LESLIE SMITH TO FACE RAQUEL PENNINGTON AT INVICTA FC 4

Dec 10, 2012
(PRESS RELEASE) -- KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Dec. 3, 2012) – Power puncher Leslie Smith (4-2-1) of Pleasant Hill, Calif. will square off with submission specialist Raquel Pennington (3-2-1) of Colorado Springs, Colo. in a bantamweight (135 pounds) main card fight at the star-studded 12-bout Invicta Fighting Championships professional women’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event at Memorial Hall in Kansas City on Saturday, Jan. 5.

“Leslie and Raquel have both proven to be ferocious and determined competitors in the Invicta FC cage, so we are excited to be able to match them up against each other and create what should be a barnburner of a fight,” said Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp.

The 30-year-old Smith performed brilliantly in her last start at Invicta FC 3 at Memorial Hall on Oct. 6, scoring a furious TKO on rival Kaitlin Young with an onslaught of punches from mount position in the second round (2:19) of action. The bout marked a rematch to the pair’s epic, three-round slugfest, which ended in a draw at the inaugural Invicta FC event on April 28.

Smith, who turned professional in March 2009 after compiling a perfect 3-0 record as an amateur, has earned three of her four victories as a pro by way of TKO with her hands. She is product of the Cesar Gracie Academy.

The 24-year-old Pennington, who has competed five times since turning professional just nine months ago, is looking to return to the win column after struggling with undefeated Cat Zingano in an Invicta FC 3 main card matchup that saw Zingano submit Pennington with a rear-naked choke in the second round (3:32).

Prior to the defeat, Pennington had reeled off two straight wins – a unanimous decision over Sarah Moras at Invicta FC 2 at Memorial Hall on July 28 and first round (3:52) submission (guillotine choke) of Raquel Pa’aluhi in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sept. 8.

Pennington amassed a stellar 7-1 record under amateur status between Feb. 2009 and Aug. 2011. She earned five of her seven amateur victories by way of submission.

Tickets for Invicta FC 4: Gadelha vs. Esparza, priced from $25, are on sale at Memorial Hall box office (913-549-4853), online at Ticketmaster.com and InvictaFC.com and by phone at 800-745-3000.

In the main event and first-ever Invicta FC world strawweight (115 pounds) championship bout, Claudia Gadelha (9-0) of Mossoro, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil will face streaking star Carla Esparza (8-2) of Redondo Beach, Calif. In the bantamweight co-main event, crowd-pleasing submission ace Shayna Baszler (15-7) of Sioux Falls, S.D. will battle fellow top-ranked star Alexis Davis (12-5) of Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada.

Hard-hitting KO artist Amanda Nunes (7-2) of Salvador Bahia, Brazil will take on submission specialist Sarah D’Alelio (6-3) of San Jose, Calif. at bantamweight.

JEWELS star Hiroko Yamanaka (12-2) of Kisarazu, Japan will battle Invicta FC 3 winner Ediene Gomes (8-2) of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. in a featherweight (145 pounds) contest.

In the event’s opening main card bout, undefeated Joanne Calderwood (4-0) of Glasgow, Scotland will square off with Invicta FC newcomer Bec Hyatt (4-1) of Brisbane, Australia at strawweight.

After scoring her second consecutive, five-second KO on July 8, Veronica Rothenhausler (0-0) of Reno, Nev. will make her much-anticipated professional debut on the Invicta FC 4 undercard against fellow heavy-handed featherweight competitor Katalina Malungahu (2-1) of Las Vegas, Nev.

The six-bout preliminary card will be capped off with an atomweight (105 pounds) matchup between Stephanie Frausto (4-4) of Cincinnati, Ohio and Cassie Rodish (3-3) of Des Moines, Iowa.

Unbeaten Tamikka Brents (1-0) of Springfield, Illin. will take on Amanda Bell (0-0) of Medford, Ore. at featherweight.

Jodie Esquibel (2-0) of Albuquerque, N.M. and Liz McCarthy (1-0) of Tigard, Ore. will square off at atomweight.

Emily Kagan (2-0) of Albuquerque, N.M. will put her undefeated record on the line against Rose Namajunas (0-0) of Milwaukee, Wis. In a strawweight matchup.

Paige Van Zant (2-0) of Sparks, Nev. will face off with Tecia Torres (1-0) of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. at strawweight.

About Invicta Fighting Championships: Invicta Fighting Championships (www.invictafc.com) is a world championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight series dedicated to providing female athletes with a major platform to hone their skills on a consistent basis. Founded in 2012 by longtime MMA executive Shannon Knapp and sports aficionado Janet Martin, Invicta is committed to pioneering the future growth of women’s MMA by promoting the best possible matchups between female competitors and identifying and developing future superstars of the sport.

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