With the Resurrection Fighting Alliance’s lightweight title up for grabs, Thiago Moises almost suffered a knockout in the opening round, but his resilience paid off. The Brazilian was rocked badly by David Castillo in the main event of RFA 35 in Orem, Utah, as a flurry of punches to the head dropped him. But with the title on the line and his pride at stake, the American Top Team representative turned the tide.
When he cleared his head and proceeded to fight in the second frame, Castillo was still in control of the action. But when Castillo pressed forward, he was drilled by a right uppercut, frying his circuits. Castillo staggered back and then shot in for a takedown, securing it. However, when the Elite Performance veteran tried to shake the cobwebs, Moises turned the RFA octagon into a NAGA mat and elevated his foe with the butterfly guard before latching on a textbook armbar.
Castillo had no choice but to tap, the end of the AXS TV battle coming at 3:19 of the second, allowing Moises to capture the vacant RFA 155-pound crown.
Thiago Alves Cavalcante Rodrigues was the aggressor early on against the lanky David Putvin, tearing into the Elite Performance fighter’s legs with sizzling kicks. Alves missed several of his monstrous overhand rights, but his attacks kept “Playtime” honest. When “Monstrinho” couldn’t put his opponent away with strikes, he was relentless on the ground, searching for an assortment of submissions whenever he could.
Putvin was elusive, though, escaping everything the Brazilian tried. And when Alves wasn’t attacking, the Sandy, Utah, grappler threw sub attempts of his own, though nothing ever took hold. In the end, it was the pressure from Alves that paved the way toward victory as he was awarded with a unanimous decision win thanks to margins of 30-27 on all three official scorecards.
Heavyweight prospect Curtis “Razor” Blaydes was able to remain unbeaten as a pro as he dominated Luis Cortez from the start, taking him down and mauling him as he saw fit. Cortez was overmatched but he hung tough until the Chicago fighter poured on the offense. “The Mexican Hulk” was eventually knocked senseless by a torrent of hammerfists and punches until referee Tyler Tomlinson halted the mugging. The official time of the TKO came just 41 seconds into the third.
After fighting competitively for a few minutes, Dervin Lopez rocked Joe Rodriguez with a knee to the head. Rodriguez backed off but Lopez was relentless, eventually pressing him into the cage where he unloaded a volley of punches. Finally a left hand dropped “Pega Leve” and when he couldn’t defend himself, Tomlinson had to rescue him. The official time of the TKO came at 3:46 of the opening frame.
Welterweight prospect James Nakashima was too powerful and too athletic for Brad Darrington to handle and cruised to a unanimous decision with a shutout on the scorecards. Nakashima scored several takedowns and controlled his foe from the start and opened a nasty gash on his forehead with an elbow. With the fight becoming a bloody mess, Nakashima couldn’t quite put his foe away and won via tallies of 30-27 on all three scorecards
Ricky Steele had to escape a deep late first-round knee bar attempt from LJ Schulz, but other than that, he dominated the bantamweight fight. Steele landed the harder strikes and controlled the pace throughout, winning a hard-fought but clear-cut unanimous decision. The fighter got the nod with scores of 30-27 on all three scorecards.
On the non-televised undercard, lightweight Jordan Clements knocked out David Allred in just 46 seconds courtesy of punches and Fernando Sanchez knocked out fellow heavyweight Jared Toothaker at the 2:46 mark of the third with punches.
On the amateur undercard, Johann Rubio knocked out Lehi Dominguez via punches at :51 of the second; Cezly Collard edged Justus Minardi via split decision; and McKinley Smith out-pointed Race Sawyer with a unanimous nod.