LOS ANGELES -- Cris Cyborg on paper was expected to handily defeat Charmaine Tweet and retain the Invicta Fighting Championships featherweight title in the Invicta 11 headliner on Friday at the Shrine Auditorium, and their fight played out as many had predicted.
From the start, “Cyborg” poured on the punishment, showcasing her unparalleled punching power on the way to a 46-second stoppage. Tweet (6-5) had no chance. UFC officials Lorenzo Ferttita, Dana White and Sean Shelby were in attendance to witness the destructive performance and left shortly after Justino (13-1) tore through her Canadian challenger. The 29-year-old “Cyborg” has already been booked to compete again on July 10, with an eye towards moving to bantamweight.
“I am trying to make 135 pounds. I know everyone wants to see me fight [Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight titleholder] Ronda Rousey,” Justino said at the post-fight press conference. “I am going to try very hard to make this fight happen.”
Highly touted strawweight prospect Alexa Grasso showed why she has been the focus of so much acclaim, as she earned a unanimous decision over Mizuki Inoue in the co-main event. The Lobo Gym product moved to 7-0 and likely put herself in position to challenge for Katja Kankaanpaa’s 115-pound title.
Related » Invicta 11 Play-by-Play
“I knew that this was going to be a very difficult fight; Mizuki is a very strong opponent,” Grasso said. “I would like to fight for a title. I would be so glad to do so. I’ll be training so hard for it.”
Invicta officials pegged the three-round scrap as “Fight of the Night,” as it featured back-and-forth exchanges on the floor and the feet. In the end, Grasso’s pinpoint accuracy and dangerous submission attempts earned the judges’ admiration. Inoue (8-4), who does not turn 21 until August, lost little in defeat, though she has dropped three of her past four bouts.
DeAnna Bennett (7-0) remained undefeated with a grinding unanimous decision against Norma Rueda Center in a strawweight showcase. Scores were 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28. It was not the most exciting of fights, but Bennett’s strength shined when the two were engaged against the cage. The win was “The Argentine Assassin’s” third under the Invicta banner. Center (3-2) has dropped both of her appearances in the organization via unanimous decision, the first coming against “The Ultimate Fighter 20” veteran Joanne Calderwood.
Irene Aldana (5-1) lived up to the hype surrounding her and the Lobo Gym she represents by putting away Colleen Schneider (6-6) via rear-naked choke 65 seconds into the first round of their bantamweight pairing. Things got off to a slow start, but when Aldana found an opening, she pounced. Her superior striking ultimately led to the finishing opportunity and resulted in the second submission win of her budding career. Aldana remains undefeated in two appearances under the Invicta banner. Meanwhile, Schneider has dropped two of her last three outings.
Jamie Moyle (2-0) kept her professional record intact with a first-round technical submission of J.J. Aldrich. The Syndicate MMA strawweight nullified a takedown from Aldrich and turned it into a rear-naked choke finish 2:20 into round one. The 22-year-old Aldrich (1-1) suffered the first loss of her career in the process.
Amy Cadwell Montenegro (6-1) defeated Brianna VanBuren (3-2) via unanimous decision, earning 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 marks on the scorecards in their battle at 115 pounds. The fight served as a showcase for Montenegro’s ability to control pace, as she pressed Van Buren against the cage for most of the 15 minutes and avoided a few dangerous submission attempts from “Tha Bull.” Montenegro has rattled off three straight wins since losing her pro debut in July.
Laura Salazar (3-1) accepted her flyweight bout against Christine Stanley (4-1) on three days’ notice, and it showed: She was finished by “Knuckles” at 2:59 of the first round. Salazar was pummeled from the opening bell, with Stanley flooring her during their initial exchange. Referee Mike Beltran nearly stopped the fight at that point, but “Lethal” managed to grab a leg and press Stanley against the cage. From there, however, the San Diego native continued the onslaught, dropping punches on Salazar until Beltran had no choice but to end it.
Aspen Ladd (1-0) opened festivities with an impressive first-round technical knockout victory against fellow MMA rookie Ana Carolina Vidal (0-1) in a flyweight clash. After two explosive striking exchanges, Ladd got the best of her opponent on the ground, unleashing punches and elbows until referee Mike Bell stepped in at 4:21 of the first frame.