Jennifer Maia Retains Title, Mackenzie Dern Impresses (Invicta FC 26 Results)

Invicta Fighting Championships was back at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri on Friday with Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedwiedz. Flyweight champion Jennifer Maia put her title on the line for the second time in the fight card’s main event against undefeated challenger Agnieszka Niedzwiedz.

Maia entered the fight on a 13-month layoff due to injury and had to overcome some serious adversity to retain her flyweight title.  In the late stages of the opening round, Niedzwiedz caught a kick and landed a short right hand that knocked Maia down.  At the start of the second frame, Niedzwiedz caught Maia with a left hand that staggered the champion.  Niedzwiedz looked for a finish but Maia was able to clinch before suffering much more damage.  

Maia began landing her right hand regularly in the second round and she continued to land it throughout the remainder of the bout.  Most of the last three rounds played out in the clinch position with Maia controlling Niedzwiedz along the cage.  It was the first time the 22-year-old Polish fighter had gone five rounds and Maia traditionally gets stronger as the fight goes on.  That’s what happened on Friday.  After the third round, Niedzwiedz wasn’t able to mount an effective offensive attack.  Nonetheless, she took the champion the distance, but all three judges scored the fight 49-46 for Maia.  

“I knew that it was going to be very tough and she was going to be very tough and I trained for this.  The main things was defending my belt and keeping it and I did it tonight,” said Maia after the win.    

Grappling standout Mackenzie Dern made her anticipated promotional debut in the fight card’s co-main event against former title challenger Kaline Medeiros. Dern displayed improved striking, staggering Medeiros with a right hand in the opening round.

In the second frame, Dern took Medieros down late in the round. She mounted Medeiros, postured up and unloaded a series of punches. Medeiros rolled exposing her back to the Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion but survived the round.

The engaged in a clinch battle in the final frame. Medeiros delivered knees to the body of Dern. Dern secured a takedown and advanced to the mount position. She postured up and rained down punches before isolating an arm. She applied an armbar and Medeiros was forced to tap out with 15 seconds remaining in the fight.

“It wasn’t perfect of course, but like I always so, as long as the next step is better than the last.  I just want to keep moving forward, so I’m happy,” she said after he debut win.  “I was happy with showing my standup and getting the finish.” 


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Former flyweight title challenger Vanessa Porto defeated Milana Dudieva by TKO in the third round of their flyweight bout.  Dudieva had success in the opening round and nearly finished Porto on the ground with strikes.  Porto survived and came back in the second round and  got the finish in the third.  He hurt Dudieva to the body with a punch.  Dudieva tried to fight with her back against the cage but after absorbing another shot to the body she crumbled to the canvas. 

Virna Jandiroba remained unbeaten in her promotional debut by submitting Invicta FC veteran Amy Montenegro in the first round. She extended her record to 12-0 and put the strawweight division on notice.

“Keep your eyes on me. I’m a finisher,” she said after the win.

Former atomweight title challenger Amber Brown picked up a much needed win against Tessa Simpson to end a three-fight losing streak.

Brown caught a kick and took Simpson down, but when they hit the ground Simpson swept Brown. Brown quickly applied an armbar forcing Simpson to tap out just 50 seconds into the fight.

“I’m so happy right now. I’m so happy. I’ve been working my butt off for this. I’m just so happy,” she said following the submission win. “I m comfortable on the ground. That’s where I feel most confortable, so it doesn’t really matter what ranking or belt she has. I feel comfortable there and capitalized on it.”

Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedwiedz Full Results:

– Jennifer Maia def. Agnieszka Niedzwiedz by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
– Mackenzie Dern def. Kaline Medeiros by submission (armbar) at 4:45, R3
– Janaisa Morandin def. Kinberly Novaes by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
– Vanessa Porto def. Milana Dudieva by TKO (punches) at 3:05, R3
– Virna Jandiroba def. Amy Montenegro by submission (armbar) at 2:50, R1
– Amber Brown def. Tessa Simpson by submission (armbar) at 0:50, R1
– Karina Rodriguez def. Christine Ferea by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
– Kay Hansen def. Emilee Prince by submission (armbar) at 1:23, R1

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Nate Diaz Claims He Turned Down UFC Offer to Fight for the Title “In Any Weight Class”

Nate Diaz wants the right opportunity to come along if he’s going to fight in the UFC again but that doesn’t mean competing for a title.

Diaz took to Twitter on Friday where he claims that the UFC recently offered him a title shot in any division in the promotion but he just wasn’t interested.

Diaz was offered an interim lightweight title fight against Tony Ferguson during the summer as well as a shot at welterweight champion Tyron Woodley but obviously neither fight came together.

“UFC offered me title fight in any weight class,” Diaz wrote. “I’m cool though. I’ll give [them] a shot when they do something good.

