The Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) was live last night (Friday, October 9, 2015) with RFA 31 from the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. The event featured a three-fight untelevised preliminary card and a six-fight main. The top three main card bouts were made available for wagering at at 5Dimes Sportsbooks.
Kicking off the evening’s main card, Colorado’s Zach Riley returned to the win column with a first round triangle choke submission victory over Shai Lindsay, giving the Hawaiian his first taste defeat. Riley earns a .500 record of 3-3, while Lindsay’s first loss makes him 4-1.
Next up in a catchweight bout, Bojan Velickovic extended his winning streak to three with a hard fought unanimous decision win over Vardan Sholinian. It was an entertaining contest that saw both fighters have their moments, but it was the Serbian who had more gas in his tank, which allowed him to control most of the action for the 15-minute affair. The win lifts Velickovic up to 12-3 and puts him on a three fight winning streak, while it snaps Sholinian’s five fight winning streak and trips him down to 5-2.
The following bout on the evening’s main card came in the bantamweight division and saw California’s Matthew Lopez take on Team Tompkins fighter Justin Linn. The pair put on a barn-burner that lasted a little over two minutes, culminating with the 28-year old Lopez sinking up an improvised face and neck crank to earn the tap from Linn.
The beautifully devastating submission by Lopez keeps his professional mixed martial arts record intact at a perfect 7-0 (six first round finishes; three T/KO’s and submissions), and it snaps Linn’s four-fight winning streak, putting him at 7-2. Adding another highlight to his reel, this is the type of performance that could earn the 135-pounder a call from Sean Shelby and the UFC, if not earn him a shot at the RFA bantamweight title.
In the next bout, Brazilian Gabriel Checco returned to the win column with a third round armbar submission over a very game Mike Jasper. It was a fun fight that saw both fighters have their moments, with Checco nearly scoring a knockout in the first frame. He also hurt him in the second, but it likely was not enough to take back the round from Jasper, who appeared to be taking over.
In the third and final round, with the fight likely that at one a piece, Checco scored a takedown and took Jasper’s back. He looked for the rear naked choke but failed to find it, so he mounted Jasper and began to employ his ground and pound., which forced Jasper to give up his back again.
After another failed attempt at the rear naked choke, Checco wisely switched to an armbar and earned the tap for the victory, ultimately returning to the win column and snapping Jasper’s two-fight winning streak. The Brazilian rises to 9-2 as a pro, while Jasper slides to 9-3
In the co-main event of the evening, Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger defeated veteran Zoila Frausto via five round unanimous decision to become RFA’s inaugral Women’s Strawweight Champion. She dominated Frausto both on the feet and on the mat for 25-minutes of action en route to earning the unanimous nod from the judges’ at Octagon-side.
Jones-Lybarger extends her winning streak to four and goes 6-1, likely positioning herself for a call from the big show. Frausto’s return to action following an extended layoff sees her fall to 12-5 with four consecutive defeats.
The headliner for RFA 31 was for the promotion’s welterweight title and it saw champion Gilbert Smith make his first title defense against challenger Bristol Marunde. Both fighters were veterans of season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter and they put on a show for the fans.
The closely-contested scrap concluded in the fourth round with a left-book that broke Marunde’s jaw, at which point he signaled to the referee that he was done. The TKO marks the first T/KO victory of Smith’s career, making him two in a row under the RFA banner and 12-4 as a pro.