Sarah Kaufman planted her flag in the Invicta Fighting Championships bantamweight division and did so with almost maniacal purpose.
The former Strikeforce champion walked down Pannie Kianzad with punches and battered her with knees, punches and elbows in the clinch, as she put a clear-cut unanimous decision in the books in the Invicta FC 27 headliner on Saturday at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri. Kaufman (19-4) was awarded 30-27 scores by all three judges.
Kianzad (8-3) did what she could to remain competitive but spent the vast majority of her time fighting off the back foot. Kaufman cut loose with blistering left jab-right cross combinations, all while supplementing her offense with kicks to the body and legs. She was particularly effective at close range, where she wielded sharp knees, elbows and short punches upstairs.
In the flyweight co-main event, Vanessa Porto submitted Parana Vale Tudo prospect Mariana Morais in the first round of their showdown at 125 pounds. Morais (12-6) bowed out 4:19 into Round 1, as she suffered her second consecutive defeat.
Porto (20-8) chipped away with inside and outside kicks to both legs and chopping right hands before initiating a scramble, moving toward the back and threatening with an armbar. She ultimately climbed to mount, wheeled onto Morais’ back and secured her position with hooks. Porto hunted the choke, snaked her arms in place and activated her hips to prompt the tapout.
The 33-year-old Porto has recorded back-to-back wins.
Meanwhile, a dogged clinch game, repeated takedowns and timely ground-and-pound carried Sharon Jacobson to a unanimous decision over Ashley Nichols in a three-round strawweight showcase. All three cageside judges sided with Jacobson (5-2): 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Nichols (3-2) was the superior fighter in the standup exchanges -- she connected with punches, knees and elbows in bursts -- but struggled to keep a safe distance between herself and her Colorado-based counterpart. Jacobson took over in the second and third rounds, where she grounded the Canadian muay Thai stylist over and over again. She made a strong closing argument in Round 3, as she executed another takedown, moved to a knee-on-belly position and applied her ground-and-pound with punches, elbows and forearm strikes.
Jacobson has won five of her past six bouts.
In other action, Ashley Cummins claimed a unanimous decision at the expense of Stephanie Alba, sweeping the scorecards with 30-27 nods from all three judges; Brogan Walker-Sanchez eked out a split decision -- 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 -- against Cheri Muraski in a three-round flyweight confrontation; Felicia Spencer captured a unanimous verdict over Akeela Al-Hameed in a three-round pairing at 145 pounds, carrying 30-27 scores on all three scorecards; Mallory Martin put away Tiffany Masters with punches 3:36 into the second round of their strawweight tilt; Konklak Suphisara took a unanimous decision from Mellissa Wang in their three-round battle at 105 pounds, earning 29-27, 29-27 and 29-26 marks from the judges; and Helen Peralta wiped out Jade Ripley with punches 2:22 into the first round of their strawweight encounter.