Invicta brings back their “Phoenix Series” show for the third time on Friday night, with eight bantamweights competing in a one-night tournament. Main eventing the card, Lisa Verzosa and Julija Stoliarenko battle for the promotion’s vacant bantamweight belt. Follow the site throughout the night for live updates.
Quick Results – Click a fight to skip to it:
Main Card (8:00 PM EST / 7:00 PM CST) (UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 1: Serena DeJesus (1-1) vs. Kerri Kenneson (3-2) (Bantamweight Tournament Quarter-Final)
The first of four quarter-final fights was between Serena DeJesus and Kerri Kenneson. The fight was, just like the other quarter and semi-final fights, one round. Kenneson shot for a takedown right off the bat, getting the fight to the ground. They got up a minute later in a standing clinch. DeJesus landed a combination of punches when they exited clinch for a moment. In the clinch, DeJesus scored some elbows. DeJesus got a leg kick for a takedown with two minutes to go. Kenneson got a trip takedown with 30 seconds left. She got on the back of DeJesus, although DeJesus flipped around to take top position as the round ended. When going to the judges, all three allowed Serena DeJesus to advance.
Bout 2: Taylor Guardado (0-0) vs. Claire Guthrie (1-0) (Bantamweight Tournament Quarter-Final)
In a battle of undefeated fighters, Taylor Guardado and Claire Guthrie fought in the next quarter-final fight. Guardado put Guthrie against the cage immediately. Guthrie pulled guard, being in the bottom position on the ground. She tried for a triangle choke from the bottom, although Guardado didn’t get caught in it. She threw some punches from top position. The referee stood them up halfway through the round. Guardado got a takedown, although Guthrie got back up in a clinch. They were in a clinch, both throwing knees. The fight ended in the clinch. All three judges chose Taylor Guardado as the winner.
Bout 3: Hope Chase (2-1) vs. Julia Ottolino (1-0) (Bantamweight Tournament Quarter-Final)
The next quarter-final fight saw Hope Chse fight Julia Ottolino. Ottolino had a height advantage over Chase. Chase was dipping in with punches early in the fight, connecting with many. Ottolino clinched up, getting hit with elbows. While Ottolino had her arms behind Chase’s neck, she was hit with numerous punches. Chase got a takedown, landing punches from above. Ottolino tried for an armbar from the bottom, never fully locking it in. They got back up with a minute and a half to go. Chase was throwing hard punches again. Chase kept pushing forward until the round ran out of time. With a unanimous decision win, Hope Chase moved on.
Bout 4: Brittney Victoria (3-1) vs. Taneisha Tennant (2-0) (Bantamweight Tournament Quarter-Final)
The final quarter-final fight was between Brittney Victoria and Taneisha Tennant. Both fighters were in a punching battle at the start of the round.Tennant landed a good front kick to the head in the third minute. A punch rocked Victoria moments after. Tennant showed good head movement, avoiding numerous punches that Victoria threw. In a clinch, Tennant landed knees to the body. She threw more hard punches before the round ended. Taneisha Tennant got a unanimous decision win to advance.
Bout 5: Kelly Clayton (1-2) vs. Florina Moeller (1-1) (Bantamweight Tournament Reserve Fight)
The first of two reserve fights for the tournament was between Kelly Clayton and Florina Moeller. Clayton was hurting Moeller early with punches. Moeller tried for a takedown from the clinch, putting Clayton against the cage. When they left the clinch, Clayton kept landing punches. Moeller was advancing, despite getting hit with lots of punches. From another clinch, Clayton got a takedown. Moeller turned to her back, where Clayton started to throw lots of punches. Moeller got flattened out, then Clayton put in a rear naked choke. It didn’t take long for Moeller to tap out. Getting the first stoppage of the evening, Kelly Clayton had a dominant performance.
Bout 6: Mitzi Merry (2-1) vs. Morgan Hickam (1-2) (Bantamweight Tournament Reserve Fight)
The other tournament reserve fight saw Mitzi Merry fight Morgan Hickam. Merry had a good combination of hooks a minute into the fight. They clinched up against the cage. Merry landed elbows to the head while they were on their feet. Hickam got a takedown with over two minutes to go. Merry got on the back of Hickam, trying for a rear naked choke. Hickam got out of the choke. Merry stayed on the back until the round ran out of time. The five minute performance secured Mitzi Merry as the second reserve fighter in the tournament.
Bout 7: Serena DeJesus (1-1) vs. Taylor Guardado (0-0) (Bantamweight Tournament Semi-Final)
The first semi-final fight saw the return of Serena DeJesus and Taylor Guardado. The fights were drawn backstage before. Just like the first round, the semi-finals were one round fights. Guardado put DeJesus in a clinch against the cage in the first minute. They exchanged punches for a few minutes. DeJesus put Guardado in a clinch against the cage with a minute to go, however Guardado reversed the position for a moment. Guardado strung together some good punches to finish the round. In a split decision, two judges chose Taylor Guardado to move on to the tournament finals.
