Invicta FC 18: Jodie Esquibel-Alexa Grasso to Headline Event

Invicta Fighting Championships returns next month with a card that includes a strawweight clash between Jodie Esquibel and Alexa Grasso.

In a news release, the promotion announced that Invicta FC 18 will take place Friday, July 29 from the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri, with Mexican prospect Alexa Grasso and professional boxer-turned MMA fighter Jodie Esquibel in the main event.

Grasso is 3-0 in the promotion with wins over Mizuki Inoue, Alida Gray, and Ashley Cummins. She was scheduled to challenge then-strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza for the title in 2015, only to have to withdraw from the fight due to injury.

Esquibel returns to the Invicta cage for the first time since 2014 and this fight marks the first time she’ll compete at 115 pounds in her professional career. She’s coming off back-to-back wins over  Jinh Yu Frey and Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc at 105.

Equibel also appeared on the first episode of “The Ultimate Fighter 23” as one of the strawweight contestants. She failed to win her way into the “TUF” house after Ashley Yoder defeated her via split-decision. Fans were upset by and demanding UFC President Dana White put her back on the show.

Many look at Grasso as the next contender for the strawweight title and a win over Equibel would put her closer to a title shot.

In the co-main event, Irene Aldana welcomes Talia Santos to the Invicta cage. Aldana comes into the fight off a first-round finish over UFC veteran Jessamyn Duke. Santos, who signed with Invicta in April, is 13-0 in her career and has finished 11 of her fights.

According to the Invicta Facebook page, president Shannon Knapp announced that the winner of this fight will get a title shot against current bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger, who defeated Aldana to win the belt last July.

Other fights on the card include Cindy Dandois vs. the aforementioned Jessamyn Duke. Dandois submitted Australia’s Megan Anderson in her last fight while Duke is on a four-fight skid.

Anderson will take on UFC and Invicta veteran Peggy Morgan in a featherweight contest. Morgan is coming off a decision win over Jessy Miele.

Undefeated prospects Agnieszka Niedzwiedz and Claudia Rey will fight in what will be the first foray in the Invicta cage for both athletes.

Unbeaten Indian fighter Manjit Kolekar will make her Invicta debut against strawweight veteran Lynn Alvarez, who returns to mixed martial arts for the first time in over two years.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt specialist Sijara Eubanks, who is coming off a loss against Katlyn Chookagian will fight Amberlynn Orr, who is making her professional MMA debut. Orr went 11-1 as an amateur.

The event will stream live on UFC Fight Pass on July 29.