Invicta Fighting Championships

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Invicta Fighting Championships
Industry Mixed martial arts promotion
Founded 2012 (2012)
Founder Shannon Knapp
Janet Martin
Headquarters United States
Area served
United States
Key people

Shannon Knapp (President) Julie Kedzie (Matchmaker)

Invicta Fighting Championships, also known as Invicta FC, is a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion for female fighters based in the United States.[1] It was founded in 2012 by Janet Martin[2] a former VP with MMA organization Blackeye Promotions[3] and Shannon Knapp, who held positions at various levels, including executive positions with King of the Cage, World Fighting Alliance, International Fight League, Affliction Entertainment, UFC and Strikeforce.[4] It has a strategic partnership with fellow Japanese MMA promotion Jewels.[5]


When Zuffa, parent company of the UFC, purchased rival promotion Strikeforce in March 2011 (2011-03), Shannon Knapp received several calls from female fighters who were afraid of what the future might hold for them in Strikeforce since the UFC had never promoted a women's fight.[2][6] As the women were calling Knapp for representation, she started looking at the issue and met Janet Martin, and between the two acquired the financial resources needed.[7]

The term Invicta, a Latin word for "invincible and incomparable", was chosen by founders Knapp and Martin since the terms invincible and incomparable are very masculine, but the term appears in the feminine form in Latin, and they thought it was a good description for women's MMA.[8]

Free online streamed events[edit]

After more than a year in the making,[7] the promotion held its first event, Invicta FC 1 on April 28, 2012 (2012-04-28).[9] It was headlined by a rematch between former Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen and French fighter Romy Ruyssen.[9] The event also marked the MMA debut of 2008 Summer Olympics women's freestyle wrestling medalist Randi Miller.[10] The event was available as a free video stream at the Invicta Fighting Championships webpage.[9] After the event, fight of the night went to Kaitlin Young and Leslie Smith who fought to a draw whilst submission of the night was awarded to Sarah Schneider. Liz Carmouche and Jessica Penne both received social media bonuses.[11]

On June 9, it was announced that Invicta has formed a strategic partnership with Japanese promotion JEWELS to cross-promote the world’s top female fighters on their respective fight cards in the United States and Japan.[12]

Invicta then held its second event (Invicta FC 2: Baszler vs. McMann) on July 28, 2012. Like the first event, it was made available as a free stream on the promotion's official website. The event was headlined by 2004 Summer Olympics women's freestyle wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann and Shayna Baszler.[13] Carla Esparza and Barb Honchak made their promotional debuts on this card. As part of the alliance with Japanese promotion Jewels, Jewels lightweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki was set to face undefeated Austrian fighter Jasminka Cive as part of the main event but Cive was unable to secure her visa in time and was replaced by Lacey Shuckman.[5][14]

On September 24, 2012, Invicta announced a strategic alliance with the Super Fight League, which aims to bring the best Indian female fighters to Invicta, whilst Invicta will aim to send world class female mixed martial artists to the Super Fight League.[15]

Sara McMann was originally scheduled to fight for the Invicta FC Bantamweight Championship at Invicta FC 3 but this did not occur due to an injury to McMann.

Invicta FC 3: Penne vs. Sugiyama took place on October 6, 2012. Invicta continued their partnership with Jewels as Jessica Penne faced and beat the previously undefeated Jewels 105 lb champion Naho Sugiyama for the inaugural Invicta FC Atomweight Championship.

Also at Invicta FC 3, Leslie Smith fought Kaitlin Young in a rematch from their exciting "fight of the night" Invicta FC 1 bout where they fought to a draw. This time, Smith was able to get the better of Young and defeated her by TKO in the second round.[16] Invicta FC3 also saw the promotional debut of long time Women's Bantamweight and Flyweight standout Tara LaRosa, as well as the debuts of Michelle Waterson and Cat Zingano. Fight of the night bonuses went to Michelle Waterson and Lacey Schuckman. The submission of the night bonus was split between Jessamyn Duke and Stephanie Frausto while knockout of the night went to promotional newcomer Joanne Calderwood.

Move to online pay-per-view events[edit]

On December 19, 2012, Shannon Knapp announced Invicta FC 4 would air as an online pay-per-view.