“Onto the next sport for now.”

Diaz then placed a boxing glove at the end of his message, perhaps hinting that he’s interested in pursuing a boxing match rather than anything the UFC is offering right now.

Diaz hasn’t fought since UFC 202 in 2016 when he lost a very close majority decision to Conor McGregor. That fight came five months after Diaz submitted McGregor in their first fight at UFC 196.

Since then, Diaz has declined every offer the UFC has made to him while holding out for more money or the potential to face McGregor for a third time, which would undoubtedly be his biggest payday possible.

As far as boxing goes, Diaz has trained in the sport for years alongside his brother Nick, who had previously teased a possible run in boxing as well. Whether or not that will actually happen remains to be seen but it’s clear Diaz isn’t interested in anything the UFC is offering right now to entice him back into the Octagon.

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Mark Hunt Cleared by the UFC To Resume His Career Following Medical Evaluation

Mark Hunt got some very good news this week.

After going through extensive medical testing in Las Vegas just recently, the former heavyweight title contender has been cleared to resume his career in the UFC.

Hunt’s manager first revealed the news earlier this week but now the UFC has made it official with a statement released on Thursday.

“After a full medical analysis at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, UFC confirms that heavyweight athlete Mark Hunt has been cleared to compete,” UFC officials said.

Hunt was sidelined indefinitely after he penned an article a few months back where he admitted to memory loss and slurred speech as a result of his fighting career.

“Sometimes I don’t sleep well. You can hear me starting to stutter and slur my words. My memory is not that good anymore,” Hunt wrote back in July. “I’ll forget something I did yesterday but I can remember the shit I did years and years ago. That’s just the price I’ve paid – the price of being a fighter.”

That led to the UFC yanking him from a fight scheduled in November against Marcin Tybura in Australia. Hunt lashed out and claimed the UFC was attacking him for filing a lawsuit against the promotion where he alleged that he was put into harm’s way for his bout against Brock Lesnar, who later tested positive for a banned substance.

UFC president Dana White denied those allegations and pointed out that Hunt had been booked in numerous fights since the lawsuit was filed and earned more than $1 million in salary during that time.

Eventually, Hunt flew to Las Vegas to get checked out by doctors to ensure he was medically fit to return to action and now he’s been cleared with hopes of fighting as early as February at UFC 221 in Australia.

Hunt’s manager had previously asked for a fight against former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum but there’s no word if the UFC will attempt to book that matchup or not.

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Mackenzie Dern Sees Invicta FC 26 Opponent as the ‘Perfect Challenge’ for Her Career

After starting off her MMA career in 2016 with two wins in two fights, strawweight prospect Mackenzie Dern has carried that success into 2017 with two victories in both of her bouts this year.

Speaking to during her final preparations for her match against Kaline Medeiros at Invicta FC 26 on Friday in Las Vegas, Dern discussed her second year in MMA, transitioning from the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world, and how she deals with the tremendous expectations on her blossoming fight career. Firstly, Mackenzie, look back on your 2017 so far and tell us how you feel things have gone for you in your second full year of fighting MMA.

Mackenzie Dern: My fight with Katherine (Roy, at LFA 6) was in March, so everything went like planned, we really wanted to have a fight at the beginning of the year.

I think what’s good is that it went all three rounds. Looking back on the fight I was able to take her down every round. When I wanted the takedown I was able to accomplish that. Most of the fight was standing up, so it was good for me to be out of my comfort zone. I’m really happy for the performance. Of course I want the submission, but now is a good time for me to learn all these things and experience things.

Half way through the year I had knee surgery, so that kind of threw (the schedule) out a little bit. We wanted to have a fight in June, but I was only able to do my next fight on October 13. It was a little while before my next fight, when we just wanted to keep up that rhythm with training camps and everything.

There was not a hard weight cut for (my October fight with Mandy Polk at LFA 24) because we decided to take the fight at 125-pounders because they were doing The Ultimate Fighter at 125-pounders and we wanted to see how I felt at that (weight).

It was good. I felt strong. It was good to have a camp where I could focus on getting better and not have to stress about the weight. I was so happy I was able to get the knockdown and finish the fight with Jiu-Jitsu. But I did feel like a lot of the girls at 125-pounders are way bigger than me, so I really thought if my main goal was to be in the UFC and win a belt, I’m the perfect size for 115-pounders. How do you feel about your growth as an MMA fighter from your first bout in July of 2016 to now? Do you see a little change or a lot of change over that time?

Mackenzie Dern sinks choke at LFA 24Mackenzie Dern: I see such a big difference. It’s so crazy. My very first fight (against Kenia Rosas at Legacy FC 58) was just Jiu-Jitsu. I barely threw any punches. When I was on the ground, even in the mount, I was thinking about armbar or choke, not about throwing punches.

