Invicta FC flew Angela Hill to Kansas City back in July. The main event of the card was a key strawweight contender matchup between Alexa Grasso and Jodie Esquibel. The thinking was that the winner would face Hill, the Invicta strawweight champion, next.
Grasso won by impressive unanimous decision to set up what would have been title fight with Hill this month.
That, of course, isn't going to happen. Grasso did fight earlier this month, beating Heather Jo Clark in the UFC. The Mexican star signed with the promotion in August. Instead, Hill will face Kaline Medeiros, a game and tough, if not well-known opponent, at Invicta FC 20 on Friday night in Kansas City.
"I was really f*cking pissed," Hill said of losing out on the Grasso bout. "I felt kind of like a chump, like I'd been lied to. But I think when [Invicta president] Shannon [Knapp] promised me that, she thought that fight was gonna happen."
The UFC had other plans and Grasso is going to be a key figure for them in Latin America. After that matchup went out the window, Hill said she asked for Mizuki Inoue. However, Inoue tore her ACL in September and will be out for at least a year.
Medeiros earned the title shot by beating Manjit Kolekar at Invicta 19 in September. The Brazilian is a solid fighter, but doesn't carry the name of Grasso and Inoue and Hill was hoping for more of a high-profile bout.
"There could have been better matchups," Hill said. "I was asking for Mizuki and she was injured. Then I was asking for Grasso and she got signed by UFC. I've just had bad luck with getting opponents that people would actually pay attention to."
Hill (5-2) has won all three of her fights in Invicta after being released from the UFC following losses to top strawweights Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas. The San Diego resident won the Invicta title by beating Livia Renata Souza by split decision in May. She has come a long way since her stint on The Ultimate Fighter 20 when she had all of one professional contest under her belt.
After Invicta 20, Hill said she's a free agent, so she's trying to raise her stock Friday night. Hill, 31, would not mind being getting another go in the UFC, but she said she's willing to listen to all potential bidders. "Overkill" has not ruled out staying with Invicta, either.
"It really depends on what I'm able to get and what opportunities are available after this," Hill said. "It's pretty crazy. Before, if I hadn't been in the UFC already, I would have been like, ‘Yeah, I want to go to the UFC!' Like every other girl in Invicta. Right now, I don't really know. I just want to be somewhere that wants me to be there and they want to promote me and they want to give me fights and keep me active. That could be UFC, but it could be somewhere else."
Rizin, the quirky Japanese spectacle of a promotion, would be near the top of Hill's wishlist. She has become a fan — and avid tweeter — of the entertaining events.
"I would love that so much," Hill said. "Rizin is insane. The last couple of shows I watched, it was awesome. They like upped it since the first one. So I'm like, what's gonna happen next time? Are they gonna have a live Godzilla in the background or something?"
One of the most attractive things for Hill about the UFC, aside from it being top dog in the MMA world, is the prospect of getting that fight with Grasso. It won't happen at Invicta 20, but perhaps down the line it's still a possibility.
"I was really pissed about that, because she has a huge hype train," Hill said. "I thought that was going to raise my profile, just fighting her. I think that my striking is better than hers. I definitely have more weapons, where she has mostly boxing. I feel like my grappling is better than hers, too. I was really stoked for that fight. Unfortunately, it didn't happen, but I feel like it's still gonna happen in the future."