Invicta Fighting Championships held their fourth event (Invicta FC 4: Esparza vs. Hyatt) on January 5, 2013. The event was headlined by the inaugural Invicta FC Strawweight Championship bout between Carla Esparza and Bec Hyatt (in Hyatt's promotional debut). Esparza was originally scheduled to fight Ayaka Hamasaki for the title but Hamasaki pulled out of the fight due to commitments to defending her JEWELS lightweight title. Hamasaki was originally replaced by undefeated Brazilian fighter Claudia Gadelha but on December 28, Gadelha was also forced to withdraw after suffering a broken nose in training. Esparza defeated Hyatt to become the first Invicta FC Strawweight Champion. Also Alexis Davis defeated Shayna Baszler in the card's fight of the night and Rose Namajunas won knock-out of the night in her professional MMA debut.

Due to purchasing issues on the night of the event, the event was streamed for free rather than pay per view and it was announced that all buyers would be refunded.

Invicta FC 5: Penne vs. Waterson took place on April 5, 2013. The card was headlined by Jessica Penne who lost her Invicta FC Atomweight Championship to "The Karate Hottie" Michelle Waterson. The event featured a co-main event of Vanessa Porto vs. Barb Honchak with the latter being crowned as the first Invicta FC Flyweight Champion. In addition, Sarah Kaufman and "Cyborg" Cristiane Justino both won in their Invicta FC debuts. On this occasion, the online pay per view went smoothly, avoiding any issues experiences at Invicta FC 4.

During Invicta FC 5, there were no issues with the Ustream pay-per-view system as there had been in January.

Televised Pay-Per-View[edit]

Invicta FC 6: Coenen vs. Cyborg took place on 13 July 2013, featuring the crowning of Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino as the inaugural Featherweight champion and a Strawweight title eliminator match won by Claudia Gadelha over Ayaka Hamasaki (previously unbeaten JEWELS lightweight champion). The winner will face champion Carla Esparza. The card also featured wins by Jessica Penne, Lauren Taylor, Tecia Torres, Leslie Smith and Joanne Calderwood.

This event was aired on cable and satellite pay-per-view in the United States and Canada in addition to their online PPV stream, as the promotion had come to a deal with Integrated Sports Media for live viewing.[17]

UFC Fight Pass[edit]

In early 2014 an agreement with the UFC was announced to air all future Invicta FC events exclusively on the UFC's subscription-based digital streaming service, Fight Pass, and that the entire Invicta FC fight library would be added to the "On Demand" part of UFC Fight Pass. On July 10, Invicta and the UFC held a joint conference call to announce that Invicta FC 8 would be the first event to stream live on Fight Pass. The September 6th event was to be headlined by Michelle Waterson's first title defense of her atomweight belt vs. Yasuko Tamada.[18]


On February 24, it was announced the partnership between Invicta and Combate. The deal allows the Brazilian channel the broadcast of Invicta live events as well the event library of Invicta in the South American country. The first Invicta event broadcast on Combate was Invicta FC 11: Cyborg vs. Tweet showing the Brazilian Invicta's featherweight champion Cris Cyborg versus the Canadian challenger Charmaine Tweet.[19]


Invicta's current rules follows the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts that were originally established by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board and modified by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.[20]

Scheduled events[edit]

Event Date Venue Location
Invicta FC 16 March 11, 2016 Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, Nevada

Past events[edit]

