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Invicta FC 10 results: Herica Tiburcio stuns Michelle Waterson to win atomweight title

Esther Lin, Invicta FC

Invicta FC is down a poster girl.

Michelle Waterson, arguably the most popular fighter in the organization, was upset by young newcomer Herica Tiburcio by submission (arm-in guillotine) at 1:04 of the third round in the main event of Invicta FC 10 on Friday night in Houston, Texas. Tiburcio, who is just 21 years old, is the new Invicta women's atomweight champion. The card aired live on UFC Fight Pass.

Tiburcio (9-2), from Brazil, gave Waterson a black eye in the first round and nearly finished her two separate times in the second, with a key lock and an armbar. "The Karate Hottie" persevered then, but could not in the third. Tiburcio jumped an arm-in guillotine after taking Waterson down and the champion was forced to tap.

It was a stunning result for an organization in need of star power. Waterson (12-4), attractive and charismatic with an exciting style, was the perfect face for the all-women's promotion following the departures of many of its stars to the UFC. But it was Tiburcio's night -- and she appeared to be the better fighter, too.

Waterson, 28, is far from done and will almost surely earn a rematch in a thin 105-pound division. She had won six in a row and defeated current UFC fighter Jessica Penne for the title at Invicta FC 5 in April 2013. Most recently, "The Karate Hottie" knocked off Yasuko Tamada at Invicta FC 8 in September.

Waterson wasn't even supposed to headline this event, but was asked to when Cris "Cyborg" Justino pulled out with an injury.

Tiburcio has now won four straight. Her last loss came to UFC fighter Claudia Gadelha, one of the top 115-pounders in the world, at Max Sport 13.2 in May 2013. At her young age, she has a chance to be a star for a long time in Invicta FC, but she won't be nearly as marketable as Waterson, especially since she doesn't speak English.

Invicta might have had one of its stars lose, but another is coming into her own. Tonya Evinger submitted Cindy Dandois with an armbar at 1:23 of the second round in the co-main event. Evinger (15-5) has now won six in a row and should be a shoo-in to contend for the vacant women's bantamweight title.

"I don't even know how to do armbars," Evinger said afterward.

With her charisma, Evinger, 33, has a chance to headline an Invicta event sometime in the future. Dandois (5-3) was making her return to the cage after three years away.

In the feel-good fight of the night, women's MMA pioneer Roxanne Modafferi defeated top prospect Andrea Lee by split decision. Modafferi (18-11) was a sizeable underdog in the bout, but used her superior ground game to stifle her younger, more athletic opponent. The 25-year-old Lee (2-1) is still extremely inexperienced and remains a potential future star for the organization.

Speaking of prospects, Mexican strawweight Alexa Grasso continued to show her huge potential with a first-round TKO of Alida Gray at 1:21 of the first round. Her crisp striking and rare knockout power for someone her size could turn her into a serious draw, especially in her home country. It might not be long before the UFC comes calling for the 21-year-old Grasso (6-0).

In other bouts, DeAnna Bennett beat Jennifer Maia and Peggy Morgan defeated Andria Wawro, each in controversial unanimous decisions. Jinh Yu Frey, an exciting finisher, beat Cassie Robb by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:36 of the first round and Rachael Ostovich won her debut over Evva Johnson via split decision.

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