Tonya Evinger's corner told her to "get filthy." She complied. Willingly.
The Invicta FC women's bantamweight champion got down in the muck and made it ugly -- much to the chagrin of Pannie Kianzad.
Evinger grinded Kianzad down and then smashed her with ground and pound en route to a TKO finish at 3:34 of the second round in the main event of Invicta 14 in Kansas City.
"Gator don't play no sh*t," Evinger said afterward.
The entire fight was up in the air as of 24 hours ago. Both Kianzad and Evinger missed weight with Kianzad coming in at 136.7. Because neither woman could make 135, the title was taken off the table.
Evinger had to weigh-in at 135 even within two hours or Invicta would have stripped her of the belt. She did. Kianzad was not allowed to continue her cut by doctors.
The weight cut ended up being tougher than the fight for Evinger (17-5), who has now won eight in a row. The Kansas City native won the vacant title from Irene Aldana via fourth-round TKO at Invicta 13 in July. Evinger took Kianzad down at will, got into dominant positions and landed big elbows and punches until it was finally waved off.
Kianzad (8-1) was undefeated coming in, but had only one fight in Invicta, a unanimous decision over Jessica Rose Clark in July. The Sweden native did own a victory over UFC fighter Milana Dudieva. It's possible the tough weight cut played a part in the loss, but regardless Evinger rolls on.
The Invicta strawweight division is up in the air after the co-main event. DeAnna Bennett, who missed weight Friday, defeated former champ Katja Kankaanpaa via a controversial unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). Bennett could stake a claim for a title shot, but if she can't make 116, how could she be expected to make 115 for a title fight?
The undefeated Bennett (8-0) got the better of Kankaanpaa in the striking department in the first two rounds. Kankaanpaa (10-3-1) clearly won the third with her superior grappling. The first and second rounds were close, but many felt Kankaanpaa won at least one of them.
Bennett, 30, is a perfect 4-0 in Invicta, but there is a question of whether or not she should continue at 115 or move up to 125. Kankaanpaa, 34, lost the title in her last fight, a fourth-round submission loss to Livia Renata Souza in April. Before that, she had won two in a row and her only other career loss came against current UFC fighter Joanna Calderwood.
In her 30th career fight, Roxanne Modafferi was victorious yet again. "The Happy Warrior" finished debuting Mariana Morais via TKO (elbows) at 4:40 of the third round. Modafferi owned the fight on the ground, getting dominant position at will and landing repeated punches and elbows. It was a wonder Morais even made it out of the second round.
Afterward, Modafferi (18-12) asked for a title shot against flyweight champion Barb Honchak, albeit halfheartedly. The women's MMA pioneer probably has some work to do. She was coming off a loss to Vanessa Porto, the No. 1 contender at 125, in April.
However, the 32-year-old Syndicate MMA fighter has won three of her last four fights overall. Morais (9-3), a native of Brazil, is just 19 years old.
Andrea Lee cemented herself as a prospect to watch with a complete performance in a third-round submission (armbar) win over Rachel Ostovich. Lee (3-1) dominated the whole way with her striking and then got Ostovich to tap with just two seconds left in the fight.
"KGB," 26, was coming off a loss to Roxanne Modafferi, but looks like someone Invicta can build off of in the flyweight division. Ostovich (2-2), another marketable prospect at age 24, had her moments in the fight, but was outstruck throughout.
In the main card opener, Cindy Dandois spoiled the Invicta debut of featherweight prospect Megan Anderson with a submission (triangle choke) at 2:41 of the first round. Dandois (5-2), who had Miesha Tate in her corner, is now 1-1 since the Belgium native made her return to MMA last year. Anderson, an Aussie, falls to 4-2.
Sharon Jacobson defeated Jamie Moyle by unanimous decision in a battle of strawweight prospects, Jinh Yu Frey continued her hot streak with a unanimous decision over Liz McCarthy and J.J. Aldrich finished late fill-in Rosa Acevedo via first-round TKO on the prelims.