Jessica Penne (born January 30, 1983) is an American mixed martial artist. She was the first Invicta FC Atomweight Champion. She also competed in the first women’s bout in Bellator Fighting Championships. She currently competes in the Women’s Strawweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Penne graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.
In May 2009, Penne became the first woman to compete and win a bout in the Bellator Fighting Championships organization when she fought at Bellator 5 against Tammie Schneider in a 117-pound catchweight bout.
She won the fight via TKO (punches) in the first round.
In August 2010, Penne met future Bellator Strawweight Champion Zoila Gurgel in the opening quarterfinal round of the Bellator Season 3 115 lb women’s tournament at Bellator 25. Gurgel won the fight via unanimous decision.
In September 2011, Penne agreed to fight two-time Girls S-Cup champion Rena Kubota in a shoot boxing bout in Japan. Shoot boxing allows kicks, punches, knees, throws, and standing submissions (chokeholds, armlocks and wristlocks).
Penne was added to the Shoot Boxing 2011: Act 4 fight card against Rena Kubota a week before the event.
Penne beat the heavily favored Kubota in a significant upset. The bout was ruled a majority draw after the first three scheduled rounds with scores of 29–29, 29–29, and 30–29 (Penne).
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Penne made her UFC debut on December 12, 2014 at The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned Finale, facing fellow semifinalist Randa Markos on the main card.
She won the back-and-forth fight by split decision (28–29, 30–27, and 29–28). The bout also won Penne her first Fight of the Night bonus award from the promotion.
The Ultimate Fighter
On July 3, 2014, it was announced that Penne was one of 16 contestants on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Pettis vs. Team Melendez, which would crown the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first strawweight champion.
Penne was the fifth pick by coach Anthony Pettis. She faced Lisa Ellis in the preliminary round of the tournament and won via submission in the first round. She defeated fellow Team Pettis teammate Aisling Daly in the quarterfinals via decision win. In the semifinal round, she lost to her friend Carla Esparza by decision.
In February 2012, it was announced that Penne was signed by the upstart all-women’s promotion Invicta Fighting Championships. On April 28, 2012, Penne made her Invicta debut at their inaugural event entitled Invicta FC 1: Coenen vs. Ruyssen, against Lisa Ellis in the co-main event. She won the fight via TKO (strikes) at 2:48 of round 3.
Penne competed once again for Invicta on October 6, 2012, this time headlining Invicta FC 3: Penne vs. Sugiyama against the then-#1 ranked Atomweight fighter in the world and Jewels 105-pound champion, Naho Sugiyama. The fight marked the first championship bout in Invicta’s history, in any weight class. Penne became Invicta’s first Atomweight champion when she defeated Sugiyama in the second round via triangle choke.