This week, Resurrection Fighting Alliance takes center stage with a main event that epitomizes its premise of helping former stars work their way back to the big show.

The promotion’s fourth event, which takes place from the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas and airs live on AXS TV, will feature former UFC lightweights Efrain Escudero and Tyson Griffin.

Both fighters are looking to get back on track after some rough times.

Escudero was surprisingly cut from the UFC in late 2010 due to weight cutting issues. The Ultimate Fighter winner then won five of six fights to earn a second shot with the promotion, only to lose twice and be released once more.

Griffin, meanwhile, has been out of action for more than a year. The veteran competed 14 times in the famed Octagon, but went just 1-4 in his last five bouts with the promotion, the final two coming at featherweight.

Let’s take a deeper look at the match-up. And as a reminder, this is a side-by-side comparison of how the fighters’ skills matchup against one another using similar scoring to the unified rules.

Striking: Escudero – 9, Griffin – 10

Griffin (Terry Goodlad/Sherdog)

First and foremost, Escudero’s strength is in his grappling. But the Arizona-based fighter does put together solid combinations on the feet to close distance. Against Griffin, he’ll want to avoid staying outside or he may get picked apart.

Griffin is the more experienced fighter and the much more technical striker. However, what has really hurt Griffin over the last few years has been his inability to mix his attacks. He’s fallen in love with his hands, which has made him very one-dimensional as a fighter. To have success against Escudero, he’ll need to stay on the outside and keep him guessing.

Ground Game: Escudero – 10, Griffin – 9

Escudero (L) nearly finish his last fight by choke (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

In terms of finishing ability on the mat, Escudero has a clear-cut advantage in this fight. Twelve of his 18 career wins have come by way of submission and if he can find a way to get on top of Griffin in this fight, he’ll have a chance of being the first to submit him. He came very close to finishing Jacob Volkmann at UFC 141 with a slick choke that would force most fighters to tap. And although two of Escudero’s losses in the UFC were by submission, it’s his offense that should concern Griffin.

As said, Griffin has never been submitted in his 21 career fights. And it’s not like he hasn’t faced strong submission artists. While in the UFC, he bested the likes of Marcus Aurelio, Hermes Franca and Thiago Tavares. What hurts Griffin in the submission game is how little he has used it from an offensive standpoint. His last victory by tapout came in 2006 in his UFC debut.

Wrestling: Escudero – 10, Griffin – 9

Griffin (Sherdog)

Escudero was a junior college All-American as a wrestler. However, he has struggled against fighters with better accolades such as the aforementioned Volkmann and Evan Dunham. Griffin does not have those credentials and coupled with the fact that Escudero is the larger fighter, he should be able to control where this fight takes place.

Once again, Griffin’s biggest asset is his experience. He did wrestle in junior college briefly before choosing to fight full time. Although he has bested experienced wrestlers like Clay Guida and Urijah Faber in his pre-UFC career, he fell short against Dunham, Sean Sherk and Nik Lentz. He recently switched from training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas to the American Kickboxing Academy in northern California, and it will be interesting to see if that changes his offensive attack.


Based on recent events, the deck is stacked against Griffin in this fight. He’s been out of action for more than a year and his previous five bouts were disappointing to say the least. Can the veteran turn things around now that he’s returning to his more natural weight class? How much will the change in training camps impact his fight game? Can he use his experience to overcome Escudero’s height and reach advantage? Although he is just 28 years old, the question has to been asked: how much does Griffin have left?

Scorecard: Escudero – 29, Griffin – 28

Verdict: Based on the fact that Griffin has never been submitted and Escudero likes to finish fights on the ground, this fight is likely to see the scorecards. While Griffin has the experience edge, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s the smaller fighter and has just one win over the last three years. Look for Escudero to take home a hard-fought decision win.

Top Photo: Efrain Escudero (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

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