RFA returned to the Mile High City on Friday night for RFA 16: Copeland vs. Jorgensen with the two big men, Josh Copeland and Jan Jorgensen, battling it out in the main event for the promotion’s heavyweight championship.
Copeland and Jorgensen both promised to come out head hunting, and both did just that, with Copeland getting the better of the early clubbing.
For all the talk of dynamite, however, it was going back to a basic jab that put the fight easily in Copeland’s capable mitts. He busted up Jorgensen’s face with a stiff left jab over the course of the first round, did some solid work with knees from the clinch, and then capped the fight with a final combination of power punches that put the former BYU football standout on the mat.
Copeland trains frequently with former UFC favorite Pat Barry, whose advice did the damage that led to the finish.
“I asked Pat for advice and he just said, ‘use your jab, use your jab,’” Copeland told UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich in their post-fight interview.
The victory put RFA gold around Copeland’s waist. More often than not, RFA gold is accompanied by a phone call from the UFC. It’s not certain that call will come, but with the RFA title, Copeland has put himself on the UFC radar if nothing else.
The night’s co-main event did little to excite the crowd at the 1STBank Center, but a grueling three-round ground-and-pound battle did improve Denver-based fighter Jarred Mercado’s record to 12-1. He did enough from top position throughout the fight to earn a unanimous nod from the judges.
Chris Heatherly was quite literally the monkey on Josh Cavan’s back. He took the back with Cavan standing and spent the majority of the first round there.
Cavan answered in the second round by unleashing a furious assault of strikes, mixing things up between punches, knees, and upward elbow strikes, but couldn’t put Heatherly away.
That was his undoing as Heatherly landed a knee that hurt Cavan, followed with some clubbing right hands, and then sunk in a guillotine choke that forced the local fighter to tap.
Just a note: when you’re fighting someone that goes by the name Boston and you enter the cage to the Dropkick Murphy’s “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” you better win.
Although Zac Chavez had fan support and the Dropkick Murphys in his favor, his opponent, Boston Salmon, didn’t care. While Chavez tried to outwrestle his opponent, Salmon softened him up with numerous elbows to the head before shipping him back to Westminster with a final flurry of strikes for a TKO stoppage near the end of the first round.
Marion Reneau continued her climb up the ranks by spoiling the pro debut of local favorite Marueen Riordon. Reneau took Riordon to the mat early, softened her up with ground and pound, dominating position, until finally securing the fight-ending armbar in the final minute of the opening round.
In the main card opener, Sid Bice took a unanimous decision victory over Eric Shelton, but did little to fire up the crowd.
RFA 16 Results
Joshua Copeland def. Jan Jorgensen by TKO (Strikes) at 4:49, R1
Jarred Mercado def. Daniel Swain by Unan Dec
Chris Heatherly def. Josh Cavan by Sub (Guillotine Choke) at 3:20, R2
Boston Salmon def. Zac Chavez by TKO (Strikes) at 4:47, R1
Marion Reneau def. Maureen Riordon by Sub (Armbar) at 4:15, R1
Sid Bice def. Eric Shelton by Unan Dec
Danny Mainus def. Ian Connelly by Sub (Armbar) at 3:04, R1
Darrell Flores def. Mitch Peterson by Sub (Armlock) at 1:35, R2†
Dante Florez def. Zach McChesney by Unan Dec†
Joe Guerrero def. Terry Van Hoosear by Unan Dec†
Jorge Dominguez def. Dalton Goddard by Unan Dec†
(Photo courtesy of CMO Photo)