Resurrection Fighting Alliance 9 Main Card Preview
Ed Soares and Resurrection Fighting Alliance return to AXS TV this Friday at 10PM EST with a somewhat hodgepodge crew of fighters stepping in at the last moments due to injuries and various acts of god, but regardless - this RFA show will deliver like they always do.
In the main event, veteran Jeff Curran (34-15-1) steps in on short notice to face Pedro Munhoz (8-0), who has had his opponent, Keoni Koch, drop out on him at the last minute twice in the last two shows. Munhoz is a long-time member of Blackhouse, the gym made famous by the Nogueira brothers, Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida. He's a karate, judo and BJJ practitioner with some of the best training partners in the world. He's been courted by the UFC, so a strong showing over the worldly vet Jeff Curran could be his ticket to the big leagues. Curran, while a trailblazer for the lower weight classes, is nearing the end of his career, and hasn't fared well against good competition over the last few years. Since he went 0-4 in the WEC, against really great competition I might add, Curran has struggled to get it together. The BJJ blackbelt has gone 4-7, with all of his losses coming in the WEC, Bellator and the UFC and mostly against wrestlers. While Munhoz may not have the stifling top game of a Jorgensen or Faber, Curran is going to have his hands full standing up or on the ground. He is still a crafty vet, however.
Middleweights are next, as Gracie BJJ black belt and TUF 17 cast member Kevin Casey (5-3) takes on Casey Ryan (5-0) in what could be a tough fight for both men. Kevin Casey — as shown on TUF — is not someone with a great gas tank. He's damn dangerous in the first round, and has a smothering BJJ game and massive frame that can overwhelm a weaker opponent early. But, as time goes on, Casey is apt to gas, and that has been his undoing in his career. Casey Ryan has spent almost half of his young career at welterweight and is now testing the middleweight waters. He's finished every fight he's been in, both by submission and strikes. This is a good test for the young Ryan, who will have his hands full with Casey's offense early on.
Matt Manzanares (5-1) is the latest interesting RFA prospect with four knockouts, one submission, and one canceled bout with flyweight champion Sergio Pettis to his name. He stands across the RFA cage from Steve Swanson (10-1). Both of these guys have been blazing through the competition in their young careers, with Swanson at Jackson's camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his brother, Cub, the UFC featherweight contender. This is one of those fights where both men have great finishing power, and want to get noticed by the big leagues with the UFC's shallow flyweight division.
Featherweights are under the lights next, with undefeated Brian Ortega (6-0) representing Black House against Jordan Rinaldi (6-1). The easy way of describing it is striker vs. grappler, but where Rinaldi has relatively heavy hands and the better top game, Ortega is maybe the more well-rounded fighter who can't quite get the finish as easily as his opponent. This will be a tough, close fight between two evenly matched youngsters in the sport.
A week after coming in 32 pounds overweight for his light heavyweight debut at World Series of Fighting, Lew Polley (12-4) makes his RFA debut against Steve Mocco (2-0) on extremely short notice. Both of these guys, at their core, are wrestlers. However, Polley has been around the MMA game for a much longer time, and holds the advantage on the feet. The real question is if Polley is in shape for this fight, as I wonder if that 32 pounds extra he's carrying from his botched WSOF debut is pure fat or at least some muscle. Mocco is from Oklahoma State's prestigious wrestling program, and he's fighting out of Coconut Creek with American Top Team. He's better than his 2-0 record.
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