Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) on Wednesday announced that there has been a change made to the main event of RFA 7, which is headed to the Centennial State of Colorado on Friday, March 22. The RFA 7 main event will now see local MMA star Brandon “Rukus” Thatch (8-1) square off against undefeated Roufusport standout Mike “Biggie” Rhodes (4-0).
The change came about when Thatch’s original opponent, Leandro “Batata” Silva, suffered a leg infection during training. The main event will now feature two of the most highly touted welterweight prospects in the sport. RFA 7: Thatch vs. Rhodes will take place at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo., a suburb of Denver. It will be televised nationwide on AXS TV starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
“Brandon Thatch is the hometown hero, while Rhodes and Silva are both relatively unknown in the area. However, you know what kind of fighters you get from Duke Roufus,” RFA president Ed Soares commented on the exciting new RFA 7 main event. “It’s unfortunate what happened to Silva, but at the end of the day, styles make fights and Thatch vs. Rhodes will be a very exciting and explosive main event at RFA 7.”
In preparation for RFA 7, Thatch has been training at the famed Tri-Star Gym in Montreal with UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. He was hand-picked as a training partner to help St-Pierre prepare for his successful title defense against Carlos Condit last fall. Thatch has been been with the team ever since and was an invaluable part of St-Pierre’s most recent training camp for Nick Diaz, whom he faces this weekend at UFC 158.
Thatch traveled back to his hometown of Denver last week to finish up his training at Grudge Training Center. He has been very focused heading into his highly anticipated homecoming at RFA 7 and the sudden change of opponents has not changed that.
“I’m here to fight anyone the RFA puts in front of me. This is what we do and what we’re here for. I don’t know much about Rhodes yet, but I hear he’s a tough guy and I know he’s from a great camp. I’m ready for war at RFA 7,” Thatch explained.
Thatch also said he wishes a speedy recovery to his previous opponent Silva.
“I’d also like to say that I hope Leandro is alright. I don’t wish ill will on anyone. He and I will fight another day,” said Thatch.
Training out of the equally respected Roufusport MMA Academy in Milwaukee, Wisc., alongside UFC No. 1 contender Anthony Pettis, the unbeaten Rhodes looks to continue his rapid rise to prominence in MMA. One might say, he has taken “The Rhodes Less Traveled” to get to the point he now finds himself. As a former high school basketball standout in Iowa, Rhodes competed against 2010 NCAA tournament star and giant slayer Ali Farokhmanesh. Rhodes will now look to write his own Cinderella Story in his personal rendition of March Madness.
“When Duke called and told me about the opportunity to fight for the RFA and the opponent being Thatch, I was very excited. He’s a great fighter and very talented everywhere. This is the test I’ve been looking for. I believe I belong in the cage with the best and a win over Brandon will prove that. He is definitely the biggest test and this is the biggest fight of my young career,” Rhodes explained.
Rhodes was already deep in training camp for an NAFC event later this month, so he is excited about the chance to now fight for the RFA in front of a nationally televised audience.
“This will be my first time headlining any event and for it to be for the RFA means a lot to me. RFA is an awesome organization with really good fighters. This also allows me to fight on national television, which is great, because all of my friends and family now get a chance to see what I love to do right in their homes. I thank the RFA for that opportunity,” said Rhodes.
The co-main event of RFA 7 will feature a 177-pound catchweight special attraction between RFA welterweight star Chidi “Chidi Bang Bang” Njokuani (9-3) and local middleweight champion Jeremy Kimball (8-3).
The main card of RFA 7 will also include the return of Mirsad Bektic (5-0) as he squares off with fellow RFA fan favorite Nick Macias (6-2) in a highly anticipated featherweight bout.
Tickets for RFA 7: Thatch vs. Silva are on sale NOW and available through www.Tickethorse.com or by calling 866.461.6556. Colorado customers can dial locally at 303-53HORSE. Tickets start at $25. For VIP Status, eight-seat catered cage-side VIP tables are available by calling 303-521-0966.
Doors for RFA 7 open at 5:30 p.m. MT; first bout starts at 6:00 p.m. MT and the main card goes live on AXS TV at 8:00 p.m. MT / 10:00 p.m. ET.