Conor Won't Be the Only Attraction for the Irish Invasion in Vegas

Fightland Blog

By Peter Carroll

Last August, the Irish MMA community witnessed another of their fighting charges put in a prime performance as Cage Warriors gave the country the last of their legendary nights in the Helix.

Catherine “The Alpha Female” Costigan was buzzing on her way to the stage that was surrounded by hundreds of supporters. Nodding her head in unison with the power cords emanating from the venue’s speakers that blasted You Love It by Peaches, there was an evident intensity to her – she was out to make a point.

Cage Warriors had gone out of their way to get atomweight opponents for the Pankration Kickboxing Academy proponent, and since recovering from a serious neck injury she had banked two wins under their banner to bring her professional record to 4-0.

Noelia Molina was hoping to bounce back from her first professional loss that came on her debut at the hands of current UFC strawweight Joanne Calderwood. The Muay Thai proponent might have fancied her chances given Costigan’s kickboxing base, but her first mistake that would prove fatal came when she tried to utilize one of the cornerstones of the art of eight limbs, the clinch.

The atomweight duo jostled for position against the fence and as soon as the opportunity came, Costigan forced Molina to the mat where she immediately secured mount. Isolating an arm, it wasn’t long before ‘The Alpha Female’ had the Monacan’s limb hyperextended.

She trashed around attempting to shake the Irishwoman off, she even kicked her in the face, which got the attention of referee Peter Lavery. Molina was never going to tap, her arm was wrapped tight at an uncomfortable angle so instead of waiting for the inevitable snap Lavery signaled the end of the contest to the joy of the Dublin crowd.

Moving to 5-0, it was clear that Costigan was ready for bigger tests in the division. Cage Warriors had planned to go as far as commissioning an atomweight championship belt Costigan would later reveal, but due to the promotion’s perceived downfall in 2015 it would never come to be.

It felt like the Irish MMA community was waiting years to hear what Costigan would do next, and on the Severe MMA Podcast Sean Sheehan isolated Invicta Fighting Championships July 10 date as an ideal time for Costigan to make her debut with the promotion.

Costigan had always been on Invicta’s radar, but Sheehan notifying Shannon Knapp of the promotion’s potential to harness to support of the Irish in Las Vegas for Conor McGregor title shot on July 11 came just a week before they announced their signing of ‘The Alpha Female’.

Even then, the promotion didn’t rush to announce her on their July 10 card, which will also host the bantamweight debut of Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino. If the Brazilian makes the weight successfully and has her hand raised, it would set up what could be the biggest women’s fight of all time with Ronda Rousey.

In the early hours of yesterday morning, Irish website Talking Brawls MMA confirmed via Knapp that Costigan would make her debut on the July 10 – the obvious move for both the promotion and the Limerick native.

“We’re working on finding the right opponent, but Catherine Costigan will fight on that July card,” the Invicta president told Niall McGrath. “It makes perfect sense for Catherine to be on that card during International Fight Week. You can expect to see her there.”

Although she doesn’t look it, at 35 years of age this could be Costigan’s last chance to secure some gold around her waist and Invicta FC 13 in Vegas could is the ideal time to do so.

Herica Tiburcio’s 105 lbs title will be up for grabs on the night too and should Costigan make a big impression with the roars of the Irish fans behind her, she could find herself thrust into the number one contender spot. After all, the Brazilian champion needed just one win under their banner to secure herself a shot at the belt.

Costigan has made no bones about her aspirations for the Invita title, and the Irish fans in Vegas – over 2000 have tickets for UFC 189 – could be in the privledged position of watching one of their fighters begin their pursuit of a world title, the day before they potentially see the nation’s first UFC champion crowned.

Let’s just hope they don’t shout themselves hoarse watching ‘The Alpha Female’ go about her business.


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