It’s ladies’ night as several of the world’s top female mixed martial artists gather in Kansas City for Invicta FC 6. Will Cris Cyborg continue her reign of terror? Will Leslie Smith keep the peace? Will Jessica Penne get back on track after losing her atomweight title in April? We attempt to answer these questions and more in ProMMAnow.com’s Invicta FC 6 staff picks.
Joanne Calderwood (6-0) vs. Norma Reuda Center (2-0)
Fight Odds: Calderwood -565 vs. Center +375
GARY THOMAS: Jo Jo Calderwood is no joke. Her striking is legit and she can inflict devastating punishment. Center comes in on short notice at a lower weight class. That could be the factor that hurts her. I like the battle but think Calderwood will be too much. Pick – Calderwood TKO Round 2.
DENNY HODGE: Joanne Calderwood brings beautiful devastation to the cage. She will have to fend off some early takedown attempts from Center, who will come out and look to close the distance. There is no way she stands with “JoJo.” It won’t matter what the late replacement does in this one. Calderwood will add another name to her growing list of KO victims. Calderwood by KO.
BRIAN FURBY: Joanne Calderwood
GINA BEGLEY: Joanne Calderwood KO/TKO round 1
JACK BRATCHER: Norma Center was a state wrestling champion in high school and also wrestled for what was the No. 1 women’s team in college. She currently trains out of Jackson’s MMA. With her wrestling background and with the training and game-planning Jackson’s is known for, she could pose some problems for the Scottish knockout artist. However, I think Calderwood is going to be able to stuff the takedowns and do what she does best and end this fight via TKO.
Jessica Penne (10-2) vs. Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (8-6)
Fight Odds: Penne -1350 vs. Rivera-Calanoc +650
GARY THOMAS: Penne wasn’t able to defend her belt against Watterson but I think she will bounce back Saturday. Nicdali is tough but Penne has been in so many different situations in her career I don’t see how she can’t hold the advantage. Pick – Penne by Decision
DENNY HODGE: Jessica wants you to know that her last name is pronounced “Penne” like the pasta. She also wants you to know that she wants that belt back. She will have to get through Rivera-Calanoc to do it however, and this fight will have some nice exchanges on the feet to start. Look for Penne to impose her will once it hits the floor, as she finishes this one by sub. Penne by submission.
BRIAN FURBY: Jessica Penne
GINA BEGLEY: Jessica Penne via submission round 2
JACK BRATCHER: I think Penne is on a different level than The Night Queen. Calanoc has been too inconsistent in her career for me to believe she has a legit chance against Penne. You can bet Calanoc will have her buddy Miesha Tate in her corner, and if she could go in and fight for her, well that would help a lot, but unfortunately Calanoc is going to have to face Penne on her own and I foresee a submission loss in her future.
Leslie Smith (5-3-1) vs. Jennifer Maia (7-2-1)
Fight Odds: Smith -245 vs. Maia +175
GARY THOMAS: Maia outlasted Zoila Gurgel in her Invicta debut. Smith will have to outlast Maia but I think her aggressiveness will pay off in this one. Pick – Smith via TKO Round 3.
DENNY HODGE: I’ve got a huge crush on “The Peacemaker.” Anybody that would walk up to a guy on the beach that has mistreated a woman and punch him in the face is a hero of mine. Smith may be called “The Peacemaker” but once the cage door closes she transforms into a destructive force. She’s dropping to 125 for this one so it will be interesting to see what the cut does to her pace, which is usually full speed ahead. Maia is nasty on the ground, and can hold her own on the feet. This fight is my pick for fight of the night, and I see it going back and forth before Smith finally connects with a flurry and puts Maia away. Smith by TKO.
BRIAN FURBY: Leslie Smith
GINA BEGLEY: Leslie Smith with a submission. If it goes to a decision however it may be for Maia.
