Felicia Spencer needed six fights and a little more than three years to reach the top of the mountain in Invicta Fighting Championships. The question now becomes whether or not she can stay there.
Spencer moved to 6-0 as a professional, as she submitted Pam Sorenson with a fourth-round rear-naked choke and captured the vacant featherweight championship in the Invicta FC 32 main event on Friday at the FireLake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Sorenson bowed out 4:23 into Round 4, her modest two-fight winning streak a thing of the past.
Though she controlled a majority of the encounter with takedowns, top control and a suffocating clinch, Spencer at time spun her wheels. She appeared to gas briefly in the second round and had difficulty keeping Sorenson bottled up on the canvas. Nevertheless, Spencer gradually wore down the Minnesotan, executed a takedown in the fourth round, advanced to the back and cinched the choke. Sorenson, 32, had never before been finished.
In the aftermath of Invicta 32 “Spencer vs. Sorenson,” here are four matches that ought to be made:
Felicia Spencer vs. Kaitlin Young: Pickings are slim at 145 pounds, not just in Invicta but across the sport. Given the dearth of talent within the division, Spencer may not stay on the Invicta Fighting Championships roster much longer -- especially with the UFC hunting viable opponents for Cristiane Justino and Bellator MMA doing the same for Julia Budd. For now, the 27-year-old’s stock continues to rise. Young has recorded back-to-back victories over Reina Miura and Sarah Patterson, breathing new life into a career that was once dead in the water.
Mizuki Inoue vs. Virna Jandiroba: Inoue recorded her fifth win in six appearances, as she carved up Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Viviane Pereira with crisp combination punching and coasted to a unanimous decision in the co-main event. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for the Japanese wunderkind, who now trains out of LAW MMA -- the gym fronted by Ray Longo and former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Jandiroba retained her strawweight championship at Invicta 31, where she submitted Janaisa Morandin with a second-round arm-triangle choke on Sept. 1 and improved to 14-0.
Ashley Cummins vs. Jinh Yu Frey-Minna Grusander winner: Cummins won for the fourth time in five outings, as she was awarded a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Parana Vale Tudo prospect Jessica Correa Delboni an in atomweight showcase. “Smashley” carried the scorecards with 29-28 marks across the board, perhaps cementing herself as the No. 1 contender for the 105-pound championship. Frey -- who outpointed Cummins across three rounds some 16 months ago -- will defend the atomweight title in a rematch with Grusander atop Invicta 33 on Dec. 15 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Julia Avila vs. Sarah Kaufman: No fighter at Invicta 32 was more impressive than Avila, who overwhelmed Alexa Conners with forward pressure and ferocious combinations before forcing a second-round stoppage with a front kick to the face and follow-up punches. Conners met her end 4:43 into Round 2. Avila, who owns previous victories over Marion Reneau and former UFC women’s flyweight champion Nicco Montano, experienced her only professional defeat in May -- the result of a badly broken finger suffered 49 seconds into her Invicta 29 pairing with Marciea Allen. Kaufman successfully defended her bantamweight belt on May 4, when she submitted Katharina Lehner with a rear-naked choke in the third round.