This past Friday night, April 5th was the date of the much anticipated Invicta FC event in Kansas City, Missouri. The Invicta FC promotion is prominently known for being the all-woman based MMA promotion that floats fighters freely to the UFC. That is something that absolutely no other promotion can boast, as Invicta FC remains the stage for all of the world’s best female martial artists and the UFC is slowly developing their woman ranks.
For the promotions fifth event, Albuquerque’s Jackson-Winklejohn gym sent three of their very finest to compete inside the Ameristar Casino. While the first two bouts featuring locally trained fighters were exciting, it was the main event of the evening that has captured the entire buzz of the event.
Invicta’s Atomweight Title would switch hands as the heavily hyped and now former Champion Jessica Penne (10-2) would succumb to an arm bar to the “Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson (11-3) despite finding success early in the fight.
The fight would meet expectations and then some for the scheduled five round title fight as the two 105-pound women put on a show in every perceivable facet of the sport. The champion and challenger fought from striking range, inside the clinch and on the ground for a little more then four rounds before the fight ended. The title fight delivered the action and brought fight fans a very dramatic conclusion.
In the first frame, Penne would immediately close the distance on Waterson who was looking to establish distance with leg kicks. While working from a body lock, Penne would pull guard and start to attack with her very active guard. Using impressive flexibility, Penne would start using a high guard that very nearly trapped Waterson in an arm bar and eventually would sweep Waterson to gain top control. Countering with a submission attempt and sweep attempt of her own, Waterson would showcase her own flexibility attacking with her guard. The round would end with most judging the first five minutes in favor of the Champion Penne.
The second round would see a shift of momentum as Waterson landed first on the feet and then earned a solid takedown from a body lock. While the crafty Jiu Jitsu brown belt Penne attacked looking for a sweep, Waterson would sneakily use the cage to propel into mount. While Penne worked back to her guard, Waterson would once again pass into dominant position while evading submission attempts. After a scramble, Waterson would land a solid punch and end the round with another takedown. Clearly, the round would go to the challenger making the fight even at one round a piece.
A sense of urgency would kick in for the champion as Penne immediately pushed forward looking for a takedown from the clinch after losing in the striking exchanges. Penne would get the takedown and Waterson would find herself quickly mounted by Penne and would roll giving up back control to an aggressively punching Penne. A very fast paced and aggressive Penne would dominate Waterson repeatedly taking back control after Waterson would slip out of bad positions. Penne’s onslaught included big elbows, gaining hooks from back control and even attacking with an arm bar. The attack from Penne was getting close attention from the referee and was very close to being stopped. Waterson impressively would escape and survive the round as the Champion clearly gave no doubt to the judges as to who won the round.
With momentum on her side, Penne would rush in once again looking for the takedown. Waterson would be better prepared for the attack and would stuff the attempts of the champion. Penne would look to pull guard, falling back into a butterfly guard position where Waterson would show impressive base and keep the fight from going into Penne’s guard. While Penne would hunt once again for a takedown, Waterson would transition smoothly into her guard hunting for a kimura and then suddenly she would lock up a breathtakingly fast arm bar and Penne would immediately submit.
In an instant, Waterson would turn the tide in a fight she was arguably losing two rounds to one to become Invicta FC’s new Atomweight champion, bringing to Albuquerque the state its most prestigious woman’s MMA title. The win would cement Waterson’s already successful career and propel her into the number one spot atop the 105-pound division.
Both women shined in the fight, showing that excitement is plenty in WMMA. As headliners, both Waterson and Penne showcased world class skills and arguably competed in what was the “Fight of the Night” for an event that was packed with action throughout the entire card. MMA media instantly began buzzing about Waterson, who debatably became the next most popular WMMA fighter after Ronda Rousey. New Mexico now touts World Champions in both MMA and boxing, housing Waterson and Holly Holm within our state lines.
SWFight.com would like to congratulate Waterson in earning the sports most prestigious Atomweight Title and wish her the best luck in her championship endeavors. As always stay tuned for more Waterson news and coverage as well as fight announcement when she is paired for her first title defense.