Above: Tyson Griffin throws a powerful front kick at Efrain Escudero en route to earning a Unanimous Decision victory in the main event of RFA 4 - Griffin vs. Escudero | Photo Credit: Tracy Lee (CombatLifestyle.com).
LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) prides itself on "resurrecting" the careers of former top contenders, while developing top MMA prospects. That is exactly what it accomplished on Friday night (November 2nd) in its first foray into the "Fight Capital of the World" of Las Vegas.
In the main event of the evening, five-time UFC "Fight of the Night" winner Tyson Griffin bested TUF 8 champion Efrain Escudero via Unanimous Decision. The fight also served as the main event of RFA 4's first nationally televised event and showcased Griffin's air-tight submission defense. Escudero threatened with deep armbar attempts in the first and third rounds, but Griffin managed to escape and score repeatedly with takedowns while controlling the fight from the top position.
In the co-main event of the night, the younger brother of UFC star Anthony Njokuani, made the most of his nationally televised fight. Chidi Njokuani possesses equally impressive Muay Thai skills as his big brother and used them beautifully much to the dismay of fellow Las Vegas Phil Dace. Njokuani became the first man to stop Dace, as he did so in the thrid round due to strikes, after battering throughout their bout.
Another name familiar to MMA and Jiu-Jitsu aficionados won in his light-heavyweight debut. Marcio "Pe De Pano" Cruz, who was originally set to headline RFA 4 against Gilbery Yvel, was unphased with the change of opponents. He submitted the previously unbeaten, former NCAA Division I wrestler, Joe Yager with a spectacular Inverted Triangle Choke in the second round.
In another high-level "Jiu-Jitsu vs. Wrestling" affair, the wrestler would prevail. Four-time NCAA Division I All-American Lance Palmer earned a Split Decision victory over three-time BJJ black belt world champion Fredson Paixão. Palmer was able to control the pace of the fight, while avoiding Paixão's deadly submission game and infamous wrist-locks en route to the biggest victory of his promising MMA career.
The main card also saw a pair of TUF 15 contestants and RFA mainstays walk away with highlight reel first round victories. James Krause and Dakota Cochrane flew in from the Midwest and dismantled their opponents in their respective bouts. Krause TKO'd the previously unbeaten Guilherme Trindade, while Cochrane armbarred Team Alpha Male fighter Derrick Burnsed.
Sergio Pettis and Jimmy Jones kicked off the televised portion of the card in what many are nominating as a "Fight of the Year" candidate. Pettis, the younger brother of UFC star Anthony Pettis, weathered an early onslaughy in the form of Jones' stiff jabs to comeback and defeat the popular Las Vegas based fighter. Pettis solidifed his Unanimous Decision victory with a head kick synonymous with the Pettis name late in the thrid round. The fight was a fan favorite and was undoubtedly thr toughest of both fighters' careers.
The un-televised preliminary card also featured some exciting contests. In a battle of unbeaten bantamweight prospects, BJJ black belt Chris Holdsworth submitted NCAA Division I wrestler Tyler Shinn in the second round via Triangle Choke. In heavyweight action, 2008 Olympian and two-time NCAA Division I wrestling national champion Steve Mocco submitted fellow NCAA Division I wreslter Tyler Perry.
In another high-level bantamweight affair, Jeff Curran protégé Cory Galloway made a huge comeback in the second round to defeat Cobra Kai brown belt and crowd favorite Jerry Shapiro. The night of fights was kicked off with a lightweight contest, which saw Black House MMA product Jordan Isordia earn a Unanimous Decision over hometown fighter Joey Angelo.
For photos and visual highlights of RFA 4, please check out Tracy Lee's work at Combat Lifestyle.com.