Nov 17, 2014
(PRESS RELEASE) -- LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) president Ed Soares announced today that the promotion will feature a new main event as the promotion heads back to southern California in December. RFA 21 - Juusola vs. Baghdad will feature a main event between two of the world's most exciting lightweights as Minnesota native and collegiate wrestler Zach Juusola and WKBC Muay Thai world champion Mehdi Baghdad meet for the vacant RFA lightweight world title. In the co-main event, two of the bantamweight division's most talented jiu-jitsu experts face off as Joe Murphy and Bruno Frazatto meet in a high-stakes showdown. The event takes place Friday, December 5th at the The Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, California. The entire main card will be televised live and nationwide on AXS TV at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.

"Zach Juusola vs. Mehdi Baghdad will be a great lightweight title fight," stated Soares. "They are both hungry, ready, and have the styles to make this a fantastic year-end event in Orange County."

Tickets for RFA 21 - Juusola vs. Baghdad are available at CageTix.com/RFA, prices range from $55.00 to $105.00. Special 14-person All-You-Can-Eat and Drink VIP suites can be reserved by calling 310-951-0867.

Juusola (10-2) is excited to step in and fight for the RFA lightweight title, after the opportunity was presented to him when J.J. Ambrose sustained an injury in training. Juusola is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota and wrestled in college alongside RFA 13 co-headliner Miles Marshall at RCTC in Rochester, Minnesota. In fact, Juusola was originally slated to make his RFA debut on the same card as Marshall in March, but both of his scheduled bouts at the event fell through. Juusola then decided to mix things up with his training and moved out to Las Vegas this past summer. He now calls Xtreme Couture home, where he trains alongside RFA star Boston Salmon and many other top fighters under the esteemed tutelage of Robert Follis.

"I'm really excited to be given the opportunity to fight for the RFA lightweight title," Juusola explained. "I know my opponent is a really good kickboxer, but so am I, and I plan on going in there and dominating."

Baghdad (10-3) is a native of France, but he is known worldwide due to his multicultural appeal and success in MMA and Muay Thai. In 2002, the French fighter moved to Brazil after viewing a PRIDE FC tape featuring Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira and other top fighters from Brazil. The WKBC Muay Thai world champion is now a regular training partner of the legendary Anderson Silva and just finished coaching Team Baghdad on the second season of the hit Arab MMA reality show Al Batal, which is currently airing on FOX Movies in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. In September, Baghdad made an emphatic RFA debut with a brutal first round TKO of Evan DeLong at RFA 18 and looks to keep that momentum going in his world title fight.

"I feel great about fighting for the RFA lightweight world title," Baghdad explained. " This is what I have been training hard for and it's my time."

The co-main event of RFA 21 will see the highly-anticipated promotional debut of Joe Murphy (7-1). Murphy was born and raised in Orange County and will be making his RFA debut in front of his home crowd. Murphy is a Cleber Luciano protégé that made a name for himself on the national jiu-jitsu and submission grappling circuit. Murphy also excelled in high school wrestling, which has given him a very potent and balanced style of grappling for MMA. These skills have translated into five submission wins in his MMA career. The lone loss on Murphy's record came with a bit of controversy. After the questionable decision was announced, WSOF president Ray Sefo immediately tweeted, "No disrespect to Carson Beebe but I thought Joe Murphy won that fight!!" Murphy is now eager to shine on the national stage in the co-headliner of RFA 21.

"Being in a co-main event for the RFA and broadcasted on national television is a dream come true," stated Murphy. "It's something I have wished for my whole life and the fact that it is going down in my hometown is icing on the cake. I'm so thankful for this opportunity and I can't wait to scrap on December 5th."

Awaiting Murphy, will be Frazatto (6-1) who is a native of Campinas in state of São Paulo, Brazil and a standout member of the world-renowned Atos team in the sport of jiu-jitsu. His accolades include winning the black belt featherweight division at the 2011 IBJJF Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu Championship and 2012 IBJJF European Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship. He was also a silver medalist at the IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in 2008 and competed at ADCC 2011 in Nottingham, England. In August, the 30-year-old's jiu-jitsu was on full display in his RFA debut, as he made quick work of two-time RFA victor Cory Galloway with a 92-second Triangle Choke at RFA 17. Frazatto is now looking to duplicate that success.

"I can't wait to get back in the RFA octagon in the co-main event of RFA 21," Frazatto exclaimed. "Joe Murphy is an excellent fighter and trains with very good people. We will give the fans in southern California a very technical and exciting fight!"

The main card of RFA 21 will also include a heavyweight clash between surging UFC vet Chase Gormley (10-4) and undefeated Power MMA prospect Dale Sopi (6-0). In the middleweight division, BJJ black belt Francisco "Kiko" France (10-3-1) returns to the RFA octagon to face TUF 11 alum and southern California favorite Joseph "Leonidas" Henle (9-1-1). In the featherweight division, Brazilian standout Altair "Tratorzinho" Alencar (7-2) meets undefeated RFA vet "Super" Sam Toomer (8-0). The main card will get started with a pair of unbeaten middleweight prospects, who are both looking for their second straight RFA win, as Justin "Lazy Bones" Jones (3-0) squares off with Khalil "War Horse" Rountree (1-0).

The entire main card of RFA 21 - Juusola vs. Baghdad will be televised live on AXS TV starting at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT on Friday, December 5th. RFA 21 will be the promotion's first event in Orange County and its fourth event to take place in southern California. It will be the third time the RFA has visited the state of California in 2014. More fights on the stacked RFA 21 fight card will be announced soon.

Please visit RFAfighting.com for bout updates and information. RFA is also on Facebook at Facebook.com/RFAfighting, Instagram at @RFAfighting, and Twitter at @RFAfighting.

About RFA: RFA is a professional mixed martial arts promotion that gives rising stars and top contenders the opportunity to prove their talent to fans and leaders in the industry. The RFA presents up to 10 fights annually around the United States including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver and Milwaukee. RFA can be seen live in over 40 million homes nationally through its television deal with AXS TV. Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, RFA is one of the most active and respected MMA organizations in the fastest growing sport in the world. (The Octagon, Ultimate Fighting Championship®, UFC®, and the eight-sided competition mat and cage design are registered trademarks owned exclusively by Zuffa, LLC. All rights reserved).

About AXS TV Fights: AXS TV Fights is renowned for its universally recognized Friday Night Mixed Martial Arts and Kickboxing events. As Your Home For MMA, AXS TV utilizes an expansive network of promotions from the United States, Canada, and Europe. And Asia to broadcast more LIVE fights than any other television network. "The Voice" Michael Schiavello and UFC Hall of Fame member Pat Miletich provide viewers expert play-by-play, in-depth fighter coverage, and extensive analysis to each fight card. AXS TV broadcasts world-class LIVE fight events from RFA, Lion Fight, Legacy FC, and MFC every Friday night at 7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET.
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