Invicta FC 7’s co-main event between Miriam “the Queen of Mean” Nakamoto (2-1-1) and Leslie Murphy (8-0) ended in tragedy as Nakamoto damaged her knee at the end of the third round and collapsed in the cage at the beginning of the fourth round. This fight had major implications as it was set to crown the first Invicta FC Bantamweight champion.
Nakamoto dominated the first two rounds and utilized every inch of her reach advantage to punish Murphy from the outside with some absolutely crushing outside leg kicks to Murphy’s left leg. By the second round visible bruising was starting to show on Murphy’s lead leg.
Murphy tried to pressure Nakamoto on the cage in the first round but was ultimately unsuccessful in controlling the Queen of Mean, as Nakamoto reversed position and hit an amazing hip throw on Murphy in the first round, which surprisingly served as the first takedown of the night.
Murphy started to turn-the-tides in the third round as she stayed out of striking distance and clinched Nakamoto on the cage. Murphy scored a takedown at the end of the third round that visibly damaged Nakamoto’s knee in the process.
It’s an unfortunate situation for Nakamoto, as she looked spectacular in this fight and was doing everything right. She was elusive and was striking from the outside beautifully with her kicks and was throwing knees and elbows to stop Murphy when she charged in. Nakamoto even demonstrated some great ground defense as she scrambled for position and threatened with submissions off of her back. Murphy’s composure was spectacular as she kept a level head the entire fight and never seemed out of it.
This must be disappointing for Murphy, as it puts a damper on her title victory. No champion wants to be handed the belt after losing 2 of 3 rounds in a fight that ended in an injury. I believe that an immediate rematch must happen. This is not Nakamoto’s first knee injury as she underwent ACL reconstruction in 2011. She bounced back from that surgery with a TKO victory in Muay Thai and won the WMC Lightweight World Title. Miriam Nakamoto is a tough girl, and I can’t wait for her to recover and get back in the cage.