A new star will be born at the "Invicta FC 2" event on July 28 from Kansas City, KS.
Whether it's Liz Carmouche, Zuffa's first openly gay fighter, the beautiful Angelica Chavez, or 27-year-old striker Alexis "Ally-Gator" Davis, you get the sense that someone will have a breakthrough performance in the same vein as Ronda Rousey's submission victory over Miesha Tate in March.
Rousey's win over Tate, followed by a few well-placed verbal jabs at celebrities, an appearance on the cover of ESPN's 2012 Body Issue and an epic sparring session with Carmen Electra, made her a household name.
Rousey's instant stardom may have opened the door to better opportunities for female fighters, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see one of the "Invicta FC 2" fighters capitalize on the chance to follow her path to fame and fortune.
Here's a look at the five "Invicta FC 2" fighters who could be the next Ronda Rousey:
1) Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (@nicdali): Rivera-Calanoc, known in the MMA community as "The Night Queen," has the good fortune of having Miesha Tate in her corner, and you see a little bit of the former Strikeforce bantamweight champ's style in her approach.
She immediately shot in for a Tate-esque takedown in the opening seconds of her tilt with Amy Davis at "Invicta FC 1," and she worked in some sweet spinning backfists and ground-and-pound style offense before getting caught in a kimura that ended the fight that night.
However, she's still in her prime at 27 years old and has a strong upside. Personality-wise, she holds her own with the best of the best in the sport.
I loved when she did a solid Diego Sanchez impression while walking out to the cage for her fight in 2011 against Felice Herrig. She also looks like she could be the singer of a punk rock band, so you have to love her edgy appearance.
2) Angelica Chavez (@achavezmma): 25-year-old Angelica Chavez has model-esque good looks that would make Gina Carano jealous, and she has the fighting skills to back it up.
She's a winner of four of her five cage fights, including an impressive technical submission victory over Meghan Wright and guillotine choke of Jennifer Moran.
The only knock against her is that she hasn't challenged herself against legit top ten competition, but stepping in against Invicta fighters will be a tough test of heart and determination.
3) Liz Carmouche (@iamgirlrilla): While Ronda Rousey has a nice backstory that includes an appearance in the 2008 Olympics, where she earned a bronze medal in Judo, Carmouche's story is just as impressive.
Besides having four Strikeforce bouts under her belt, she's also a former Marine and Iraq war veteran. Carmouche is also the first openly gay fighter to compete under Zuffa's banner.
4) Alexis Davis (@alexisdavismma): It comes as no surprise that Davis already has 4,000 Twitter followers, as she always comes to fight.
The 27-year-old bantamweight loves to stand and trade strikes, and her crowd-pleasing style makes her a "must watch" fighter whenever she steps into the cage.
Win or lose, you know you're going to get an exciting performance from Davis. We last saw her duking it out with Sarah Kaufman in a bloody, brutal 15-minute war in March, and she'll test her skills at "Invicta FC 2" against 38-year-old submission expert Hitomi Akano.
5) Sara McMann (@sara_mcmann): McMann gets the nod for the main event at "Invicta FC 2," as she'll test her skills against 31-year-old submission expert Shayna Baszler. There's a lot to like about McMann. She's undefeated, and has the ability to win fights on the feet or by taking it to the mat.
She's a former Olympic wrestler, and she had no problem putting the rest of the women's bantamweight ranks on notice in a recent Yahoo! Sports interview.
"I really plan on fighting all the top girls, every single one of them," she said. "I'm looking to fight Sarah Kaufman, Alexis Davis, Marloes Coenen; any of the girls who are good enough to be champion. I'm not really setting my sites at one person - I want to beat them all."
Will "Invicta FC 2" produce the next star of women's MMA? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of MMA. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Ronda Rousey
- Liz Carmouche
- Miesha Tate
- Alexis Davis