As the blood started to flow, the bruises started to swell, and the stories started to fly of how so-and-so finished her last fight in a few seconds by literally punching off someone’s finger, the weight of mixed martial arts reality settled back in again–this was no child’s play. Although safety of the athletes is always top priority and many other sports cause more death and injury than this one, there’s also no question that there is indeed a real danger to life and limb stepping into that octagon.
Yet if you ask me, is this a violent sport, I would say no. There’s a consent and respect between the competitors here. They step in there, weapons ready, fully aware of the very real risks. In truth, there’s more violence in a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Barbie doll than in all the MMA fights combined. This is why I have the utmost respect for each and everyone of this ladies who take on the challenge of stepping into that cage, both to test themselves and to dispel shallow conceptions of gender.
The latest Invicta FC9 was actually quite stacked with Asian and Asian Pacific American female fighters. No lack of representation here. To my knowledge, out of 9 bouts, 2 had Japanese fighters (and there was another one that had been cancelled) and 2 had APIA women. Here’s a quick rundown of the fights and the results of these four fights.
Jamie Moyle Defeats Jenny Liou Shriver by Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)
I’d found about about Shriver back in the beginning of this year and was very much looking forward to her fight here. One fun thing about watching her fight is her ability to turn things around in a split second with a killer submission. Shriver’s ground game is definitely her strength, and I was finally able to witness her growth in stand up striking in this bout. Nevertheless, Moyle pretty much dominated Shriver throughout all three rounds, being a lot more comfortable on her feet than Shriver, and Shriver looked pretty exhausted, and I’m guessing that her first weight cut to fight at 115 was what took it out of her.
This past August, I did a cut down to 130 from 142 in one month as part of my health and fitness program, but I’m not doing that ever again. First of all, I haven’t been at 130 lbs since I was 15 years old, and second, 12 pounds in one month was just too greedy of a goal, especially after having lost substantial weight over the last year already. At the end of the month, when I hit that 130 lbs, I felt pretty horrible, especially when I was physically training, and my immune system was noticeably weaker. Shriver usually fights at around 125, which makes me guess that she probably usually walks around at 135, so cutting down to 115 is quite the jump.
Despite all of these setbacks, Shriver put up the fight of her life against Moyle. She went all three rounds, avoided some serious finishes form the other side, and at some points looked like she was going to pull off one of her crazy submissions, but in the end, it went to a unanimous decision against her. Losses are good for developing great fighters, so I’m looking forward now to seeing what Shriver will gain from this one.
For a debut professional fight, Moyle was impressively quite the beast here. She was strong and well-rounded, good at defense and at offense on her feet or on the ground. She’s keeping up that strong reputation her gym Syndicate in Las Vegas has been building as a go-to for some of the best female MMA fighters out there.
Here’s a postfight interview with Jamie Moyle with footage of the fight:
Raquel Pa’aluhi Defeats Kaitlin Young by Unanimous Decision (29-38 x3)
Veteran Kaitlin Young was supposed to fight Cindy Dandois (5-1) but Dandois withdrew from the fight a week before IFC9, so Hawaiian Raquel Pa’aluhi stepped in to take the fight with only a week’s notice.
In the first round, Young was dancing circles around Pa’aluhi and clocking her left and right with some heavy punches. Young was definitely the more skilled striker of the two, but the thing was, Pa’aluhi just kept eating those punches and bulldozing forward at Young. As you can tell from her face, she took quite the punishment from Young, and she was visibly slower and heavier on her feet in the cage. The bulldozing forward worked, though, and as she survived that first wave of beating and found her range and groove, she turned the tide of the fight like a tsunami that starts with a shallow but steady flow and then eventually reveals its dominating, overwhelming force in the end, especially when Pa’aluhi had Young pinned to the ground. The decision win for Pa’aluhi was a unanimous one, showing just how dominating she was against the formidable veteran Young.
Here is a postfight interview with Pa’aluhi:
Karolina Kowalkiewicz Defeats Mizuki Inoue by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
I think that most people will agree with me when I say Inoue’s fight with Kowalkiewicz was the most entertaining fight of the night by far. Inoue is such a crowd favorite, because even the most undiscerning eye can see just how skilled she is. Her reflexes are just unearthly, and her techniques are all so crisp that it’s like watching a professional dancer who can improv a highly skilled choreography at will. The fact that she’s only barely 20 also wows the crowd, making her the top prodigy of MMA right now.
This fight was very, very close, being a split decision. A lot of people feel Inoue won, of course, but with a close call like this, it’s really hard to say. Inoue was definitely the more skilled and technical fighter. She moved better and landed more solid hits. However, Kowalkiewicz was no push over. Although she seemed a little heavier on her feet and less dynamic than Inoue, probably the reason why she won over that split decision judge was because she did keep Inoue on her toes the whole time and just let her fists fly more. Inoue may have played it just a tad too safe and lost in terms of volume of hits.
I was of course rooting for Inoue, but when the split decision came in against her, I can’t say I felt all that sad because for a fan of Inoue, it was actually quite the win-win situation. The worst thing that could happen for someone as talented as Inoue is to have an opponent that just didn’t push her to show off her skills, and Kowalkiewicz definitely was talented and determined enough to make Inoue show off everything she could do. All three rounds were high paced, and Inoue’s performance was spectacular.
Here is a fan-questions interview with Inoue:
Here is a postfight interview with Kowalkiewicz with footage of the fight:
Barb Honchak Defeats Takayo Hashi by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45)
Honchak is a tough as nails fighter from the legendary Miletich gym in Iowa, and being the current Invicta Flyweight (125 lbs) champion, this was a title defense against Takayo Hashi. Hashi was visibly bigger than Honchak, so it was impressive to see Honchak keep control over Hashi in always every aspect of the fight. Honchak was able to keep her belt, and I like her and was actually rooting for her to win, but the fight overall was a little on the dull side because it kept going up against the cage, mainly with Hashi trying to take Honchak down and Honchak preventing that by pushing her agains the fence.
At first, it was interesting because you could see that even though Honchak had Hashi pinned against that cage, the two were non-stop struggling for control. I enjoyed when Hashi was able to take some control here and there only to have Honchak turn it around in the blink of an eye. I also like how Honchak took every opportunity to sneak in an elbow strike or punch despite being against the fence. However, in a five round title fight, this same scene repeated itself over and over again for 60% of the fight and it did just get a little weary. The stalemate between Inoue and Kowalkiewicz was super action packed, but for the stalemate between Honchak and Hashi, not so much. In any case, I’m glad Honchak retained her belt and am looking forward to her next defense.
Here is a prefight feature of both fighters: