Jillian DeCoursey became the first atomweight fighter to have made her...

Jillian DeCoursey became the first atomweight fighter to have made her professional debut in the Invicta cage and then capture an Invicta title. Credit: Invicta FC/Dave Mandel

After working in the clinch and keeping Jillian DeCoursey's back against the cage for some time, Jessica Delboni finally earned the takedown she was working toward.

It didn't last long.

“I was in my comfort zone from that moment on,” DeCoursey said.

One fighter's comfort zone often leads to discomfort for the other fighter.

DeCoursey, a Bellmore resident who trains at Long Island MMA in Farmingdale, rolled right through the takedown and into top control. That would lead to her submitting "The Queen" Delboni and becoming the Invicta atomweight champion in the main event of Invicta FC 49 on Wednesday night in Hinton, Oklahoma. DeCoursey became the first atomweight to have made her pro debut with Invicta (on Aug. 31, 2017) and then eventually win an Invicta title.

"I'm 38 years old and I just captured the Invicta atomweight championship belt," DeCoursey said. "So, anything you want to do, you can do."

Jillian DeCoursey chokes out Jessica Delboni to become the atomweight...

Jillian DeCoursey chokes out Jessica Delboni to become the atomweight champion at Invicta FC 49 on Sept. 28, 2022, in Hinton, Oklahoma. Credit: Invicta FC/Dave Mandel

When DeCoursey (6-3) wound up in mount after the takedown, she hit Delboni (12-4) with several solid strikes. Delboni then turned away from the punches, exposing her back and giving DeCoursey the opportunity to look for a submission. 

DeCoursey, nicknamed "Lionheart," quickly went for a rear naked choke and worked to get the submission hold as tight as possible. 

“I saw her turn. Rear naked chokes are one of my best moves lately," DeCoursey said. "I felt it lock in and I heard my coaches counting down the time. They’re like 'Be patient, keep squeezing, keep squeezing, you’re almost there.'"

With 11 seconds left in the first round, she was where she needed to be: peeling off Delboni after she tapped out from DeCoursey's choke.

“Never doubt yourself," DeCoursey said. "Never let anyone doubt you. If you put a goal in mind and you work hard enough, anything is possible and I definitely proved that tonight.”

Jillian DeCoursey celebrates submitting Jessica Delboni to become the atomweight champion...

Jillian DeCoursey celebrates submitting Jessica Delboni to become the atomweight champion at Invicta FC 49 on Sept. 28, 2022, in Hinton, Oklahoma. Credit: Invicta FC/Dave Mandel

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