Sarah Kaufman made a bit of history Friday night in Kansas City.
The Canadian fighter defeated Katharina Lehner by rear-naked choke submission, finishing at 4:30 of the third round in main event of Invicta FC 29 to capture the vacant Invicta women’s bantamweight title. Kaufman joins Cris Cyborg as the only other person to win titles in both Strikeforce and Invicta.
“Cris Cyborg is the only other Strikeforce and Invicta champion,” Kaufman said afterward. “Now, I’m the same thing.”
Kaufman nearly finished the bout at the end of the second round when she locked in a tight arm triangle. Lehner appeared to go out at one point, but somehow survived. In the next round, Kaufman once again worked for a takedown late and this time she took Lehner’s back and choked her out.
Kaufman had the superior striking throughout, too. Lehner ended up with a cut near her left eye via a Kaufman elbow in the third round while the two were up against the cage. Lehner, who came in undefeated, proved extremely tough, though.
Kaufman (20-4, 1 NC) has now won three in a row since her deal with the UFC expired in 2015. She is clearly still one of the best women’s bantamweight fighters in the world — and now has some gold to show it. Kaufman, 32, owns wins in her career over current or former UFC fighters Miesha Tate, Alexis Davis (two), Leslie Smith, Jessica-Rose Clark, Roxanne Modafferi and Liz Carmouche. She held the Strikeforce belt in 2010.
Lehner (7-1) won by first-round TKO over Alexa Conners in her Invicta debut last August and beat Gemma Pike at Hype FC 7 by unanimous decision back in December. The German fighter trained for this fight at JacksonWink MMA in Albuquerque, Kaufman’s former camp. Lehner, 28, remains a prospect in the Invicta 135-pound division.
Pannie Kianzad is officially back on a winning track.
In the co-main event Friday, the Swedish fighter defeated Bianca Daimoni in a complete performance by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). Kianzad dominated standing up the whole way through, knocked Daimoni down on multiple occasions and controlled the bout from bell to bell. Daimondi showed some solid boxing, but Kianzad beat her to the punch over and over.
Kianzad (9-3) came in on a three-fight losing streak, all in Invicta. She fell to Kaufman via unanimous decision in January. Kianzad, 26, has also lost to top bantamweights Tonya Evinger and Raquel Pa’aluhi, but owns a win over Jessica-Rose Clark.
Daimoni (7-3) has now lost two of three. This was the her debut in Invicta and first bout outside of her native Brazil. Daimoni, 31, missed weight by 3.6 pounds Friday.
Pearl Gonzalez continued her post-UFC career reformation with a dominant and violent victory over Barbara Acioly. After a physical scuffle Friday at weigh-ins, Gonzalez took it to Acioly and finished at 1:30 of the first round with an armbar.
Gonzalez (8-3) has now won two straight in Invicta since being released by the UFC last year. She defeated Kali Robbins by unanimous decision in a strawweight fight in March, while this one was at flyweight. Gonzalez, 31, said afterward that she’s concentrating on 115, but will also take fights at 125 if it makes sense. Acioly (4-3) has lost three straight.
Julia Avila’s Invicta debut was derailed by a gruesome, broken finger — a compound fracture to be exact. Marciea Allen was ruled the winner by TKO (injury) at :49 of the first round. Avila (4-0) made her return to MMA after four years in 2016 and has won three times since. Allen (7-2) has now four straight.
Also on the card, Macy Chiasson beat Allison Schmidt by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Lisa Spangler knocked off Sarah Kleczka by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) and Liz Tracy defeated Cheri Muraski via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27).