JACK BRATCHER: I don’t pick against the Peacemaker. She’s like the long lost Diaz sister. She’s from the same camp and fights with a similar style, pace and attitude. She even has a similar body type. Maia is no joke though. She’s thick and strong and has wins over strikers like Zoila Gurgel at Invicta FC 5. But did I mention I don’t pick against The Peacemaker? Look for Leslie to push the pace and eventually break the Brazilian or at least win the decision.
Lauren Taylor (6-0) vs. Sarah D’Alelio (7-3)
Fight Odds: Taylor +120 vs. D’Alelio -160
GARY THOMAS: Lauren Taylor is on a roll and will face another stiff test in Kansas City. D’Alelio has shown flashes of greatness winning 3 of her last 4. Should be intense. Pick – Lauren Taylor – KO Round 1
DENNY HODGE: I’ve been impressed with Taylor, but I also know she is facing a straight up warrior in D’Alelio. D’Alelio has proven time and again that she is mentally tough and can fight with the best in the world. Taylor will bring the punishment early, but D’Alelio will survive the initial onslaught and work her grinding game wearing Taylor down late. D’Alelio by decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Lauren Taylor
GINA BEGLEY: Sarah D’Alelio via submission Round 1. Sarah has in my opinion a much better submission game than Taylor’s previous opponents.
JACK BRATCHER: Despite Taylor’s undefeated record and her recent win over Kaitlin Young, I don’t think she’s faced a submission fighter like D’Alelio yet. D’Alelio has been in there with the best of the best, literally. And she just went the distance with the hard-hitting Amanda Nunes and defeated her via decision which proves she can handle tough strikers. D’Alelio wins this fight probably by decision, maybe by submission.
Ayaka Hamasaki (9-0) vs. Claudia ‘Claudinha’ Gadelha (10-0)
Fight Odds: Hamasaki +130 vs. Gadelha -160
GARY THOMAS: WIll admit..don’t really know who to pick between Gadelha and Hamasaki. 9-0 is hard to bet against so that settles that. Pick – Hamasaki via Decision
DENNY HODGE: Both ladies are undefeated and both can finish a fight quickly on the ground with submissions. Gadelha comes from a great camp and should have the advantage on the feet. Once it hits the ground, I believe there will be a lot of scrambles and reversing of who is in top control as the women cancel each other’s ground game out. Gadelha will do more on the feet to win on the cards. Gadelha by decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Claudia Gadelha
GINA BEGLEY: Claudia Gadelha Decision. I’m really not familiar with either of these ladies though.
JACK BRATCHER: Two undefeated ladies. Hamasaki a Jewels champ making her return to Invicta after submitting Lacey Schuckman at Invicta FC 2 one year ago. Gadelha comes out of the highly-touted Nova Uniao camp in Brazil — the home of guys like Jose Aldo and Renan Barao. Enough said. Gadelha wins via TKO.
Marloes Coenen (21-5) vs. Cris Cyborg (11-1)
Fight Odds: Coenen +475 vs. Cyborg -825
GARY THOMAS: Will the rematch between Cyborg and Coenen go any differently than the first engagement? I think probably not. Cyborg is still too strong and too superior in the striking game to be beat at the moment. Not saying Coenen doesn’t have a chance but it is a slim one. Pick – Cyborg via TKO Round 1.
DENNY HODGE: I said it on the radio, and I will say it here. Coenen is a different fighter than in the first fight. She will obviously have to fend off the fast start of “Cyborg”, and she will do that with her jab and foot movement. Coenen will find herself on her back as “Cyborg” will test her guard, and that’s where the fight will end. Coenen by submission to shock the world.
BRIAN FURBY: Cris Cyborg
GINA BEGLEY: Cristiane Santos Justino via TKO round 2 or 3
JACK BRATCHER: This is a rematch from 2010 when Cyborg defeated Marloes via third round TKO in Strikeforce. Marloes has a very slight chance of submitting Cyborg, but outside of that, the only thing that may be different from the first fight is that Cyborg will likely finish her even faster, probably in the first or second round. Cyborg is too strong and too powerful, she’s never even been close to being rocked. Lambs to the slaughter. Cyborg by destruction.
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