Raquel Pa’aluhi came up short in Thursday’s Invicta FC 25 main event, but she left with a new belt.
It wasn’t the vacant Invicta FC bantamweight title – that went to her opponent, Yana Kunitskaya (10-3-1) – but Pa’aluhi (6-6) did receive her Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt from veteran trainer Robert Drysdale.
Still sporting the cuts and bruises from her title loss, Pa’aluhi had reason to smile after receiving her belt (via Twitter):
Kunitskaya earned a clean-sweep unanimous-decision win at the event, which streamed on UFC Fight Pass from Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, Calif.
For 25 minutes, Kunitskaya dominated every time she engaged in the clinch with Pa’aluhi while using her position to wear her down and land shots from the inside. When they separated and banged, Kunitskaya also won there. It was a dominant performance for Kunitskaya, who went 0-1 (with one no-contest) in a pair of title fights with Tonya Evinger, who eventually vacated the belt to sign with the UFC earlier this year.
Pa’aluhi, a 26-year-old Hawaiian, was on a 4-1 run heading into her first title fight. However, despite her ho-hum pro record, she’s faced many of the sport’s top female fighters, including current UFC champion Amanda Nunes, Olympic medalist Sara McMann, UFC contender Raquel Pennington, former Cage Warriors champ Pannie Kianzad and Invicta FC vet Ediane Gomes.