Flyweight (125 pounds) superstar Zoila Frausto Gurgel (12-2) of Cincinnati, Ohio has signed a multi-fight contract with Invicta Fighting Championships and will make her debut for the women’s world championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion at its next event on an April date to be announced soon.
Frausto Gurgel will square off with submission expert Jennifer Maia (6-2) of Curitiba, Parana Brazil.
“We are thrilled to welcome Zoila, an established superstar in the sport, to the Invicta FC roster and are looking forward to seeing her compete in our rapidly growing flyweight division,” said Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp. “Zoila has turned in a number of thrilling performances while rising through the ranks of fighters over the last few years, and we are confident that she will help raise the bar of competition even further in the Invicta FC cage.”
The 29-year-old Frausto Gurgel, the wife of former UFC and Strikeforce competitor Jorge Gurgel, is coming off a sensational, 6-1 run in Bellator Fighting Championships action that included victories over rival superstars Rosi Sexton, Jessica Aguilar and submission wizard Megumi Fuji, who entered the Oct. 28, 2010 matchup with Frausto Gurgel with a perfect 22-0 record. Frausto Gurgel edged out a split decision to snap Fuji’s unbeaten run that began in 2004, and become the first Bellator women’s strawweight (115 pounds) champion in history.
During the Bellator stint, Frausto Gurgel also handed Jessica Penne the only defeat of her career before Penne went on to become the first-ever Invicta FC champion at atomweight (105 pounds).
“I am excited to join Invicta FC, where the best women fighters in the world are competing,” said Frausto Gurgel, whose 22-year-old sister Stephanie Frausto, also fights for Invicta FC as an atomweight. “Invicta FC has become more than just a promotion – it’s evolved into an entire movement for women’s MMA, and I’m proud to represent that movement while continuing to fight and beat the best opponents out there.”
Invicta FC 5 will be headlined by an atomweight title bout between Jessica Penne (10-1) and Michelle Waterson (10-3).
Penne, 30, is riding a three-fight win streak, while Waterson won each of her last four.
The inaugural flyweight championship will be featured as the co-main event, as Barb Honchak (7-2) fights Vanessa Porto (15-5).
Sherdog.com also reports that Aussie MMA legend Bec Hyatt (4-2) will be fighting Invicta FC newcomer Jasminka Cive (5-0) in a strawweight bout likely slated for the main card.
Hyatt looks to get back in the win column following her Invicta FC 4 loss to Carla Esparza, while Cive hopes to extend her win-streak to six. Hyatt instantly became one of the hottest up-and-coming stars in female MMA with her gritty performance against Esparza, so her tilt against Cive has "Fight of the Night" written all over it.
In other main card action, former Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman is set to make her Invicta FC debut, but her opponent has not yet been formally announced.
Invicta FC vet Leslie Smith was slated to fight Kaufman at Invicta FC 4, so there's a strong possibility that they will meet inside the cage in April.
Kaufman hasn't fought since losing to Ronda Rousey in Aug. 2012.
Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp said on Facebook on Feb. 4 that the Invicta FC 5 location, date and full fight card will be revealed this week.
"It is going to be a great week! Lots of exciting announcements coming up!" Knapp wrote. "Invicta FC #5 location, date, full fight card with 14 fights and we are welcoming a lot of new athletes to the Invicta FC family. Good stuff!"
Rose Namajunas (1-0), Veronica Rothenhausler (1-0) and Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc are the latest fighters rumored to appear on the Invicta FC 5 card.
Invicta FC 5 will likely be held on Apr. 6 in Missouri, not on Apr. 13 in Irvine, Calif., as had been originally reported.