Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) is headed back to southern California on February 6. RFA 23 – Murphy vs. Ware will feature a main event between two of the world’s most exciting bantamweight prospects. Joe Murphy returns to the RFA octagon fresh off of a spectacular RFA debut in December. He will face fellow RFA vet and southern California native Terrion “Flash” Ware in a high-stakes bantamweight showdown. In the co-main event, former RFA title contender Gabriel “Zangief” Checco and TUF 11 alum Joseph “Leonidas” Henle will meet in a middleweight bout. The event takes place Friday, February 6th at the The Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, California. The entire main card will be televised live and nationwide on AXS TV at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
“Joe Murphy vs. Terrion Ware will be an exciting main event between two of the top bantamweight prospects in the sport,” stated Soares. “They have both proven themselves on the talent-rich southern California MMA scene and in the RFA octagon. This will be a fantastic fight in our return to Orange County at RFA 23.”
Tickets for RFA 23 – Murphy vs. Ware are available at CageTix.com/RFA, prices range from $55.00 to $105.00. Special 14-person All-You-Can-Eat and Drink VIP suites can be reserved by calling 310-951-0867.
Murphy (8-1) returns to the RFA two months after a spectacular promotional debut. Murphy, who was born and raised in Orange County, needed less than three minutes to dispatch world class jiu-jitsu practitioner Bruno Frazatto via TKO at RFA 21 and will be riding that momentum into the same building where that demolition took place. Murphy is a Cleber Luciano protégé that made a name for himself on the national jiu-jitsu and submission grappling circuit. He also excelled in high school wrestling, which has given him a very potent and balanced style of grappling for MMA. These skills have translated into five submission wins in his MMA career before he got to showcase his potent striking skills in December. Murphy is eager to shine once again on the international stage in the main event of RFA 23.
“I’m honored to get the main event spot in my hometown at RFA 23,” stated Murphy. “Facing Terrion Ware is a brilliant move by the matchmaker, because we both show up to bring it.”
Ware (12-3) returns to the RFA after making a successful promotional debut at RFA 12. Ware took that fight at RFA 12 on a week’s notice after his teammate Marcus Kowal suffered an injury a week before the fight. Ware stepped up and submitted RFA vet Zac Chavez in the second round via Rear Naked Choke in a bout that impressed everyone in attendance. In the time since, Ware has won and defended a regional title and is eager to get back in the RFA octagon.
“This is a great match-up between two high-level guys,” Ware explained. “Joe Murphy is a high-level grappler and that’s what you get with the RFA. You’re only going to fight high-level guys on their way up and that’s what Murphy is going to get with me. Getting to fight in the main event for the RFA doesn’t happen for a lot of people, so I feel very fortunate and look forward it.”
The co-main event of RFA 23 will also see the return of Gabriel “Zangief” Checco (7-1). Checco returns to the RFA after headlining RFA 19 in a bout that saw the winner Jake Collier take home the RFA middleweight title and immediately get signed by the UFC. Checco realizes what is at stake with a big win in the RFA and the newly promoted jiu-jitsu black belt is eager to show what he can do in his sophomore performance for the promotion.
“I’m excited about this fight, because I feel like I will be fighting in my second home of southern California. It’s only a few hours from Las Vegas, where I now live.” stated Checco. “I also feel less pressure in this fight, than I did in my North American debut where I fought for the belt. Joseph Henle is a good wrestler and likes the ground game, which is what I like, but I’m also feeling very confident in my hands. I’m looking forward to this new challenge.”
Awaiting Checco, will be Henle (9-1-1) who is a native of southern California that many remember from his time competing on the eleventh season of the UFC’s hit reality show The Ultimate Fighter. In the first episode, Henle submitted current UFC star Constantinos Philippou via armbar to earn a spot in the house. Since competing on the show, Henle has compiled an impressive 6-1-1 record, while competing in the United States and Canada. Henle is now ready to make a statement in the RFA octagon.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity to fight for the RFA,” Henle explained. “Checco is a really solid, well-rounded guy. He brings the wood when he throws and he has a really good ground game. This is an exciting challenge and I look forward to showing everyone what I can do.”
The main card of RFA 23 will also include a high-octane featherweight showdown between RFA fan favorites Raoni Barcelos (7-1) and Sam Toomer (9-0). These two were originally scheduled to meet in December and they will finally lock horns in the featured fight of RFA 23. In the lightweight division, undefeated jiu-jitsu world champion Marcelo “Lapela” Mafra (6-0) faces RFA vet Ricky Legere Jr. (19-6) who will be making his lightweight debut. In the women’s strawweight division, RFA fan favorite Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger (4-1) looks for her third straight RFA win against the undefeated and highly-touted Maria Rios (2-0). RFA 23 will also see the return of two exciting middleweights as John Hackleman Jr. (2-1), the son of famed MMA trainer John Hackleman, returns to face Blake Troop (3-2). Troop stepped up on a week’s notice to face Anderson Silva protégé Khalil Rountree at RFA 21.
The entire main card of RFA 23 – Murphy vs. Ware will be televised live on AXS TV starting at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT on Friday, February 6th. RFA 23 will be the promotion’s second event in Orange County and its fifth event to take place in southern California. It will be the first time the RFA has visited “The Golden State” of California in 2015. More fights on the stacked RFA 23 fight card will be announced soon.