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Tonya Evinger appealing controversial Invicta title loss with Missouri commission

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Esther Lin, Invicta FC

The fight has continued for Tonya Evinger.

The former Invicta FC women's bantamweight champion is appealing her title loss to Yana Kunitskaya from Invicta 20 earlier this month after an incorrect application of the rules by the referee.

Evinger told MMA Fighting that she filed her appeal with the Missouri Office of Athletics this week and that she was told she would hear a response back in a few weeks. An MMA Fighting request for comment from the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) was denied Tuesday, citing state law making such cases confidential until a result is decided.

In the main event of Invicta 20 on Nov. 18 in Kansas City, Kunitskaya beat Evinger by armbar submission at 1:59 of the first round. Evinger is challenging the result, because referee Mike England told her, while she was in the armbar, that she had to move from a legal position. Evinger argues that movement is what led to Kunitskaya sinking in the armbar deeper, forcing her to tap.

Evinger, 35, put her foot on the face of the grounded Kunitskaya to gain leverage in an effort to get out of the armbar. England told Evinger to move from that position, though it is a legal one. A strike to the face of a grounded opponent is illegal, but Evinger didn't land a stomp, she just pushed off with her foot.

Evinger (18-6) has been regarded as perhaps the best female fighter outside of the UFC. The Houston resident came into the fight with Kunitskaya on a nine-fight winning streak. She won the vacant Invicta title in a fight with Irene Aldana by fourth-round TKO in July 2015.

Kunitskaya (10-2), a Russia native, was making her Invicta debut.