Cheyenne, WY (KGWN)- The Resurrection Fighting Alliance brought its show to town, and with it a national broadcast on AXS TV of one of the premiere MMA organizations in the world.
RFA 14 was here and the Cheyenne Ice and Events Center filled up quickly. Why? Because, the amateur card was stacked with local fighters and friends and family were on hand to show their support.
The big draw was a world title shot for a local fighter, Matt Manzanares, who was fighting for his second consecutive shot at the flyweight belt. This time the chance would come in front of his hometown crowd.
The first fight of the night featured two fighters from just down the road on I-25 in Denver.
Joe Guerrero vs George Martinez in a flyweight bout (125lbs).
It was Guerrero with an early take down, that was able to maintain control throughout the first round.
In the second round it was same song second verse, as Martinez tapped out, due to rear naked choke.
The next bout was supposed to feature two fighters from Cheyenne in Anthony Adams and Ralph Carabajal.
Unfortunately, the hometown crowd did not get what it wanted, Carabajal never showed up to the arena even though his team did. So Adams was left with out a fight and the card continued on.
Sonny Yohn vs Enrique Torres at 185lbs
This fight featured another submission it was Yohn tapping out with Torres sinking in the rear-naked choke.
The third fight of the night featured Zach Hare who attended Central High School in Cheyenne against Andrew Kauppila from Rawlins, Wyoming.
Zach Hare vs Andrew Kauppila at 145lbs
Hare was clearly the crowd favorite but Kauppila had a strong contingent of supporters in the arena and was not put off by Hare’s fan base.
It was Hare striking first with a big left that dropped Kauppila and left Hare on top trying to finish, but Kauppila was able to weather the initial storm.
Hare stayed active throughout the first round, and was looking for a takedown as the round expired.
A cut over the right eye of Kauppila in the second round didn’t stop him from unleashing a flurry of punches at the end of the round as he began to find his confidence.
Kauppila looked strongest whenever Hare looked most dangerous, as Kauppila demonstrated heart and the scrappiness a fighter needs in a three round battle.
In the third round it was Kauppila that prevailed with a relentless furry and punches that left Hare looking like he was out on his feet.
A good stoppage, as the referee stepped in to end the punishment, giving Kauppila the victory by TKO in the 3rd round.
The first pro fight of the night, a preliminary bout, featured Scott Ingram against Josh Smith.
Smith, a very confident young fighter, wore a defiant smile at the weigh-ins and displayed a dismissive attitude toward Ingram.
When the fight started Ingram looked ready to end it early attacking immediately and putting Smith on his heels.
Smith recovered though and with Ingram on the ground, the smile returned to Smith’s face as he stood over his opponent.
The smile quickly disappeared when Ingram worked to top position where he was able to work an effective ground and pound that left Smith unconscious and on the ground for several minutes.
Ingram the victor TKO (2:08 1st rd).
Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger met Rosa Acevedo at 120lbs, a catch-weight bout that kicked off the main event card and the national broadcast on AXS TV
The RFA matchmaker knew what he was doing when he put these two ladies against each other.
The first round started with the fighters feeling each other out, before Jones-Lybarger took Acevedo down.
Jones-Lybarger demonstrated superior ability on the ground, controlling Acevedo but never landing much damage.
The fight never went to the ground again, and both fighters liked it that way.
Once the intensity started it did not let up, the fight turned very quickly into a war in the second round.
Jones-Lybarger had the reach advantage and knew it, jabbing effectively throughout the round, she was able to throw Acevedo to the ground several times but did not pursue a fight there, preferring to strike.
Acevedo did not go away, countering well and landing occasional heavy hooks despite a constant onslaught of jabs and crosses that came right down the pipe from Jones-Lybarger.
The third round was filled with action, as Acevedo knowing she would need to finish Jones-Lybarger for a win kept attacking.
The hands kept flying on both sides and the crowd appreciated what they were seeing, letting the fighters know it.
The reach of Jones-Lybarger proved to be too much for Acevedo to overcome.
Jones-Lybarger improved to 3-1 and Acevedo fell to 1-1.
The decision was unanimous in favor of Jones-Lybarger (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Tyler Toner vs Daniel Aguiar 145lbs
This fight was over before it started. Aguiar pulled guard on Toner less than 30 seconds into the fight and grabbed a heel hook that caused Toner to tap out.
Alan Jouban vs Amando Montoya Jr 170lbs
The first round started with some powerful leg kicks by the south-paw Jouban, and some good striking on both sides.
A big right hand from Montoya wobbled Jouban and Montoya tried to take advantage but couldn’t and the fight returned to the center of the octagon.
An illegal kick from Jouban (groin) to Montoya put a long pause on the action, which was slow to pick up again out of the break.
Montoya Jr scored a takedown with 1:30 remaining in the first but Jouban was not concerned, looking for an omoplata from bottom position and transitioning into a gogoplata, but could not sink in either technique before the round ended.
The 2nd round started with another brief feeling out period and then a takedown by Montoya 30 seconds into the round.
Montoya spent the next two minutes of the round trying to sink in a guillotine choke but Jouban was eventually able to work back to his feet.
Once back to standing Jouban went off, landing a shin to the side of Montoya’s head and following it with a knee to the body as Montoya lost his bearings.
Montoya went to his knees where Jouban landed two thunderous knees to the body, and Montoya stood back up, trying to escape.
He didn’t get far, one left hook from Jouban dropped Montoya and one overhand right to the downed Montoya was enough for the referee to jump in and end the fight.
