105 lbs.:: Laura Sanko vs Cassie Robb
Round one: Sanko worked for a guillotine in the opening minute, but Robb took her to the mat and worked for top position by the midway mark of the first frame. Sanko successfully got back to her feet before being taken back down in the third minute of the round. Robb got a full mount and Sanko gave up her back with 1:41 to go. Robb dropped down elbows to Sanko's temple, but Sanko got back to her feet momentarily. Sanko worked for an armbar as time wound down in the opening frame, but Robb successfully escaped. Robb finishes the first round on top of Sanko. Excellent back-and-forth action. Color commentator Julie Kedzie said she wasn't sure how to score the bout, but King Mo Lawal gave Robb the edge.
Round two: Sanko takes Robb to the mat and works for side control. Robb gives up her back and Santo earns the rear-naked choke with 3:50 to go in the second frame.
Sanko, a Kansas City resident, enjoyed a huge hometown welcome from fans, friends and family. "A lot of my friends were not familiar with MMA at all before they started coming to my fights so I feel like I've expanded the sport in my own little way," Sanko said before the bout. "In fact, one of my best friend's husbands is a state-wide political figure and he comes to every fight he can."
Sanko had been working on her standup game in the leadup to Invicta FC 4, and her hard work showed on fight day. "My fighting style is pretty technical," Sanko said. "I am comfortable on my feet or on the ground. I really do consider myself a well-rounded fighter. I look for chinks in my opponents game and capitalize on them."
Sanko and Robb both stand 5'5", so there was no significant height or reach advantage for either fighter. Sanko, who is sponsored by No Limit Wheels, All Pro C21 and Grassy Pants Beef, was very thankful to make her pro debut at Invicta FC 4.
The rest of the Invicta FC 4 card is still to come. In the main event and first-ever Invicta FC world strawweight (115 pounds) championship fight, Carla Esparza (8-2) of Redondo Beach, Calif. will face off with rising star “Rowdy” Bec Hyatt (4-1) of Brisbane, Australia.
In the bantamweight (135 pounds) co-main event, submission ace Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler (15-7) of Sioux Falls, S.D. will battle top-ranked striker Alexis Davis (12-5) of Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada.
Also on the main card, Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith (4-2-1) squares off against Raquel “Rocky” Pennington (3-2-1) of Colorado Springs, Colo. in a bantamweight tilt, and Amanda Nunes takes on Sarah D'Alelio.
In other Invicta FC 4 main card action, Hiroko Yamanaka (12-2) fights the always entertaining Ediane Gomes (8-2) in a featherweight (145 pounds) contest, and the strawweights take center stage when Joanne Calderwood slugs it out with Livia Von Plettenberg.
Invicta FC 4 Main Card
115 lb. title: Carla Esparza vs. Bec Hyatt
135 lbs.: Shayna Baszler vs. Alexis Davis
135 lbs.: Leslie Smith vs. Raquel Pennington
135 lbs.: Amanda Nunes vs. Sarah D'Alelio
145 lbs.: Ediane Gomes vs. Hiroko Yamanaka
115 lbs.: Joanne Calderwood vs. Livia Von Plettenberg
Invicta FC 4 Preliminary Card
105 lbs.: Stephanie Frausto vs. Cassie Rodish
145 lbs.: Tamikka Brents vs. Amanda Bell
105 lbs.: Liz McCarthy vs. Jodie Esquibe
115 lbs.: Emily Kagan vs. Rose Namajunas
115 lbs.: Tecia Torres vs. Paige VanZant
145 lbs.: Katalina Malungahu vs. Veronica Rothenhausler
105 lbs.: Laura Marcusse-Sanko vs. Cassie Robb