There was no quit in Michelle Waterson, and it paid off with an Invicta Fighting Championship title.
Waterson upset atomweight champion Jessica Penne in the main event of Invicta FC 5 on Friday, getting a seemingly out-of-nowhere armbar for the finish in the fourth – just one round after nearly being finished with an armbar herself.
Invicta FC 5 took place at Ameristar Hotel and Casino in Kansas City, Mo. The 13-fight event streamed via online pay-per-view at InvictaFC.com.
Waterson worked early kicks, but Penne pinned her against the fence. As the two scrambled, Penne jumped guard and went to her back. Penne went for an armbar, and in the process of defending, Waterson had to give up top position and went to her back. Waterson looked for an arm there, and then went after an omoplata.
But Penne scrambled out of danger – for the time being. As Penne tried to get to side control, Waterson went after the arm again – but instead ate some ground and pound as the first round came to a close.
Penne looked for a leg lock a minute into the second, but then bailed out of it. Waterson took top position and then got to full mount on the champion. But Penne survived without taking much damage.
Penne went to work in the third, getting some good ground and pound in. And Waterson spent most of the third in complete danger.
With 80 seconds left, Penne latched on to an armbar, and she torqued it tightly. But Waterson refused to tap, and moments later reversed to wind up on top. She couldn’t do much there, though, and Penne shortly thereafter was back on top to close the round.
As the fourth round marched on, both fighters appeared to be slowing down just a bit. And they scrambled on the ground, looking for position. But almost out of nowhere, Waterson went after an armbar midway through the round. She got it, it was tight, and Penne had to tap.
“You just can’t quit,” Waterson said after getting the 105-pound belt. “Even when you feel like you can’t go on. She’s an awesome fighter, but this is a dream come true. You just really have to believe in yourself and don’t let anyone take that away from you. Through my whole training camp, I had to tell myself I could go with her. And she pushed back, and it was a good fight.”
Waterson (11-3), a Jackson’s MMA fighter, won for the fifth straight time. Penne (10-2) had a three-fight win streak snapped and was stopped for the first time in her career.