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Invicta 44 results: Karina Rodriguez captures flyweight title, Alesha Zappitella defends atomweight belt

Invicta FC has a new flyweight champion after Karina Rodriguez outpointed Daiana Torquato and atomweight champion Alesha Zappitella defended her belt despite a spirited effort from Jessica Delboni at Invicta FC 44.

Rodriguez earned a unanimous decision with scores of 50-45, 49-46 and 48-47 for a superior striking attack at distance that nullified Torquato’s clinch work. Delboni’s aggressive attack, meanwhile, convinced one judge there was a new champ with a score of 48-47, but the remaining two had Zappitella by the same score.

Invicta FC 44 took place Friday at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., and streamed live on YouTube via AXS TV.

Early on, it appeared Torquato had the right game plan as she charged into the clinch and landed punches, knees and elbows in close. But as the fight went on, Rodriguez increasingly found her timing and made Torquato pay with accurate shots. A right hand dropped Torquato at the end of the first.

By the time Torquato got back to her winning strategy, she was already down on two judges’ scorecards, 39-37, 40-36. She tried to even the score by wading in and mixing it up, but Rodriguez held fast and largely kept her at bay.

Zappitella defended her Invicta FC atomweight title with a razor-close decision win over Delboni.

Judges had the fight event at 38-38 going into the fifth and final round, and one dissented for Delboni, whose counters and defensive wrestling was on point throughout the night.

Unable to take Delboni down, Zappitella was forced to slug it out. Her lead leg was bright red at the end of the fight from Delboni’s leg kicks, and her mouth was bloody from repeated left hands fired as she winged her right straight. Her best work came in transition as she landed knees and punches off the clinch, and her jab scored repeatedly as Delboni chased down exchanges. But it was far from a dominant performance.

Zappitella’s current winning streak is extended to four straight fights while Delboni drops to 2-2 in the Invicta cage.

Full Invicta FC 44 results:

Karina Rodriguez def. Daiana Torquato via unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 48-47)

Alesha Zappitella def. Jessica Delboni via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)

Claire Guthrie def. Juliana Miller via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Josee Storts def. Maria Favela via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Fatima Kline def. Ariana Melendez via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 1, 3:00

Elise Pone def. Chrissy Yandolli via TKO (strikes) - Round 2, 2:07

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