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Invicta FC 19 results: Jennifer Maia retains flyweight title in split decision over Roxanne Modafferi

Esther Lin, Invicta FC

There would be no fairy-tale ending for women's MMA pioneer Roxanne Modafferi. Instead, Jennifer Maia gutted out a five-round war.

Maia retained the Invicta flyweight title by split decision (47-48, 48-47, 49-46) over Modafferi in the main event of Invicta FC 19 on Friday night in Kansas City. It was announced Friday at weigh-ins that Maia was the undisputed champion due to former champion Barb Honchak's inactivity.

The fight between Maia and Modafferi was a tight one. Maia was clearly the better, more powerful striker throughout, while Modafferi had the edge on the ground. Maia marked up Modafferi in the first round, but when things hit the ground in the second and third frames, Modafferi had the advantage.

In the fourth round, Maia kept it standing and took over, damaging Modafferi with crisp, clean combinations. The fifth was very similar, though Modafferi tried everything — spinning back fists, flying kicks — to try and change the momentum. In the end, Maia pulled it out on the cards.

Maia (14-4-1) won the interim title by beating Vanessa Porto in another five-round war back in March. The 27-year-old Brazilian has now won five in a row and seven of her last eight.

Modafferi (19-13) had nothing to be ashamed about in a performance that once again showed how much she has improved since moving to Las Vegas and Syndicate MMA three years ago. The WMMA legend won two straight and four of five coming in. She has more than bounced back when people wrote her off during a six-fight losing streak.

In the co-main event, Ayaka Hamasaki retained her atomweight title, just not in the way she wanted. Hamasaki connected to Jinh Yu Frey's face with an overhand right late in the second round, opening up a cut that ended the bout at 4:38 due to doctor's stoppage.

The cut was above and to the left of Yu Frey's left eye. It didn't seem like the blood would leak into her eye, but the ringside physician made the choice to stop the bout. Yu Frey won the first round and was having a very solid fight. Hamasaki probably was winning the second round after that big sequence that eventually ended the bout.

"It's pretty disappointing," Yu Frey said. "I still have a lot of fight left in me."

Hamasaki (14-1) has now won five straight and her only career loss came against current UFC strawweight contender Claudia Gadelha in 2013. The 34-year-old Japan native can lay claim to being the best women's atomweight fighter in the world. Yu Frey (5-2) won three straight coming in to earn the title shot.

Irene Aldana continued to show she's one of the brightest prospects in the women's bantamweight division. The Mexican striker finished Faith Van Duin at 4:57 of the first round with a flurry of punches, on the feet and then on the ground. Van Duin got some solid punches in standing, threatening Aldana at times until being overwhelmed.

Aldana (7-€”2) has won four of her five fights in Invicta, all of them coming by first-round TKO. Her lone loss came against champion Tonya Evinger by fourth-round TKO in July 2015. Asked what she wants next, Aldana, 28, said: "I dont know, maybe a rematch?"

Van Duin (6-3) looked solid against a top competition in her second fight at 135 pounds. The New Zealand native was coming off a unanimous decision win over Charlene Watt under the Brace banner in Australia. Before that, she fell at 145 pounds to Cyborg by first-round TKO.

Kaline Medeiros beat Invicta newcomer Manjit Kolekar by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) and then called out strawweight champion Angela Hill.

"Let's dance!" Medeiros said.

The Brazilian has a chance to earn that title shot, especially with the knee injury to Mizuki Inoue and Alexa Grasso leaving for the UFC.

In her MMA debut in earnest, Muay Thai champion Tiffany Van Soest showed heart and plenty of power, but ultimately fell by second-round submission (rear-naked choke) to Kal Holliday, who was making her pro debut.

Also making her Invicta debut was Julia Jones with a first-round submission (rear-naked choke) victory over Stephanie Skinner. Earlier on the card, Amber Leibrock defeated Amy Coleman by first-round TKO after vicious knees to the liver and Sunna Davidstottir, Gunnar Nelson's training partner, beat Ashley Greenway by unanimous decision.

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