Women’s MMA takes the spotlight this Wednesday night as Invicta Fighting Championships (Invicta FC) opens up its 2023 schedule of events from Denver and ReelWorks for Invicta FC 51. As is now customary, the event will be the lone game in town as far as MMA is concerned on Wednesday.
Barring any late postponements in the last hours ahead of the Invicta FC 51 main event, Wednesday’s card (9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT on the promotion’s official YouTube channel, Facebook page, and AXS TV) will feature eight fights.
If you plan on watching Invicta FC 51 this week on linear television, check your local cable and/or satellite guide for the channel number of AXS TV in your local viewing area. As a point of reference, AXS TV is available on channel 167 for Dish Network subscribers and channel 340 for DIRECTV subscribers.
Taneisha Tennant Defends Bantamweight Belt in Invicta FC 51 Main Event
Following the battle for the Vacant Invicta FC Flyweight Championship in the Invicta FC 51 co-main event between Kristina Williams (6-3 MMA, 2-0 Invicta FC) and Ketlen Souza (12-3 MMA, 1-0 Invicta FC), the championship doubleheader concludes with the contest for the promotion’s bantamweight title.
Incumbent titleholder Taneisha Tennant (5-1 MMA, 4-0 Invicta FC) defends the strap against challenger Talita Bernardo (9-4 MMA, 2-0 Invicta FC), an alumna of the UFC, in the Invicta FC 51 main event. Like all championship headliners, Wednesday’s contest will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.
Invicta FC 51 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into the Invicta FC 51 main event on Wednesday evening, champion Taneisha Tennant stands as the taller combatant at 5-foot-7, compared to the 5-foot-4 frame of challenger Talita Bernardo. Tennant owns a four-inch reach advantage (72 inches to 68 inches) over Bernardo.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the oddsmakers have this one as a pick-’em. Bernardo (-120) and Tennant (-110) have near-even odds. Please wager responsibly if you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this week.
While on the subject of betting, Invicta FC 51 on Wednesday is noteworthy since it will be the first time that DraftKings offers its players in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, and Oregon the chance to win money on the promotion’s fights. No word on when DraftKings players in other states might have the chance to bet on Invicta’s fights.
Could Taneisha Tennant Be on the Fast Track to UFC After Win in Invicta FC 51 Main Event?
Taneisha Tennant has posted a 4-1 record in her last five fights. Currently, she’s on a two-fight winning streak.
Last time out, she scored a split decision victory against Olga Rubin (7-3 MMA, 0-1 Invicta FC) on July 20 during the Invicta FC 48 main event to successfully defend her title. This was Tennant’s second appearance under the Invicta FC banner since failing to secure a UFC contract versus Danyelle Wolf (1-1 MMA) by unanimous decision in 2020.
After that defeat, she claimed that she should have gotten a victory that summer night on Contender Series.
“I checked out some of the comments, a lot of the comments,” Tennant began. “Everybody did think I won. I didn’t see practically anything saying she won. There was a lot of “robbery” and things like that. But at the end of the day, it’s still a loss on my record. Feeling all the love and support, it made me feel a little better. I just have to show my fans a little bit more next time.”
Taneisha Tennant was already on Dana White‘s radar once before. With a victory here during the Invicta FC 51 main event on Wednesday, it’ll be three wins in three title fights with two successful defenses. Something like that may be next to impossible for White to ignore.
Could Talita Bernardo Use Invicta FC 51 Main Event as Springboard Back to UFC?
In the other corner, challenger Talita Bernardo enters the main event having gone 4-1 herself over the last five fights. She’s won three fights in succession ahead of Wednesday’s headliner.
Back in November during the landmark Invicta FC 50, she stopped Katharina Lehner (7-4 MMA, 1-3 Invicta FC) (second-round submission: kimura choke) in a non-tournament bout. This was the latter’s fifth defeat in a row in MMA dating back to Invicta FC 29 in May of 2018.
After her win, Bernardo talked to Aly Trost-Martin about how she was able to set up the submission.
“I knew I couldn’t distract her,” Bernardo said through her translator, “because she’s a good boxer, and I just waited the time to take her down and use my jiu-jitsu.”
It was at that moment that Trost-Martin revealed that Bernardo would be able to challenge Taneisha Tennant for the latter’s bantamweight championship on Wednesday night in Denver. Bernardo has already been in the UFC before, going 1-3 in the promotion between 2017 and 2019.
Could a win on Wednesday start a trip on the road back to MMA’s top promotion? Watch the Invicta FC 51 main event to find out.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the Invicta FC 51 main event looks to favor Talita Bernardo, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, compared to Taneisha Tennant’s background as a Muay-Thai fighter. Thus, it stands to reason that the first takedown of the bout may be the only takedown that we see.
Watch For Tennant’s Varied Strikes
One aspect of Taneisha Tennant’s fight game that’s showed itself on video is her ability to land a variety of shots, as she did during the Phoenix Series semifinal on March 6, 2020, against Hope Chase. During the first and only round (Phoenix Series quarterfinals and semifinals are single-round exhibitions that do not count toward a fighter’s overall win-loss-draw record,) Tennant was able to score with leg kicks to keep Chase at bay.
Even though Chase attempted to take Tennant down, she was able to keep her guessing with movement, but Tennant mixed up her strikes by throwing a right-handed punch later in the round. With under two and a half minutes to go, Chase made a second effort to drop Tennant, but the latter scored with some elbow shots in the clinch, again stifling her effort.
If Taneisha Tennant can mix up her offensive prowess, the Invicta FC 51 main event will be hers. However, Talita Bernardo has a game plan that could be Tennant’s undoing.
One Takedown from Talita Bernardo Could End It
In the other corner, look for Talita Bernardo to use her black belt in BJJ to her advantage, which she did in her July bout against Yana Gadelha. During the second round of an advertised three, Bernardo absorbed some punches early on but dumped Gadelha about 30 seconds in.
It was strictly a grappling match from that point on, as she quickly assumed top mount, hunting for a submission. Bernardo expertly rolled over Gadelha and applied the torque underneath her chin to lock in a rear-naked choke. Gadelha had no other choice but to tap and nap afterward.
If Talita Bernardo can drop Taneisha Tennant in the Invicta FC 51 main event, she’ll walk out of the arena having heard “…And new” on Wednesday night.
For a midweek card, Invicta FC 51 looks to be a whopper of a show on Wednesday. With no other show happening in the sport, you’ve got your viewing planned out with the Invicta FC 51 main event.
Prediction: Talita Bernardo by Unanimous Decision.