photo credit - Sherdog/Dave Mandel
Olympian silver medalist. Multiple Pan Am Games gold medalist. Grappling World Champion. Undefeated professional mixed martial artist. These are just a handful of Sara McMann's accomplishments in the world of combat sports. On October 6th, she'd like to add Invicta bantamweight champion to her impeccable resume. Following her fight of the night performance against Shayna Baszler last night, McMann has put herself in position for that opportunity. Below are a list of 5 fighters that would love to stop her.
• Liz Carmouche (7-2 MMA, 2-0 IFC)
The U.S. Marine and Team Hurricane Awesome fighter is no stranger to finishing fights. Six of her seven victories have come by way the finish, her only career losses come to two of the top ten P4P female fighters in the world today. She has knockout power in her hands and her energy is relentless. She was up on the score cards against Marloes Coenen when they fought for the Strikeforce Featherweight title last year only to end up being submitted by the champ in the 4th Round. That fight was on short notice against one of the most dangerous submission specialists in the game, and Carmouche looked phenomenal. Having two wins in as many events for the Invicta FC promotion may play into Carmouche's favor. She certainly does have the tools to be a champion in this sport for a long, long time.
• Marloes Coenen (20-5 MMA, 1-0 IFC)
"Rumina" headlined the first Invicta show back in April. She earned herself another victory over Romy Ruyssen closing out what was a solid debut for the promotion. Though this fight was a featherweight contest, Coenen is no stranger to fighting at 135 - she is after all the former Strikeforce bantamweight champion. The Dutch submission specialist has a couple of things working in her favor here. Name value. Coenen is the biggest star that has competed in Invicta so far. She made her pro mma debut at the age of 19 and now has 25 fights under her belt. Coenen deserves to headline shows for the rest of her career.
Despite the fact that the Golden Glory fighter did call out Ronda Rousey after her Invicta victory, it's not clear how the whole Zuffa vs. GG drama is playing out these days. To be honest I haven't been privy to that situation of late. If I had to guess though, Coenen vs. McMann is more than likely going to be your Invicta FC 3 headliner. The only thing that may stop it would be the simple reason that the Invicta 135 lb. division is stacked. If they want to have a featherweight title somewhere down the line they may need Coenen to stay in that division for the time being.
3 more possible opponents plus a bonus option in full entry
• Alexis Davis (12-5 MMA, 1-0 IFC)
Davis is one of the toughest fighters out of Canada and she's no stranger to excitement inside of the cage. Last night "Ally-Gator" became the first woman to submit Smackgirl legend Hitomi Akano. She also holds victories over noteables Amanda Nunes and Julie Kedzie. The Cesar Gracie protege seems to be evolving with every fight, at the young age of 27 this is a combatant to keep an eye on. Davis is someone who will not roll with the Diaz brothers because of their affiliation with Strikeforce champion Ronda Rousey. What does that tell you? Whether it be Invicta or Strikeforce, Davis has nothing but gold on her mind.
• Amanda Nunes (7-2 MMA, 1-0 IFC)
Nunes looked just as impressive as any on the Invicta roster last night. Her RNC finish of Raquel Pa'aluhi may not have earned her a bonus but it certainly put everyone competing in the 135 pound division on notice. With a loss against Alexis Davis its tough to make strong case for Nunes right now. Should Davis or anyone else on this list not be able to compete on October 6th - "The Lioness of the Ring" would be more than a formidable opponent for the undefeated McMann.
• Sarah D'Alelio (6-2 MMA, 2-0 IFC)
Like Carmouche, D'Alelio has quickly become one of the big threats on the Invicta FC roster. All six of her career wins come by way of submission, the reverse triangle armbar finish of Vanessa Porta during last nights festivities may just be the most impressive of her career. Personally I'd like to see D'Alelio vs. Davis in a #1 contenders fight on a future card but if either fighter does get an immediate title shot you will not hear me complaining.
• Bonus option - Tara LaRosa (21-2 MMA, 0-0 IFC)
Tara LaRosa hasn't competed under the Invicta FC banner yet, this much is true. Nor has Naho Sugiyama, yet she will get a title shot and co-main event status for Invicta FC 3 in Kansas City. This sort of thing isn't uncommon in the sport when fighters like Sugiyama join a new promotion boasting an already sterling resume. Back to LaRosa. If she wants it, she deserves this fight. One could make the argument that Tara LaRosa is the greatest women's fighter of all time. With all of the excitement surrounding Invicta, it'd be nice to see one of the pioneers of WMMA join the party.