In just over two minutes, welterweight up-and-comer Brandon Thatch put his striking and grappling skills on display on Friday at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo., acing previously unbeaten Mike Rhodes in the headliner of Resurrection Fighting Alliance 7.
Thatch, 27, was expected to face rugged Brazilian Leandro “Batata” Silva until a leg infection forced Silva out of the bout. Rhodes took the fight less than two weeks' notice, meeting the Coloradan prospect at a 172-pound catchweight. However, in spite of the opponent switch, the Grudge Training Center fighter didn't change up any part of his aggressive, dynamic game when the bell rang.
After feeling out Rhodes on the feet, “Rukus” clipped the tip of Rhodes' chin with a nifty reverse crescent kick, sending the Roufusport fighter into scramble mode. Thatch was relentless after dinging Rhodes, keeping the pressure on the hurt fighter. As Rhodes tried to scramble away, Thatch wrapped up his opponent from behind, yanking him down to the mat and right into back control. From there, Thatch easily sunk the rear-naked choke to record his eighth consecutive victory at 2:22 of the opening round.
Now 9-1, Thatch has finished all nine of his pro wins in the first round, with Rhodes being just the second of his victims to make it past the two-minute mark. Rhodes falls to 4-1 the defeat.
Coveted featherweight prospect Mirsad Bektic showed precisely why he's accrued such hype, remaining undefeated with a quick-and-dirty pounding of Littleton, Colo.'s Nick Macias.
The Serbian-born 22-year-old cracked Macias with a hard right hand and planted him on the canvas with a blast double almost immediately. From there, it was academic for the American Top Team fighter. When Macias tried to play wrist control, Bektic hammered him with unanswered punches before trapping Macias' arm and unloading a torrent of right hands that left referee Tom Johnson no choice but to call the contest.
The win moves Bektic to 6-0 as a pro with five stoppages, this after a 4-0 amateur career with all of his wins via ground-and-pound stoppage.
Colorado Springs, Colo.'s Jeremy Kimball won his ninth bout in 10 outings, earning a second-round rear-naked choke victory over Chidi Njokuani at a 180-pound catchweight.
It was actually the savvy-striking Njokuani who claimed back control first, sinking in both hooks early in the opening round. Kimball was able to escape and then stave off any serious strikes from Njokuani in the first before actually enacting his game plan in the second stanza. The Thomas Denny understudy got to Njokuani's hips and dragged him to the mat, eventually getting back control off of a blown takedown from the rear waistlock. Kimball sunk his hooks and then the choke, earning the W at 1:51 of round two.
Undefeated Infinite MMA product Tommy Thompson moved to 5-0 with ease, blowing away an unprepared Joey Banks. Just seconds into the contest, Banks threw an awkward, errant Superman punch and tried to follow with a low kick. Instead, he walked straight into a crushing right cross from Thompson and went down in a heap. Follow-up punches from Thompson forced the stoppage just 20 ticks into the contest.
Denver bantamweight Zac Chavez won a well-appointed split decision over Danny Mainus. After sustaining an eye poke and a low blow within seconds of one another in round two, Chavez spent most of the bout's second half beneath his opponent. However, he threatened with armbars and triangles in the second frame and then frantically hammerfisted and elbowed Mainus from full guard in the final round.
With his chest and arms covered in his opponent's blood, Chavez earned 29-28 scorecards from judges Mark van Tyne and Hale Hilsabeck, while judge Eric Garcia had it 29-28 for Mainus.
At 185 pounds, Las Cruces, N.M.'s Billy Colon needed a major comeback to top Grudge rep Vinnie Lopez. A winner of five straight heading into the bout, Lopez smashed Colon from pillar-to-post on the feet for 10 minutes but opted for a takedown early in the third round. “The Puerto Rican Assassin” quickly locked up a fight-ending armbar, earning the tap 72 seconds into the final frame.
In amateur action, Allen Washington took three 29-28 scores over Jose Keven Hernandez at 145 pounds; Kentucky's Gina Begley caught a guillotine on local favorite Shannon Culpepper 51 seconds into the second round at 130 pounds; and Jared Deaguero wrestled his way to three 30-27 scorecards against William Gravley. In a pair of bantamweight tilts, Carlos Huerta out-grappled Jason Huntley to a shutout unanimous decision of his own, while Josh Smith tapped Toby Lopez with a calf slicer in just 59 seconds.