Brianna Van Buren ran the gauntlet.
The 25-year-old Californian submitted Kailin Curran with a rear-naked choke and took possession of vacant Invicta Fighting Championships gold at 115 pounds in the final of a one-night, eight-woman tournament at Invicta Phoenix Rising Series 1 on Friday at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas. Curran (6-7, 2-1 Invicta) bowed out 3:49 into Round 2.
Van Buren (8-2, 4-1 Invicta) had all the characteristics of a runaway freight train. She struck for multiple takedowns in the first round, pairing them with suffocating top control and punishing ground-and-pound. Curran offered little in the way of effective resistance. Van Buren went back to work in Round 2, where she executed another takedown, climbed to full mount and ultimately transitioned to the Hawaiian's back. From there, the conclusion became a formality. Van Buren softened the Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran with ground-and-pound, flattened out Curran and cinched the choke to force the tap.
In the strawweight tournament semifinals, Van Buren cruised to a unanimous verdict over Juliana Lima (10-6, 1-2 Invicta), drawing 10-9 marks across the board; and Curran pocketed a unanimous decision against Sharon Jacobson (6-5, 4-3 Invicta), carrying all three cards with 10-9 scores.
In other action, Jacobson laid claim to a unanimous decision over Amber Brown (7-6, 4-5 Invicta) in their quarterfinal pairing, earning 10-9 marks from all three judges; Van Buren submitted Manjit Kolekar (11-3, 0-2 Invicta) with an armbar 3:20 into the first round of their quarterfinal clash; Lima took a split verdict — 9-10, 10-9, 10-9 — from former King of the Cage champion Danielle Taylor (10-5, 1-1 Invicta) in their quarterfinal; Curran eked out a split decision — 10-9, 9-10, 10-9 — over Sunna Rannveig Davidsdottir (3-1, 3-1 Invicta) in their tournament quarterfinal; Alyssa Krahn (5-2, 1-0 Invicta) captured a split verdict — 9-10, 10-9, 10-9 — over Itzel Esquivel (4-3, 0-1 Invicta) in a strawweight tournament reserve bout; and Magdalena Sormova (8-1, 1-0 Invicta) edged Kay Hansen (4-3, 3-3 Invicta) by split decision — 28-29, 29-28, 29-28 — in a competitive three-round strawweight showcase.