While the pay-per-view plans didn't exactly work out how Shannon Knapp and co. would've have liked the fact remains that Invicta's 4th offering was another great success inside of the cage. Every single fighter brought it once again, and even though the number of decisions went up and finishes went down - it wasn't for lack of trying. Take our first star for example -
1st Star - Joanne Calderwood
The night may have ended with Carla Esparza getting the Invicta Strawweight strap wrapped around her waist, but for me the most impressive 115'er on the night was Glasgow's Joanne Calderwood.
Calderwood was graced with the nickname of "Dr. Kneevil" from the stellar commentary team of Rutten, Kedzie, and Lawal due to the relentless muay thai assault she placed all over various parts of her victim Livia von Plettenberg's body. Credit to her Austrian opponent for not succumbing to those knees, it was a well placed left knee to the body by Calderwood that stopped Ashley Cummins in the first round for of their Invicta FC 3 bout.
While Claudia Gadelha may have been the first choice to take on Esparza I don't think many would oppose seeing the undefeated Calderwood getting the next shot. A true #1 contenders bout between Calderwood and Gadelha at Invicta 5 is also another solid option .
2nd Star - Alexis Davis
"A perfect fight for me, you know, just because she wants it, and I know she wants it bad.... she wants that submission win, is that i want to beat her at her own game and I'm gonna win with a submission victory at the end" - Alexis Davis pre-fight
Cesar Gracie's Ally-Gator is on a roll. She's taken 5 or her last 6, the lone loss being of the hard fought majority decision variety against Sarah Kaufman in a bout where either fighter could've gotten the nod. Victories over top ranked opponents like Akano, Nunes, Kedzie, and now Baszler, put Davis right in the mix when you start to talk about title contenders in Invicta, or the UFC in the 135 pound division. And the victory this past weekend against Baszler was one you write home to mom about.
Davis avenged a 2010 loss against Baszler with an exclamation point on Saturday night. She finished one of the toughest customers in the sport with a 3rd round rear-naked choke that put the "Queen of Spades" to sleep, leaving the Kansas City faithful with the most violent image of the night, and the two aforementioned competitors with a fight of the night bonus check of their own.
3rd Star -
Leslie Smith "The Peacemaker" was a one of those box office flops you may have forgotten about. It was coined as "A breathless thriller" that starred a couple of A-listers in George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. If you want to watch a real "thriller" rewatch Leslie Smith's bout with Raquel "Rocky" Pennington, or any of Smith's past fights for that matter. After being dominated by Pennington in the wrestling department, and a wardrobe malfunction in the 1st round, Smith got after it in the 2nd and 3rd. Pennington just couldn't match her pace, Smith would wear down her opponent with a barrage of strikes which would earn her a 29-28 unanimous decision victory on all three of the judges scorecards. Peace was made (for the cameras at least) after this grudge match for the ages, and Smith, like Davis becomes a major player at 135 having now gone undefeated in her last 3 bouts. A feat that cannot go unnoticed in this shark tank of a division.