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Tonya Evinger vs. Yana Kunitskaya rematch set for Invicta FC 22

Yana Kunitskaya (left) will get another shot at Tonya Evinger at Invicta FC 22.
Yana Kunitskaya (left) will get another shot at Tonya Evinger at Invicta FC 22.
Esther Lin, Invicta FC

This time around, there should be a resolution. Hopefully.

Tonya Evinger and Yana Kunitskaya will meet again for the Invicta FC bantamweight title in the main event of Invicta 22 on March 25 in Kansas City, it was announced Saturday night during the Invicta 21 broadcast on UFC Fight Pass.

In the first matchup back in November, Kunitskaya won by first-round submission, but the result was overturned to a no contest after Evinger won an appeal with the Missouri Office of Athletics.

Kunitskaya won the belt with the submission, but had to give it up when the fight was overturned. Evinger remained the champion.

The controversy happened when Kunitskaya locked in an armbar from the bottom after an early Evinger takedown. Evinger stood up to defend the submission and put her foot on Kunitskaya’s face for leverage in an attempt to pull herself out of the hold. Referee Mike England told Evinger to move from that position, even though it’s perfectly legal. A fighter can place a foot on an opponent’s face, as long as it isn’t a strike to the grounded opponent.

Evinger obeyed England and shifted her position. As she was doing that, Kunitskaya got the armbar in deeper. Evinger then had to tap. She argued in her appeal that had England not told her to move, she would have been able to stay in place and get out of the armbar. The Missouri Office of Athletics correctly overturned the result in December.

Evinger (18-5, 1 NC) won nine in a row coming into the last fight. Her loss was one of the most shocking upsets of 2016 — until it was no longer a loss at all. Evinger, 35, is arguably the top female fighter in the world who isn’t in the UFC. The Houston resident has been Invicta champ since 2015.

Kunitskaya (9-2, 1 NC) was making her Invicta debut in November at Invicta 20. The Russia native had won seven of her last eight fights, including a victory over Cindy Dandois, heading into the Evinger bout. Kunitskaya, 27, has only one career submission, a rear-naked choke win eight years ago.

No other fights have been announced yet for Invicta 22.

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