KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A shot at reigning Invicta FC atomweight champion Alesha Zappitella is on the line as the fastest-paced format in combat sports – The Phoenix Tournament – returns next Friday, June 11. The fourth installment of Invicta FC’s Phoenix Tournament will emanate from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, as eight atomweight contenders will try to win three fights in one explosive night.
Invicta FC Phoenix Tournament©: Atomweights will air live on AXS TV in the United States and will be available worldwide on Invicta FC’s YouTube Channel. To find how to watch the action in your area, click here.
“The Phoenix Tournament is a unique set of challenges to our athletes,” said Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp. “The rapid-fire pace of the one-round quarter- and semifinal matches is totally different to anything else in mixed martial arts. Having to peak not once, not twice but potentially three times against three different opponents is the kind of mental stress only a handful of fighters in MMA history have overcome.
“Whichever fighter comes out victorious on June 11 will have truly earned her shot at the Invicta FC world title.”
Perhaps the favorite to do that is Jéssica Delboni (10-3), who – incredibly – will be back in action just three weeks after pushing the champion Zappitella to split decision. The Brazilian feels she defeated Zappitella and is prepared to fight her way through three other contenders in order to get another crack at the 105-pound queen.
Joining Delboni in the Phoenix Tournament is a pair of New Yorkers in Lindsey “Damsel” VanZandt (7-4) and Jillian “Lionheart” DeCoursey (4-3). The 27-year-old VanZandt – who now trains in Arizona – will be making her fifth Invicta appearance, having battled both Zappitella and Delboni previously. DeCoursey steps into the Invicta cage for the sixth time.
Rounding out the group of promotional veterans, Linda “F109” Mihalec (2-1) and Canada’s “Queen of the North” Katie Saull (3-4) each look to slingshot their way to the top of the 105-pound ladder.
A trio of newcomers complete the tournament athletes as Paulina “Firefox” Granados (4-4), Tabatha “Batgirl” Watkins (3-3) and Katie “Maquina Asesina” Perez (2-1) look to make a name for themselves in their promotional debuts.
As with the previous Phoenix Tournament events, the single-elimination format will feature one-round fights in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, with the tournament final being a three-round affair to determine the champion. The eight participants will be matched up during a random draw prior to the event.
Quarterfinal fighters will have plenty of incentive to finish their fights. Each finish will earn the winning fighter a monetary bonus, but more importantly, the fastest finisher in the quarterfinal round will have the luxury of picking their opponent for the semifinals based on the remaining three combatants. If there are no finishes in the quarterfinals, the semifinal match-ups will again be determined by random draw.
The event will be overseen by the Kansas Athletic Commission and will feature open scoring. With the ongoing pandemic, the fights will take place behind closed doors — sans fans — but will be open to a limited number of media. As with any Invicta event, the safety of its athletes, their corners, its staff and commission officials is of the utmost priority. All participants will be tested for COVID-19 prior to the event.
Tournament reserve match-ups will be announced prior to the event.
Phoenix Tournament: Atomweight Athletes
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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