Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos brought the pain in her Invicta Fighting Championships debut. After serving a yearlong steroid suspension, Santos mauled her bloodied opponent, Fiona Muxlow, who, to her credit, never gave up. Referee "Big" John McCarthy stopped Cyborg's relentless onslaught and awarded her a first-round TKO victory in 3:46.
The talk is still of the seemingly inevitable major matchup between Santos and UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. But next for Santos is Marloes Coenen for the featherweight championship at Invicta FC 6 in either June or July. "I feel terrified," Coenen joked at the post-fight press conference.
Invicta 5 was filled with GIF-worthy highlights: Rose Namajunas submitting Kathina Catron in 12 seconds with a flying armbar (submission of the night); Miriam Nakamoto knocking out Jessamyn Duke with a pair of knee strikes (KO of the night); "Rowdy" Bec Hyatt submitting rival Jasminka Cive with an armbar in 3:30; and Leslie Smith and the UFC's Sarah Kaufman slugging it out (fight of the night). Kaufman won a split decision.
Many in the crowd disagreed with the decision and booed. In the post-fight press conference, Smith angled for a rematch, possibly on a UFC card, saying that the world's biggest MMA organization shouldn't be too proud of having a fighter under contract (Kaufman) who won in such a manner.
The main event could easily have garnered fight-of-the-night honors. Challenger Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson refused to give up when atomweight champion Jessica Penne locked on an armbar in the third round. Her escape led to a fourth round and Waterson locking on her own armbar for the submission, taking the title. Waterson collapsed in tears after finally getting Penne to tap.
Other highlights: Barb Honchak won the vacant 125-pound belt from Vanessa Porto in a technical fight that was definitely a comedown from the previous bouts. Julia Budd beat hometown favorite Mollie Estes by submission with a rear-naked choke in the third round. Jennifer Maia downed former Bellator champ Zoila Frausto Gurgel by unanimous decision.