Jun 13, 2013
(PRESS RELEASE) -- KANSAS CITY, Mo. (June 11, 2013) – A leg injury has forced reigning Invicta Fighting Championships World Strawweight (115 pounds) Champion Carla Esparza (9-2) of Redondo Beach, Calif. to withdraw from her scheduled title defense against undefeated JEWELS champion Ayaka Hamasaki (9-0) of Tokyo, Japan at the highly-anticipated Invicta Fighting Championships women’s world championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event at Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City on Saturday, July 13.

Replacing the injured Esparza against Hamasaki in the Invicta FC 6 co-main event will be undefeated sensation Claudia Gadelha (9-0) of Mossoro, Rio Grande Do Norte Brazil.

Gadelha’s original Invicta FC 6 opponent, undefeated, fast-rising star Joanne Calderwood (6-0) of Glasgow, Scotland has been matched with a new strawweight opponent, Sarah Schneider (6-6) of Raytown, Mo.

The 24-year-old Gadelha’s start will be her first under the Invicta FC banner. In her last start, she notched a unanimous decision win over Herica Tiburcio on May 11, 2013.

Hamasaki, a 31-year-old submission specialist, has been an unsolvable puzzle in action, thus far. After reeling off victories in her first seven stars in Japan, she made her debut in the U.S. at Invicta FC 2 last July 28, submitting Lacey Schuckman in the third round (4:45) of action with an armbar. Hamasaki recorded her latest conquest in on Dec. 15, a unanimous decision over Emi Fujino in a JEWELS-promoted contest in Japan.

The 32-year-old Schneider holds an overall 1-1 record in the Invicta FC cage. Five of her six-career professional victories have come by way of submission, including her start against Sally Krumdiack at the inaugural Invicta FC event on April 28, 2012, which Schneider won by way of armbar in the first round (3:01).

Tickets priced from $35, for the highly-anticipated Invicta Fighting Championships women’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) world championship doubleheader event at Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City on Saturday, July 13, are on sale online at

In the main event of the stacked 13-bout card, ferocious KO artist and pound-for-pound sensation Cristiane Cyborg (11-1, 1 NC) of Curitiba, Brazil will face off with fellow superstar and submission ace Marloes Coenen (21-5) of The Netherlands in the first-ever Invicta FC world featherweight (145 pounds) championship bout.

The showdown between rivals Cyborg and Coenen marks a highly-anticipated rematch to their explosive, barnburner first fight in Sunrise, Fla. on Jan 30, 2010 in which Cyborg emerged victorious by way of TKO (punches) in the third and final scheduled round (3:40) of action.

In other action on the Invicta FC 6 main card, three-time Invicta FC fight winner Sarah D’Alelio (7-3) of San Jose, Calif. will take on undefeated upstart Lauren Taylor (6-0) of Anchorage, Alaska at bantamweight (135 pounds).

After her second Invicta FC “Fight of the Night” performance, prolific striker Leslie Smith (5-3-1) of Pleasant Hill, Calif. will drop from bantamweight to flyweight and face off with Jennifer Maia (7-2) of Curitiba, Parana Brazil. Maia is coming off her second consecutive win, a unanimous decision over superstar Zoila Frausto Gurgel, at Invicta FC 5 on April 5.

Former Invicta FC world atomweight (105 pounds) champion Jessica Penne (10-2) of Huntington Beach, Calif. will look to rebound from her hard-fought defeat at the hands of Michelle Waterson in the main event of Invicta FC 5 when she squares off with battle-tested road warrior Nicdali Riveral-Calanoc (8-6) of Tulsa, Okla.

Submission ace Ediane Gomes (10-2) of Sao Paulo, Brazil will battle hard-punching Julia Budd (5-2) in a featherweight (145 pounds) tilt.

Crowd-pleasing finisher “Rowdy” Bec Hyatt (5-2) of Brisbane, Queensland Australia will look to notch her second straight victory under the Invicta FC banner in a strawweight showdown with JEWELS star Mizuki Inoue (5-1) of Nagoya, Aichi Japan. Inoue has won all five her professional stars to date by way of submission inside of two rounds of action.

Hard-hitting Muay Thai stylist Miriam Nakamoto (1-0) of Dublin, Calif. will square off with Duda Yankovich (1-1) of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in a bantamweight bout.

A four-bout preliminary card will be highlighted by a strawweight collision between unbeaten upstarts Rose Namajunas (2-0) of St. Paul, Minn. and Tecia Torres (2-0) of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Namajunas captured the attention of the entire MMA fight world when she scored a stunning, 12-second submission on Kathina Catron at Invicta FC 5.

Ashley Cummins (3-1) of St. Louis, Miss. will face Emily Kagan (2-1) of Albuquerque, N.M. at strawweight.

Power striker Veronica Rothenhausler (1-0) of Sacramento, Calif. will collide with Mollie Estes (1-2) of Oceola, Miss. in a featherweight scrap.

Cassie Robb (0-1) of Casper, Wyo. will meet Livia von Plettenberg (1-1) of Vienna, Wien Austria in the event’s opening strawweight bout.

About Invicta Fighting Championships: Invicta Fighting Championships ( is a world championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight series dedicated to providing female athletes with a major platform to hone their skills on a consistent basis. Founded in 2012 by longtime MMA executive Shannon Knapp and sports aficionado Janet Martin, Invicta is committed to pioneering the future growth of women’s MMA by promoting the best possible matchups between female competitors and identifying and developing future superstars of the sport.

About Ameristar Kansas City Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City is owned and operated by a wholly owned subsidiary of Ameristar Casinos, Inc. (NASDAQ-GS: ASCA), and is a premier property characterized by a state-of-the-art casino floor and outstanding dining, lodging and entertainment options. The property features the largest casino and the most games in the Kansas City area, as well as one of the largest poker rooms in the Midwest. Ameristar offers nine diverse dining venues -- The Horizon Buffet, The Falcon Bakery, Pearl’s Oyster Bar, Great Plains Cattle Co., Amerisports Brew Pub, Casino Deli, Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque, Burger King and Sbarro The Italian Eatery, as well as the Star Club, a private players’ lounge. Entertainment amenities include the Star Pavilion, featuring national headliners; Depot #9, with popular regional and local acts; the Regal Cinema’s Kansas City 18 Theater; Hi-Vi video arcade; and Kids Quest, a supervised child-care facility. The property also includes a 184-room hotel. The property was awarded “Favorite Casino” for the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association’s 2012 Visitor Choice Awards. Best Casino in 2012 Ingram’s Magazine “Best of Business Awards;” in the 2003, 2005, 2007 – 2009, 2011 Kansas City Magazine’s “Best of Kansas City” readers’ poll and 2011 Best Casino in Home in the Northland Magazine’s readers’ poll. Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City also was awarded Best Steakhouse, Best Buffet, Best Live Poker and Best Tournaments in the 2012 Casino Player Magazine’s “Best of Gaming” awards.

Visit Ameristar Casinos’ website at (which shall not be deemed to be incorporated in or a part of this news release).

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