It may not have been easy, but Jinh Yu Frey reaffirmed her place on the throne and bolstered her claim as the best 105-pound female fighter on the planet.
In her highly-anticipated rematch with Minna Grusander at Invicta FC 33, Frey fought five very closely-contested rounds, emerging with a split decision. Each round featured tense exchanges on the feet, with infrequent takedowns. Having won a controversial unanimous decision over Grusander in July, the 33-year old Frey now moves to 2-0 against the Finnish contender, and can look forward to fresh challenges in a suddenly-burgeoning atomweight division.
In the co-main event, Danielle Taylor handed Montserrat Ruiz her first career defeat, employing a classic sprawl n’ brawl gameplan to deny the Mexican prospect’s takedown attempts while outstriking her by a wide margin. Ruiz, who came into the bout heralded for her wrestling skills, was reduced to working for low-percentage clinch throws and eating punches. By the time she finally got Taylor onto the ground late in the third round, it was too little, too late, and Taylor took the unanimous decision.
In one of the most shocking turnarounds of the year, Kay Hansen snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, forcing Sharon Jacobson to tap to an armbar at 4:43 of the third round of their strawweight clash. Jacobson had been in total control of the fight, flinging Hansen all around the cage with an assortment of trips and throws for 14 minutes, when one careless takedown offered Hansen the only window she needed. On less than a month’s notice, Hansen -- still a teenager -- notched a memorable victory and moved to 3-2 in a very active year.
Alesha Zappitella continued to impress, as she steamrolled Amber Brown in their three-round atomweight contest. The decorated amateur wrestler took Brown down multiple times in each round, applying suffocating pressure and threatening with dominant positions and short elbows and punches. Zappitella, only 23 years old, moved to 5-0 in her young career, and is likely headed towards a top-10 bout in the relatively thin 105-pound division.
Brianna Van Buren made a triumphant return to the Invicta FC cage after several years away from the sport, boxing up Jamie Moyle over three rounds. In spite of missing weight by nearly 10 pounds, Moyle found herself both stymied on the feet and taken down repeatedly by “Tha Bull.” In the end, scorecards read 30-27 twice and 30-26 for the 25-year old Van Buren, who is a person of immediate interest in the strawweight division.
In preliminary action, bantamweight Brittney Victoria Grizzelle handled Sarah Kleczka over three rounds, shrugging off the takedown attempts of “Chucky” and keeping the shorter woman at the end of her long punches with superior footwork. Grizzelle won by matching 29-28 scorecards. Anastasia Nikolakakos made an impressive Invicta debut, defeating Ashley Medina by TKO at 3:26 of the second round. Nikolakakos dominated her fellow atomweight throughout, grounding Medina at will and moving effortlessly to back mount in both rounds, where she threatened Medina with submissions and peppered her with punches. In the opening bout of the evening, flyweight Chantel Coates blew up fellow MMA debutante Ashlynn Kleinbeck with a right hook, folding her over her own legs and leaving her senseless. At a mere 26 seconds of Round 1, it was the fastest knockout in Invicta history.