RFA has quickly become synonymous with being a breeding ground for future UFC talent, and they’re proud of it. Friday night’s event showed that despite the recent exodus of fighters like Brandon Thatch and Sergio Pettis, RFA isn’t short on fighters that are about ready to make that step from the RFA Octagon into the UFC Octagon.
Former Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky continued his resurgence as a flyweight, winning his second consecutive bout at 125 pounds.
Although Matt Manzanares had been steadily working his way up the division, Makovsky utilized his wrestling abilities to full effect, taking Manzanares to the mat over and over.
Makovsky came close to securing a submission on several occasions – notably a head and arm choke in the opening round and a tight rear naked choke followed by a triangle attempt in the second stanza.
Manzanares hung in the fight, still trying to get his stand-up going in the later rounds, but Makovsky’s stand-up has improved and served him well in setting up takedown after takedown.
“I would have liked to get the finish,” said Makovsky after the fight, “But I did what I wanted to do. I just hope the UFC takes notice.”
Every time that Toner mounted any sort of offense, Barcelos would light him up with a flurry of punches, shoot, and plant him on the mat.
Toner had a few moments in the third round where he seemed to be making headway, but the undefeated Brazilian’s speed, strength, and timing were too much for him to handle. Barcelos again planted him on the mat in the final round and worked his ground and pound until the final horn, walking away with a unanimous decision victory.
Don’t be surprised if you’re watching a UFC event sometime soon and hear Bruce Buffer announcing one of the competitors as Raoni Barcelos.
Vinnie Lopez looked like he was going to walk away with the win over Lucas Rota, but he didn’t. Lopez cracked Rota with a couple hard left hooks in the opening round and dropped him in the waning seconds with a kick to the head.
Lopez opened the second stanza with the same left hook that was working so well in round one, but went to the well one too many times. He kept landing the left hook, but Rota countered with a right hand that put Lopez on the mat. Rota swarmed him and unloaded with jackhammer left hands until the referee called a halt to the bout.
Lopez was down on the mat for several minutes following the stoppage, but eventually got up and left under his own power.
In the most brutal finish of the night, Chinzo Machida, the older but smaller brother of UFC middleweight Lyoto Machida, landed a devastating knee to the face of Denver fighter Brian Wood.
In a deep karate stance reminiscent of his more famous sibling, Machida methodically chopped away at Woods’ legs and body with an assortment of kicks and punches, all the while defending the takedown. Just as the first round was winding down, Woods dropped down to shoot a double-leg, but Machida launched a perfectly timed knee to his face that put him out, flat on his back. Machida refrained from any further attacks, waiting as the referee quickly stepped in to wave off the fight.
Woods lay on the canvas for several minutes as the ringside medical team checked him out. He was carried out of the RFA Octagon on a backboard, his head strapped down.
Andrew Sanchez left a lasting impression in his RFA debut, quickly putting local favorite Todd Meredith on the mat, taking his back, and finishing in a flurry of ground and pound.
Scott Ingram and Danny Mainus kicked off the AXS TV televised main card, both men trying hard for the win, but neither able to get the finish. In the end, two of the three judges felt Ingram did enough to earn a split-decision victory.
Main Card Bouts
-Zach Makovsky def. Matt Manzanares by Unan Dec (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
-Raoni Barcelos def. Tyler Toner by Unan Dec (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
-Lucas Rota def. Vinnie Lopez via KO (Punches) at 0:33, R2
-Chinzô Machida def. Brian Wood via KO (Knee) at 4:53, R1
-Andrew Sanchez def. Todd Meredith via TKO (Strikes) at 1:51, R1
-Scott Ingram def. Danny Mainus via Unan Dec (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
-Carlos Huerta def. Keo Panyathong via Sub (Rear-Naked Choke) at 0:53, R1
-Heather Sachleben/Denny def. Rebecca Wells via Unan Dec (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
-Sonny Yohn def. Cordaro Ware via Sub (Rear-Naked Choke) at 1:23, R1
-Joe Espinoza def. Joe Guerrero via Unan Dec (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)