Above: Jared Downing celebrates with his cornermen after a dominant Unanimous Decision victory earned him the RFA featherweight title in the main event of RFA 5 - Downing vs. Rinaldi | Photo Credit: RFA (RFAfighting.com).
Kearney, Nebraska — Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) crowned its first-ever champion in their final event of the year. The RFA featherweight title was up for grabs in what is considered one of the organization's most talent-rich divisions. The two participants chosen to participate in the inaugural title bout were two-time RFA veteran Jared "Demon Eyes" Downing and Jordan "All Day" Rinaldi. The bout headlined a 12-bout (7 pro and 5 amateur) fight card that eminated from the Viaero Event Center in Kearney, Nebraska on Friday, November 30th, 2012.
Downing and Rinaldi's 5-round war was televised nationwide on AXS TV. The Iowa native Downing controlled the pace of the bout early and often with a dominant display of wrestling, but the North Carolina native Rinaldi shows his resiliency by continuously looking to attack with submission from his guard. In the end, Downing won the bout via Unanimous Decision and improved his MMA record to 10-1 (3-0 in the RFA), while Rinaldi suffered the first loss of his career and his record now stand at 6-1 (1-1 in the RFA).
The co-main event of the evening featured the return of "The" James Krause who fought inside the RFA cage for the second time in the month of November. He met UFC veteran Joe "Porkchop" Jordan in a welterweight bout. Krause utilized his substantial reach advantage to batter Jordan throughout the first two rounds. The RFA mainstay then put an end to things by submitting the Miletich Fighting Systems representative via Guillotine Choke just 19 seconds into the third round. The win improved Krause's record to 18-4 (4-0 in the RFA), while dropping Jordan's record to 49-14-2.
Two fighters who are widely considered two of MMA' highest rated prospects, Mirsad Bektic and Pedro Munhoz, kept their unbeaten record intact. Bektic, who competes at featherweight defeated the tough-as-nails South Dakota native Doug Jenkins via Unanimous Decision, while Black House MMA's Munhoz defeated Iowa native and Titan FC veteran Bill Kamery via Heel Hook in a bantamweight contest.
Hometown hero Kamaru "Marty" Usman made his highly-anticipated MMA debut in the same town that he won an indivdual and overall team title for while wrestling at NCAA Division II powerhouse University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK).
Usman, who now trains with Rashad Evans and many of the greatest fighters in the world at BlackZilians in Boca Raton, Florida, showed the diversity of his MMA game. He fought a tough amateur MMA champion in David Glover, who was also making his pro debut. Usman was able to overpower the fellow wrestler with his wrestling and striking before stopping him with strikes on the feet for a TKO victory in the second round.
The first nationally televised fight of the evening came in the flyweight division as Wyoming native Matt Manzanares landed a beautifully timed knee to the liver of Kevin Gray. The KO came just 48 seconds into the bout. Meanwhile, Derek Bohi won in nearly the exact amount of time in the first pro bout of the evening. He landed a huge knee on his opponent Tony Rodriguez before stopping him via TKO in just 43 seconds.
The amateur card saw Jett Jones earn a pro contract with the RFA after defeating hometown favorite Enrique Torres via Unanimous Decision, Jordan Sanford stopped Jesus Sandoval via TKO in Round 1, local favorite Richard Barajas defeated late replacement Eric Shelton via Unanimous Decision, Josh Smith stopped Ryan MacDonald via TKO in Round 3, and Kenny Navas submitted David Allen via Kimura in the first round of the first fight of the night.