When Tyson Griffin and Efrain Escudero stepped into the cage in the main event of Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) 4 last night (Nov. 2, 2012) inside Texas Station Gambling Hall & Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight veterans had much to prove.
Griffin was a measly 1-4 in his last five appearances, while Escudero as riding a two-fight losing streak. With their backs against the wall, the onus was on them to prove that they still belonged in the pantheon of contenders.
That call was answered by Griffin.
From the get-go, it was clear that Griffin was simply too much for Escudero. His striking looked better than it had in years, with his head movement in particular looking vastly improved as he avoided Escudero's strikes and landed a heavy right hand seemingly at will. When he decided to take it to the ground, Escudero had no answer, his armbar attempts being shrugged off with surprising ease.
Overall, Griffin looked a hell of a lot like the Tyson Griffin who gave most of the current 155-pound landscape hell years ago as he picked up the decision. If he keeps fighting like this, I can't imagine him staying out of Zuffa for too much longer. As for Escudero, it's back to the drawing board. He really needs to tighten up his takedown defense and get his striking up to snuff before taking another crack at the UFC lightweight division.
As impressive as Griffin was, the night's MVP was undoubtedly Chidi Njokuani, younger (and bigger) brother of Anthony Njokuani.
The 6'3" Njokuani, packing an 80-inch reach, completely and utterly dominated fellow striker Phil Dace, cracking him with beautiful combinations and kicking his feet out from under him an embarrassing number of times. The beatdown reached a crescendo in the third round, when Chidi switched to southpaw and crushed Dace with a lead right hook, picking up the technical knockout victory.
If this guy's wrestling is half as good as his striking, he has a bright, bright future.
The rest of the card was solid overall, save for a rather uneventful bout between Alpha Male prospect Lance Palmer and Fredson Paixao. Of particular note were James Krause's 41-second pasting of Guilherme Trindade and Marcio "Pe de Pano's" inverted triangle of Joe Yager, though the latter came at the end of one of the worst bouts of the evening.
For complete RFA 4 quick results and main card play-by-play coverage click here.