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Invicta FC 51 Co-Main Event Breakdown

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After a UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas which saw Sean Strickland (26-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) best Nassourdine Imavov (13-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) on five days’ notice in the UFC Vegas 67 main event, the MMA weekend starts just a little early this Wednesday night. It’s time for women’s MMA to take center stage.

Invicta Fighting Championships (Invicta FC) will return to its usual Wednesday night timeslot for the first time in 2023 this week as the promotion sets up shop in Denver at ReelWorks for Invicta FC 51. As has now become customary, Invicta FC 51 will be streamed live on the promotion’s official YouTube channel and Facebook page at 9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT.

Wednesday’s card will also air on linear television through AXS TV at the same time. Check your cable or satellite guide for AXS TV’s channel number in your viewing area.

Vacant Flyweight Title Up for Grabs in Invicta FC 51 Co-Main Event

All told, barring any late postponements in the final 48 hours leading up to the card, the show will feature eight fights, highlighted by two title fights to close the show. Your championship doubleheader begins with the battle for the Vacant Invicta FC Flyweight Championship in the Invicta FC 51 co-main event.

Kristina Williams (6-3 MMA, 2-0 Invicta FC) tries to become the promotion’s fifth flyweight champion all-time (counting an interim championship reign by Jennifer Maia in 2016) when she takes on Ketlen Souza (12-3 MMA, 1-0 Invicta FC) in the co-headliner. As with all championship fights, this contest will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round.

The Invicta FC 51 co-main event isn’t the first time that Williams and Souza have been scheduled to fight one another. This contest was initially scheduled for Sept. 28, 2022, during Invicta FC 49 in a nontitle affair before the former withdrew from the show.

Invicta FC 51 Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Heading into the co-headliner on Wednesday night, Kristina Williams stands as the taller contestant at 5-foot-8, compared to the 5-foot-3 frame of Ketlen Souza. Additionally, Williams owns a 67 1/2-inch reach, with no such information available for Souza.

As it stands currently, the oddsmakers have Kristina Williams installed as a -120 favorite, with Ketlen Souza as a +100 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this week, please wager responsibly.

Kristina Williams Looking to Finally Win a Championship

Kristina Williams, an alum of Bellator MMA who was released from the promotion in 2020, has gone 3-2 in her last five fights and is currently on a three-fight winning streak. Most recently, “Warhorse” scored a first-round rear-naked choke on July 20 during Invicta FC 48 against Liana Pirosin (8-5 MMA, 1-3 Invicta FC.)

Recently, the title contender was interviewed by James Lynch. She said that she was surprised to get the phone call that she’d be fighting for a championship on Wednesday.

“I wasn’t really expecting to get the title shot next after I pulled out of my last fight,” Williams said, “but I was hoping, since she– whoever won that fight was supposed to fight for the title– so I was hoping that I would get it. But I wasn’t sure.”

Three years after getting cut by Bellator MMA, Kristina Williams is on the cusp of securing the championship. Can she bring the title back home to Oklahoma? Watch and find out.

Could Ketlen Souza Go To UFC With Win in Invicta FC 51 Co-Main Event?

In the other corner, Ketlen Souza has posted a record of 4-1 in her last five appearances and is currently on a four-fight winning streak. She made good on her Invicta FC promotional debut last time out, besting Majiu Suotama (8-7 MMA, 0-2 Invicta FC) on Sept. 28 during the aforementioned Invicta FC 49.

The contest was her first fight and her first win in almost 14 months’ time. Between Oct. 30, 2021 and Sept. 28, 2022, three fights wound up postponed for various reasons, including the original booking against Williams in Invicta FC 49.

Even though the September fight was Souza’s second fight under the Invicta FC banner, Riley Kontek of Combat Press believes that she could secure a UFC contract later on in the year.

“Souza has the cage time and the skills that the UFC should be looking for while trying to populate their women’s flyweight division,” Kontek wrote. “The 27-year-old has gotten better since her last loss in 2020 and should be allowed to show that under the UFC banner.”

A championship victory on Wednesday could put Souza on the fast track to a UFC deal.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the Invicta FC 51 co-main event seems to be a toss-up. Both of these women have been known to score the stoppage, though Souza has the edge due to her striking prowess.

Thus, it stands to reason that the first major strike of the fight could be the last.

Williams Can Take Souza to the Mat

Prior to her July fight against Pirosin, Kristina Williams had not been known to end a contest by way of submission, but that all changed that summer’s night. During the first round of a scheduled three, Williams and Pirosin stalked one another as each woman bided her time to land the first big shot.

Williams scored first with a punch to the body and a high kick, thus beginning the one-sided war. She landed another leg kick a few moments later, yet Pirosin countered with a left hook. It would be the lone highlight the latter would have on the evening.

Even though Pirosin covered up her face to try to avoid headshots, Williams managed to land a kick to the head later on in the round. At this point, Williams smelled blood and scored with a right-handed punch to send Pirosin down.

From there, she managed to quickly take back mount and roll over to sink in the rear-naked choke for her first career submission. All she needs to do is land one punch to knock Souza down.

Watch For Souza’s Clinch Defense

If needed, Ketlen Souza can win this fight by defending against the clinch, as she did in her last fight. In round one, Souza started the contest by landing a few leg kicks before Majiu Suotama put her in the clinch.

Souza’s defense was on point as she fought out of the clinch and landed a sidekick to the body, yet Suotama put her in the clinch again. At this point, the pace of the fight stalled as Suotama labored to try and take her down. Despite being on the receiving end of the clinch, Souza managed to land some elbows on Suotama.

As the first round neared its end, Souza landed some leg kicks against the clinch before the referee finally intervened. Even though Souza was stuck inside the clinch for more than half of that opening round, she refused to get taken down.

If Souza manages to stay standing during the clinch, her defense can create offense. It might just turn the tide.

Final Thoughts

Most weeks, Wednesday nights on cable means, among other programs, AEW Dynamite on TBS. This week, the scripted fights take a back seat to the real deal.

Midweek MMA is a treat. You have no excuse not to tune into the Invicta FC 51 co-main event, especially when the fight looks to be a cracking affair.

Prediction: Ketlen Souza by Unanimous Decision.

Main image credits: Getty Images

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about MMA since the spring of 2018. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew enjoys a good game and an even better fight. When he's not writing, you can find him playing video games and listening to music.