Brazilian Pedro Munhoz (9-0) earned the most significant win of his career to date, claiming the vacant Resurrection Fighting Alliance bantamweight belt with a win over longtime veteran Jeff Curran (34-16-1).
The fight served as the main event of Friday’s Resurrection Fighting Alliance 9 event, which took place at Los Angeles’ StubHub Center and aired on AXS TV.
“The Young Punisher” Munhoz was the better fighter from the outset, serving as the aggressor from the opening bell. Curran, who promised to take the fight into deep waters was comfortable backing up to the cage and looking to counter, but it cost him early.
Curran threatened with a crafty submission attempt in the second, looking for a guillotine choke, but Munhoz patiently worked his head free and took top position.
Curran again looked for the floor in the third, shooting in for a takedown, but Munhoz sprawled out and once again asserted his dominance.
Curran pushed on his feet in the fourth, working a snapping jab, but he struggled to gain any real control. Curran tasted a few knees in the fifth and elected to pull guard, but Munhoz quickly pushed away and established his dominance. Both fighters cut their opponent in the final moments, but the bell sounded and Munhoz clearly earned his win. It came with an odd spilt-decision score, but it was a win all the same. After the loss, “Big Frog” Curran declared he was done with the sport.
Casey was the dominant grappler from start to finish. And while the Rickson Gracie protege was unable to find a submission, “King” was in control for most of the contest. Ryan made the final second extremely interesting with a tight armbar attempt in the closing seconds, but Casey survived the surprise hold and lasted until the bell, where he was awarded a clearcut decision win.
Ortega, Mocco stay perfect
Featherweight prospect Brian Ortega (7-0) remained undefeated in his professional career, outlasting a game Jordan Rinaldi (6-2) en route to scoring a third-round submission win. In an evenly matched affair, both fighters combined for an entertaining matchup from start to finish. But with time winding down in the final frame, it was Ortega who deftly locked in a triangle-choke attempt and cinched the hold to earn the tap at the 2:29 mark of the final round.
Former Olympic wrestler Steve Mocco (3-0) kept his record unblemished with a dominating, albeit somewhat tedious win over Lew Polley (12-5). Mocco controlled the action from the outset, bringing Polley to the floor at will and preventing any sort of counter attack. While it wasn’t the most exciting bout in recent memory, it was certainly a dominating result for heavyweight Mocco.
Jouban scores upset, Manzanares downs Swanson
Welterweights Alan Jouban (7-1) and Chris Spang (5-3) combined for an entertaining scrap, as each fighter took turns with moments of dominance in an evenly matched affair. but in the final frame, Jouban found success with a series of fierce elbows rocked “The Kiss.” Jouban saw the opportunity and pounced with more strikes to earn the finish 83 seconds into the final frame.
In the night’s first main-card matchup, flyweight Matt Manzanares (5-1) earned an impressive second-round finish of Steve Swanson (10-2). After some back-and-forth striking to open the fight, Swanson drove in for a takedown but fell victim to a slick Manzanares transition to an armbar that ended the fight at the 3:37 mark of the second.
Official RFA 9 results include:
- Pedro Munhoz def. Jeff Curran via split decision (47-48, 49-46, 50-45) – to claim RFA’s vacant bantamweight title
- Kevin Casey def. Casey Ryan via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Brian Ortega def. Jordan Rinaldi via submission (triangle choke) – Round 3, 2:29
- Steve Mocco def. Lew Polley via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Alan Jouban def. Chris Spang via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 1:23
- Matt Manzanares def. Steve Swanson via submission (armbar) – Round 2, 3:37