On Friday, June 21, Resurrection Fighting Alliance will journey north to The Rave/Eagle Club in Milwaukee for the first time in the promotion’s history to host RFA 8: Pettis vs. Pegg.

Two title fights will headline a six-bout main card, with both flyweight and featherweight gold on the line.

In the main event, Milwaukee’s own Sergio Pettis will square off with late replacement Dillard “Joe” Pegg for the inaugural 125-pound belt. Pegg has stepped up in place of Jeff Curran, who was forced out of the title fight due to personal reasons.

For the featherweight title, newly crowned champion Jared Downing will look to defend his strap against rising undefeated prospect Lance Palmer.

The main card is set to begin live at 10 p.m. ET on AXS TV.

Flyweight Championship: Sergio Pettis (7-0) vs. Dillard “Joe” Pegg (5-1)

Sergio Pettis has been one of the most talked-about prospects in mixed martial arts and has a great chance on Friday night to claim a championship at just 19-years-old.

“The Phenom” has backed up the hype surrounding him by going undefeated in both his amateur and now professional career, with over half of his pro wins coming by knockout or submission. Under the training of his brother Anthony and coach Duke Roufus, Pettis is in prime position to flourish in this fight.

Many fans were excited by the prospect of the original Pettis vs. Jeff Curran match-up, as Curran, a veteran, would provide Pettis with a true test. However, the veteran has been replaced with a new name, Dillard Pegg, who will now take on the future star instead.

The 29-year-old Pegg certainly doesn’t carry a big name like his opponent, but taking the fight could pay off for him if he delivers the upset. Pegg’s record, which includes five knockout wins, suggests that he prefers to strike with his opponent. In his last fight, he knocked out Christopher Sallie with a slam in the first round, so Pegg could turn heads in Milwaukee.

But in all honesty, this is Pettis’ fight to lose. He’ll be in front of his hometown crowd, carries a better skill set, and has some of the best training in the sport. “The Phenom” earns the win in one of the opening two rounds.

Featherweight Championship: Jared Downing (9-1) vs. Lance Palmer (6-0)

On Nov. 30, 2012, Jared Downing defeated Jordan Rinaldi by unanimous decision to win the inaugural featherweight title. The question is, can “Demon Eyes” defend it at RFA 8 this Friday?

Downing will square off with undefeated Lance Palmer, who trains alongside fighters such as Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez and Chad Mendes, among other UFC contenders, at Team Alpha Male. In just six fights, Palmer has made a name for himself as one of the top young fighters on the regional scene.

If we’re to use one word to describe Downing, it would have to be “grinder.” He has won seven of his nine bouts by decision and has shown he has the cardio to go into deep waters in the third round and beyond. This could turn out to be a key factor in the match-up.

This is without a doubt the toughest fight to predict on the card. Even though Palmer fought just last month, I don’t think it will affect him. Downing may very well add another decision win to his record, but I’m taking Palmer to be crowned the new champion with a third-round submission.

Pedro Munhoz (7-0) vs. Mitch Jackson (19-3)

In a bantamweight contest, Brazilian Pedro Munhoz will square off with veteran Mitch Jackson.

This is a perfect example of youth vs. experience, and in this case youth has the edge.

The undefeated Munhoz has already shown his grappling skills inside the RFA cage, submitting Bill Kamery in the first round by heel hook in his most recent bout. “The Young Punisher” also trains at the famous Black House gym, so he will come into this fight with a great camp behind him.

Jackson had an impressive winning streak of seven from 2010-2012, but ended it as he stepped up in competition. The Minnesotan fought at Bellator 88 in February, losing to Mike Richman by TKO. Jackson is also a solid grappler, with 13 of his wins coming by submission, so the ground games of both men could cancel each other out.

This leads to which striking game is better, and that gives Munhoz the advantage. Munhoz by second-round TKO.

Mike “Biggie” Rhodes (4-1) vs. Benjamin Smith (6-1)

Mike “Biggie” Rhodes will look to bounce back after a loss to now-UFC fighter Brandon Thatch. He’ll get his opportunity by taking on Benjamin Smith on the main card.

Rhodes began his professional career with four straight wins, but faltered when he was signed by the RFA, losing to Thatch by submission in the first round. But Rhodes is in a good position to rebound and will use his athleticism to press the pace.

This will be the RFA debut of Smith, who carries a three-fight winning streak into this bout. Smith was undefeated as an amateur through eight fights, so he has some experience under his belt.

Rhodes will come in focused to bounce back and earn a decision victory.

Dan Moret (4-0) vs. Jose Pacheco (7-3)

Jose Pacheco and Dan Moret, a pair of featherweights who carry winning streaks of three or more fights, will square off.

The factor in this contest could be the height differential. Moret is six inches taller than Pacheco and that usually translates into a reach advantage.

Pacheco has fought in the Milwaukee area his entire life, but this will be his first fight in the RFA. Considering he has zero knockout wins, Pacheco will more than likely want to take this fight to the ground while also avoiding the reach disadvantage.

Moret brings a 4-0 record into Friday, with all but one of those wins coming by knockout or submission. He will keep the fight standing, pick his opponent apart and walk away with a close decision win to keep that spotless record intact.

Zak Ottow (3-1) vs. Matt Gauthier (4-1)

The similarity between Zak Ottow and Matt Gauthier is the fact that both men fell to Mike Rhodes in their only career loss.

Ottow, of Milwaukee, lost to Rhodes in his pro debut, but has come back to win his next three fights, all by knockout or submission. Gauthier is the opposite of Ottow, having won his first four pro fights before falling to Rhodes by first-round submission in his most recent bout.

In his last two wins, Gauthier has won by decision, but against Ottow, it may not go three rounds. Ottow forces the referee to stop the bout due to strikes midway through the fight.

Preliminary Card
Kevin Morris (3-1) vs. Brian Householder (1-0)

Before the main card begins, Kevin Morris and Brian Householder will look to make a statement in a lightweight bout. Morris will have the edge here in terms of experience and being active in recent years. Householder hasn’t fought since October of 2011, which doesn’t bode well for him. Taking Householder’s ring rust into consideration, the pick here goes in favor of Morris, who will get the win via submission.

David Rhoads (3-4) vs. Derrick Mandell (1-0)

Bantamweights will kick off the prelims prior to the main card, with David Rhoads taking on Derrick Mandell. Rhoads has yet to find consistency in his career, but has a good opportunity to improve his record to .500 against Mandell, who has just one professional bout. Mandell’s pro debut resulted in a narrow split decision win for the rookie. He won’t fare as well here. Rhoads wins by TKO in front of the hometown crowd.

Photo: Sergio Pettis (red trunks) lands a leg kick on Jimmy Jones (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.