TWO-TIME “FIGHT OF THE NIGHT” WINNER LESLIE SMITH SIGNS MULTI-FIGHT AGREEMENT WITH INVICTA FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS
May 7, 2013
(PRESS RELEASE) -- KANSAS CITY, Mo. On the heels of her
second-career Invicta Fighting Championships “Fight of the Night”
performance, crowd-pleasing, prolific striker Leslie Smith
(5-3-1) of Pleasanton, Calif. has signed a new, multi-fight
agreement with the women’s world championship Mixed Martial Arts
(MMA) promotion and will drop from bantamweight (135 pounds) to
flyweight (125 pounds) and challenge Jennifer
Maia (7-2) of Curitiba, Brazil. at Ameristar Casino Hotel
Kansas City on Saturday, July 13.
The winner of the Invicta FC 6 matchup between Smith and Maia will
be awarded a title shot against newly crowned Invicta FC World
Flyweight Champion Barb Honchak
(8-2) of Bettendorf, Iowa.
“We are excited to bring Leslie under the Invicta Fighting
Championships umbrella for the long-term and to watch her compete
in a new weight class that is becoming super competitive in our
promotion,” said Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp. “Since we
launched our live event series last year, Leslie has demonstrated
incredible tenacity and athleticism by putting on some of the most
memorable fights in our cage. She is a true warrior as is her
Maia, so we are looking forward to an explosive matchup between
two of the sport’s stars on what will be Invicta FC’s biggest fight
card to date.”
The 30-year-old Smith engaged in an all-out war with former
Strikeforce champion Sarah
Kaufman at Invicta FC 5 at Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City
on April 5. Following the conclusion of the three-round contest
that many believe Smith won, however, Kaufman was awarded a
controversial, split decision, prompting widespread boos from the
displeased, capacity crowd.
Smith also won “Fight of the Night” honors at the inaugural Invicta
FC event on April 28, 2012, after slugging it out relentlessly with
fellow striker Kaitlin
Young for the duration of their three-round bantamweight bout.
The fight was declared a majority draw, setting up a
much-anticipated rematch at Invicta FC 3 on Oct. 6 that saw Smith
take charge and finish Young with an onslaught of punches from
mount position in the second round (2:19) of the matchup.
Maia, a 24-year-old submission specialist, notched her first
victory in the Invicta FC cage with a stunning upset, unanimous
decision win over superstar Zoila
Frausto Gurgel on April 5. Recognized as one of Brazil’s
quickest rising stars, Maia made quick work of each of her first
four professional career opponents, scoring a first round TKO
(punches) in her pro debut on Suelen
Pinheiro Ribeiro in 2009, and submitting each of her next three
opponents inside the first round.
Tickets for Invicta FC 6: Cyborg vs. Coenen 2, go on sale soon.
In the main event of the stacked 13-bout card, ferocious KO artist
and pound-for-pound sensation Cristiane Cyborg Justino (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 the co-main event, reigning Invicta FC world strawweight (115
pounds) champion Carla
Esparza (9-2) of Redondo Beach, Calif. will put her title on
the line against undefeated JEWELS champion Ayaka
Hamasaki (9-0) of Tokyo, Japan.
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.