Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) president Ed Soares announced on Wednesday that the promotion’s first event of 2014 will be headlined by a featherweight title fight in his hometown of Los Angeles. RFA 12: Ortega vs. Koch will feature two undefeated fighters vying for gold, as Brian “T-City” Ortega (7-0) faces Keoni “Evil Genius” Koch (5-0) at the historic Shrine Auditorium in the heart of Los Angeles. The entire main card will be televised live and nationwide on AXS TV at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
“I’m very excited to have the RFA kick off 2014 with a title fight featuring two of the top featherweight prospects in the sport today,” stated Soares. “Brian Ortega represents the next generation of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance and he also trains at Black House MMA. He will be facing Keoni Koch, who is the older brother of UFC star Erik Koch. He is also the co-founder of Hard Drive MMA in Iowa, which is one of the most respected MMA gyms in the Midwest. On January 24th, the RFA will crown an undefeated and very deserving featherweight champion.”
Four years ago, Ortega first caught our attention as the jiu-jitsu wunderkind featured alongside Rener Gracie in a popular Gracie Academy YouTube video. In the instructional, an 18-year-old Ortega showed us why they call him “T-City” (Triangle City) by demonstrating a slick Flying Triangle. Four months ago, Ortega caught the world’s attention by securing his signature Triangle Choke live on AXS TV against former RFA title challenger Jordan Rinaldi at RFA 9.
Ortega is now ready for the biggest challenge of his promising career as he headlines RFA 12 in his hometown.
“I couldn’t ask for a better situation. I get to fight in my hometown for a world title on national television against an undefeated opponent,” stated Ortega.
The 22-year-old is also fully aware of the experience his 33-year-old opponent possesses despite not having as many fights.
“Keoni has been in this sport a long time. He started training when I was just a kid and helped make his brother Erik a star in the UFC. The Koch brothers are known for being tough, prepared, and dangerous everywhere,” Ortega explained.
Keoni Koch is perhaps best known as being the older brother of UFC star Erik Koch, but he is also a co-founder and longtime trainer at Hard Drive MMA in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This is where his brother and many other top fighters have trained. The older Koch brother, just like Ortega, has also defeated everyone he has faced in MMA. That includes four submission wins via choke, which makes his match-up with Ortega even more intriguing.
Koch is now eager to show the world why they call him “Evil Genius” as he looks to become the first person to deliver a game plan that solves Ortega.
“I’m honored to be fighting for the RFA title against Ortega. He is an undefeated opponent, who is so well-respected and humble. We are both confident and technical fighters, so this is going to come down to strategy and who wants it more. I’m looking forward to going to L.A. and showing the world what RFA fighters are all about,” stated Koch.
Koch has previously competed at lightweight, but he is now dropping down to 145-pounds for the chance to face Ortega for the RFA featherweight title. More importantly, after years of coaching top fighters, the 33-year-old Koch feels like it is now his time to shine inside the cage.
“I’ve been involved in MMA since UFC 2, mostly in the coaching aspect. Now it’s my time to use that experience. I have only been punched about five times in my entire career and I expect this fight with Ortega to be the war that I have always wanted,” Koch explained.
The main card of RFA 12 will also feature two Los Angeles-based middleweights, who previously competed in the UFC and Strikeforce. “King” Kevin Casey (6-3) will return to the RFA after his successful promotional debut last summer to welcome Eddie Mendez (7-2-1).
Also returning to the RFA at this event, after making successful debut appearances, will be lightweight James Moontasri (5-1), featherweight Perceu Friza (2-0), featherweight Jordan Isordia (2-1), and bantamweight Zac Chavez (2-0). Moontasri will fight Jonathan Rivera (4-0), Friza will face Boston Salmon (0-0), Isordia will duel Dmitry Gerasimov (2-0), and Chavez will meet Marcus Kowal (3-1-1).
The entire main card of RFA 12: Ortega vs. Koch will be televised live on AXS TV starting at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT on Friday, January 24th. RFA 12 will be the promotion’s first event on its busy 2014 calendar and will be its second event in the “Golden State” of California. More fights on the RFA 12 main card and preliminary card will be announced soon.