Nebraska-based promotion Resurrection Fighting Alliance recently announced the signings of two-time NCAA Division I heavyweight wrestling champion Steve Mocco and UFC veteran Tyson Griffin.
According to an official release, Mocco inked a five-fight deal, while Griffin’s contract will see him compete three times under the RFA banner; information on the fighters’ RFA debuts was not announced.
After winning four state and national wrestling titles in high school, Mocco went on to capture the NCAA Division I heavyweight title as a sophomore at the University of Iowa. Mocco then took an Olympic redshirt year in 2004 before transferring to Oklahoma State University, where he would win another national title and the Dan Hodge Trophy for best collegiate wrestler in his junior season. The heavyweight finished as runner-up in the 2006 NCAA championships, as he was defeated in the finals by current Bellator heavyweight champion and former University of Minnesota standout Cole Konrad.
Following his collegiate career, the New Jersey native went on to represent the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, finishing seventh in freestyle at 120 kilograms (265 pounds). Now 30, Mocco has set up shop at the highly regarded American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla., in preparation for his MMA debut.
Griffin has not competed since suffering a knockout at the hands of Bart Palaszewski last October. The defeat marked Griffin’s fourth loss in five fights, though the result of his November 2010 split decision defeat to Nik Lentz carried with it much controversy. Following that lightweight bout, the 14-time Octagon vet returned to the featherweight division last June and outpointed former WEC title challenger Manny Gamburyan before missing weight ahead of his UFC 137 clash with “Bartimus.” The 28-year-old is now expected to jump back to 155 pounds, the weight at which he competed for the first 12 fights of his UFC career.