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Shannon Knapp announces championship doubleheader for Invicta FC 25

Yana Kunitskaya
Yana Kunitskaya will take on Raquel Pa'aluhi for the Invicta FC 135-pound title at Invicta FC 25.
Esther Lin

MMA’s premier all-women’s organization will head out west Aug. 31 when Invicta FC 25 takes over Lemoore, Calif., with a card headlined by a championship doubleheader, Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp announced Monday on The MMA Hour.

In the night’s main event, top bantamweight contenders Yana Kunitskaya and Raquel Pa'aluhi will vie for the Invicta FC 135-pound crown recently vacated by longtime champion Tonya Evinger. In a co-headlining attraction, former strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza and veteran Jodie Esquibel will seek the same when they meet for the 115-pound title vacated by UFC fighter Angela Hill.

The event will mark the third consecutive title fight for Kunitskaya (9-3, 1 NC), a 27-year-old whose 2016 bout against Evinger was overturned from a win into a no contest due to a controversial call by referee Mike England. Kunitskaya lost the subsequent rematch against Evinger, falling victim to a second-round rear-naked choke, but she’ll now get another chance against Pa'aluhi (6-5), a 26-year-old who has won three of her four contests under the Invicta FC umbrella, highlighted by a recent first-round submission over Pannie Kianzad.

Souza (10-1), meanwhile, will look to reclaim the strawweight strap she lost in a split decision against Hill last summer. Souza, 26, rebounded in a major way this past March, knocking out Invicta atomweight champ Ayaka Hamasaki in under two minutes at Invicta FC 22. She’ll now take on Esquibel (6-2), a 31-year-old out of New Mexico who has won four of her six Invicta FC appearances, including a recent split decision over DeAnna Bennett.

Invicta FC 25 takes place at the Tachi Palace in Lemoore, Calif. The card will stream live on UFC Fight Pass.

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