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Invicta FC 9 results: Barb Honchak beats Takayo Hashi, retains flyweight title

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Esther Lin

At some point, Barb Honchak is probably going to have to make a decision about which UFC division might be better for he future: Bantamweight or strawweight.

Until then, she's untouchable at 125 pounds. Honchak made her second successful defense of her Invicta flyweight title on Saturday night, scoring a unanimous decision victory over the game-but-overmatched Takayo Hashi. The judges' scores were 49-46 and a pair of 50-45s as Honchak retained her title in the main event of Invicta FC 9 at the River Center in Davenport, Iowa.

Honchak, fighting for the hometown Miletich Fighting Systems, had a simple game plan. Like a 125-pound female version of Randy Couture, she used Greco-Roman grappling neutralize Hashi against the cage and kept her there.

The 37-year-old Hashi (14-5) showed urgency in the fourth and fifth rounds, but Honchak once again shut her down and sealed the decision and won her ninth consecutive bout.

"She's so tough and she's so strong," said Honchak. "She's got game, she's got more than I expected. But, I had a game plan and I stuck to it and I was able to shut her down."

In the strawweight co-main event, Poland's Karolina Kowalkiewicz scored a split decision over much-hyped Japanese product Mizuki Inoue. Kowalkiewicz got the better end of two out of three 29-28 scores to improve to 6-0.

The bout was a tightly contested, fast-paced, back and forth standup fight that really was a coin flip of a decisin. Kowalkiewicz broke out in tears when the cards were read in her name.

"I always said I want to challenge myself against better and better opponents, so if I was given a chance to fight for the Invicta title, I'd take it," Kowalkiewicz said through an interpreter.

Inoue, who is just 20 years old, had a six-fight win streak snapped.

In an upset, Hawaii's Raquel Pa'aluhi, competing on just eight days' notice, rallied to defeat veteran Kaitlin Young. The judges' scores in the featherweight fight were 29-28 across the board.

Young (7-9-1) got off to a solid start in dominating round one, as she opened a cut above Pa-‘aluhi's right eye and also busted open her nose. But the second round saw a huge momentum shift, as Pa'aluhi took the fight to the ground and got Young into a rear-naked choke, which nearly ended the fight. Pa'aluhi completely took over the fight against the fading Young in the third and was raining down punches when the final bell rang.

"I wanted to go wherever the fight took me," her game plan was different than I expect it, taking her down was the key to winning, so, no.

Pa'aluhi won her second straight bout to improve to 4-4; Young is 0-4-1 in her past five.

There were several bloody fights on the card, but no one suffered a cut quite like Liz McCarthy, who endured a wicked gash over her right eyebrow in a split-decision loss to Amber Brown.

The cut was opened in the second round when Brown connected with a violent knee to the temple. Brown (4-1) following up with a solid mix of strikes both on the ground and standing didn't help matters. McCarthy (2-2) stayed competitive and gutted it to go the distance, but the refs saw it for Brown, on scores of 29-28, 28-29, and 30-27.

Jackson's MMA atomweight Jodie Esquibel improved to 4-1 with a unanimous decision win over Nicdali-Rivera Calanoc. Equiibel used superior standup technique, from her footwork to solid use of angles, to outbox and outstrike Calanoc (8-8) and generally make it look easy against a tough competitor.

The judges' scores were 30-27 across the board in favor of Esquibel, who won her second straight fight.

"I knew I had to stick to my guns with her and she was going to come forward," Esquibel said. "She was super tough. I'm always fighter, eight days notice, I'll take whatever they give me."