(PRESS RELEASE) -- KANSAS CITY, Mo. (March 25, 2013) –Hard-hitting kickboxing stylist Julia Budd (4-2) of Port Moody, BC Canada will square off with upstart Mollie Estes (1-1) of Kansas City in a featherweight (145 pounds) contest at the highly-anticipated Invicta Fighting Championships women’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) world championship doubleheader event at Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City on Friday, April 5.
Estes’ original opponent, Veronica Rothenhausler of Sacramento, Calif., has withdrawn from the event due to injury.
The 29-year-old Budd, a protégé of former MMA star Lance Gibson known for her phenomenal conditioning, is looking for her third straight victory in the cage after reeling off back-to-back, first-round TKO wins – both by way of punches and elbow strikes -in Invicta FC competition. On July 28, 2012, she stopped Elina Nilsson at Invicta FC 2 and, on Oct. 6, 2012, she finished Danielle West at Invicta FC 3.
Budd’s only two career losses to date came at the hands of champion Ronda Rousey and top-ranked Amanda Nunes. In March 2005, Budd became the first fighter to defeat superstar Gina Carano by way of unanimous decision after they faced off in a Muay Thai rules bout.
The 37-year-old Estes will make her second start in the Invicta FC cage after taking on 2008 Olympic wrestling bronze medalist Randi Miller at the promotion’s inaugural event on April 28, 2011. Expected to be disposed of in the early going of the matchup against the world-class wrestler, Estes held her own and pushed Miller into the third and final scheduled round of the contest before being stopped with a barrage of punches from Miller.
Before turning pro with a three-round unanimous decision victory over Lacie Jackson on Oct. 1, 2011, Estes enjoyed a splendid, two-year stint as an amateur, compiling an overall record of 7-1, with all 7 of her wins coming by way of (T)KO or submission.
Tickets for Invicta FC 5, priced from $25, are on sale online at TicketFly.com.
In the main event of the stacked 13-bout card, reigning Invicta FC Atomweight (105 pounds) Champion Jessica Penne (10-1) of Huntington Beach, Calif. will defend her crown against superstar Michelle Waterson (10-3) of Albuquerque, N.M. and, in the co-main event and first-ever Invicta FC flyweight (125 pounds) title fight, submission ace Vanessa Porto (15-5) of Sao Paulo, Brazil will square off with red-hot star Barb Honchak (7-2) of Bettendorf, Iowa.
Pound for pound great and devastating KO artist Cristiane Cyborg (10-1, 1 NC) of Curitiba, Brazil will make her highly-anticipated Invicta FC debut against rising star Fiona Muxlow (6-2) of Townsville, Queensland Australia in a featherweight matchup.
Flyweight superstar Zoila Frausto Gurgel (12-2) of Cincinnati, Ohio will also make her Invicta FC debut in another featured bout against submission expert Jennifer Maia (6-2) of Curitiba, Parana Brazil.
In other action on the eight-bout main card, bantamweight (135 pounds) superstar Sarah Kaufman (15-2) of Victoria, BC Canada will make her long-awaited Invicta FC debut against dangerous striker and Invicta FC 3 and Invicta FC 4 winner Leslie Smith (5-2-1) of Pleasant Hill, Calif.
Undefeated KO artist Lauren Taylor (5-0) of Anchorage, Alaska will battle hard-hitting Kaitlin Young (7-7-1) of St. Louis Park, Minn. at bantamweight.
Crowd-pleasing “Rowdy” Bec Hyatt (4-2) of Brisbane, Australia will look to return to the win column against undefeated sensation and Invicta FC newcomer Jasminka Cive (5-0) of Graz, Austria in a strawweight (115 pounds) meeting.
The Invicta FC five-fight preliminary card will be highlighted by a bantamweight tilt between two undefeated prospects in powerhouse Jessamyn Duke (2-0) of Richmond, Ky. and Muay Thai stylist Miriam Nakamoto (1-0) of Dublin, Calif.
Katja Kankaanpaa (7-0-1) of Seinajoki, Finland will square off with fellow undefeated rising star Juliana Carnerio Lima (5-0) of Belo Horizonte, Brazil at strawweight in what will mark both fighters’ Invicta FC debuts.
Alex Chambers (3-1) of St. Ives New South Wales, Australia will meet unbeaten Jodie Esquibel (3-0) of Albuquerque, N.M. at atomweight.
Fresh off of her professional debut victory in the Invicta FC cage, top-flight prospect Rose Namajunas (1-0) of St. Paul, Minn. will face off with fellow undefeated upstart Kathina Catron (2-0) of Tehlequa, Okla. at strawweight.
Cassie Rodish (4-3) of Des Moines, Iowa will face Simona Soukupova (3-2) of London, England in an atomweight cont! est.
About Invicta Fighting Championships: Invicta Fighting Championships (www.invictafc.com) 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 casin! o 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, 20! 11 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.