The climb to the top can always be the hardest. Known for being a title contender, Emily Ducote knew she had a lot to live up to while with Invicta FC. Following a first round in which she was challenged, the 26-year-old dug deep against veteran Juliana Lima.
At Invicta FC 40 in Kansas City, Kansas on July 2, Ducote would storm back and beat Lima via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Lima (10-7), who was making her second run with the company, was the aggressor throughout the first round. She used her reach advantage to hit towering shots, both via kicks and punches. The damage could be shown on Ducote (9-6), who was able to respond with leg kicks. Due to the open scoring system by the Kansas Atheltic Commission, it was discovered that Lima had the 10-9 advantage.
The second round started off similarly, with Lima landing uppercut shots as well as well-timed punches. Ducote, however, would try and take Lima down several times. She would try and keep her opponent in range with combinations to avoid big blows. Ducote would end up getting a takedown and would not stop attacking Lima, landing elbows to the head. It wasn’t until the last few seconds of the round that Lima was able to escape.
With the third round appearing to be the deciding factor, both fighters knew they had to give it their all. Ducote, however, had the advantage when it came to combination punches. She switched stances at some point and landed more strikes, as well as another takedown. Ducote would also utilize kicks as Lima would continue to bleed from the eye as a result of the second round.
In the end, the judges gave the fight to the former Bellator Flyweight Title contender in Ducote, who earned part of the night’s Fight Bonus. She is now 3-1 in her last four fights and is 2-1 with Invicta. The win makes up for a split decision loss against Kanako Murata back in November. Lima has now lost two in a row and is 1-3 in her last four.
The co-main event saw an atomweight classic, as Alesha Zappitella and Lindsey VanZandt put on a back and forth affair. A fast-paced bout, Zappitella (7-2) utilized her wrestling game in the opening round to ground VanZandt (7-4), who had five wins via knockout heading into the fight. VanZandt was able to storm back in the second despite Zappitella continuing to wrestle her down.
The judges were all over the place in the second round, as a 10-8 score was called at one point. The third round saw VanZandt negate another takedown attempt by Zappitella, although it wouldn’t take long before another was attempted. Before the final bell, VanZandt was able to land impressive knee shots and tried for a jumping one but Zappitella turned it into a takedown.
Zappitella earned the split decision (28-29, 29-27, 30-27) win, and has now won two in a row. VanZandt is on a two-fight losing streak.
Emily Ducote def. Juliana Lima via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Alesha Zappitella def. Lindsey VanZandt via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Chelsea Chandler def. Liv Parker via rear-naked choke (1:05 into round one)
Trisha Cicero defeated Laura Gallardo via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Genia Goodin def. Shelby Koren by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)