As the days wind down to Invicta FC 22, which features the rematch between the promotion’s bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger and challenger Yana Kunitskaya, the organization brought in some new talent to bolster its roster.
In a news release, Invicta Fighting Championships announced it signed three new fighters to contracts, Milana Dudieva, Kelly Faszholz and Kelly D’Angelo.
Dudieva to compete in the Invicta flyweight division
The news release confirmed that Dudieva will compete in Invicta’s 125-pound weight class, which saw a changing of the guard of sorts in the last year. Jennifer Maia, who had been the interim 125 champion was promoted to undisputed flyweight champion.
But the flyweight division will be a new territory for Dudieva, who has spent her 16-fight career in bantamweight. After enjoying success in her home country of Russia, Dudieva came to the UFC where she had a 1-2 run, including a win over Elizabeth Phillips and losses to Marion Reneau and “The Ultimate Fighter 18” winner Julianna Pena.
Dudieva has the skills to do well in the 125 weight class, particularly in grappling with backgrounds in wrestling, a black belt judo and experience in sambo – you don’t really see fighters with much experience in the other two disciplines . She’ll also have the opportunity to fight some good competition – veterans like former title challenger Roxanne Modafferi and up-and-comers like Andrea Lee.
The biggest challenge for Dudieva when it comes to competing in flyweight class will probably come the weight cut itself. Some fighters have difficulty dropping down in weight. However, Jessica Andrade, who fought in the UFC women’s bantamweight division dropped to 115 and has attained some success. With good preparation and enough time, Dudieva could have a healthy weight cut and be a force in the division.
Faszholz trades in UFC gloves for Invicta gloves
Faszholz, who will compete in Invicta’s 135 weight class, got thrown into the MMA fire pretty quick in her young career.
After she captured the SLC and Prize FC titles and accumulating a 3-0 record, all three submission wins, signed with the UFC. She lost to former Invicta bantamweight champion Lauren Murphy in a “Fight of the Night” performance and dropped a split-decision to Ketlen Vieira.
Invicta’s bantamweight division is pretty stacked and Faszholz will find no shortage of challengers on her climb up the 135 mountain.
Welcome to Invicta Kelly D’Angelo
While the other two signees, D’Angelo comes to Invicta’s strawweight division with a 2-0 professional record. In her professional debut, D’Angelo submitted Emily Whitmire in the second round. On Feb. 11, she finished Samantha Diaz in the third round. She also went 5-0 as an amateur.
Invicta has always been a good springboard for fighters to compete in a big spotlight and gain experience. Like the Invicta bantamweight division, the promotion’s 115 weight class has a plethora of talent that will give D’Angelo a challenge to get to the next level.
Invicta made a good call in signing these three fighters. While Dudieva and Faszholz have UFC experience, competing in a new promotion will give them a chance to raise their stock. As for D’Angelo, she gets the opportunity to bolster her fight resume and maybe even capture a world title.