KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Eight days before Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson headline UFC on FOX 6 in Chicago, two other top-ranked flyweights will meet on a nationally televised fight card emanating from the Midwest. That bout will feature NCAA Division I wrestler Aaron "The Cyborg" Ely (4-1) and Roufusport standout Dustin Ortiz (9-2). The two highly-entertaining flyweight fighters will meet on the main card of RFA 6 - Krause vs. Imada 2 on Friday, January 18th in Kansas City, Missouri.
Ely was a member of the prestigious NCAA Division I powerhouse wrestling program at Edinboro University in northwestern Pennsylvania. This is the same school that has produced UFC star Josh Koscheck and Strikeforce star Justin Wilcox, as well as blue chip MMA prospects Chris Birchler, Shawn Bunch, Chris Honeycutt, and fellow RFA fighter Gregor Gillespie.
What may be even more impressive than the fact that Ely was recruited out of Kansas by Edinboro's all-time winningest wrestling coach Tim Flynn is the fact that Edinboro's Athletic Director is Flynn's mentor Bruce Baumgartner, who is one of the greatest American wrestlers of all-time. That speaks volumes about Ely's wrestling pedigree and the level of training he received as a member of the Fighting Scots.
After graduating in May 2011, Ely burst onto the MMA scene just four months later. He won his first three fights between September 2011 and December 2011, while fighting for Shark Fights, Bellator, and the RFA. He won each of those fights via first round chokes (Triangle Choke, Rear Naked Choke, and Guillotine Choke), while fighting as a bantamweight against much more experienced opposition.
In March 2012, Ely dropped a controversial Split Decision against Laramie Shaffer, who is an NCAA Division I wrestler from Iowa State. The bout came at RFA 2 and despite many people believing Ely had done enough to earn the decision, Ely looked at the bout as a learning experience and decided to drop down to his more natural weight class of 125-pounds for his next bout in June 2012.
In what many considered the most exciting fight of the night at RFA 3, Ely eventually sunk a deep Guillotine Choke and submitted the previously unbeaten Matt Manzanares in the second round. The win solidified Ely's place among the RFA's flyweight elite, which has also produced the likes of his Grind House MMA teammate and recent UFC "Fight of the Night" winner Tim Elliott.
Ely is now set to face the biggest test of his career in his hometown of Kansas City. That will come in the form of Rofusport standout and Strikeforce veteran Dustin Oritz. After making his professional MMA debut in February 2010, Ortiz won his first 7 fights via TKO or Submission. That included two wins in Strikeforce.
That earned Ortiz the opportunity to fight current UFC star Ian McCall in May 2011, who at the time was widely considered the #1 flyweight fighter on the planet. McCall's experience would prove to be too much at Tachi Palace Fights 9, where Ortiz lost the first fight of his career via Unanimous Decision to the eventual Tachi Palace Fights champion and inaugural UFC flyweight tournament competitor.
After the fight with McCall, Ortiz decided that it was time to make a move with his career and level of training. That move took him from his native Tennessee to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he joined Roufusport, which is one of the best MMA teams in the world.
Ortiz was drawn to Roufusport due to the fact that the gym has produced some of the finest fighters in the world with an emphasis on striking, which he felt would compliment his grappling prowess perfectly. He now trains daily under the tutelage of four-time kickboxing world champion Duke Roufus and spars with some of the best fighters in the world, which include UFC stars Anthony Pettis, Erik Koch, Alan Belcher, and Chico Camus, Bellator champion Ben Askren, and fellow RFA fighter Sergio Pettis.
Ortiz's progress since joining Roufusport quickly showed, as he stopped eventual RFA vet Josh Rave via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) in his next fight at Tachi Palace Fights 11. Ortiz, like Ely, then saw his momentum slowed in the Spring of 2012 via controversial Split Decision against former Ohio Cage Combat bantamweight champion Josh Robinson. However, Ortiz rebounded nicely from that minor setback with a dominant Unanimous Decision win over Thiago Veiga at King of the Cage this past August.
RFA 6 is set to be headlined by a lightweight rematch pitting four-time RFA victor James Krause against two-time Bellator tournament finalist Toby Imada. The co-main event will feature a welterweight bout between UFC veteran Brock Larson and Strikeforce veteran Eduardo Pamplona. These fights, Ely vs. Ortiz, and more will be televised on AXS TV at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT live from the historic Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri on Friday, January 18th, 2013.
Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) was founded in 2011 and includes a number of prominent businessmen, fight promoters, matchmakers, and individuals with successful careers in hosting Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) shows across the United States. To learn more, check out their website at RFAfighting.com, like RFA on Facebook at Facebook.com/RFAfighting, and follow RFA on Twitter at Twitter.com/RFAfighting.