Jouban wins TKO (3:33 2nd rd) and improves to 8-2 as Montoya falls to 8-4.
Tyler Voth and Jeimeson Saudino met in a flyweight contender bout at 125lbs, the winner would face the winner of the main event between Manzanares and Junior Maranhão.
The fight between Voth and Saudino was well balanced early, neither fighter gaining a major advantage.
Voth scored a takedown at about the 3 minute mark but there wasn’t much action so the ref brought the fight back to standing.
The 2nd round was a wrestling match with both fighters working for a takedown interspersed with a few good exchanges of punches before Voth grabbed another takedown again 3 minutes into the round.
Saudino tried to work an arm bar from bottom position but couldn’t get the wrist of Voth into the right position or extend his hips so moved back to full guard.
The ref stood the fighters up with 15 seconds to go in the 2nd round without major consequence.
Voth took Saudino down for the third time in the fight, less than one minute into the third round. Voth tried to work the ground and pound but Saudino clinched him in tight.
After a failed guillotine attempt by Voth the fight moved back to standing.
Voth scored another takedown with 1:20 to go in the round but Saudino quickly returned to his feet.
One final takedown with 20 seconds remaining for Voth was the icing on a rather boring cake.
Voth wins by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Saudino falls to 8-3 and Voth moves to 6-1
Mark Dickman met Raoni Barcelos in a featherweight contender bout at 145lbs.
These fighters both very experienced wrestlers, Dickman a NAIA national champion and Barcelos a Pan American Games silver medalist.
Dickman tried for a single leg takedown but Barcelos demonstrated superb balance early to avoid the takedown.
It was Barcelos with the takedown of Dickman two minutes into the round but landed nothing of consequence on the ground.
Dickman tried again for a single leg takedown with one minute left in the first but again could not bring the Brazilian to the ground.
Late body shots from Barcelos seemed to hurt Dickman, as the round came to a close.
The second round started with Dickman going right back to his wrestling but this time it worked and he scored a takedown.
Barcelos looked keen to quickly return to his feet but Dickman moved for a rear-naked choke and the battle would never leave the ground.
Dickman hammered away at Barcelos and eventually was able to sink in the rear-naked choke forcing Barcelos to tap.
Dickman wins (2:06 2nd rd., rear-naked choke) and improves to 9-1 and Barcelos loses his first professional fight falling to 7-1.
The Main Event of the evening brought the Cheyenne Ice and Events Center to life. Thunderous applause gripped the arena as Cheyenne native Matt Manzanares entered the arena for a flyweight title bout with Junior Maranhão.
The fighters touched gloves to start the first round, Maranhão looming over the much smaller Manzanares at 6’1”, Manzanares only 5’6.”
The reach advantage was 7.5” for Maranhão but Manzanares was able to get inside and strike and then get back out of the way of the much longer Maranhão.
Maranhão was not afraid to stand and bang with the experienced boxer, putting together some good combinations of his own and then scoring a late takedown at the end of the first round.
Manzanares began the second round swinging big overhand rights.
At the 4:20 mark one of those rights dropped Maranhão to the ground and Manzanares pounced on him looking for the finish as the crowd went ballistic.
While trying to weather the storm Maranhão tried for an arm bar and then a triangle but Manzanares eventually was able to escape.
A bit of comedy at 2:25 with Manzanares standing allowing Maranhão back to his feet but Maranhão refused, beckoning Manzanares to join him back on the ground.
Manzanares wanted to stand and the ref was eventually able to implore Maranhão back to his feet.
Maranhão got what he wanted though and was able to take Manzanares back to the ground staying on top for the rest of the round.
The third round began with some dancing and then a takedown attempt by Maranhão, which Manzanares deflected and instead took down Maranhão.
It may have been exactly what Maranhão wanted but eventually the referee put the fighters back to their feet. The round ended on the ground again with Manzanares on top this time, raining down blows.
The first championship round started with a good long exchange on the feet, both fighters changing levels and varying punches and kicks.
Maranhão scores another takedown with two minutes remaining in the round.
The crowd began to chant, “Matt! Matt! Matt!” Encouraging their fighter.
With 40 seconds to go Manzanares looked to have a triangle choke synched in but somehow Maranhão survived.
Cue the controversy.
Between rounds Maranhão fell off of his stool and was facedown and unconscious on the mat.
A doctor entered the ring but did not appear to check Maranhão out fully, to make sure he was fit to finish competition.
The referee allowed the fight to continue.
Maranhão did not appear to be all there mentally and Manzanares was able to pepper him with shots to start the round.
Big shots landed throughout the round for Manzanares but Maranhão did not go away despite wobble legs.
With blood streaming down his face Manzanares continued to press forward as the crowd cheered him on.
Maranhão, needing a knockout to win the fight was unable to find one.
The hometown here was able to get what the crowd wanted and he needed, a world title in the RFA flyweight division.
It was a split-decision victory (49-46, 50-45, 47-48) as Manzanares improved to 8-2 and Maranhão fell to 9-3 ending a six fight win streak.
The victory makes Manzanares the first MMA world champion in the history of Wyoming.
With the title belt in Manzanares’ hand you have to wonder what’s next for the humble mixed martial artist.
Perhaps, a call to the Big Show, the UFC, or maybe, as hinted by the RFA promoter, a chance to defend his title in front of his hometown crowd again.
The Wyoming MMA commission says it will review the Maranhão collapse and will release the results of its investigation.