Tonya Evinger Moves Up to Featherweight to Face Helena Kolesnyk at Invicta FC 24 in Main Event

The Invicta FC bantamweight champion, Tonya Evinger (19-5, 1 NC), will fight for the first time at featherweight, stepping into the Invicta FC 24 main event against undefeated Helena Kolesnyk (5-0, 1 NC) on Saturday, July 15.

Invicta FC featherweight champion Megan Anderson was originally booked to headline against Kolesnyk at Invicta FC 24, but was recently released from her Invicta FC contract. Anderson will compete against former Invicta FC featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino at UFC 214 on Saturday, July 29.

Evinger fills Anderson’s spot in the featherweight fight headliner, which will now be contested as a three-round, non-title affair.

Undefeated since 2011, Evinger moves up for this featherweight debut after dominating at 135 pounds, including five finishes and seven total victories while competing in Invicta’s bantamweight division.

Kolesnyk, who trains out of Moscow, has finished all five of her professional wins, including three first-round knockouts and a first-round submission due to punches. She is an experienced Muay Thai practitioner, taking bronze at the IFMA World Muaythai Championships in 2015.

“We’re not making it easy for Helena over here,” joked Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp. “ She’s gone from one champion [in Anderson] to another now with Tonya.

“I’m thankful that our athletes – and especially Tonya Evinger – are always ready and willing to accept a challenge. I have the utmost respect for both these main event fighters and I’m expecting a great fight on July 15.”

In the evening’s co-main event, UFC veteran Milana Dudieva (11-5) meets newly signed Mara Romero Borella (10-4, 1 NC) at flyweight. Both fighters will be making their Invicta debuts.

Russia’s Dudieva joins the organization and drops down to flyweight after battles in the UFC against top bantamweights Marion Reneau and Julianna Pena, while Italy’s Borella enters the bout winning four of her last five fights.

Bantamweight contender Raquel Pa’aluhi (6-5) returns to the Invicta cage against recent title challenger Yana Kunitskaya (9-3, 1 NC) of Russia.

Hawaiian-born and fighting out of Las Vegas, Pa’aluhi has shined lately, winning four of her last five fights, most recently submitting Pannie Kianzad in the first round at Invicta FC 21 in January. Kunitskaya looks to rebound after back-to-back fights against Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger.

In her previous outing, Missouri product Ashley Cummins (5-3) upset former atomweight title challenger Amber Brown. She looks to replicate that success against another former atomweight contender in Texas native Jinh Yu Frey (5-2), who comes into the bout hungry after a cut stopped her championship bid at Invicta FC 19 in September.

Two new additions to the roster collide when Karina Rodríguez (4-2) and Bárbara Acioly (4-0) throw down in the flyweight division.

Rodríguez has battled tough competition in Mexico, including a bout with former Invicta FC strawweight contender Alexa Grasso. After early success in her native Brazil, Acioly has earned back-to-back wins on American soil.

In two strawweight scraps featuring rising prospects, Iceland’s Sunna “Tsunami” Rannveig Davidsdottir (2-0) takes on Kelly D’Angelo (2-0), while Mallory Martin (1-1) welcomes the debuting Tiffany “Rainbow Renegade” Masters (2-0).

Plus, Amy Coleman (2-1) of Tennessee and Felicia Spencer (2-0) of Florida fight at featherweight.

The fight card for Invicta FC 24: Evinger vs Kolesnyk can be found below:

Featherweight: Tonya Evinger vs. Helena Kolesnyk
Flyweight: Milana Dudieva vs. Mara Romero Borella
Bantamweight: Raquel Pa’aluhi vs. Yana Kunitskaya
Atomweight: Jinh Yu Frey vs. Ashley Cummins
Flyweight: Karina Rodríguez vs. Bárbara Acioly
Strawweight: Sunna Rannveig Davidsdottir vs. Kelly D’Angelo
Strawweight: Mallory Martin vs. Tiffany Masters
Featherweight: Felicia Spencer vs. Amy Coleman

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