Main article: Invicta FC events


# Event Title Date Arena Location Attendance
15 Invicta FC 15: Cyborg vs. Ibragimova January 16, 2016 OC Fair & Event Center Costa Mesa, California 1,504
14 Invicta FC 14: Evinger vs. Kianzad September 12, 2015 Municipal Auditorium Kansas City, Missouri 1,200
13 Invicta FC 13: Cyborg vs. Van Duin July 10, 2015 The Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino Las Vegas, Nevada
12 Invicta FC 12: Kankaanpää vs. Souza April 24, 2015 Municipal Auditorium Kansas City, Missouri 568
11 Invicta FC 11: Cyborg vs. Tweet February 27, 2015 Shrine Expo Hall Los Angeles, California
10 Invicta FC 10: Waterson vs. Tiburcio December 5, 2014 Arena Theater Houston, Texas
9 Invicta FC 9: Honchak vs.Hashi November 1, 2014 RiverCenter Davenport, Iowa
8 Invicta FC 8: Waterson vs. Tamada September 6, 2014 Municipal Auditorium Kansas City, Missouri 1,007
7 Invicta FC 7: Honchak vs. Smith December 7, 2013 Ameristar Casino Kansas City Kansas City, Missouri 685
6 Invicta FC 6: Coenen vs. Cyborg July 13, 2013 Ameristar Casino Kansas City Kansas City, Missouri 931
5 Invicta FC 5: Penne vs. Waterson April 5, 2013 Ameristar Casino Kansas City Kansas City, Missouri 1,147
4 Invicta FC 4: Esparza vs. Hyatt January 5, 2013 Memorial Hall Kansas City, Kansas
3 Invicta FC 3: Penne vs. Sugiyama October 6, 2012 Memorial Hall Kansas City, Kansas 600
2 Invicta FC 2: Baszler vs. McMann July 28, 2012 Memorial Hall Kansas City, Kansas
1 Invicta FC 1: Coenen vs. Ruyssen April 28, 2012 Memorial Hall Kansas City, Kansas

Current champions[edit]

Division Upper weight limit Champion Since Title Defenses Top Contender
Featherweight 145 lb (66 kg; 10.4 st) Brazil Cristiane Justino July 13, 2013 (Invicta FC 6) 3
Bantamweight 135 lb (61 kg; 9.6 st) United States Tonya Evinger July 9, 2015 (Invicta FC 13) 0
Flyweight 125 lb (57 kg; 8.9 st) United States Barb Honchak April 5, 2013 (Invicta FC 5) 2
Strawweight 115 lb (52 kg; 8.2 st) Brazil Livia Renata Souza April 24, 2015 (Invicta FC 12) 1
Atomweight 105 lb (48 kg; 7.5 st) Japan Ayaka Hamasaki July 9, 2015 (Invicta FC 13) 0

Title history[edit]

Featherweight Championship[edit]

136 to 145 lbs (62 to 66 kg)
No. Name Event Date Reign Defenses
1 Brazil Cristiane Justino
def. Marloes Coenen
Invicta FC 6:
Coenen vs. Cyborg

Kansas City, MO, USA
July 13, 2013 944 days
1. def. Charmaine Tweet at Invicta FC 11 on Feb 27, 2015
2. def. Faith Van Duin at Invicta FC 13 on July 9, 2015
3. def. Daria Ibragimova at Invicta FC 15 on Jan 16, 2016.

Bantamweight Championship[edit]

126 to 135 lbs (57 to 61 kg)
No. Name Event Date Reign Defenses
1 United States Lauren Murphy
def. Miriam Nakamoto
Invicta FC 7:
Honchak vs. Smith

Kansas City, MO, USA
December 7, 2013 208 days
Murphy vacated title on July 3, 2014 to sign with the UFC.
2 United States Tonya Evinger
def. Irene Aldana
Invicta FC 13:
Cyborg vs. Van Duin

Las Vegas, NV, USA
July 9, 2015 218 days

Flyweight Championship[edit]

116 to 125 lbs (53 to 56 kg)
No. Name Event Date Reign Defenses
1 United States Barb Honchak
def. Vanessa Porto
Invicta FC 5:
Penne vs. Waterson

Kansas City, MO, USA
April 5, 2013 1043 days
1. def. Leslie Smith at Invicta FC 7 on Dec 7, 2013

2. def. Takayo Hashi at Invicta FC 9 on Nov 1, 2014

Strawweight Championship[edit]

106 to 115 lbs (49 to 52 kg)
No. Name Event Date Reign Defenses
1 United States Carla Esparza
def. Bec Hyatt
Invicta FC 4:
Esparza vs. Hyatt

Kansas City, KS, USA
January 5, 2013 341 days
Esparza vacated title on December 11, 2013 to participate in The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned.[22][23]
2 Finland Katja Kankaanpää
def. Stephanie Eggink
Invicta FC 8:
Waterson vs. Tamada

