LOS ANGELES -- If it happens, a lot of people are going to make a ton of money on a bout between Ronda Rousey and Cris "Cyborg" Justino.
Justino made sure of that Friday night, absolutely crushing Charmaine Tweet by TKO in just 46 seconds in the main event of Invicta FC 11 at Shrine Hall. Rousey will meet Cat Zingano at nearby Staples Center in just 24 hours.
"Cyborg" got the women's MMA weekend off first, smoing Tweet with an overhand right and landing punches on the ground immediately to start the fight. Somehow, Tweet got up, but she didn't stay there for long.
Justino landed more punches, to the face and the body and referee Herb Dean wisely stepped in. Tweet's face was busted up and her nose might have been broken.
Justino (13-1, 1 NC) has not lost a fight since her pro debut in 2005. It would seem like she's on a collision course with Rousey, the UFC's women's bantamweight champion, but there have been road blocks, namely Justino continuing to fight at featherweight and her past history with performance-enhancing drugs. There is major bad blood between the two best women's fighters in the world.
But "Cyborg" said she's going to attempt to make Rousey's 135-pound weight class and she passed all her pre-fight drug tests. Justino, 29, is currently in negotiations with the UFC.
As Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp told MMAFighting.com last week, a blockbuster fight between Rousey and Justino is closer than it has ever been.
"Maybe one day I'll be in the UFC soon," Justino said afterward.
In the clear fight of the night, Alexa Grasso busted up a very game Mizuki Inoue by unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28) in the co-main event. Grasso bloodied Inoue's nose in the first round and slammed her shin against the Japanese star's lead leg the entire bout. Inoue rallied with solid ground work in the third round, but by then it was too late.
Grasso (7-0) is just 21 years old and one of the brightest prospects in all of women's MMA. Her potential ability to draw in her home country of Mexico could mean she'll be in the UFC sooner rather than later. However, Grasso said this week that she'd like to fight Katja Kankaanpaa for the Invicta FC strawweight title before that. She doubled down on that Friday night.
Inoue (8-4), a lightning fast, striker is also one of the top young fighters at 115 pounds in the world. She's only 20 years old. The co-headliner Friday night could have been a glimpse into the future of that division.
"I'd like to fight for the title if I can," Grasso said. "I will be so, so glad."
DeAnna Bennett stayed undefeated with an uneventful unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) over late replacement Norma Rueda Center. Bennett (7-0) was making her debut at 115 pounds and seemed to land whenever she wanted to on Rueda Center. Bennett's volume just left a little to be desired. But the 30-year-old has notables wins over the likes of Julianna Pena, Colleen Schneider and Michelle Ould. She could be a force moving forward in Invicta's strawweight division.
Rueda Center (3-2) took the fight on two weeks notice when Lynn Alvarez got hurt.
Grasso's Team Lobo training partner Irene Aldana surprisingly made quick work of veteran Colleen Schneider with a submission (rear-naked choke) victory at 1:05 of the first round. Aldana (5-1), a superb boxer, hurt Schneider standing with punches and, once she was in trouble, jumped on her back and locked in the choke. The 26-year-old is looking like one of the top women's bantamweights in Invicta.
Jamie Moyle continued to impress with a submission (rear-naked choke) victory over J.J. Aldrich at just 2:20 of the first round on the prelims. Aldrich didn't tap; Moyle, who moved to 2-0 as a pro, put her to sleep.
Also on the prelims, Amy Montenegro defeated Brianna Van Buren via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28), Christine Stanley stopped Laura Salazar via TKO at 2:59 of the first round and 19-year-old prospect Aspen Ladd took out Ana Carolina Vidal by TKO at 4:21 of the first round in her pro MMA debut.