Is 2017 the year of the underdog? It certainly feels that way, at least in the combat sports community.
Several top prospects have had their respective hype trains derailed in recent months, with young, up-and-coming talent such as Aaron Pico, Sage Northcutt and Paige VanZant looking lost in their last starts.
On July 15, Invicta FC newcomer Kelly D'Angelo looks to add her name to the "prospect killer" list, as she takes on surging 115-pound phenom Sunna "Tsunami" Davíðsdóttir. The 32-year-old Icelandic striker looked phenomenal in her first two appearances under the Invicta FC banner, beating highly-regarded submission artists such as Ashley Greenway and Mallory Martin.
Davíðsdóttir, who trains with high-level UFC fighters such as Joanne Calderwood, could be one or two wins from a UFC call-up. Invicta FC boss Shannon Knapp, in a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani's podcast, praised the undefeated star as an "interesting" prospect to watch in the years ahead.
D'Angelo is using the Davíðsdóttir hype as motivation. She'll be looking to bring a halt to the hard-hitting strawweight's momentum.
"I love that she is a huge prospect," D'Angelo told AXS of her Invicta FC 24 opponent. "I love being the underdog in all my fights.
"I'm not going into this fight with an exact plan. I just plan to be prepared wherever it goes. I know I'm now on one of the big stages, these are some of the best female fighters in the world. Every fight is going to be hard now."
Does D'Angelo (2-0) have a shot at winning? Undefeated in her own right, she absolutely has more than a puncher's chance. A well-rounded striker, D'Angelo is comfortable both on the ground and in the stand-up department. The 30-year-old RFA vet collides with Davíðsdóttir on July 15 at the Scottish Rite in Kansas City, Mo. It'll be the swing fight on the stacked Invicta FC 24 card that airs live on UFC Fight Pass.