The Invicta Fighting Championship returned to action tonight at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri for Invicta FC 7. The night’s main event would see Invicta flyweight champion Barb Honchak retain her crown by defeating Leslie Smith via unanimous decision. While the card was originally a PPV, technical issues forced the promotion to offer the event for free.

Honchak Defeats Smith

Invicta flyweight champion Barb Honchak defended her flyweight crown tonight with a solid display of all-around MMA skill against Leslie Smith. Honchak’s striking speed and wrestling advantage were enough to push her past the power and BJJ skills of Smith. Smith found some success with her kicks but was unable to establish the other aspects of her game tonight in KC.

The victory for Honchak further establishes the Invicta flyweight queen as one of the best pound-for-pound WMMA fighters in the world. The “Little Warrior” has bounced back from a 1-2 mark to start her career – with one loss coming to top UFC bantamweight Cat Zangano – to win eight straight fights against the likes of Vanessa Porto, Felice Herrig, Aisling Daly, and Roxanne Modafferi.

Murphy wins Title After Nakamoto Injured

It did not end the way anyone envisioned, but Lauren Murphy would be crowned the Invicta bantamweight champion with a victory over Miriam Nakamoto in tonight’s co-main event. Murphy would get the fourth round TKO after an injured Nakamoto collapsed to the canvas after knee gave out. The ill-timed injury happened in the third round as Murphy took down Nakamoto after a struggle along the cage.

The injury was the turning point of the fight, as the Muay Thai champion had fought strong in the first two rounds with her dangerous striking and takedown defense. Nakamoto tried to continue to fight, but the injury was simply too severe to continue and the fight was called. Murphy is now the promotion’s first champion and was willing to offer a rematch to her injured foe when she returns.

Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp indicated after the conclusion of tonight’s card that a rematch was ideal but that everything would hinge on the damage sustained by Nakamoto’s knee.

Torres Dominates Herrig

Tecia Torres upset the applecart tonight by defeating highly touted signee Felice Herrig tonight in KC. Torres blasted the popular fighter with hard strikes and kept a furious pace that put Herrig on the defensive throughout the fight. “The Tiny Tornado” improved to 4-0 as pro with the victory and received a rather awkward challenge from Invicta strawweight champion – and Herrig’s close friend – Carla Esparza following the fight. Torres was taken aback by the post-fight offer and stated in the post fight press conference, “I think I’m pretty close to the title, but I’m in no rush.”

Other Notes:

  • Joanne Calderwood picked up a hard fought and challenging victory tonight against a very game Katja Kankaanpaa. Calderwood has been favored as a strawweight contender by the promotion but really had to dig deep and step out of her comfort zone to secure the victory tonight.
  • Featherweight Julia Budd was absolutely dominant tonight against Charmaine Tweet. The talented fighter could find herself fighting for the Invicta FC crown and seemed up to the challenge after the fight.
  • Former flyweight challenger Vanessa Porto continued her quest back to the title tonight with a solid victory over former Bellator strawweight champion Zoila Frausto Gurgel. Gurgel has now lost three straight fights after winning her first bout back from her extended injury layoff.
  • TUF 18’s Tonya Evinger got back in the win column following her loss on the reality show with an unanimous decision win over late replacement Sarah D’Alelio.
  • Nina Ansaroff was impressive in tonight’s opener as she steamrolled Munah Holland to kick off the night’s action.

Invicta FC 7 Results:

  • Flyweight Title Fight: Barb Honchak def. Leslie Smith via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
  • Strawweight Title Fight: Carla Esparza (c) vs. Claudia Gadelha*
  • Inaugural Bantamweight Title Fight: Lauren Murphy def. Miriam Nakamoto via TKO (injury) at 0:23 of Round 4
  • Tecia Torres def. Felice Herrig via unanimous decision (30-27,30-27,30-27)
  • Joanne Calderwood def. Katja Kankaanpaa via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Julia Budd def. Charmaine Tweet via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Vanessa Porto defeats Zoila Frausto Gurgel via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Tonya Evinger def. Sarah D’Alelio via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Nina Ansaroff def. Munah Holland via TKO (punches) at 3:54 of Round 2

*- Gadelha was hospitalized due to illness