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Invicta FC 38 results: Kanako Murata tops Emily Ducote to claim strawweight belt

Kanako Murata (pictured) is the new Invicta FC strawweight queen.
Photo via Invicta FC

The Invicta FC strawweight championship once again became vacant after a titleholder left the company to join the UFC, but there’s a new queen in town.

Kanako Murata met Emily Ducote for the 125-pound gold in the main event of Friday night’s Invicta FC 38 in Kansas City and had to dig deep and escape from multiple submission attempts over the course of 25 minutes to win a split decision.

Ducote went for leg kicks early on, but Murata wasted no time using her wrestling to take the Bellator veteran down to the ground. The Japanese fighter found success with her takedowns many times during the championship bout, but always had to worry about “Gordinha’s” armbar attempts.

In the end, judges Kevin Champion and Steven Graham scored the bout in Murata’s favor, crowning her the second Japanese fighter to win a belt in Invicta FC history.

Brazilian MMA pioneer Vanessa Porto flew to Kansas City to put her flyweight title on the line against Karina Rodríguez in the main event, but the bout was moved to the co-main event slot and went from five to three rounds after Rodriguez failed to make championship weight on Thursday morning.

Porto started off with good combos before shooting for a double leg takedown, but Rodriguez immediately got back up and countered well on the feet. Rodriguez found more success with her takedown defense in the second, leaving Porto with a bloody face due to her punches. Porto scored important points with takedowns in the final stanza to win on all three judges’ scorecards (29-28 x3).

“Despite her mistake (of missing weight) she’s an excellent athlete, really tough, but I accomplished my goal one more time,” Porto said after the win. “My jiu-jitsu was very important in here. Jiu-jitsu beat boxing and muay thai tonight.”

One of the biggest stars of the night was rising strawweight Mallory Martin, who continues to dominate in the Invicta FC cage after a one-sided performance against karate specialist Cynthia Arceo.

Martin, who went viral last year after screaming “You’re done! No one can save you!” while landing vicious elbows on Tiffany Masters, once again used her ground and pound to emerge victorious in the cage. This time, Martin got the mount in the final round and threw elbows while screaming “Happy Halloween” to Masters, winning a clear decision in the end.

“If you keep feeding me these girls, I’m just going to keep beating them up,” Martin said after the unanimous decision victory. “I need a bigger challenge.

“I envisioned blood, and that’s all I wanted.”

In a rematch of an exhibition affair that took place in September, former Contender Series contestant Shanna Young and one-time Strikeforce veteran Maiju Suotama met in a professional contest this time in Kansas City. Young, who won the one-round contest via decision, had to work hard and escape from two rear-naked choke attempts in the opening stanza in the rematch.

Young came back strong in the second, knocking Suotama down right away and avoiding every takedown attempt from her opponent. Young kept dominating the action in the third, inflicting more damage with her ground and pound en route to a decision victory (29-27, 28-27, 28-26).

In the early portion of the card, Auttumn Norton scored her first win under the Invicta FC banner against previously unbeaten Shaianna Rincon.

The featherweight contest started at high pace with both fighters trading hands in violent fashion on the feet. Norton hurt Rincon a couple of times in the opening stanza, but wasn’t able to secure the finish. Norton kept dominating the action with superior striking and ground and pound to win via unanimous decision (30-26 x3).

Norton said in her post-fight interview she plans on going back down the bantamweight division after taking the featherweight contest on short notice.

In another action-packed contest, this time at bantamweight, Lisa Verzosa improved to 5-0 as a professional with a decision victory over Kerri Kenneson, moving one step closer to the 135-pound championship.

Click here for complete Invicta FC 38 results.

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