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Invicta FC 42: Cummins vs Zappitella preview

SB Nation logo SB Nation 9/17/2020 Victor Rodriguez
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Invicta once again has been showing resilience during the current pandemic situation, staging smaller events on a consistent basis. The events may be smaller, but the matchmaking remains great and the action still delivers.

As a standard Invicta event, Invicta FC 42 is very good. Some of the usual names are back and there are fights that will sort of various divisions, as well as crown a new queen in one of them.

Atomweight Title: Ashley Cummins vs Alesha Zappitella

The atomweight belt is up for grabs after it was vacated by current UFC fighter Jinh Yu Frey. Perhaps there’s no better solution to this than to have two very exciting fighters battle over it. Zappitella (7-2, 1 no contest) is a sturdy wrestler fighting out of Michigan’s Scorpion Fighting Systems that loves to mug opponents by outworking them in the clinch and shooting hard takedowns to punish them on the ground. Her striking has been somewhat inconsistent, but she can fend off threats while standing until she’s comfortable diving in and doing what she does best.

Cummins (7-5) is a fighter way better than her record may suggest. Starting her career at 3-0, she hit a rough patch with some losses and an unsuccessful run in The Ultimate Fighter—where she was undersized and over-matched. She licked her wounds and came back to go 4-2 after that, with her only losses being to Frey. Her submission game is relentless, and she’s very good at ending up in favorable situations after chaotic scrambles, but might spend too much time on her back against a strong wrestler like Zappitella. Her jab still pops, her combinations are good once she gets her rhythm going, and she’ll be willing to go anywhere the fight goes.

This should be pretty great, and you don’t want to miss it.

Bantamweight: Lisa Verzosa vs Raquel Canuto

Verzosa (formerly Spangler, 5-1) has been a great pickup for Invicta since she made her pro debut in the organization, lacking in finishes but never in tenacity, grit or action. Her lone loss was a nail-biting back and forth against current UFC fighter Julija Stoliarenko, a fight you should probably see before this event. Her boxing has improved considerably, but oddly enough it’s her recklessness that lets her shine as she tends to get the upper hand in wild brawls.

Canuto (formerly Pa’aluhi, 6-6) is another action-first fighter that’s had some growth in recent years, sharpening her grappling and getting into firefights on the regular. This is another fight that should absolutely deliver.

Strawweight: Jessica Delboni vs Herica Tiburcio

Tiburcio (11-4) returns for the first time since 2017 after embracing motherhood, but still has a reputation for toughness. Three of her losses were to current UFC fighters Claudia Gadelha and Jinh Yu Frey, as well as former Invicta and RIZIN champ Ayaka Hamasaki. Her coming out party as a threat to the division was her shocking submission of Michelle Waterson at Invicta FC 10. A little whirlwind of activity, Tiburcio has a good top control game with good mixups in her striking.

Delboni (9-2) stumbled in her Invicta debut against Ashley Cummins, but bounced back with successive wins against Linsey VanZandt in Invicta and Maiana Amanajas in Shooto Brazil. She was unfortunately at the wrong end of a finish in her most recent bout in Brazil, but that doesn’t discount her as a threat. Swarming an opponent and keeping forward pressure wins the day for her, and her leg kicks add up over time.

Flyweight: Victoria Leonardo vs Liz Tracy

Leonardo (6-2) has three wins by rear naked choke, and also had a lovely armbar finish at Bellator 218. Leonardo launches shoulder punches and pushes a steady pace, but has a ton of composure in the grappling department. Even with some defensive lapses in her standup game, her submission grappling approach has more than compensated for anything else.

Tracy (5-3) has spent time training at Team Oyama, outworking opponents with takedowns and ground strikes, with a lot of heavy pressure and what could adequately be described as farm strength. Smart with her strike selection, she’s got tremendous output with punches from guard and half guard.

Catchweight (120 lbs): Jennifer Chieng vs Helen Peralta

Jennifer Chieng (1-0) represented Micronesia in the 2016 Olympics, moved on to the financial sector in New York and then got into MMA full time. After a wild pro debut in Bellator, she graces the Invicta cage.

And who better to welcome her than Helen Peralta (2-1)? Aside from MMA, she’s had a few bare knuckle boxing matches, to make her one of the toughest chefs in the nation right now.

Finally, a fight between Auttumn Norton and Brittney Cloudy was cancelled due to a positive COVID test, and Flore Hani - originally scheduled to face Jennifer Chieng - is also off the card.

Weigh-in results are as follows:

Atomweight title: Ashley Cummins (104.9) vs. Alesha Zappitella (104.4)

Bantamweight: Lisa Verzosa (134.5) vs. Raquel Canuto (135.6)

Strawweight: Jessica Delboni (115.6) vs. Herica Tiburcio (115.1)

Flyweight: Victoria Leonardo (125.7) vs. Liz Tracy (125.3)

Catchweight (120 lbs): Jennifer Chieng (114.9)* vs. Helen Peralta (119.3)

Invicta FC 42: Cummins vs Zappitella takes place this Thursday night starting at 8:00pm EST, streaming live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.

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