Invicta FC Adds Cat Zingano Vs. Anita Rodriguez To April 28 Inaugural All-Women’s Card
Former UFC ring girl Natasha Wicks to perform ring girl duties at the event
By FCF Staff
Invicta Fighting Championships, the upstart all-women’s MMA promotion, has announced that it has added a bantamweight (135 pounds) matchup between undefeated rising star Cat “Alpha” Zingano (6-0) of Denver, Colo. and fellow prospect Anita “El Tigre” Rodriguez (5-2) of Dallas, Texas to its inaugural event at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. on Saturday, April 28.
In addition, the promotion has hired former UFC ring girl and model Natasha Wicks. Wicks, the winner of the 2009 “Maxim UFC Octagon Girl Search,” will work the April 28 event.
Both highly-touted for their ability to dominate opponents in every range of fighting, the 29-year-old Zingano and the 26-year-old Rodriguez have traveled different paths to arrive at this pivotal stage in their respective careers.
The 5-foot-6 Zingano tip-toed her way into combat sports after becoming the only girl to join her high school wrestling team and, later, competing in college.
In 2007, she began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Mauricio Zingano, whom she later married, and went on to win a number of tournaments, including the 2007 World Jiu Jitsu Championships. Her success in the grappling art and a third round TKO victory in her only amateur MMA bout were the catalysts behind the launch of her professional fighting career.
To date, Zingano has earned four of her six victories in pro MMA by way of either KO or submission. All three of her last wins came by way of KO or TKO.
“My desire to be the best female fighter in the world has gotten me this far,” said Zingano. “I’ve been constantly improving all of my skills – wrestling, boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. You’re going to see something great and amazing on April 28.”
While Zingano got her introduction to combat sports on the mats, the 5-foot-2 Rodriguez initially learned how to scrap in the ring after her father, who saw a fighter in his daughter, brought her to a local boxing gym when she was 20 years of age. Training under Valentin Espiricueta, she went on to win several amateur boxing titles before turning professional in the sweet science and, later, transitioning to MMA competition.
“Nobody wanted to fight me anymore in boxing, so I went on to MMA,” said Rodriguez, who compliments her boxing training with Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu, both with Espiricueta and with other fighters at nearby Ironside MMA in Dallas.
After losing a split decision to Jeri “Fists of Fury” Sitzes in her pro MMA debut on March 6, 2009, Rodriguez avenged the defeat just three months later, taking a split decision from Sitzes.
Rodriguez maintains that her boxing skills are still her strongest suit, despite the fact that three of her five career victories have come by way of submission.
“Boxing and stand-up fighting is what I like to do most, but I’m very comfortable fighting on the ground,” she said.
In the April 28 main event, superstar Marloes Coenen (19-5) of The Netherlands will rematch Romy Ruyssen (5-1) of France. Coenen submitted Ruyssen with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their first meeting in Basel, Switzerland on Aug. 2, 2008.
In the co-main event on April 28, two 29-year-old submission specialists – Jessica Penne (8-1) of Laguna Hills, Calif. and Lisa Ellis-Ward (14-7) of Lacey, Wash.- will square off with one another at strawweight (105 pounds).
Updated Invicta FC Fight Card:
Main Event: Featherweight (145 pounds): Marloes Coenen vs. Romy Ruyssen
Strawweight (105 pounds): Jessica Penne vs. Lisa Ellis-Ward
Bantamweight (135 pounds): Liz Carmouche vs. Ashleigh Curry
Bantamweight: Leslie Smith vs. Kaitlin Young
Bantamweight: Cat Zingano vs. Anita Rodriguez
Bantamweight: Sarah D’Alelio vs. Shana Nelson
Flyweight (115 pounds): Sally Krumdiack vs. Sarah Schneider
Strawweight: Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc vs. Amy Davis
Super Flyweight (125 pounds): Sarah Maloy vs. Michele Gutierrez
Featherweight: Mollie Estes vs. Randi Miller
Flyweight: Ashley Cummins vs. Sofia Bagherdai
Strawweight: Jessica Philippus vs. Meghan Wright