RFA 12 takes place Jan. 24 at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The main card will air live on AXS TV at 10 p.m. ET. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster or CageTix.com.
Koch, the older brother of UFC standout Erik Koch, also will be looking to stay undefeated. He returned in April after nearly three years away from competition (and that fight followed another three-year layoff) and picked up a win in his home state of Iowa. Now the 33-year-old drops from lightweight to featherweight for a shot at a title.
“I’m honored to be fighting for the RFA title against Ortega,” Koch stated. “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.
Ortega, a Los Angeles area native who trains at Black House MMA, has won back-to-back fights by submission, both triangle chokes. At his RFA debut in August, he tapped Jordan Rinaldi in the third round, becoming the first fighter to stop the North Carolinan. All told, he has four of his seven wins by submission.
“I couldn’t ask for a better situation,” stated Ortega. “I get to fight in my hometown for a world title on national television against an undefeated opponent. 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.”
Also on the main card, a pair of UFC and Strikeforce veterans tussle as Kevin Casey (6-3) meets Eddie Mendez (7-2-1) in a middleweight bout. Casey has won three of his past four, with the lone setback coming to Josh Samman at the TUF 17 Finale in April. Before that, it had been nearly three years since his most recent loss, which came against matt Lindland for Strikeforce. Mendez was submitted by Daniel Sarafian at UFC on FUEL TV 10 in June and now will be looking to work his way back to that level.
The main card also includes James Moontasri (5-1) vs. Jonathan Rivera (4-0) at lightweight; featherweights Perceu Friza (2-0) and Boston Salmon (0-0); Jordan Isordia (2-1) vs. Dmitry Gerasimov (2-0) at featherweight; and bantamweights Zac Chavez (2-0) and Marcus Kowal (3-1-1).
The current RFA 12 card includes:
- Brian Ortega vs. Keoni Koch
- Kevin Casey vs. Eddie Mendez
- James Moontasri vs. Jonathan Rivera
- Perceu Friza vs. Boston Salmon
- Dmitry Gerasimov vs. Jordan Isordia
- Zac Chavez vs. Marcus Kowal