Just my movement, keeping my hands up, and now my combinations are more natural. Kind of like seeing the punches and trying to get out of the way, because in the beginning I couldn’t see the punches. I definitely see my evolution as an MMA fighter. I’m able to mix my stand-up with my ground. I also see so much where I can grow. How does it feel to go from just being on one of maybe two or so female bouts on a card to joining an all-female promotion like Invicta?

Mackenzie Dern: I’m really excited to be on Invicta. Everything Invicta has done for women is such a big movement for helping grow women’s MMA. I was a very big women’s Jiu-Jitsu representative (in grappling sports), so if I want to be a big Jiu-Jitsu representative in MMA and fight in the cage, I think there’s no better place than Invicta, in what they’re movement is and everything they’re doing for women’s MMA. Tell us your thoughts on your upcoming fight on Friday against Kaline Medeiros and what you feel you must do to get the win against her.

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Mackenzie Dern: I’m excited for the challenge. She’s fought for the Invicta title before, she has a lot of experience, and I always look for a lot of challenge, so I’m really excited about this.

From what I know, she’s a very tough girl. She has a lot of heart. I think if I hit her hard, she won’t back away. She will keep coming forward. On the ground, in my opinion, I don’t think her Jiu-Jitsu is black belt (level), but she’s not oblivious. I think she knows her defense and can survive the ground. I definitely think she’s going to be tough and very resistant.

I think the best way is to get the submission, but it’s going to be a tough fight. We want to keep having tough challenges to show that I’m ready for the next level, so she’s the perfect challenge. I think it will be a very exciting fight. Looking ahead to 2018, there are going to be a lot of expectations on you to make a move to the next level. How do you handle it all and not let it affect you?

Mackenzie Dern: I think my team and my family really help keep me grounded. Even after my third fight (against Roy), I was excited because I did three rounds standing up, and my coaches are really good about keeping my feet on the ground.

Because so many people have good expectations and stuff, they have the same amount of people who have criticism. There are so many opinions. Good or bad, they don’t know me. They don’t know my training. They only see the outside.

I am excited that people are excited about me and give me a lot of motivation; of course, I don’t want to let them down. The same thing with criticism, it also helps push me and helps me want to prove them wrong.

You just have to think about you. And my team and my family give me so many good things, so I think I have a good support system around me and that’s the most important thing.

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New UFC Champ Nicco Montano Headed for Surgery After Fighting with Broken Foot

Nicco Montano not only had to fight four times in the past six months to become the new UFC women’s flyweight champion, but she also won the title while dealing with a severely broken foot. She suffered the injury just after she returned home from the reality show.

Montano won the belt this past weekend with a unanimous decision victory over Roxanne Modafferi in “The Ultimate Fighter” 26 Finale, but revealed afterward that she happened to do so while still suffering from the broken foot.

According to Montano, she endured the injury throughout her entire training camp, which forced her to give up running — one of the primary ways she cuts weight — and it even cut down on her strength and conditioning because she couldn’t put any weight on the foot for several weeks.

“When it happened, I remember saying to my coach something is wrong with my foot. It was the ball of my foot, so pivoting or anything was hard for me. Holding hooks in grappling, there was nothing I could do for a while, so I didn’t know if I was going to be able to fight,” Montano told just days after her victory.

Nicco Montano TUF 26 Finale v1“For about two or three weeks, I was bed ridden because I couldn’t walk and I had to, instead of my strength and conditioning, I had to do [physical therapy], which was basically me holding my hands up against the wall, planting both of my feet on the ground and lifting my heel off the ground centimeter by centimeter on my left foot. That’s how bad it was.”

Even during fight week in Las Vegas, Montano admits that she wasn’t sure she was going to be able to compete because of how much the foot injury was affecting her range of motion and ability to complete any really complex moves inside the cage.

“The only reason why I was able to do anything that night was because of the cortisone shot,” Montano said. “My range of mobility the night before was crap. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to fight. I was watching my fight and that’s why my level changes were so high because I still can’t roll over my left toes.”

Unfortunately due to the severity of her injury, Montano is already in the process of scheduling surgery on her left foot to get the damage repaired.

Montano was already planning on taking a brief hiatus after a grueling six weeks spent filming “The Ultimate Fighter,” where she defeated Lauren Murphy, Montana Stewart, and former Invicta FC champion Barb Honchak, and then going right into a training camp to prepare for the fight at the finale this past weekend.

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Add to that, Montano had already fought once in 2017 before joining “The Ultimate Fighter.” So she’s had five fights in one calendar year, which is often times the most activity an athlete will have in any two-year period.

Still, Montano is anxious to get her surgery handled so she can begin rehabilitation with plans in mind to defend her title in 2018.

“I need to have surgery,” Montano said. “I definitely need to get that fixed before anything else — the sooner the better.”

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