Invicta FC atomweight champion Michelle Waterson (11-3-1) returns to the cage to defend against Japanese southpaw challenger Yasuko Tamada (15-8-3) tonight in Kansas City.

It’s Waterson’s first defence and she’s the favourite, even after her layoff after winning it from Jessica Penne.

Strawweight champion Stephanie Eggink defends against Katja Kankaanpaa.

All the action takes place on UFC FightPass.

Welcome back to The Crossfire.

MMA Crossfire

MMA Crossfire Experts Cassie Wiseman and Kenai Andrews share their thoughts on the card:

Cassie Wiseman
MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman. She is a martial artist with over six years of study. Training primarily in South Korea, the proud Canadian from Roberts Arm, Newfoundland has black belts in Taekwondo, Hapkido, and proficient in Muay Thai kickboxing. Image courtesy Steve Bartlett

 

Invicta FC 8

Invicta FC 8

Invicta FC 8
The Phoenix Girls of Invicta FC. Esther Lin.

DELANEY OWEN (2-0-0) VS JJ ALDRICH (0-0-0)

Invicta FC 8
Delaney Owen and JJ Aldrich. Esther Lin/Invicta FC

Andrews: Both are relative newcomers to the bigtime, but it’s important to note Aldrich is making her Invicta debut. That means she has to overcome the cage jitters and adrenaline dump. They are both good on the ground, but I see Owen’s slim experience advantage being the difference to carving out a submission win.

Andrews Prediction: Delaney Owen via submission.

JODIE ESQUIBEL (3-1-0) VS JINH YU FREY (2-0-0)

Invicta FC 8
Jodie Esquibel and Jinh Yu Frey. Esther Lin/Invicta FC

Andrews: Esquibel trains with Team Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn and has some wrestling under her belt. She will want to take Frey to the ground and nullify her dangerous striking. Frey is a YouTube viral sensation with her knockouts and will need to avoid the shot and use her takedown defence. I like her aggressiveness and see her upsetting Esquibel with another knockout finish.

Andrews Prediction: Jinh Yu Frey via knockout.

ASHLEY CUMMINS (3-2-0) VS ALEXA GRASSO (4-0-0)

Invicta FC 8
Ashley Cummins and Alexa Grasso. Esther Lin/Invicta FC.

Andrews: Cummins is a tough Invicta veteran riding a 2-fight losing streak. Grasso is the young Mexican striker with a 75% KO rate. She is making her Invcita debut, but I see overcoming the Invicta jitters and knocking out Cummins.

Andrews Prediction: Alexa Grasso via knockout.

CHARMAINE “NOT SO SWEET” TWEET (5-4-0) VS “THE HEARTBREAKER” VERONICA ROTHENHAUSLER (1-0-0)

Invicta FC 8
Charmaine Tweet and Veronica Rothenhausler. Esther Lin/Invicta FC.

Andrews: Tweet stands 6-0 and Rothenhausler not far behind at 5-11. Tough one to call, as Tweet has the better technique and the experience advantage.  Rothenhausler trains with Team Alpha Male and has the heavier hands. I see the Canadian taking Rothenhausler to the ground and working out a decision win.

Wiseman Prediction: Charmaine Tweet via unanimous decision.

PEGGY MORGAN (2-1-0) VS IRENE ALDANA (3-1-0)

Invicta FC 8
Peggy Morgan and Irene Aldana.  Esther Lin/Invicta FC.

Andrews: Morgan is a TUF alum and she comes in as the bigger fighter, 6-1 with all the reach advantage spoils.  What she doesn’t have is the aggressiveness to take advantage of it. Her opponent Aldana, does have the aggressiveness and I see her taking advantage of it and scoring an upset TKO.

Andrews Prediction: Irene Adana via TKO.

MICHELLE OULD (7-3-0) VS DEANNA BENNETT (4-0-0)

Invicta FC 8
Michelle Ould and DeAnna Bennett. Esther Lin/Invicta FC.

Wiseman: While Ould has the experience advantage, the part that catches my attention is that she has been out of competition since 2012. Returning against an active opponent inside the cage in Invicta, that’s a load of pressure. Bennett will be able to get her aggression going early, force a grappling match, transition into a takedown, then into a submission. Bennett is getting off first and getting it down.

Wiseman Prediction: DeAnna Bennett via submission.

TARA LA ROSA (21-4-0) VS ROXANNE MODAFFERI (15-11-0)

Invicta FC 8
Tara LaRosa and Roxanne Modafferi. Esther Lin/Invicta FC.

Wiseman: When it comes to equally matched, this may be the best example of what that really means. Judo, grappling, and Jiu-Jitsu are the main arsenals for both of these fighters, so regardless of where the fight goes it’s going to be entertaining. I give the edge to LaRosa simply because Modafferi has always shown a problem putting everything together come fight night. She has a load of experience and has been in MMA a long time, so she is known and loved by all. However, in aggression and her ability to enforce and follow through in her game plan, it’s all LaRosa. She is able to rise to the occasion.

Wiseman Prediction: Tara LaRosa via submission.

EDIANE “INDIA” GOMES (10-2-0) VS TONYA EVINGER (13-5-0)

Invicta FC 8
Ediane Gomes and Tonya Evinger. Esther Lin/Invicta FC.

Wiseman: This is going to be an incredible fight. Experience, level of competition, skill setting, these girls have it all. The biggest difference is the power of Evinger. On the mat it will be a chess match, but as soon as the fight starts, Evinger will be trying to keep things standing to go for a knockout finish. Gomez has strange timing which makes her hard to predict, so that will be a challenge for Evinger, but with her combinations which are always aggressive, she will be able to enforce her game plan.

Wiseman Prediction: Tonya Evinger via decision.

STEPHANIE EGGINK VS KATJA KANKAANPAA

Katja Kankaanpaa and Stephanie Eggink. Esther Lin/Invicta FC
Katja Kankaanpaa and Stephanie Eggink. Esther Lin/Invicta FC

Wiseman: Kankaanpaa has been inside the cage with competition such as Joanne Calderwood. Eggink is talented, but not to the aggressive, counter-striking level of Kankaanpaa. Eggink will find herself moving backwards and in trouble, especially when Kankaanpaa uses her power in combinations.

Wiseman Prediction: Katja Kankaanpaa via TKO.

MAIN EVENT

MICHELLE WATERSON (11-3-1) VS YASUKO TAMADA (15-8-3)

Invicta FC 8
Michelle Waterson and Yasuko Tamada.

Wiseman: Tamada is a grappler, so she isn’t going against the best stylist match-up for her. Waterson is a karate fighter, able to keep distance in her favor, with a solid ground game. Waterson should  be able to establish her game plan, which will frustrate Tamada. I see Waterson doing damage in the striking game before taking things to the mat for a submission.

Wiseman Prediction: “Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson via submission.