Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) president Ed Soares announced on Tuesday that the RFA’s next lightweight champion will be crowned in his promotion’s next trip to southern California in December. RFA 21 – Baghdad vs. Ambrose will feature a main event between two of the world’s most exciting lightweights as WKBC Muay Thai world champion Mehdi “The Sultan” Baghdad and local favorite J.J. “Superman” Ambrose meet for the vacant RFA lightweight world title. In the co-main event, two of the bantamweight division’s most talented jiu-jitsu experts face off as Bruno Frazatto and Joe Murphy meet in a high-stakes showdown. The event takes place Friday, December 5th 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.
“Bringing this stacked RFA 21 card to Orange County is the perfect way to end a successful 2014,” stated Soares. “Mehdi Baghdad vs. J.J. Ambrose is a fantastic lightweight title fight and Bruno Frazatto vs. Joe Murphy is a battle of two of the best bantamweight prospects in the sport.”
Tickets for RFA 21 – Baghdad vs. Ambrose 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.
Baghdad (10-3) is a native of France, but he is known worldwide due to his multicultural appeal and success in MMA and Muay Thai. In 2002, the French fighter moved to Brazil after viewing a PRIDE FC tape featuring Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira and other top fighters from Brazil. The WKBC Muay Thai world champion is now a regular training partner of the legendary Anderson Silva and just finished coaching Team Baghdad on the second season of the hit Arab MMA reality show Al Batal, which is currently airing on FOX Movies in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. In September, Baghdad made an emphatic RFA debut with a brutal first round TKO of Evan DeLong at RFA 18 and looks to keep that momentum going in his world title fight.
“I feel great about fighting for the RFA lightweight world title,” Baghdad explained. ” This is what I have been training hard for and it’s my time.”
Ambrose (22-5) is only 27-years-old, but he brings a wealth of experience with him to this world title fight on December 5th. He has fought all over the world in faraway destinations such as Taiwan, Guam, Saipan, Kuwait, and Mexico. Ambrose also competed in two of the sport’s most prestigious MMA tournaments. He was a contestant on the twelfth season of the UFC’s hit reality show The Ultimate Fighter as well as a quarter-finalist of a tournament on the sixth season of Bellator. Ambrose currently trains and fights out of UFC star Josh Thomson’s Knoxx Martial Arts & Fitness in San Jose, California and is focused on earning a career-defining victory back home in his native southern California.
“It’s awesome to be fighting in my hometown for the RFA title, but once I’m inside the cage, none of that will matter,” Amrbose explained. “It’s just two guys ready to fight to the end.”
The co-main event of RFA 21 will see the return of Bruno Frazatto (6-1). Frazatto is a native of Campinas in state of São Paulo, Brazil and a standout member of the world-renowned Atos team in the sport of jiu-jitsu. His accolades include winning the black belt featherweight division at the 2011 IBJJF Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu Championship and 2012 IBJJF European Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship. He was also a silver medalist at the IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in 2008 and competed at ADCC 2011 in Nottingham, England. In August, the 30-year-old’s jiu-jitsu was on full display in his RFA debut, as he made quick work of two-time RFA victor Cory Galloway with a 92-second Triangle Choke at RFA 17. Frazatto is now looking to duplicate that success.
“I can’t wait to get back in the RFA octagon in the co-main event of RFA 21,” Frazatto exclaimed. “Joe Murphy is an excellent fighter and trains with very good people. We will give the fans in southern California a very technical and exciting fight!”
Murphy (7-1) was born and raised in Orange County and will be making his RFA debut in front of his home crowd. Murphy is a Cleber Luciano protégé that made a name for himself on the national jiu-jitsu and submission grappling circuit. Murphy 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. The lone loss on Murphy’s record came with a bit of controversy. After the questionable decision was announced, WSOF president Ray Sefo immediately tweeted, “No disrespect to Carson Beebe but I thought Joe Murphy won that fight!!” Murphy is now eager to shine on the national stage in the co-headliner of RFA 21.
“Being in a co-main event for the RFA and broadcasted on national television is a dream come true,” stated Murphy. “It’s something I have wished for my whole life and the fact that it is going down in my hometown is icing on the cake. I’m so thankful for this opportunity and I can’t wait to scrap on December 5th.”
The main card of RFA 21 will also include a bout pairing two of the world’s top featherweight prospects against each other. Brazilian dynamo Raoni Barcelos (7-1) returns to test his world-class grappling skills against an undefeated RFA vet in “Super” Sam Toomer (8-0). Also returning to the RFA octagon will be Francisco “Kiko” France (10-3-1). France, a native of Brazil and jiu-jitsu black belt will face TUF 11 alum and southern California favorite Joseph “Leonidas” Henle (9-1-1) in a middleweight contest. In the heavyweight division, surging UFC vet Chase Gormley (10-4) will square off with undefeated Power MMA prospect Dale Sopi (6-0). The main card will get started with a pair of unbeaten middleweight prospects, who are both looking for their second straight RFA win, as Justin “Lazy Bones” Jones (3-0) faces Khalil “War Horse” Rountree (1-0).
The entire main card of RFA 21 – Baghdad vs. Ambrose will be televised live on AXS TV starting at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT on Friday, December 5th. RFA 21 will be the promotion’s first event in Orange County and its fourth event to take place in southern California. It will be the third time the RFA has visited the state of California in 2014. More fights on the stacked RFA 21 fight card will be announced soon.