Resurrection Fighting Alliance invaded the Viaero Events Center in Kearney Nebraska, with a fight card that included some former big names, as well as some up-and-comers, as RFA 3 took place on Sat., June 30, 2012.
It was somewhat of a star-studded affair, as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones was in attendance, and even joined the boys in the booth for a few minutes. Also, fellow light heavyweight Stephan Bonnar and former UFC heavyweight Justin McCully were onhand to call the fights.
"The Daddy" was looking to redeem himself, and start the trek back to mixed martial arts (MMA) prominence. For Cochrane, it was an opportunity to take down another big name (after playing spoiler to Jamie Varner at Titan Fighting Championships 20 in Kansas City, Kansas, on Sept, 23, 2011).
The first round saw Cochrane essentially bullying Stevenson, using superman punches, flying knees and excellent overall striking to keep "Daddy" backing up.
Eventually, Stevenson was able to secure the takedown, but Cochrane was able to reverse positions and land some brutal ground and pound.
Cochrane began the second round by sprinting toward Stevenson and unloading on him, specifically landing a knee to the midsection that sent Stevenson spiraling to the mat.
It was only a matter of time before Cochrane was able to follow him to the canvas and sink in the rear-naked choke. It was another notch in the belt of Dakota Cochrane, and possibly the lowest point of Stevenson's career.
Follow me after the jump, where we break down the rest of the main fight card for RFA 3: "Stevenson vs. Cochrane:"
The co-main event for RFA 3 featured the promotional debut of UFC lightweight Anthony Njokuani's little brother, Chidi Njokuani, as "Chidi Chidi Bang Bang" sought to continue his rise to fame and out of the shadow of his more famous sibling.
Njokuani squared off against Bobby Cooper, the former Titan Fighting Championships fighter who came into the night riding a two-fight win streak.
In the first round, Njokuani was able to get a takedown, with a little more than a minute left in the round, and proceeded to pounce on Cooper, unloading a vicious barrage of "ground-and-pound" that very nearly finished the fight.
Round two saw more of the same, as Cooper showed tremendous grit, fighting his way through a size and striking skills disadvantage, only to be taken down again near the end of the round.
In a bizarre twist, Njokuani appeared, momentarily, to have lost the fight, by way of disqualification, after referee Bo Nesslein said Njokuani landed an illegal knee to Cooper, who was in the process of getting up.
The replay was too close to call, but after consulting with Cooper, who said that he was not hit by the knee and wished to continue, the fighter were given a standard one-minute break, and then the third round began, with no real explanation of what happened.
In the third round, it was all Njokuani, who took Cooper down early and pounded on him for nearly five full minutes. It wasn't a finish, but it was absolutely a one-sided victory for Njokuani.
Former NCAA Division I wrestler, Bubba Jenkins, looked to remain perfect, as he made his RFA debut against Jesus Adame, also a relative unknown in sport, holding a professional record of 3-1, heading into this contest.
Jenkins looked fantastic.
Right out of the gate, Jenkins shot for a takedown, got it, took Adame's back (after some transitioning) and pounded him out in no time flat.
It would be surprising if Jenkins stuck around the regional game for much longer. The UFC may still be a few fights away, but it's not crazy to think we might see Bubba Jenkins suiting up in the cage for a lesser promotion, like Bellator or Strikeforce.
World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Bellator Fighting Championship veteran James Krause (aka: "THE James Krause") went toe-to-toe with Amir Khillah, who has one of the better real names in all of MMA, in a catchweight battle that started off with a bang, but ended with a whimper.
The first round was all about Khillah's striking, as he stalked Krause and landed several big head kicks, causing Krause to be constantly on the defensive.
In a very weird second round, Krause took the advantage back with his ground game, despite two illegal knees and an illegal upkick by Khillah. Krause was able to get very close to sinking in a D'arce choke, but Khillah's toughness prevailed and allowed him to survive the round.
In the third and final frame, Khillah turned to clown antics, as he was clearly frustrated by Krause's ability to tie him up and wear him down, both on the fence and on the mat.
Khillah resorted to waving to the crowd, sarcastically patting Krause on the head several times, as well as a full arsenal of shenanigans that may have won him points with the crowd (even though they probably didn't), but not with the judges.
Ultimately, Krause's cage control and ground game proved to give him the edge he needed, as he was able to earn the unanimous decision victory.
All in all, it was a very fun card to watch. RFA is doing a good job, for what they have to work with, and the growing stable of promising fighters they are putting together merits the attention of MMA fans, far and wide.
RFA 3 MAIN CARD QUICK RESULTS:
155 lbs.: Dakota Cochrane def. Joe Stevenson via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:04 of round two
205 lbs.: Maurice Smith vs. Ryan Lopez(canceled due to illness suffered by Lopez)
170 lbs.: Chidi Njokuani def. Bobby Cooper via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Bubba Jenkins def. Jesus Adame by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:08 of round one
165 lbs. (catchweight): James Krause def. Amir Khillah via split decision
150 lbs. (catchweight): Jordan Rinaldi def. Mark Dickman via unanimous decision
145 lbs.: Nick Macias def. Sean Wilson via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:03 of round two
125 lbs.: Aaron Ely def. Matt Manzanares via submission (guillotine) at 3:21 of round two
155 lbs.: T.J. Hepburn def. Jeremy Mier via TKO (strikes) at 4:59 of round two
265 lbs.: Carl Postma def. Anthony Alirez via KO at 0:19 of round one