This Saturday, live from Costa Mesa, California at the OC Fair and Event Center, all-female promotion Invicta Fighting Championships hosts it’s 17th event that will be headlined by a Bantamweight title fight featuring the reigning champion Tanya “Triple Threat” Evinger and challenger Colleen “Thoroughbred” Schneider. Evinger will be looking to defend her strap officially for the first time as Colleen will be looking to spoil the champion’s reign in her third appearance under the Invicta banner. We stack up both women’s skills, styles and abilities to determine who will walk away the Bantamweight queen of Invicta Saturday night.
Reach: 70.0 in
Born: Oak Grove, Missouri, United States
Fighting out of: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Fight Camp: Finny’s HIT Squad
Record: 17-6, 5-0 in Invicta FC
Notable wins: Sarah D’Alelio, Irene Aldana, Ediane Gomes
Reach: 73.0 in
Born: Syracuse, New York, United States
Fighting out of: Fullerton, California, United States
Fight Camp: Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW) Training Center
Record: 10-6, 1-1 in Invicta FC
Notable wins: Jingnan Xiong, Brenda Gonzales, Raquel Pa’aluhi
For one of these women, keeping it on the feet is of the utmost importance. Tonya Evinger will undoubtedly look to take this fight to the mat at some point in this fight as she generally relies on her pressure and heavy wrestling to effectively dismantle her opponents. But that doesn’t mean that the Bantamweight champion doesn’t have hands. Tonya has shown in recent fights to have favorable power in her right hand and has damaged past opponents with her near-signature overhand right. Evinger has also incorporated kicks as of late in order to throw off her opponents though they are very rarely effective and are mostly thrown to simply increase volume in her offense when pushing forward. If there is one clear goal that her striking serves however, it would be that it allows Tonya to push a relentless and aggressive pace so that she may be able to close distance on rangy fighters and work her wrestling. Tonya has shown seldom use of technique in the clinch and generally looks for takedowns but is not shy to pursue dirty boxing tactics there whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Colleen Schneider is a long time practitioner and black belt in Tae Kwon Do and it was the starting base for her before she entered into MMA. Known for unleashing a plethora of unorthodox and Karate-based techniques upon her opponents, Schneider continues to rely heavily on striking in most bouts. She’s been known to throw spinning back kicks and heel kicks, spinning back fists, as well as leg and high kicks from either stance. This makes Colleen a much more unpredictable presence on the feet and in her most recent bout against Raquel Pa’aluhi showed a more crisp utilization of the jab to set up numerous one-two boxing combinations that also saw her use kicks when attacking from the outside. Colleen has also shown a more dangerous skill set in the clinch in the past, utilizing elbows and knees to deal severe damage or also to to help advance positioning against the cage.
When looking at who has the better technique on the feet, it’s clearly Schneider who likely plans on doing the most damage standing. Schneider’s striking is her bread and butter and will look to also expose a longer reach advantage with not just her punches but her kicks as well. She is facing a high level wrestler and will want to keep her on the outside and at a distance that compliments her kickboxing. Tonya still has a mean right hand as stated and still poses a very dangerous threat in this fight vertically, but brings far fewer weapons to the stand-up in this fight than her Karate-based challenger.
Advantage: Colleen Schneider
Schneider currently trains at the CSW Training center where the likes of wrestling coach James Blake and UFC Heavyweight Josh Barnett reside. It’s been noted that Colleen has immensely improved her wrestling and grappling skills. She scrambles well out of bad positions, is capable of takedowns when the opening is there, and has damaging ground and pound from most positions especially from side control or side back mount where she is likely to unleash rib-mashing knees.
