Virna Jandiroba Subs Janaisa Morandin at Invicta FC 31 to Retain Strawweight Title

By Mike Sloan Sep 1, 2018

Virna Jandiroba defended her Invicta Fighting Championships strawweight title for the first time Saturday.

Jandiroba was spectacular yet again, moving to 14-0 with a relatively easy submission win over tough contender Janaisa Morandin in the main event of Invicta 31 at Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City. “Carcara” took “Evil Princess” down in the first and landed some solid ground-and-pound and then finished her fellow Brazilian in the second frame.

Jandiroba took her opponent down about two minutes into the second, swiftly scooted to side control and matter-of-factly locked on a textbook arm-triangle choke. Morandin (10-2) tried briefly to escape, but her attempt was futile and tapped out at the 2:23 mark, proving once again that Jandiroba is one of the best-kept secrets in the sport.

Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Pearl Gonzalez scored the most emotional win of her MMA career, dedicating her flyweight victory over Daiane Firmino in the memory of her recently-deceased father. The co-main event was thrilling, but “The Chi-Town Princess” was tremendous as she out-struck and out-grappled her Brazilian counterpart. Gonzalez (9-3) nearly subbed “Dai Fox” with a key lock and armbar from scarf hold in the second and then almost got the tap with a standard armbar and triangle choke off her back in the third. Firmino (10-3) was tough, though, and survived each submission attempt, but all three judges favored the Chicago-based Gonzalez with scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-27.

Bantamweight prospect Lisa Spangler endured a busted nose that was pouring blood like a faucet to edge Shanna Young via split decision. “The Strangler” rallied down the stretch with ground control and timely striking to steal the fight from “The Shanimal,” who hadn’t fought in over two years. The fight could have gone either way, but in the end, the judges saw it 30-27 and 29-28 for Spangler (3-0) and 28-29 for Young (4-1).

After being pelted by a vicious straight right to the jaw that nearly knocked her out, Denver’s Mallory Martin eventually turned the tides and took out Ashley Nichols. “AK-47” tagged Martin early in the opening round and appeared to be on her way toward a highlight-reel stoppage. However, Martin (4-2) showed her resolve and stormed back into the fight by taking the muay Thai fighter down repeatedly. Early in the third, Martin scored another takedown and moved to full mount near the cage. Nichols (3-3) tried to buck her foe off, but Martin was relentless and began raining down right elbows repeatedly to the head. Finally, referee Greg Franklin had no choice but to rescue the Canadian, officially ending the catchweight duel at 1:06 of the stanza.

Flyweight prospect Miranda Maverick displayed a powerful takedown and submission game Saturday night as she dominated and eventually submitted previously-unbeaten Victoria Leonardo. “Fear The” Maverick (4-1) scored a takedown around the midway point of the first and then latched on an armbar during a scramble. “Fury” tried rolling out of the submission twice, but the Missouri fighter never let go of the limb, torqued her hips and bent Leonardo’s elbow backwards just as she tapped out. Leonardo (2-1) bowed out at 3:26 of the opening frame.

St. Louis-based atomweight Kelly D'Angelo tried everything she could to submit opponent Lindsey VanZandt, but “Damsel” was too tough and slippery for that to happen. Still, D’Angelo continuously attacked with triangle chokes, armbars and triangle-armbars throughout the contest and did more than enough to earn a unanimous decision win. D’Angelo (3-1) was awarded the cageside judges’ verdict via tallies of 30-27 (twice) and 29-28. VanZandt (3-1) scored multiple takedowns, but the New Yorker couldn’t do anything other than defend submissions once on the ground.

California’s Kay Hansen took her sweet time in breaking down previously unbeaten Helen Peralta (2-1), but her patience and tenacity paid off. Hansen utilized a strong clinch game to control the action throughout and when she finally was able to take “Iansa” down, the 19-year-old never looked back. Late in the third, Hansen scored a takedown and moved to full mount and from there, she rained down punches and elbows until referee Mike England intervened to end the strawweight contest. The end came officially at 4:16 of the third, allowing Hansen to improve to 3-1.

An ill-advised intentional headbutt in the third cost Audrey Wolfe a win in her battle with Holli Salazar. The featherweights fought tooth-and-nail for three rounds, with “The Huntress” badly rocking Wolfe with punches in the second, but the Texan’s infraction was disastrous. Wolfe was on top in half guard when she inexplicably drover her forehead into Salazar’s face. Referee Greg Franklin immediately halted the action and deducted a point. The penalty snatched victory from her as the fight wound up ending in a draw as all three judges saw it 28-28. Both women moved to 1-0-1 with the result.
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