Card recap: Invicta FC 41 – ‘Conejo’ Ruiz taps Morandin in first round

FOR the second time in 28 days, the Invicta Fighting Championship put on a show from Kansas City, Kansas in the building now dubbed ‘Fight Church’. The five-fight event featured three decisions and two submissions, one of which came in the main event.

Fans will have to wait over a month for the leading women’s MMA promotion to return, with Ashley Cummins and Alesha Zappitella set to throw down for atomweight gold at Invicta FC 42 on September 17.

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Montserrat Ruiz made up for her loss to Danielle Taylor on Invicta debut with a vicious first round submission victory over Janaisa Morandin. Now 9-1 as a professional, the Mexican consigned her Brazilian opponent to a third-straight defeat, after she had missed the strawweight limit by 0.9lbs during the week.

An intense stare-down set the tone for Ruiz’s fight, as the two met in the middle and began to exchange some heavy blows. ‘Conejo’ showcased her tenacity with a couple of pressing flurries up top, before yanking Morandin down from the clinch and getting to work in a dominant position.

With Morandin’s arm trapped between the legs of Ruiz, the latter was able to land some punishing unanswered blows straight to the Brazilian’s face, before adjusting the position on that same isolated arm to yield a tap. In her first fight for 18 months, Ruiz proved she is back.

The co-main event slot brought about another relatively one-sided affair, as Erin Blanchfield earned a unanimous decision victory over Brogan Sanchez. It was a classic case of two high-level grapplers going toe-to-toe on the feet, though Blanchfield won the majority of her points on the mat.

The 21-year-old Brazilian jiu jitsu brown belt wanted to prove her power on the feet, and looked well on her way to doing so after sitting Sanchez down with a solid two-piece combination. Sanchez was able to survive and had Blanchfield looking for the takedown as the fight wore on, which the latter was able to complete time and time again.

A brutal late rally of ground-and-pound almost saw Blanchfield close the show, but would instead serve to put an exclamation mark on the victory with a unanimous 10-8 round. She improves to a 6-1 record and truly looks the part.

Women’s MMA veterans Kaitlin Young and Latoya Walker went to battle in a bout sandwiched right in the middle of the card, with Young’s striking at range proving too much for the returning Walker.

While the ring rust from a four-year layoff did not entirely show from Walker, she simply had no answer for Young’s length and variety of kicks. The ‘Striking Viking’ improves to 11-10-1 after somewhat earning redemption for her loss to Pam Sorenson last year, and has been around the block in her 13-year career.

The sole split decision for the night came in Caitlin Sammons‘ narrow triumph over Claire Guthrie, with the former finishing strong to win at least two rounds in the eyes of two judges.

Usually renowned for her aggression, Sammons seemed to be well matched in the early goings despite holding what should have been the dominant position. After taking toll with her strikes from range, Guthrie was active in the clinch, and carried her momentum into Round 2 with great movement, a pumping jab, and leg kicks.

That was just about where the good run ended though, with Sammons able to smother her opponent and snatch the gruelling fight in Round 3 with dominant work on the mat.

Another exciting young prospect, Alexa Culp opened the show by submitting Natalya Speece after just two rounds, in a battle between fighters on their professional debuts.

Culp, a training partner of Megan Anderson, was terrific in the grappling exchanges and finished the show after a slick back take – requiring only one hook and a hell of a squeeze to yield the tap.

The 20-year-old looks set for a move back down to 115lbs after competing at flyweight.


Montserrat Ruiz def. Janaisa Morandin | Submission (keylock) 3:28 Rd 1

Erin Blanchfield def. Brogan Sanchez | Decision (unanimous) 30-26, 30-26, 30-26

Kaitlin Young def. Latoya Walker | Decision (unanimous) 30-26, 30-26, 30-27

Caitlin Sammons def. Claire Guthrie | Decision (split) 28-29, 29-28, 30-27

Alexa Culp def. Natalya Speece | Submission (rear-naked choke) 3:59 Rd 2

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