Emily Ducote scored a highlight-reel knockout over Danielle Taylor to become the new Invicta FC Strawweight Champion on Friday night.
Ducote stopped Taylor in the first round with a slick strike combination. After seemingly knocking Taylor out with a right hook, Ducote connected with a head kick to the still-standing title challenger to flatten her and end the contest.
The win headlined Invicta FC 44, which took place at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas, USA.
Ducote is the eighth strawweight champion in Invicta FC history. Previous title holder Kanako Murata vacated the belt last year after signing a contract with the UFC.
Ducote had faced Murata in a 2019 title fight, losing via split decision in that instance. She was put into another title fight on Friday after defeating Juliana Lima.
Taylor, a former five-fight UFC vet, was returning to Invicta FC in the main event. Her previous win came in November, defeating Jessica Aguilar at the return XFC event.
Tennant Punches Her Way To Bantamweight Gold
Taneisha Tennant’s accurate and damaging striking earned her a victory over Lisa Verzosa in Friday’s co-main event, crowning her the new Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion.
Tennant’s punches connected frequently on Verzosa and did clear damage to her in the fight.
Verzosa was rocked hard late in the second round, as a combination of punches wobbled and knocked her down. Still hurt by the strikes, Verzosa eventually got up and returned to her corner.
Verzosa remained in the fight after the second-round scare, although she continued to consume damage throughout the fight.
Tennant was competing in her first Invicta FC championship bout. She most notably won the promotion’s one-night “Phoenix Series” tournament in early 2020.
The bout was Verzosa’s second Invicta FC title fight. She also fought five rounds in 2020, losing a split decision to now-UFC fighter Julija Stoliarenko.
She has since bounced back with a win over Raquel Canuto.
Sanchez Secures Submission, Snaps Losing Streak
Brogan Sanchez put an end to her losing streak with a submission win against Emilee King.
Sanchez took the back of King late in the round, applying a rear naked choke for a submission win in the closing seconds.
The finish came shortly after Sanchez had a setback in her fight.
Sanchez took a point deduction early in the fight, as she landed an illegal knee to the head of King while in side control. The fight was then resumed in the same position that they were in before – a position that Sanchez had control in.
Sanchez snapped a two-fight skid in the appearance, putting her into the win column for the first time since 2018. Her losses came against Pearl Gonzalez and now-UFC fighter Erin Blanchfield.
King, a two-fight Bellator vet, was appearing just a month after she lost to Shannon Goughary on a Valor car.
Tracy Makes Comeback For Decision Win
Liz Tracy made a comeback against the returning Jodie Esquibel, earning a split decision win over her after three rounds.
Judges scored the first round for Esquibel, although Tracy was able to rally back and take the lead on two scorecards later on in the fight.
Tracy is now back into the win column. Her last bout was a decision loss last year to now-UFC fighter Victoria Leonardo.
Esquibel was returning to Invicta FC after a four-fight UFC run that was all losses. Her previous Invicta FC fight before Friday was in 2017.
DeJesus Defeats Former UFC Fighter Mueller In Split Decision
Serena DeJesus spoiled the return of UFC veteran Lauren Mueller, defeating her via split decision to open the main card.
DeJesus scored a knockdown halfway through the first round with a left hook. She then took the back of Mueller, allowing her to land a steady pace of punches for the rest of the round.
The back-and-forth striking battle seemingly intensified as it progressed, reaching a quick pace in the final minutes of the third round.
“I gave the fans what they wanted to see. They wanted to see a slugfest,” said DeJesus in her post-fight interview.
Mueller was making her Invicta FC debut after a four-fight run in the UFC. Her two-year run in the promotion concluded in 2019 after she took three consecutive losses.
DeJesus entered Friday on a two-fight win streak from appearances in other regional promotions this year.
The Rest of the Card
Helen Peralta had a successful move up to flyweight on the prelims, going three rounds with Caitlin Sammons for a decision win.
Marisa Belenchia picked up her first official Invicta FC win on the prelims, taking a razor-thin split decision victory over Katie Saull. The three-round bout saw both fighters have moments during striking exchanges.
Natalie Salcedo scored a big win in her pro debut, defeating three-fight pro Katie Perez via unanimous decision. Perez used her wrestling and grappling to keep Perez on her back for most of the bout.
Kayla Yontef won her pro debut to open the prelims, using dominant ground and pound to stop Carlene Chandler in the second round. Yontef was turning pro after a flawless amateur record that started in 2018.
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 9:00PM CDT) (FITE)
Bout 9: Emily Ducote def. Danielle Taylor via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 2:51) (Vacant Invicta FC Strawweight Championship)
Bout 8: Taneisha Tennant def. Lisa Verzosa via Decision, Unanimous (Vacant Invicta FC Bantamweight Championship)
Bout 7: Brogan Sanchez def. Emilee King via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 1, 4:28)
Bout 6: Liz Tracy def. Jodie Esquibel via Decision, Split
Bout 5: Serena DeJesus def. Lauren Mueller via Decision, Unanimous
Preliminary Card (8:00PM EDT / 7:00PM CDT) (Youtube / AXS TV)
Bout 4: Helen Peralta def. Caitlin Sammons via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 3: Marisa Belenchia def. Katie Saull via Decision, Split
Bout 2: Natalie Salcedo def. Katie Perez via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 1: Kayla Yontef def. Carlene Chandler via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 3:13)