Sarah Kaufman Throttles Katharina Lehner, Grabs Vacant Invicta Bantamweight Championship

By: Brian Knapp
May 4, 2018

Class was in session, and Sarah Kaufman was doing the teaching.

Kaufman laid claim to the vacant Invicta Fighting Championships bantamweight title in the Invicta 29 headliner, as she submitted the previously undefeated Katharina Lehner with a third-round rear-naked choke on Friday at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri. Lehner (7-1, 1-1 Invicta) bowed out 4:30 into Round 3.

The resurgent Kaufman (20-4, 3-0 Invicta) tagged the German prospect with repeated right hands, countered effectively and showed off the well-rounded skills that have made her one of the most accomplished female fighters in MMA history. She executed a takedown in the second round, framed an arm-triangle choke and nearly finished it there. Though Lehner escaped, Kaufman was undeterred. The Canadian secured another takedown in the third round, applied her ground-and-pound and moved to side control before making a smooth transition to the back. Soon after, the choke was in place, prompting an immediate tapout from Lehner.

The submission victory was Kaufman’s first in 25 professional appearances.

In the bantamweight co-main event, former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder Pannie Kianzad snapped a three-fight losing streak with a three-round unanimous decision over promotional newcomer Bianca Daimoni. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Kianzad (9-3, 2-3 Invicta), who was reduced to tears afterward.

Daimoni (7-3, 0-1 Invicta) had a difficult time. Kianzad buried the Brazilian with a frustrating clinch, pieced together two-, three- and four-punch combinations and snapped back her counterpart’s head with at least half a dozen jabs. Forced to fight moving backward, Daimoni seemed to grow more and more resigned to her fate as the fight drifted into its latter stages. Kianzad sat her down with a counter left hook in the second round and mixed in knees, kicks to the body and standing elbows at opportune times.

The win was Kianzad’s first since July 9, 2015.

Meanwhile, Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Pearl Gonzalez submitted Barbara Acioly with an armbar in the first round of their flyweight showcase. Acioly (4-3, 0-2 Invicta) conceded defeat 90 seconds into Round 1, as she lost for the third time in as many appearances.

Gonzalez (8-3, 2-0 Invicta) staggered the Brazilian with multi-punch volley, gave her pause with inside leg kicks and executed a takedown. She then shed a loose guillotine choke, slid to side control and moved to full mount before dropping punches and elbows. Gonzalez transitioned from the armbar to a triangle choke and back again for the finish.

The 31-year-old Gonzalez has rattled off back-to-back victories since joining the Invicta roster.

In other action, Marciea Allen stopped the previously unbeaten Julia Avila on an anticlimactic technical knockout due to a finger injury 49 seconds into the first round of their bantamweight scrap; Liz Tracy pocketed a unanimous decision at the expense of Cheri Muraski in a three-round battle at 125 pounds, eliciting 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 scores from the judges; Lisa Spangler captured a unanimous decision over Sarah Kleczka in a three-round bantamweight clash, earning 29-28 nods across the board; Macy Chiasson was awarded a unanimous verdict against Allison Schmidt after their encounter at 145 pounds went the full 15 minutes, sweeping the scorecards with 30-27 marks from all three judges; and Helen Peralta took a unanimous decision from Cheyanne Vlismas in a three-round strawweight affair, drawing 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 scores from the judges.

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