KANSAS CITY, Kan. (April 16, 2012) – A spinal injury sustained during training has forced Shana Nelson to withdraw from her scheduled bantamweight (135 pounds) matchup with Sarah D’Alelio (4-2) of San Jose, Calif. on the inaugural Invicta Fighting Championships all-women’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight card at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. on Saturday, April 28. Undefeated Vanessa Mariscal (2-0) of El Segundo, Calif. will step in to face D’Alelio at the event.
Additionally, Cat “Alpha” Zingano (6-0) of Denver, Colo. has withdrawn from her bantamweight (135 pounds) contest with Anita “El Tigre” Rodriguez (5-2) of Dallas, Texas, citing health issues as the cause.
The 38-year-old, 5-foot-6 Mariscal, a former student of MMA legend and UFC Hall of Fame member Royce Gracie, holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the fighting discipline she took up 15 years ago after stints in Karate, kickboxing and Jeet Kune Do.
Mariscal has put her strong Jiu-Jitsu foundation on display in MMA competition, winning both her professional bouts to date by way of rear-naked choke. In her debut on Nov. 20, 2009, she submitted Jessica Halverson in the first round of action and, in her last start on June 17, 2011, Mariscal forced Colleen Schneider to tap out in the third stanza of their bout.
The matchup between Mariscal and D’Alelio will finally come to fruition after previously falling apart on two different occasions.
“I know she’s a tough girl with a reputation for being a tough fighter,” said Mariscal about D’Alelio. “She’s not going to back down and not going to give up, so I’m not taking her lightly at all. At the same time, I’m ready to fight anyone.
“What people don’t know about me is that I’ve been doing this for a very long time but, until recently, there had never been a platform for women to fight on like there is now. After (MMA superstar) Gina Carano came along, it started to change and, now, there are fortunately some big opportunities for us. I think what Invicta is doing for the women in the sport is great and will help all of us.”
Mariscal, a personal fitness trainer and the owner of VMX Training Center, appeared on a Nov. 2011 episode of MTV reality series “I Used To Be Fat,” helping an overweight teenage girl with proper dieting and exercise in order to become healthier.
“Any time there is an opportunity for me to use my fitness and martial arts training to help someone else, I will be there to do it,” Mariscal said. “We have such a high obesity rate in America and our health care crisis is just getting worse. We are going to have to wake up and make some drastic changes in order to change things for the better and start living a healthier lifestyle as a society.”
Like Mariscal, the 5-foot-7, 31 year old D’Alelio’s greatest strength is her ground game. She has earned three of her four career professional victories by way of submission.
D’Alelio is looking to rebound from two consecutive losses, the last of which came at the hands of undefeated 2008 Olympic Judo bronze medalist Ronda Rousey on Aug. 12, 2011.
Tickets for the inaugural Invicta Fighting Championships event, priced from $35, 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.
The live stream of the event on InvictaFC.com will begin at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST with the five-bout preliminary card and continue with the six-bout main card. The stream will be available free of charge.
In the main event, superstar Marloes Coenen (19-5) of The Netherlands will face off with Romy Ruyssen (5-1) of France in a featherweight (145 pounds) rematch. Coenen was the victor of their first meeting on Aug. 2, 2008 by way of submission (rear-naked choke) in the second round of action.
In the co-main event, two 29-year-old submission specialists – Jessica Penne (8-1) of Laguna Hills, Calif. and Lisa Ellis-Ward (14-7) of Lacey, Wash.- will square off with one another at strawweight (105 pounds).
Strikeforce bantamweight star and United States Marine Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche (5-2) of San Diego, Calif. will square off with unbeaten prospect Ashleigh Curry (1-0) of Kansas City, Mo.
Leslie Smith (3-2) of Pleasant Hill, Calif. will meet Kaitlin Young (7-5) of St. Louis Park, Minn. at bantamweight and Sally Krumdiack (9-4) of Bellingham, Wash. will duke it out with Sarah Schneider (5-5) of Kansas City, Mo. at flyweight (115 pounds).
In preliminary card action, 2008 Olympic wrestling bronze medalist Randi Miller (0-0) of Denver, Colo. will make her highly-anticipated MMA debut against Mollie Estes (1-0) Lake Lotawana, Mo.
Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (7-5) of Tulsa, Okla. will take on Amy Davis (2-2) of Idaho Falls, Idaho at strawweight. Sarah Maloy (2-2) of Ada, Okla. will meet Michele Gutierrez (3-2) of Las Vegas, Nev. in a super flyweight (125 pounds) tilt. Unbeaten Ashley Cummins (2-0) of St. Louis will battle Sofia Bagherdai (4-1) of Upland, Calif. at flyweight. Jessica Philippus (0-0) of Marshall, Mo. will make her professional debut against Meghan Wright (1-3) of Cincinnati, Ohio in a strawweight matchup.
All bouts have been approved by the Kansas State Athletic Commission.