They might not be the prettiest fights, but there’s always a good chance for a knockout when you see a heavyweight bout on the card. RFA 26 features a clash between giants Ashley Gooch (7-4) and Brandon Griffin (4-0). Both men are making their RFA debuts. MMA Lab product Gooch, comes into this fight on a 5-fight win streak, all of them finishes. Griffin is undefeated and holds an amateur victory over former RFA champion Josh Copeland.
The last time we saw Andrew “El Dirte” Sanchez, he lost a heartbreaker in a title fight to Kevin Casey (now with the UFC). That fight was a year ago now, as the former title contender steps back in the RFA Octagon for the fourth time on Friday. Sanchez will have his hands full as he takes on Clinton Williams (5-1) .
The feature bout of RFA 26 pits former bantamweight contender Jarred Mercado (12-2) against Brazilian Bruno Frazatto (6-2). Both fighters are coming off first round TKO losses. Mercado’s came at the hands of the champion Luke Sanders, Frazatto’s from fellow contender Joe Murphy. Both fighters need a big win to get their name back in the title conversation.
The name Marcus Edwards (9-3) should be familiar to AXS TV Fights fans. Edwards has fought on the network three times, all of those fights coming with the MFC in Canada. We last saw the Colorado-native lose a title fight to Shane Campbell at MFC 41 in October after he appeared to tweak something in his knee. “Bad Intentions” will make his RFA debut in front of his hometown fans Friday at RFA 26 and he’ll do it in the co-main event against Brazilian Thiago “Monstrinho” Alves (8-2). Alves comes into the fight with 7 finishes in 8 wins.
Sure he’s only got three pro fights, but he’s already a favorite here at AXS TV Fights. The Hawaiian-born Boston Salmon (3-0) is a great striker and has finished all three opponents to date (check out the video above). He kicks off Friday’s broadcast card against the very scrappy and resilient Danny Mainus (3-3). The last time Mainus fought on the network Michael Schiavello gave us THIS gem.
No the band isn’t making an appearance… The main event Friday features champion Benjamin Smith (14-2) versus Gilbert Smith (10-3). This will be Benjamin Smith’s first title defense since winning the title back in March. He will be hoping for a decisive win, followed by a phone call from the UFC. Gilbert Smith (Fun Fact: Smith has fought for the MFC, Legacy AND RFA) will once again be fighting in his home state. He lost a close decision to Chidi Njokuani back in January. Expect a five-round war in this one.
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