Invicta FC 45: Zappitella vs. Delboni 2 Preview

Jessica Delboni and Alesha Zappitella touch gloves in the middle of the Invicta FC cage.
Jessica Delboni and Alesha Zappitella will meet for the second time on Wednesday night (Invicta FC)

The rarely showcased atomweight division will take center stage on Wednesday night, as all-women’s MMA promotion Invicta FC will host their first event of the new year. In the main event, a rivalry title fight between Alesha Zappitella and Jessica Delboni will take place.

The fight headlines a free-to-view card that is set to take place in Kansas City, Kansas, USA. Here’s a preview of the event.

Main Card (8:00PM EST / 7:00PM CST) (Youtube)

Bout 1: Helen Peralta (4-2) vs. Elise Pone (1-0) (Flyweight)

After a strong showing in her pro debut, Elise Pone will return on Wednesday against Helen Peralta.

Pone picked up a stoppage win in her pro debut, defeating Chrissy Yandolli on an Invicta FC show in May 2021. She now gets a significant step-up in competition, now facing a fighter who has met two UFC fighters in the past.

Peralta returned to the win column in her last outing, defeating Caitlin Sammons via unanimous decision in August.

Favela missed weight for the fight, coming in two-and-a-half pounds over the bantamweight limit on Tuesday.

Bout 2: Katie Saull (3-5) vs. Tamika Jones (1-0) (Atomweight)

In an atomweight fight, Katie Saull will meet Tamika Jones.

Jones turned pro just last month, defeating Elizabeth Avila on a Combate Global card. She decided to start her pro career after putting together four wins through six fights as an amateur.

Saull will be attempting to break a three-fight skid. She suffered her third consecutive loss at Invicta FC’s last event, dropping a unanimous decision to Marisa Belenchia.

Bout 3: Maria Favela (2-1) vs. Sarah Kleczka (2-3) (Bantamweight)

Sarah Kleczka will have the chance to even her pro record when fighting Maria Favela on Wednesday night.

Kleczka has lost three consecutive fights as a pro. Two of the losses came on Invicta FC cards in 2018, with the other being more recently. Kleczka made her first appearance in nearly three years in late 2021, losing a split decision to Brittney Cloudy.

Favela took her first pro loss in May, getting beat by Josee Storts on scorecards. That fight was also her Invicta FC debut, coming after two straight wins in regional Mexican promotion UWC.

Bout 4: Monica Franco (2-0) vs. Hailey Cowan (5-2) (Bantamweight)

Undefeated bantamweight Monica Franco will return to action on Wednesday night when facing Hailey Cowan.

Franco has a flawless record through two wins, although she has been out of the cage since February 2020. Her last fight was her Invicta FC debut, which she won over Kristina Pettigrew.

Cowan will be fighting in Invicta FC for the first time. Her seven-fight pro career has consisted exclusively in LFA since she debuted in 2018. She had a five-fight winning streak broken in September 2020, as Kelly Clayton earned a submission win over her. Now a year later, Cowan has the chance to start her momentum back up again.

Bout 5: Ramona Pascual (5-2) vs. Shamir Peshewa (2-0) (Catchweight 150 lbs)

A rare catchweight fight of 150-pounds will take place in the co-main event, as Ramona Pascual will meet undefeated Shamir Peshewa.

Pascual has competed around the world since 2016. She has been to three different countries for her last trio of fights, competing in Korea, China and Mexico.

Pascual moved her winning streak to three consecutive in June 2021, submitting Guadalupe Guzman in the first round of a fight.

Returning to action for the first time since early 2019, Peshewa will attempt to extend her winning streak to three straight.

Pascual was originally scheduled to meet Courtney King on this card. She was recently given Peshewa as a new short-notice opponent.

Peshewa weighed in three-and-a-half pounds over the catchweight limit for this fight.

Bout 6: Alesha Zappitella (9-2) vs. Jessica Delboni (11-3) (Invicta FC Atomweight Championship)

Meeting for the second time, Invicta FC Atomweight Champion Alesha Zappitella and challenger Jessica Delboni will fight in Wednesday night’s main event.

Zappitella first fought Delboni in May 2021. The five-round fight went the distance and concluded with an incredibly close split decision win for Zappitella – one that many dispute.

The fight was Zappitella’s first time retaining her belt. She had earned it a year prior, pulling off a rare von flue choke against Ashley Cummins to take the vacant belt.

While Delboni lost her first title fight, she was quick to earn another opportunity. She fought in an Invicta FC “Phoenix Series” tournament in June of last year, competing three times in one night to secure a title shot. After defeating Tabatha Ann Watkins and Marisa Belenchia in one-round fights, she beat Lindsey VanZant in the grand final via unanimous decision.

The rivalry between Zappitella and Delboni may be settled on Wednesday night. And in the end, the best atomweight in North America will be determined.

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