Bout 8: Hope Chase (2-1) vs. Taneisha Tennant (2-0) (Bantamweight Tournament Semi-Final)
Chase went for a double leg takedown in the first minute of the fight, however Tennant didn’t go down. Chase shot for another takedown, getting hit with elbows while trying. When striking, both fighters threw a lot while not connecting with much. Chase failed with a few more takedown attempts, getting hit with elbows while holding a leg. All three judges chose Taneisha Tennant as the winner, moving her on to the finals.
Bout 9: Kay Hansen (5-3) vs. Liana Pirosin (7-3) (Strawweight)
Before the bantamweight tournament finale, Kay Hansen and Liana Pirosin fought. Since this fight was more than one round, it was the first fight of the evening that had open scoring in-between rounds. Pirosin threw Hansen to the ground. Hansen got on Pirosin’s back, although Pirosin eventually flipped around to take top position. They stood up after Pirosin slipped and fell, giving Hansen time to get up. Hansen got a takedown, landing strikes periodically from the top. Hansen slammed Pirosin down twice, then tried for a guillotine for a moment before they stood up in a clinch. Hansen got another takedown before the round ended.
Hansen got another takedown in the first minute of the second round. Standing up, Hansen tried for a guillotine choke for a moment before letting go. Hansen got another takedown with three minutes to go. Hansen landed lots of shots from top position. She tried for a heel hook in the final seconds of the round.
Hansen opened the third round with another takedown. They got back up after about a minute. Hansen tried for a takedown from the clinch, however Pirosin got the better position. Hansen rolled to take the back of Pirosin. Pirosin was able to get back top position moments later. They got back to their feet with two minutes left. Hansen scored a takedown yet again with a minute and a half to go. Pirosin tried for an armbar in the final seconds of the round. Going to the scorecards, Kay Hansen got a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27 & 30-26).
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Bout 10: Taylor Guardado (0-0) vs. Taneisha Tennant (2-0) (Bantamweight Tournament Final)
The final of the bantamweight tournament saw Taylor Guardado and Taneisha Tennant fight. The final was set for three rounds. In the first minute of the fight, Tennant dodged a takedown attempt. Tennant had good striking from a distance, throwing single shots. Guardado got a body lock on in the final minute, putting Tennant against the cage. Tennant was able to sprawl, avoiding a takedown.
Guardado picked up the striking in the second round. Both of them stayed in stand-up for the entire round. After the round, the open scoring showed that Tennant had won both rounds.
Tennant kept a distance in stand-up, which worked to her advantage as she was the taller fighter. Guardado started to bleed from her nose in the final round. After the striking contest in the third round ended, the fight went to the judges, where Taneisha Tennant got a unanimous decision win.
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Bout 11: Lisa Verzosa (5-0) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (8-3-1) (Vacant Invicta FC Bantamweight Championship)
In the main event of the card, undefeated Lisa Verzosa fought Julija Stoliarenko for the vacant Invicta Bantamweight Championship. The start of the fight was chaotic, with both fighters landing strimes. Stoliarenko pulled guard, trying for an armbar from below. Verzosa escaped the position, landing some strikes before going to their feet. Stoliarenko was throwing lots of head kicks. She tried to pull guard again, not going down that time. Stoliarenko landed numerous strikes in a row in the fourth minute. They went back down, where Stoliarenko tried for an armbar from the bottom. Verzosa escaped the hold taking top position on the ground for the final seconds of the first round.
The second round was much slower paced, with close striking on the feet. Stoliarenko shot for a takedown with a minute to go, although Verzosa didn’t go down. Stoliarenko was starting to bleed from the nose in this round.
The third round was another striking battle. Verzosa got cut open with a minute to go from a strike. She was bleeding quite a bit. Stoliarenko’s mouthguard fell out in the final minute. She picked it up and put it back in despite the fight never being paused. Exchanging numerous punches until the round ended, both fighters were covered in blood as the round ended.
In the fourth round, both fighters continued their close striking battle. Stoliarenko’s mouthguard fell out again, picking it up before the referee paused the fight. Her corner did not approve of that. It happened again a minute later. Throughout the round, both fighters, but mostly Verzosa, were dripping blood. Verzosa landed a left hook in the final minute that connected well.
Despite the cuts, the fight went into its final round. Heading into the final round, two of the three judges were in favour of Stoliarenko. Stoliarenko scored with a clean right hook in the second minute of the round. Verzosa was the fighter advancing throughout this round. The fighters continued to slug it out until the fight went the distance. Going to the judges, Julija Stoliarenko became the new Invicta Bantamweight Champion, winning in a split decision (49-46 Verzosa, 48-46 Stoliarenko & 49-46 Stoliarenko).
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