Pearl Gonzalez is back in the win column.
Coming off of her first loss since joining the Invicta FC roster, Gonzalez (10-4) kept herself in the flyweight title mix with a convincing unanimous decision win over Brogan Sanchez (6-1) in the main event of Invicta FC 37 on Friday at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan.
Gonzalez’s last fight was for a vacant Invicta title at 125 pounds, but she lost via technical decision in a bout that was halted and scored in the fourth round when Gonzalez accidentally poked Vanessa Porto in the eye and Porto could not continue. Following her win over Sanchez, Gonzalez brought in a pair of young family members to share her post-fight interview with her.
“This fight was so important for me for several reasons—not just for myself, I’ve been in this sport, this game for so many years—but for my team,” Gonzalez said. “My team put so much work and effort into working with me and believing in me on the days I don’t, for these babies right here.
“It was so important for me to come back here and bring home a win for them. The last time they were here, I lost. And I want them to know that I’ll never give up on myself and I want them to never give up on themselves.”
Gonzalez appeared to be a step ahead of Sanchez in all three rounds of their contest as she got the better of an opening scramble and spent much of the opening period in top position. Sanchez had some success with elbows in the clinch, but she was unable to sustain much offense.
The story was the same in round two, a more even affair that saw the fighters exchanging punches and leg kicks from range. Gonzalez asserted herself again in round three, battling Sanchez against the cage before landing a big slam with over two minutes to work. The ground control was clearly in Gonzalez’s favor and she wound up sweeping the scorecards with a trio of 30-27 marks.
This was the first loss for Sanchez in seven professional bouts.
The flyweight co-main event saw Mariya Agapova (8-1) win her second fight in as many appearances for Invicta as she dominated Marilia Santos (10-4) on the ground en route to a TKO stoppage via strikes at the 4:55 mark of round one.
Midway through the round, Santos was eager to turn this into a grappling contest and she pulled guard as the two were clinched up against the fence. That proved to be her downfall as Agapova never gave up position and turned up the ground-and-pound in the closing seconds to seal the win.
Hansen out-wrestled Caliari throughout the fight, neutralizing the Brazilian’s striking and putting herself in position for a decision win. However, she aggressively hunted for a finish in the third, executing a guillotine choke from mount and eventually earning the tap to record her fifth win by submission or knockout.
In a scary moment, Shino VanHoose’s return from a two-year hiatus was cut short when a leg kick by Lindsey VanZandt (7-2) appeared to re-aggravate a left knee injury that put VanHoose (6-6) on the shelf earlier this year. Upon landing the fateful strike less than a minute into the fight, VanZandt immediately recognized what was happening and ceased attacking as the referee soon stepped in to wave off the bout.
After the result was read, VanHoose congratulated VanZandt in a show of sportsmanship before exiting the cage with assistance.
Click here for complete Invicta FC 37 results.