According to a March 11 report from Bleacher Report, Michelle "Karate Hottie" Waterson fights Jessica Penne in the main event of Invicta FC 5, on Apr. 5 at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri.
The storyline inside the cage for the California native's first Invicta FC 105-pound title defense is essentially how well the champ matches up with Waterson strength-wise, as Penne recently admitted strength training was one area she was lacking in during past fight camps.
“I’ve always been athletically inclined and I take up sports pretty easily,” Penne said in an MMA Rising interview. “I’ve been super technical in the things that I do, but I’ve never learned how to throw around my weight properly or really felt that I was strong. I’ve been working at it and I actually feel different with certain things like punching and kicking and kneeing. I’ve just never had that strength awareness.
“I feel that technique is always a big factor,” she adds. “If I’m not technically sound in everything that I’m doing, it will show and it will get me into trouble. I just want that extra confidence that I am strong and physically fit, and to just know that I have that extra power behind my punches when I need it.”
Outside the cage, a completely different storyline is developing around Waterson's fight with Penne. Both women feature model-esque good looks, but opt to market themselves in far different manners.
Waterson obviously plays up the "sexy" angle, as her nickname is the "Karate Hottie." Additionally, she has appeared in countless ads and men's magazine wearing tight-fitting bikinis and underwear.
Penne is equally as beautiful, but she doesn't show off her fancy lady bumps to enhance her MMA career.
Her modeling work essentially starts and ends with a classy photo shoot with world-renowned MMA photographer Tracy Lee, where she wore an elegant black skirt and hi-heels. You're probably not going to see Penne doing any sexy photo shoots in tiny bikinis any time soon.
That said, the storyline pits one fighter who is trying to prove that "sexy" warriors are just as skillful as traditional combatants, against an athlete who generally isn't in favor of women's MMA standouts playing up the sexy angle.
Penne appears to be one of the main stars of women's MMA coming out in support of traditional fighters who don't play up sex appeal to get ahead in the game. Penne doesn't want women's MMA to be looked at as a gimmicky league such as lingerie football league, and she's hoping sports fans will see the talent inside the cage, regardless of the physical appearance of the fighters.
She even took things a step further by calling out an MMA writer for playing up the sexy angle to build up her Invicta FC 5 bout against Waterson.
"Your 'sexy' lists are pretty bad," Penne told the writer via Twitter. "If it was just one list fine, but every list has 'sexiest' in the title. Time to come up with something different."
Penne is hoping MMA fans will look beyond the sexy bikini photo shoots to discover the beauty inside the cage - technique, athleticism, powerful striking skills and bone-breaking submissions.
“I’m training for a long fight. If it goes long, I’m ready for it, and if it doesn’t, great,” Penne says. “I always train to be ready in all areas. I think that I would be a fool not to. I don’t train specifically for someone because I think that you limit yourself when you do that and I’m not huge on game plans, [but] I’m always very aware of what my opponent’s tendencies are, what they do and how they’ve won and lost.
“A lot of times, if you go in there and think, ‘Okay, I’ve trained this and I have to do this,’ you’re going to forget things and you’re not going to see openings. I know what I like to do and I’m prepared for the fight wherever it goes.”