Raoni Barcelos claimed the vacant Resurrection Fighting Alliance featherweight championship with a unanimous decision over Ricky Musgrave in the RFA 29 “USA vs. Brazil” main event on Friday at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
All three judges scored it 50-45 for Barcelos (9-1), his win giving Brazil a 3-1 victory over the United States in the team competition.
Barcelos dominated from the get-go, as he utilized lightning-quick punches, a number of takedowns and brilliant side-to-side movement. Musgrave (14-5) landed his share of punches, but they were too few and far between. The Brazilian’s early aggression not only took Musgrave out of his game but also wore him down.
Late in the first round, Musgrave absorbed three right hooks in a row, hit the canvas against the fence and appeared to be on the verge of being knocked out. Barcelos pounded on his woozy foe but opted to try for a rear-naked choke instead of continuing to strike from behind. That decision allowed Musgrave to survive the round, though he was never in the fight.
With Musgrave’s energy depleted, Barcelos picked him apart from the outside and made it look almost easy. However, he tapped the brakes as the fight reached the championship rounds and coasted to a safe decision victory.
In the welterweight co-headliner, Ackson Junior weathered a one-sided first round to submit Jordon Larson with a heel hook 1:46 into the third.
Junior (6-0) was taken down and controlled on the ground for virtually every second of round one, but the Brazilian showed his resolve and nearly executed a keylock out of a scramble just as the frame ended. Larson appeared to injure his knee at some point in the first round and was not the same fighter thereafter.
The undefeated Junior rallied late in the bout. Larson scored a perfect double-leg takedown early in round three but could not corral his Brazilian counterpart. Junior exploded off his back, scrambled out and snatched the American’s exposed left foot, rolling into a heel hook. Larson (6-2) immediately tapped.
In a featured bantamweight skirmish, Brazilian prospect Leandro Higo submitted Terrion Ware with a rear-naked choke 4:58 into the third round.
Ware was the superior fighter at the start, but his success was short-lived. Higo (14-2) stormed back in the second round with a balance of striking and attempted submissions. The fight hinged on round three. There, Ware (13-5) darted out of his corner and seized control of the action. However, he appeared to slow because of fatigue, allowing Higo to secure a takedown and pound away on top. The fight seemed to be up in the air with 10 seconds remaining, but Higo latched on a rear-naked choke after a scramble. Ware was initially successful at defending it, but when he failed to break the Brazilian’s grip, he was forced to tap.
Meanwhile, Power MMA Team’s Joey Miolla took a unanimous decision from Pedro Falcao in a three-round bantamweight battle, earning 29-28 scores across the board.
The two men took turns executing takedowns and reversals, but the American’s superior overall striking -- coupled with a lopsided third round -- led to his being awarded the nod on the scorecards. Miolla was never in any real danger, and while he could not put away Falcao (6-2), he rocked the Brazilian with a series of strikes in the last stanza. Miolla (5-1) tried to close it out, but his gas tank ultimately failed him and allowed Falcao to survive to see the final horn.
Elsewhere, unbeaten light heavyweight prospect Devin Clark captured a unanimous decision from Dervin Lopez at 205 pounds. All three judges saw it 30-27 for Clark (5-0).
Lopez, who had fought exclusively as a middleweight, accepted the bout on short notice and nearly scored the upset. Taken down early, Lopez (7-3) locked in a relatively tight triangle choke. Clark, perhaps sensing the fight slipping away, began unloading a furious assault of right hammerfists until the triangle was released. From there, Clark took over and put his fifth straight win in the books.
In the first main-card attraction, King of the Cage veteran Matthew Lopez submitted Kevin Clark with a rear-naked choke 36 seconds into the opening round of their encounter at 135 pounds.
Clark (4-2) never got a chance to get going. Lopez rattled him with a vicious right hand mere seconds into the fight and then dropped him with another. The dazed Clark did not have the wherewithal to defend what came next, as Lopez (6-0) quickly seized his back and cinched the choke for the finish.
In preliminary action, four-time NCAA All-American wrestler Logan Storley (1-0) stopped Bill Mees (2-4) with punches 2:32 into the first round; Clay Wimmer (3-0) stopped Eric Ramm (0-2) on punches 4:17 into round one; MMA Lab rep Jordan Johnson (3-0) submitted Gemenie Strehlow (0-1) with a brabo choke 48 seconds into the first round; and Logan McPadden (1-0) tapped Keith Phathaem (0-1) with a rear-naked choke 2:57 into round two.