Kansas City, MO, USA
September 6, 2014 230 days
3 Brazil Livia Renata Souza
Invicta FC 12:
Kankaanpää vs. Souza

Kansas City, MO, USA
April 24, 2015 294 days
1. def. DeAnna Bennett at Invicta FC 15 on Jan 16, 2016

Atomweight Championship[edit]

96 to 105 lbs (44 to 48 kg)
No. Name Event Date Reign Defenses
1 United States Jessica Penne
def. Naho Sugiyama
Invicta FC 3:
Penne vs. Sugiyama

Kansas City, KS, USA
October 6, 2012 181 days
2 United States Michelle Waterson Invicta FC 5:
Penne vs. Waterson

Kansas City, MO, USA
April 5, 2013 609 days 1. def. Yasuko Tamada at Invicta FC 8 on Sept 6, 2014
3 Brazil Herica Tiburcio Invicta FC 10:
Waterson vs. Tiburcio

Houston, Texas, USA
December 5, 2014 216 days
4 Japan Ayaka Hamasaki Invicta FC 13:
Cyborg vs. Van Duin

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
July 9, 2015 218 days

Honors and awards[edit]

In January 2015, it was announced that the promotion had beaten the UFC by 4% of the community vote to win the 2014 Best Promotion Award in the Awakening Fighters WMMA Awards[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Invicta Fighting Championships, about". 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  2. ^ a b Paligaru, Matt (2012-03-24). "Shannon Knapp reveals how Invicta FC came together and what it means for women's MMA". United Kingdom: Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  3. ^ Ragsdale, Cheryl (August 29, 2011). "Marloes Coenen signs with Blackeye Promotions, the home for women’s MMA: Fan reaction". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved December 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ Sargent, Robert (2012-02-17). "All-Female Invicta Fighting Championships Debuts On April 28". Articles. Canada: Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  5. ^ a b "Invicta Fighting and JEWELS Form Strategic Partnership for Women’s MMA". United States: MMA Weekly. 2012-06-09. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  6. ^ Saccaro, Matt (2012-04-26). "Invicta FC's Shannon Knapp Talks Providing 'Better Life for the Athletes'". MMA. United States: Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  7. ^ a b Hunt, Loretta (2012-04-27). "Invicta, new women's-only MMA series, was long time coming". Inside MMA. United States: Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  8. ^ Adams, Jason (2012-03-21). "Janet Martin Interview". United States: Promoting Real Women blog. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  9. ^ a b c "Marloes Coenen, Romy Ruyssen Headline Invicta Fighting Championships’ All-Female Card". News. United States: 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2012-06-15.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Invicta_1_debut" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  10. ^ "As debut nears, Invicta's Randi Miller not interested in Ronda Rousey's 'easy road'". News. United States: 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  11. ^ Sargent, Robert (2012-04-29). "Invicta FC 1 Bonuses: Young, Smith Win Fight Of The Night". Articles. Canada: Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  12. ^ "Invicta Fighting and JEWELS Form Strategic Partnership for Women’s MMA". Articles. 2012-08-29. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  13. ^ "Sara McMann Faces Shayna Baszler In Invicta FC 2 Headliner". Canada: 2012-04-28. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  14. ^ "Invicta FC Partners with Jewels to Create Top Female Fights". United States: The Fight Network. 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  15. ^ "Super Fight League to Develop Women's MMA Talent". September 24, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Invicta FC 3 Results: Penne vs. Sugiyama". 
  17. ^ Invicta FC 6 cable and satellite pay-per-view to cost just $14.95
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "NSAC Regulations: CHAPTER 467 - UNARMED COMBAT". Nevada State Athletic Commission. Retrieved February 8, 2012. 
  21. ^ "INVICTA FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS". Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  22. ^ Simon, Zane (2013-12-11). "UFC announces signing of 11 women strawweights for TUF season, winner becomes first UFC 115lb champ". United States: Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  23. ^ "Invicta FC Strawweight title vacated". United States: Twitter. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  24. ^ "Awakening Fighters WMMA Awards". Retrieved 2014-01-07. 

External links[edit]