Jinh Yu Frey came into the Invicta 30 headliner on Saturday with the goal of capturing the vacant Invicta Fighting Championships atomweight crown, and she achieved it. However, her win at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri, was not without controversy.
Frey was sluggish throughout her five-round battle with Finland’s Minna Grusander and appeared to lose four of the allotted rounds. Nevertheless, all three cageside judges favored her in the fight.
Grusander controlled the fight in the clinch, occasionally landed some solid punches and stalked the American throughout their 25-minute encounter. “Brutsku” had to fend off a rear-naked choke attempt from Frey in the third round, but that was the best offense the Arlington, Texas, fighter mustered in the bout.
Even with Frey backing up and playing it safe for the duration of the final round, the judges submitted scorecards that gave her the win by margins of 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47. The decision appeared to confound the those in attendance, but Frey left the premises with the atomweight title.
Undefeated prospect Felicia Spencer kept it rolling, as the featherweight was too much to handle for Helena Kolesnyk in the co-main event. Spencer peppered the Moscow-based fighter with kicks and punches before dragging the fight to the ground. Once there, the outcome became a formality. Spencer slithered onto her opponent’s back and took her time. Once she cinched the rear-naked choke, the curtain closed on Kolesnyk. She tapped at 1:47 of the second round.
Strawweight Heather Clark had not fought since losing back-to-back bouts in the Ultimate Fighting Championship nearly two years ago. However, the Colorado resident decided to give MMA another go, and it paid off, as she bested Brazil’s Kinberly Tanaka Novaes across three rounds at 115 pounds. “Hurricane” scored timely takedowns and controlled much of the duel in the clinch and on the ground, earning a unanimous nod for her efforts. Novaes hung tough, but Clark was busier and took 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 nods from the judges.
Guam’s Brogan Walker-Sanchez scored multiple takedowns and outstruck opponent Miranda Maverick to earn a three-round unanimous decision at 125 pounds. Walker-Sanchez was a step ahead of Maverick throughout and landed the cleaner strikes overall; and while she never had the Missouri fighter in danger of being stopped, she never relinquished control. The game plan allowed Walker-Sanchez to triumph via tallies of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Hawaiian Stephanie Geltmacher thoroughly outclassed fellow unbeaten bantamweight prospect Kerri Kenneson, stopping her in the opening round. “Hold Fast” immediately scored a powerful takedown and never looked back, moving to full mount before slamming home an endless tidal wave of punches and elbows. Referee Greg Franklin had no choice but to stop the slaughter when Geltmacher unloaded a dozen elbows onto a covered-up Kenneson, ending the beating at the 3:32 mark of Round 1.
Alesha Zappitella was tremendous in her Invicta debut, as the Michigan-based atomweight dominated Jillian DeCoursey for three rounds. “Half Pint” slammed dozens of powerful punches into DeCoursey’s head, rocking “Lionheart” multiple times in the contest. Zappitella was unable to put away her opponent and instead had to settle for a unanimous decision victory. She carried 30-27 scores across the board.
Based in Crystal Lake, Illinois, Alyse Anderson was Jason Voorhees-like in her victory over Stephanie Alba, as she scored a sensational technical submission in Round 2. Anderson, who currently trains with Team Curran, administered solid ground-and-pound in the first round and then latched a textbook triangle choke in the second. “The Cyclone” could not escape and eventually was put to sleep, prompting Franklin to intervene once he realized she was out. The end came at 3:12 of the second round.
In the opening bout, 19-year-old prospect Erin Blanchfield remained unbeaten in the pro ranks by narrowly edging Brittney Cloudy over three rounds. The flyweight battle could have gone to either woman, and the official scores indicated as much. Cloudy’s boxing pedigree allowed her to win the first round via strikes, but Blanchfield used her powerful grappling skills to control the second. The two fought nip and tuck in the third frame, but it was the better overall grappling and clinch game from “Cold Blooded” that swayed the judges. All three scorecards read 29-28, two of them favoring Blanchfield.