Invicta FC is back, and after five incredibly entertaining shows, it could be said that this is the biggest and best card Shannon Knapp and company have ever put on. Invicta 6 has it all, title fights, number one contender fights, and great talent from top to bottom. It all goes down at 9PM EST and 6PM PST on cable and satellite PPV for $14.95. It will be worth the cost of admission. There is a lot of good action on this card. In the main event, two superstars of women’s MMA meet for the second time as Marloes Coenen (21-5) moves back up to featherweight to rematch Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino (11-1-1). Since they last fought, Coenen has gone 4-1 with her sole defeat coming at the hands of Miesha Tate, who took the Strikeforce bantamweight belt from around her waist. Naturally, things have changed since these two stars of WMMA last met. Now, Marloes has gained size and strength to combat the wrecking machine that is Cyborg, but she’s also been able to reflect on ‘what went wrong.’ During that timeframe, Cyborg was famously popped for steroids in December of 2011 after she knocked out Hiroko Yamanaka in sixteen seconds. She’s had one fight since she’s come back from her 1-year suspension: a 1st round TKO drubbing of Fiona Muxlow at Invicta 5 in April. Cyborg looked like the same old Cyborg, except she gassed hard midway through the first round. Whether or not she’s worked on her conditioning Marloes has a better gas tank, so the question is if Marloes can fend off Cyborg by staying on the outside and wearing her out. This is a rematch to get excited for. It will be a lot closer than people think, and much closer than the current betting line at 5Dimes Sportsbook of -1350 (bet $1350 to win $100) for Cyborg and +650 (bet $100 to win $650) for Coenen would indicate. The public has bet on Justino heavily, as she opened at -750. Undefeated strawweights are up next, as Claudia Gadelha (9-0) takes on Ayaka Hamasaki (9-0). Gadelha was supposed to fight Carla Esparza for the title earlier this year, but travel issues reared their ugly head and she was replaced by Bec Hyatt. Both of these ladies like to fight on the ground, with Hamasaki more of a wrestling/top control game while Gadelha is on the other end of the spectrum with her BJJ. It’s a game of being comfortable on the back, and who takes down whom. Both women are competent, but not that special on the feet. With both fighters being so proficient on the ground, the line is close as Gadelha is a slight -150 favorite, while Hamasaki is currently a +120 underdog. Two exciting bantamweight ladies step into the cage next, as Sarah D’Alelio (7-3) looks to string two wins together with a victory over Lauren Taylor (6-0). D’Alelio, simply put, has been a lot of fun to watch in the Invicta cage. Her reverse triangle armbar of Vanessa Porto was incredible, and she’s shown an awesome set of well-rounded skills that have set her apart as a fan favorite, despite losing via rear-naked choke to Shayna Baszler. Her win over Amanda Nunes was a huge watermark in her career, and she may be relatively new to MMA, but she’s one to keep an eye on. Taylor has a huge advantage on the feet, however, and is extremely aggressive to boot. Taylor started off her career with five impressive TKO victories by varying means, and finally had the streak snapped in her win by decision over Kaitlin Young at Invicta 5. Consider this a wrestler vs. striker match at its core, with D’Alelio being the ground girl and Taylor wanting to keep it on the feet. As where this fight takes place will likely determine the outcome, we see another close line, as D’Alelio is currently a -160 favorite, with the comeback on Taylor +120. 125 pound women take center stage, as Leslie Smith (5-3-1) brings her crowd-pleasing style straight to the front door of Jennifer Maia (7-2-1). You can’t mention the name Leslie Smith without bringing immediate attention to the Fight of the Year candidate she took part in against Kaitlin Young last year. It was awesome to say the least, and if you haven’t seen the fight, go look it up, you won’t regret it. Try not to pay attention to the underwhelming 5-3-1 record, Smith is better than that and improving every day, and many thought she defeated Sarah Kaufman in their fight in which she lost by split-decision last year. Now, Smith is dropping down to flyweight to face Maia in a number one contender fight. Maia is best described as a BJJ fighter, who has won the vast majority of her fights with submissions, so we have what will likely be another exciting Invicta battle of the opposing styles. This should be another great fight, although Smith has a bit of an edge on the books, as a -245 favorite to Maia’s +175. At atomweight, the always exciting Jessica Penne (10-2) will fight Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (8-6). We last saw Penne losing her strap in a fantastic back and forth fight against Michelle Waterson. She is absolutely one of the best in the atomweight division with horrific ground and pound and a great all-around game. Rivera-Calanoc has been a fighter who has struggled to string a combination of wins together, not having back-to-back wins since 2007. RIvera-Calonoc is decent in all areas of combat, just not great in anything. Penne, however, is ferocious, and is the toughest of tests for anyone. The fact that Penne is a larger favorite at -1500 than even the dominant Cyborg shows that Rivera-Calanoc (a +700 underdog) is likely outmatched here. Strawweights are up next, with Joanne Calderwood (6-0) meeting Norma Rueda Center (2-0) in another battle of undefeated fighters. Calderwood made her name in the Invicta cage showcasing her devastating Muay Thai. She’s Scottish, and she’s also kicked butt in the Cage Warriors promotion with knockout after knockout, and she’s a horrifying prospect on the feet at 26-years-old. Her opponent obviously looks inexperienced at 2-0, but she was 5-0 in the amateur ranks. We don’t usually put a lot of stock in that, but she trains at Jackson’s MMA, alongside their champions as well as Sarah Kaufman and Julie Kedzie, so she knows what it takes to win. Calderwood is currently a -565 favorite in this bout, with Rueda Center at +375, but interestingly, the opening lines were set at -900 and +500, so there has been some support for the wrestling-based Jackson’s fighter.
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