Invicta FC is by far the most successful and most well-received all-female organization in MMA history. This Saturday they put on what may be their best card to date. With three title fights and a bevy of prospects further down the card, Invicta FC 7 is a must-watch for any fans of MMA. The title fight tapped to headline the card is in the flyweight divsion, as reigning champion Barb Honchak takes on Leslie Smith. Honchak is a workmanlike fighter who has slowly been rounding out her skills, but in Smith she faces a woman many think is the top 125er on the planet, and has been likened to a female Diaz brother. One weight class down, Carla Esparza returns from a knee injury suffered early in the year to put her belt on the line against undefeated Claudia Gadelha. These two were pegged to fight at the beginning of the year, but Bec Hyatt was inserted for Gadelha on short notice after a training injury to Gadelha. They were also supposed to face off at Invicta 6, but Esparza suffered the aforementioned knee injury. It will be interesting to see how this much anticipated bout plays out. Finally, fighting for what I have dubbed the ‘you’re probably headed to the UFC, like yesterday’ belt are Lauren Murphy (nee: Taylor) and Miriam Nakamoto. Much like other promotions the UFC relies on heavily as feeders (the RFA flyweight title, for instance) winning this belt means you’re probably getting a call from Sean Shelby, so you can bet both Murphy and Nakamoto will be at their best for this one. Also on the card are highly-touted prospects Tecia Torres and Joanne Calderwood. Torres will be taking on fan favorite Felice Herrig, while Calderwood does battle with fellow undefeated fighter Katja Kankaapaa. Many other veterans of women’s MMA will be featured on an impressive card from to bottom. Today, MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines for Invicta FC 7 at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Take a look: ——————– Invicta Flyweight Title Leslie Smith -180 Barb Honchak +140 Invicta Strawweight Title Claudia Gadelha -135 Carla Esparza -105 Invicta Bantamweight Title Lauren Murphy -130 Miriam Nakamoto -110 Tecia Torres -160 Felice Herrig +120 Joanne Calderwood -300 Katja Kankaapaa +220 Julia Budd -230 Charmaine Tweet +170 Vanessa Porto -170 Zoila Frausto-Gurgel +130 Sarah D’Alelio -215 Tonya Evinger +165 Nina Ansaroff -135 Munah Holland -105 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: Not being an expert on women’s MMA, I don’t want to lead anyone astray here. I favor Smith, Gadelha and Murphy in the title fights (that’s right, I think three new champions will be crowned at this event). I find the lines always seem to be a bit higher in Felice Herrig and Joanne Calderwood fights than they should be, but that’s usually after the public gets their hands on them. In these opening spots the Calderwood line seems fair, but I actually like Torres a fair bit more than Herrig in that bout.
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