RFA returned to the Denver area on Friday night with its next batch of UFC hopefuls lighting up the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo. The card was topped by a weltwerweight title fight between reigning champion Ben Smith and Ultimate Fighter alum Gilbert Smith.
The main event was turning into a grapple-fest with much of the fight playing out on the canvas or up against the fence for the first two rounds.
The third frame started much the same way with Gilbert pressing Ben up against the fence until he finally secured a takedown. Gilbert eventually moved to mount and as Ben tried to spin out, Gilbert locked up an arm that brought the crowd immediately to its feet as Ben tapped out.
Gilbert Smith walked out of the cage the new RFA welterweight champion.
Marcus Edwards vs. Thiago Alves – no not “that” Thiago Alves – had all the makings of an exciting finish, but that would only have happened if Edwards had pulled the trigger. He picked Alves apart for three rounds, but seemed content to throw single shots, never following with the combination that could have put his opponent away.
The fight was easily all Edwards, but it never delivered the exciting finish that Edwards seemed poised for from the beginning.
Bantamweight Bruno Frazatto did little in the opening frame of his fight with local favorite Jarred Mercado, but in the second round he spent little time getting the fight to his world: the canvas. The Team Nogueira fighter took Mercado’s back, locked on a body triangle, and a short time later forced the tapout.
Middleweight Andrew Sanchez has been away from the cage for a year, but he certainly hasn’t lost a step. Sanchez dominated Clinton Williams, taking him down and ground and pounding him in the first round. He did it again in the second frame, but this time put the hurt on Williams with the referee stopping the fight a little over a minute into round two.
Sanchez is now 7-2 and looks to be a likely prospect for the brighter lights of the UFC in the near future.
Ashley Gooch and Brandon Griffin got fans going with an old-school heavyweight slugfest, following a three-rounder between Boston Salmon and Danny Mainus that failed to deliver the fireworks most expected from the main card’s opening bout.
RFA 26: Smith vs. Smith Results
Gilbert Smith def. Benjamin Smith by submission (armbar) at 3:27, R3
Marcus Edwards def. Thiago Alves by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Bruno Frazatto def. Jarred Mercado by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:28, R2
Andrew Sanchez def. Clinton Williams by TKO (strikes) at 1:17, R2
Ashley Gooch def. Brandon Griffin by TKO (strikes) at 3:16, R1
Boston Salmon def. Danny Mainus by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Josh Cavan def. Matt Cox by TKO (strikes) at 3:28, R2
James Nakashima def. Kris Hocum by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Adam Martinez def. James Fleming by submission (guillotine choke) at 1:40, R2
A.J. Robb def. Joe Guerrero by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Dylan Stubblefield def. Weston Turner by TKO (strikes) at 1:42, R1