Fighting Alliance (previously: Legacy Fighting Championship). In her debut, she defeated Kenia Rosas by unanimous decision. The Phoenix-born fighter won her next three bouts. Before her MMA career began, Dern won the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) championship at 60 kg. She was the first American born female to become champion at the weight. Her grappling resume boasts many more incredible accomplishments. Justifiably, a growing spotlight now hangs over her, her skills, and potential in the sport of MMA.

Elsewhere on the Invicta 26 card, Jennifer Maia defeated Agnieszka Niedzweidz by unanimous decision. Maia retained her Invicta flyweight belt, defending it for the second time. Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzweidz, took place at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Andrea Lee on USADA Drug Test Failure “You can get Suspended for Anything”

Harry Davies



Andrea Lee vs Heather Bassett

MMA Latest spoke to recently signed UFC flyweight Andrea “KGB” Lee about her delayed UFC debut, and potential opponents on this season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Lee (8-2) signed with the UFC in September, and was set to make her promotional debut just a few weeks after at UFC 216. However, “KGB” was quickly pulled from her scheduled fight with Kalindra Faria, due to fighters with previous USADA violations having to serve a six-month period in the testing pool before fighting.

Q: I’m interested to get your thoughts on how things are going on The Ultimate Fighter: Season 26, have you been watching closely?

I have! I’m still glad I didn’t sign up for TUF, I’m happy I stayed home so I could watch from afar and continue to get my own training in. I’ve been keeping up with it, trying to study my future opponents I’ve already got my eye on some I would like to compete against.

Q: You decided to fight Liz Tracey instead of committing to the tryouts for TUF 26, but you said you don’t regret that, why?

I had already injured my back, so going into the house at that time with an injury wouldn’t have been smart. Secondly, I felt like I was already established enough as a fighter, most fighters on the show need help to be seen, but I already feel like I have a good following. I was comfortable fighting with Invicta and LFA until I got the call-up for the UFC.

Q: Can you please clear up why you failed a USADA test back in 2016, I believe it was revealed you took a diuretic, but you were unaware it was on the banned list?

Firstly, I’ve never taken steroids, I didn’t fail the test because of steroids and I was not aware that fluid pills (diuretics) were used as a masking agent.

People need to be aware that you can get suspended for anything.

I used the fluid pills because I swell and bloat a lot, it’s very uncomfortable. I didn’t realise people use them for masking steroids. If in competition you can get suspended for like ibuprofen and sleep aids, they’re always changing the banned substance list.

Q: You tested positive for the diuretic after you loss to Sarah D’Alelio, was the weight cut for this fight rough and did it hinder your performance on the night?

I took it for the weight cut for that fight yes, but I don’t think it hindered my performance. I was paranoid and thinking that I needed it in that moment, because I was bloating and retaining water. I didn’t think twice about it and took it thinking it would help my period and the fact that I was bloated.

Q: When will your six month suspension be over, and are you eyeing any specific dates/opponents for your UFC debut?

I’ll be done at the end of March next year, I joined the USADA testing pool right as I signed my UFC contract in September. I think April is when I may fight, we don’t have an opponent in mind yet, we’re waiting to see how TUF 26 plays out.

Who would you like to see Andrea Lee face in her UFC debut? Let us know below!

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