The Resurrection Fighting Alliance organization has crowned its newest welterweight king.
Elevation Fight Team export Bojan Velickovic submitted Benjamin Smith with a third-round guillotine choke to win the vacant 170-pound title in the RFA 34 headliner on Friday at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado. Smith (15-4) conceded defeat 1:51 into round three.
Neither man made much headway in the first two rounds, though Velickovic (13-3) managed to scramble into top position and neutralize the Xtreme Couture representative on the mat. Smith delivered a pair of takedowns early in round three. The first bore no fruit for the former champion; the second led to his undoing. Smith wandered into a full-guard guillotine choke while trying to solidify his position, leaving the tapout as his only option.
Velickovic, 27, has won four fights in a row, none more significant than this one.
In the middleweight co-main event, Chosen Few rep John Poppie won for the fifth time in six appearances, as he claimed a unanimous decision over Adam Stroup across three plodding rounds. All three judges saw it 29-28 for Poppie (7-2), who rebounded from his Aug. 7 technical knockout loss to Andrew Sanchez.
Stroup (10-3) failed to successfully navigate the labyrinth of takedown and clinches thrown his way. Poppie was relentless in his pursuits, diving on repeated single- and double-legs while pressing a smothering clinch. Stroup scored effectively at range, snapping of one-twos, but struggled to establish a rhythm in the face of so much pressure. Poppie fought through visible fatigue and three attempted submissions -- a bulldog choke, an anaconda choke and a guillotine choke -- to pocket the victory.
Meanwhile, Bellator MMA alum Jeremy Kimball pitched a shutout against Cody Mumma, as he captured a unanimous verdict in their three-round encounter at 205 pounds. Kimball (12-5), who missed weight by more than three pounds, swept the scorecards with 30-27 marks across the board.
Mumma (8-3) could not get anything going on offense. Kimball bounced concussive punches off of his head throughout the 15-minute bout, mixing in kicks to the head, body and legs for good measure. Mumma had a brief moment of hope with a second-round takedown, but success was short-lived. Kimball clobbered him in the standup department and had him reeling on more than one occasion late in the match.
The 24-year-old Kimball has won eight of his last 10 fights.
Elsewhere, Pariah MMA’s Zac Riley sprang the upset on “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” Season 1 semifinalist Hugo Viana with a unanimous decision in their three-round bantamweight battle. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for Riley (4-3), who entered the cage as a staggering +1000 underdog.
Viana (8-4) was on his heels from the start. Riley got the Brazilian’s attention with a wheel kick upstairs, opened a gnarly cut between his eyes with a short standing elbow and later staggered him with a knifing right hand. The subsequent volley -- it included a mean right uppercut -- did not produce the finish he desired, but Riley was on his way. Viana fared better in the second round, where he utilized power punching combinations and sneaky leg kicks. However, the “Wolverine” could not maintain his momentum.
Riley spent much of round three stalking and punching his weary counterpart. Viana executed a takedown in the final minute but failed to consolidate it with damage, his late work falling on deaf ears.
In other action, Brian Camozzi (5-2), the younger brother of Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Chris Camozzi, submitted Tyler Milner (7-3) with a rear-naked choke 1:20 into the first round of their welterweight affair; Elevation Fight Team prospect Cory Sandhagen (2-0) took a unanimous decision from Andrew Tenneson (3-1) in their three-round pairing at 145 pounds, earning 30-27 marks from all three judges; and Eric Grant (1-1) submitted Lucas Dias (0-1) with a rear-naked choke 3:08 into the first round of their lightweight tilt.