Jinh Yu Frey had the Invicta FC atomweight title in her sights. She was in a very competitive fight with Ayaka Hamasaki — some had her winning — at Invicta FC 19 in September 2016.
But, late in the second round, Hamasaki opened up a nasty cut near Yu Frey’s left and the doctor’s stopped the bout. Hamasaki would retain the title.
It took two years, but Yu Frey now has the belt she has sought for quite some time. The Texas resident beat Minna Grusander by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47) in the main event of Invicta FC 30 on Saturday night in Kansas City, Mo.
The bout went back and forth. It lagged at times. But over the final three rounds, Yu Frey did just enough to gut it out on the judges’ scorecards. Grusander, along with some on social media, disagreed with the decision, but Yu Frey is the new Invicta atomweight champion.
Grusander used her clinch game to take over the first two rounds. In the third, Yu Frey mounted a comeback, taking Grusander down, taking her back and landing some hard ground and pound. That ended up being a turning point in the fight. Grusander executed her clinch game against the cage again in the fourth and fifth, but Yu Frey was able to touch her up at times and do damage to Grusander’s right eye.
Yu Frey (7-3) was coming off a TKO loss to Seo Hee Ham under the ROAD FC banner in December. At Invicta FC 24 in July 2017, Yu Frey beat Ashley Cummins by unanimous decision to help set up a title opportunity. Yu Frey, 33, has won five of seven fights overall.
Grusander (6-2) had won four straight coming in. “Brutsku,” a Finland native, beat Fernanda Priscila by second-round TKO at Invicta 28 in March. Grusander, 29, has finished five of her six wins.
In a division looking for emerging talent across multiple promotions, Felicia Spencer is looking more and more like a future impact player at women’s featherweight.
In the co-main event Saturday, Spencer defeated Helena Kolesnyk via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:47 of the second round. Spencer dominated the first round and almost locked up the choke then, but couldn’t get it. She finished the job in the second.
Spencer (5-0) has won all five of her Invicta (and pro) fighters, three of them by finish. The Florida resident, originally from Montreal, called out Pam Sorenson and UFC fighter Megan Anderson afterward. Spencer, 27, seems like a top candidate to earn a shot at Invicta’s vacant featherweight title.
Kolesnyk (5-2) has lost two straight after beginning her career at 5-0 (1 NC). The Russia resident, who was born in Ukraine, has lost both of her Invicta bouts by first-round finish. Kolesnyk, 28, had finished all of her wins before this current skid.
Heather Jo Clark is in Invicta and back on a winning track. The UFC and Ultimate Fighter veteran defeated Kinberly Novaes by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) on Saturday night.
Clark (7-6) had lost two straight in the UFC before parting ways with the promotion. Now training out of Factory X in Colorado, “Hurricane” is looking to make some noise in the Invicta strawweight division. Clark, 37, has been a pro MMA fighter for eight years. Novaes (9-5) has dropped four straight.
Put another one in the win column for Hawaii. Stephanie Geltmacher ran through Keri Kenneson, winning by first-round TKO at 3:32 after a takedown and ground and pound in a bantamweight bout. Geltmacher (3-0), a former collegiate All-American wrestler, came in on short notice and said she’ll fight in the flyweight division in the future. The 27-year-old, a Hawaii native who trains out of Oklahoma, appears to be someone to watch for in that 125-pound division.
Alyse Anderson announced herself as a legitimate atomweight prospect with a triangle choke submission over Stephanie Alba. Anderson put Alba out via technical submission at 3:12 of the second round. Anderson (4-1), who trains with Felice Herrig, was coming off a split decision loss to Shino VanHoose, but is just 23 years old.
Also on the card, Alesha Zappitella defeated Jillian DeCoursey via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Brogan Walker-Sanchez beat Miranda Maverick by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28),
In the opener, 19-year-old Erin Blanchfield moved to 2-0 as a pro with a split decision victory over Brittney Cloudy.