A warrior isn’t limited by gender despite what some old timers will lead you to believe. Any human being whether male or female that has the heart and desire to compete can do it and do it well. When it comes to the fast rising combat sport of MMA, female fighters are proving this to the masses more and more each time they are put on display.
As a man (and an astonishingly good looking one at that), we all like to think that we are the hunters and our women are supposed to be the stay-at-home nurtures that cook, clean and give us babies. The truth is, women are just as capable of hunting and let’s be real sometimes they do it better than us.
On July 28 2012, the all-female fight league known as Invicta Fighting Championships will launch its second event with a card just as stacked, if not more so than the inaugural show. Every day, leading up to the fights, I will break down a matchup on the card all the way up to the main event between Shayna Baszler and Sara McMann.
First up, we’ve got Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Angelica Chavez making her debut against Invicta FC 1 vet Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc.
Angelica Chavez (MMA Record: 4-1, Invicta FC Record: 0-0)
Who she is: Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Chavez was born into a family of martial artists. Her father, Grandmaster Chavez, owns and operates the top karate dojo in New Mexico where Angelica has been training practically her whole life. Chavez is a local role model for young girls in the Albuquerque area and eventually will branch out into a worldwide star.
Her strengths: Striking and submissions
Her Weaknesses: Too sexy for her own good. That’s about all I’ve got at the moment besides the fact that she’s still a bit green in MMA although even that is hard to tell.
Keys to victory: All four of Chavez’ professional wins have come by way of submission but her base is undeniably her striking. She has done a superb job of blending her traditional martial arts style into a solid standup game for MMA. However, her opponent also comes from a striking background, specifically boxing and packs a wallop in her punches. Chavez will have to utilize effective angles, chop her opponent down with kicks from the outside and avoid staying too close in the pocket with Calanoc.
Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (MMA Record: 7-6, Invicta FC Record: 0-1)
Who she is: Married to a former United States Marine, Rivera-Calanoc actually learned how to fight from her husband. Her childhood dream since the age of 11 was to become a professional boxer and shortly after meeting her eventual husband he began training her in the sweet science. Fighting out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Calanoc is far more talented than her record indicates. She will be looking to prove this against Chavez next weekend.
Her strengths: Boxing, conditioning and knockout power
Her weaknesses: Her ground game has improved leaps and bounds recently but it is still a question mark for her
Keys to victory: For an atomweight fighter, Rivera-Calanoc packs more power in her punches than most fighters in two weight classes above her. Out striking Chavez is going to be a tall order but if she constantly puts pressure on her, Rivera-Calanoc can do some serious damage. Chavez is proven to be lethal on the ground but that is also the realm where she is most vulnerable in this fight. If Rivera-Calanoc is able to put Chavez on her back and keep her there she can either finish with strikes or grind out a position controlled decision.
The Final Verdict
I have spoken with both of these ladies quite a bit in the past so it’s tough to predict either of them to beat the other. However, the role of an analyst requires me to be unbiased and unemotional so I just have to pretend these girls are complete strangers… really deadly, good looking strangers.
Chavez is a phenom in the making and someone that could potentially reach the superstar status of a Gina Carano or a Ronda Rousey someday. She is coming off a close split decision loss in her last bout and that was the only blemish on her still young career. However, this will be her toughest test to date and I’m not saying she won’t pass but looking at this stylistically I have to give a slight edge to Rivera-Calanoc.
Unless Chavez completely dominates the action on the feet or gets on top of Rivera-Calanoc herself, I see “The Night Queen” getting the better of the positions on the ground and earning a hard fought decision victory.
Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc via Unanimous Decision
PHOTO CREDIT – FIGHTERGIRLS