Kansas City, Kan. – The fastest-paced format in mixed martial arts returns tonight, March 6, when PHOENIX SERIES© 3 emanates from the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. This time it is eight bantamweights competing in the rapid-fire, single-elimination tournament.
The tournament participants were matched up during a random draw during yesterday’s weigh-ins.
In the first quarterfinal bout, Las Vegas-based Serena “The Southpaw Outlaw” DeJesus (1-1) meets the most experienced fighter in the tournament, “Scary” Kerri Kenneson (3-2). The second match-up pits the debuting Taylor “No Mercy” Guardado (0-0) against Colorado’s “Grizzly” Claire Guthrie (1-0). In the third pairing, “Hurricane” Hope Chase (2-1) squares off against Julia “Chicago” Ottolino (1-0). Finally, California’s Brittney “Bombshell” Victoria (3-1) takes on Taneisha “Triple Threat” Tennant (2-0).
The fast-paced format has captured the imagination of fans and fighters alike, including old school UFC and PRIDE FC legends who are excited to see the return of tournaments that made them famous.
Don Frye (UFC 8 Champion, Ultimate Ultimate ’96 Champion)
“As a world-famous male feminist, I was already a big Invicta FC fan but this Phoenix Series really caught my attention. I used to say fighting three times in one night separated the men from the boys. Now I guess it separates the women from the men! It’s only the women doing it – and they’ve got some guts, these fighters. You’ve got to be a special mix of brave and crazy to sign up for this.
“I think it is great the tournaments are back. This is how you get a reputation. This is how you stand-out from everyone else. I’m so impressed by these women fighting tonight. My hat is off to them.
“My advice would be to do whatever you gotta do to win the fights. Don’t hold back for a moment. Then as soon as the fight is over they must focus 100 percent on recovery. In between fights they’ve got to keep their bodies warm and rehydrate.
“The one fight I lost in the early UFCs (versus Mark Coleman in the UFC 10 finale) was as much to dehydration as anything I took in the fight. The fighters have to have a plan to rehydrate – they won’t have anything left in the finale if they don’t.”
Dan Severn (UFC 5 Champion, Ultimate Ultimate ’95 Champion)
“They have to make as short a work as possible of the opening fights. You must make it short to save your stamina and strength or, if you can’t make it short and you have to go the full 10 minutes (before the finale fight) then try to make it easy as possible. Getting to the finale isn’t the goal – winning the finale is. A strategy that gets you to the finale tired and roughed up is not a winning strategy.
“I can only speak on what worked for me, but between fights in the old UFCs I would isolate myself and force myself to relax. I didn’t want to talk even to my own corner, I wanted to keep my mind clear and let my body and mind return to something like normal status. I’d also take on fluids between fights. That is very vital to maximizing your chance of fighting the finale at something approaching 100 percent.
“I think this Phoenix Series is wonderful for the sport. First off, you’ve got something that is old school that everyone loved at the time that has been welcomed back. The old tournaments, the fans in the 90’s loved them. And then the mere fact that women are doing this, when they had no chance to do it when the sport was first invented, makes me happy. I’ve got two daughters myself and I’m happy that women now have the chance to test themselves like I did, and Don Frye and (Ken) Shamrock and all the rest did when we were in our primes.”
Dan Henderson (UFC 17 Middleweight Champion, Rings King of Kings 1999 Champion, PRIDE FC 2005 Welterweight GP Champion)
“For me, I grew up in sport of wrestling and those were 1 x 5-minute round fights, so I know what these women had in store for themselves. And then when I began in MMA in 1997 the sport was still very much about tournaments, so these is very familiar to me although I never thought I’d ever see it again in MMA.
“It’s good to see this format back in MMA. It brings up a lot of great memories for me personally and, for the fans, it shows them who the real mentally tough fighters are. Whoever wins this Phoenix Series event tonight, the one thing we will all know about her is that she is mentally very strong. That can take you far in MMA.
“The pace of those one-round fights will have to be a lot higher than for a normal three-rounder. The fighters cannot wait for an opening. If I were training one of them I’d tell her that she must go make openings for herself. You also cannot allow yourself to worry about the next fight until you’ve won the fight you are in. There’s no sense in thinking about saving energy or anything. You cannot think about what not to do, you have to think about what you must do to get the win.”
As was previously announced, the event will utilize open scoring.
The full fight card can be found below:
Bantamweight Title: Lisa Verzosa vs. Julija Stoliarenko
Strawweight: Kay Hansen vs. Liana Pirosin
Bantamweight Reserve Bout No. 2: Mitzi Merry vs. Morgan Hickam
Bantamweight Reserve Bout No. 1: Kelly Clayton vs. Florina Moeller
Bantamweight Tournament Quarterfinal No. 4: Taneisha Tennant vs. Brittney Victoria
Bantamweight Tournament Quarterfinal No. 3: Julia Ottolino vs. Hope Chase
Bantamweight Tournament Quarterfinal No. 2: Claire Guthrie vs. Taylor Guardado
Bantamweight Tournament Quarterfinal No. 1: Kerri Kenneson vs. Serena DeJesus