However, it all pales in comparison to what we have seen the champion do when she brings her A-game. Evinger is bonafide wrestler at heart and possesses some of the best takedowns of any Bantamweight fighter walking the planet Earth. She can find takedowns from most anywhere, whether it be deep on a single leg, in the clinch or against the cage. If there is a floor under you, Evinger is looking for any way to put your back to it. She possesses superb hip tosses from the clinch, can scramble out of just about any bad position and can pass guard better than most woman in MMA period. She has earned herself a takedown in her last five bouts and also found the mount position in four of them. When Evinger gains the mount position on you in a fight, the odds say she has over a 50% chance of finishing you from there. With a ground and pound attack that is among the most brutal in the game, Evinger knows where she wants to take this fight, and while she has been taken down before in the past herself, she is likely the one who will be looking to embrace the grind in this five-round contest.
Colleen has yet to effectively use her grappling offensively against notable fighters and generally uses her grappling to keep the fight standing where she can use her expert striking. It will truly be one hellacious contest of wills when it comes down to who can implement their grappling to achieve the desired end result. For now, the history books and stats tell us it will Evinger in this realm.
Advantage: Tonya Evinger
Now again, Colleen has shown vast improvement in her overall ground game over the last few fights. That includes submissions as we have lately seen her take more chances on the mat when it comes to looking for the tap in advantageous positions and also avoiding and fending off submissions when caught in a tight spot. She holds only two submission victories in her career however and the two women submitted possessed a 4-1 and 4-6 record. Evinger again seemingly rules this realm of fighting both defensively and offensively when compared to the challenger. Not only has she fended off numerous types of submissions in her last few bouts (such as heel hooks, rear naked chokes and triangles), she holds six submission victories total throughout her career including a first round armbar victory over Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and submission expert Ediane Gomes. Along with that relentless wrestling pace that comes packaged with a terrifying ground and pound attack, Evinger possesses a well-rounded arsenal of submission holds that she will undoubtedly look to unload on Schneider who has been submitted four times throughout her career out of her total six losses.
While the improvement for Evinger has been highlighted, her submission defense is still something that Colleen should look to test out should she be forced to engage on the mat seeing that five of Evinger’s six losses have come by way of submission.
Advantage: Tonya Evinger
- Cardio: If there is someone who will be ready to throw down and grind for the full 25 minutes, it is going to be Evinger. She has prepped and participated in more championship bouts and has shown to continue her relentless pace even inside of the championship rounds. The longer this fight goes, the more the tide will likely slip to the champion
- Pressure: It can’t be stressed enough just how diabolical Evinger’s wrestling game is to any that get in the cage with her. She is so often seen moving forward, it’s almost a myth to see the woman walk backwards these days. She does not stop coming forward in her effort to secure the victory with her constant offensive onslaught, which in the end could prove to be her most effective weapon
- Experience: Tonya has been in there with the who’s who of her division in her last half dozen fights and has competed and won in the championship rounds. These fights and experiences may prove to be invaluable to Tonya should this fight continue on to the later rounds.
- Reach: Schneider is the lengthier fighter, and along with her limbs possesses the more loaded arsenal of strikes in this match-up. With a more refined jab and an unorthodox yet accurate style, her reach could be the most crucial element in this fight that could help envelop the victory.
- Unpredictability: Not knowing every trick up your opponent’s sleeve can sometimes be the most dangerous weapon in a match-up especially one like this. With Colleen bringing a near library case full of techniques to chose from, it will be hard for Evinger to gauge timing on takedowns and when to actually strike with Schneider on her own. Tonya has been known to catch her opponents kicks in the past to set up takedowns, but with Schneider likely throwing nearly 10 different kicks from multiple angles Evinger will have a tough go of achieving them in this match-up.
Make no mistake, the champion has no easy challenge ahead of her this Saturday and will certainly have to bring her best from start to finish in this fight. Schneider presents a very credible threat to the crown and has many avenues in this fight that she will look to exploit against Evinger. In the end however, “Triple Threat” has the skill set necessary to see that the job gets done and will walk away from this fight with a belt around her waist once again with her sixth straight Invicta victory in tow.
Prediction: Tonya Evinger wins via TKO (Strikes) Round 4