Honchak-Smith, Esparza-Gadelha, Murphy-Nakamoto Title Bouts Set for Invicta FC 7

By: Mike Whitman
Oct 11, 2013
Barb Honchak will defend her flyweight crown at Invicta FC 7. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Three title fights will be contested at Invicta FC 7, including a flyweight championship headliner between Barb Honchak and Leslie Smith.

Invicta Fighting Championships officials announced the booking on Friday morning, also revealing that strawweight champion Carla Esparza will defend her belt against Claudia Gadelha, while Lauren Murphy and Miriam Nakamoto do battle over the inaugural bantamweight crown.

Invicta FC 7 takes place Dec. 7 at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Mo, and will also see Bellator veteran Felice Herrig make her promotional debut in a 115-pound collision with unbeaten Floridian Tecia Torres. Additionally, Scottish standout Joanne Calderwood will lock horns with Finnish strawweight Katja Kankaanpaa.

At featherweight, Strikeforce alum Julia Budd will do battle with fellow Canadian Charmaine Tweet, while ex-Bellator strawweight queen Zoila Frausto Gurgel locks horns with former Invicta title contender Vanessa Porto at 125 pounds. Meanwhile, 21-fight pro Kelly Kobold makes her Invicta foray opposite fellow bantamweight Tonya Evinger, and Munah Holland squares off with another promotional debutant in Nina Ansaroff.

Honchak rides a seven-fight winning streak into the first defense of her flyweight title after capturing the strap this past April in a unanimous decision victory over Vanessa Porto. The 34-year-old Miletich Fighting Systems product has been perfect in her Invicta career thus far, knocking out Bethany Marshall and outpointing Aisling Daly before winning the inaugural flyweight title at Invicta FC 5.

Smith dropped to 125 pounds in her last outing after fighting the first four years of her career at 135 pounds. Following her hard-fought split decision defeat to former Strikeforce bantamweight queen Sarah Kaufman, “The Peacemaker” found success at flyweight when she outpointed Jennifer Maia this past July to earn a crack at the title. Known for her rugged fighting style and volume punching, Smith owns half of her victories by way of knockout and has never been stopped in 10 pro outings.

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