MMA News: Indian MMA fighter Manjit Kolekar to make her professional debut at Invicta FC 18
Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growing sport in the world. While the likes of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) have previously expressed their interest in coming to India, the sport is still at its infancy.
While other organizations such as ONE Championship recently spoke about their vision for India, MMA enthusiasts have been waiting for some activity – any development which could lead to the explosion of the sport in India.
While UFC has taken two Indian fighters to the United States as a part of their Fighter Development Program (FDP), the only success Indian fighters have tasted in the sport outside the country has been a couple of fighters fighting in ONE Championship.
While only Priyanka “Jeet” Toshi remains as the most successful Indian MMA fighter in one of the top promotions in the world, there is some good news coming out of the United States.
Invicta FC offers the biggest platform for the female Mixed Martial Artists to ply their trade, and when I caught up with Shannon Knapp – Invicta FC’s President, she said India was on their radar, and they were looking for fighters from India.
As it turns out, Manjit Kolekar has signed on the dotted line to fight at Invicta FC 18 on July 29th in the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri. The event will be telecasted exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
While Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino was initially expected to defend her Invicta FC featherweight title, the main event will see Alexa Grasso, who has won all of her 7 professional fights taking on Jodie Esquibel (5 – 1) in the strawweight division.
The card offers other mouth watering fights, including Irene Aldana – Taila Santos in the bantamweight division, Cindy Dandois – Jessamyn Duke in the 135 pound division, Australian Megan Anderson taking on Peggy Morgan in a featherweight bout, and will also see the debut of former Legacy FC bantamweight champion, Amberlynn Orr in the organization.
Manjit Kolekar’s big break
Manjit trains out of the Superhuman Gym in Mumbai, and received the opportunity to become the first Indian fighter to fight under the Invicta FC banner. Fighting for Invicta FC – subsequently being watched by millions of fans on UFC Fight Pass can be the turning point for the sport in India.
Manjit last fought for Combat Cage Fight (CCF) in December 2015, but has been actively training for her next fight.
Manjit initially started her career with SFL, notching up victories against the likes of Ritika Singh and Monika Mallik. Manjit’s opponent will be Lynn Alvarez, with a professional win – loss record of 6 wins and 3 losses.
Lynn previously fought former Invicta FC and UFC strawweight champion, Carla Esparza but lost via TKO. Lynn hasn’t fought a professional fight in over two years, and would want to make a statement in her comeback fight.
What Manjit’s success could mean for India
For years, many international promotions have laid out plans to enter the Indian market. However, the Indian MMA fans have been left disappointed, with no promotion currently having a concrete plan to enter the country.
While there have been multiple local promotions, only a few have managed to make any impact, albeit within their territorial region.
However, with Manjit fighting for the top all female promotion in the world, it could lead to the MMA revolution the fans have been longing for.
While there are two fighters currently training at JacksonWink MMA, the partnership between Invicta FC and UFC would imply that millions of UFC fans will watch an Indian fight on UFC Fight Pass.
Stay tuned as we cover Manjit’s journey to Invicta FC. Also, check back later as I talk to Invicta FC’s President, Shannon Knapp about the future of Indian fighters in the promotion.