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Shannon Knapp: ‘Invicta diving into boxing, and rolling out submission grappling’

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Shannon Knapp Invicta

Invicta will be promoting boxing in the near future, but that is not the only plan currently being worked on. The all women’s MMA organisation are looking to roll out Invicta Submission Grappling too.

Speaking to Invicta FC commentator, and long-time Sherdog Radio host TJ De Santis, Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp confirmed that Invicta Boxing remains a part of their future.

“It’s not said, we’re going. We’re diving head first. We’re going in.” said Knapp, when asked about previous reports that boxing will become part of the Invicta brand. Knapp made it clear that work on the extension is already underway.

“The process itself, it’s really different than MMA so I’m learning all the new rules, all that kinda stuff. Scouting, preparing for it. The women in boxing need the help. They need help. They need me and my team, my staff to come in and do what we can to help elevate that sport to build a platform for them.

“We’re looking at new ways. We’re talking about ways to package it to make it more interesting. We’re talking about docuseries behind it. A lot of things. We’re looking to come into that space and hopefully assist the women in boxing like we have women in MMA.”

Since Invicta FC opened its doors almost five years ago, the level of opportunity afforded women in the sport has grown at an exponential rate.

The UFC currently promotes champions in two full women’s divisions. A third women’s championship is being added at UFC 208 when Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie meet for the 145 pound featherweight title.

RIZIN in Japan; ONE Championship throughout Asia; Bellator in the United States; and a whole host of other smaller promotions across the world, are now invested in promoting women’s fights. More than that, we have seen many times that women can achieve equal billing in what had traditionally been a male-dominated sport.

Ronda Rousey has been one of the two biggest stars in the sport over the past couple of years. Paige VanZant and Michelle Waterson recently headlined a network television event on FOX which did record breaking numbers. And even though it was never the originally planned main event, Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes ended up headlining the historic UFC 200 in July last year.

As acknowledged by Knapp, the picture for women in boxing is painted on a different canvas. On a conference call in 2015, multi-time boxing world champion Holly Holm summed up the differences between the two sports.

“I’m super blessed and super proud of everything that I got to experience in boxing, but it is sad that there isn’t enough following behind it. If you’re a female boxer, you’re in it truly because you just love it and I feel like there should be more following behind it.”

That is something Knapp is hoping to change. Invicta’s President was also clear about the next steps the promotion would be taking.

“We’re not gonna stop there. Then we’re gonna roll out Invicta submission championships, so I mean we’re just gonna keep rolling out things. Platforms that will provide opportunities to keep our female athletes busy and build this sport out. That’s what they need.”

So what would Invicta Submission Championships events look like? According to Knapp the door would be open for existing Invicta athletes, and younger fighters still rounding out their full MMA games. On top of that, we might see some more established Invicta vets now competing elsewhere, on the Invicta grappling mats too.

“It gives us an opportunity possibly, especially on the submission side, to work with some of the athletes that are vets of Invicta and have moved over to the UFC, and just provide more opportunities to hone their skillsets. Each and every thing that we are talking about doing here in Invicta only is going to make a more complete, well rounded athlete and that’s gonna help everybody.”

Submission grappling events come in many forms. Through the exposure gained by events like Chael Sonnen’s Submission Underground, and Eddie Bravo’s Invitational tournaments, fans are now being given the opportunity to see not only elite level grapplers compete to wider audiences, but also their favourite MMA stars.

Submission Underground 2, which took place last month, was headlined by a match between Jon Jones and Dan Henderson. The card also included Miesha Tate and Jessica Eye.

The Eddie Bravo Invitational tournaments are regularly aired on UFC Fight Pass, just like Invicta FC. The tournament format is one that Knapp would not rule out.

“I think definitely” said Knapp when asked if Invicta Submission Championships events would feature tournaments.

“I think we could do a lot of things. I think we’re very open to a lot of different formats. I think that our objective once again is gonna be able to package it, package it so it’s very interesting. Ya know, the production side of it to make it different and unique. and things like that. That’s what we’re looking to do.

“The future of this sport is the young talent coming up through the ranks now, and any way that we can continue to highlight those athletes as well, as well as opening the door and showing them that MMA is different now. It’s not even perceived the way it used to be. I mean look at how Ronda Rousey, her income level and the exposure that she’s gotten, it’s changed.

“You can dream of being a professional athlete in this sport.”

For the full show check out the video below. Invicta FC 21 takes place Saturday night at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri, and airs live and free on UFC Fight Pass.

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Events

Invicta 27 Officially Announced

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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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Invicta

Mackenzie Dern victorious in Invicta debut 

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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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Interviews

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

Harry Davies

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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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