Justin Lawrence (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)RFA 25: Preview and Predictions Dale De Souza April 10, 2015 Events, Previews, Spotlight This Friday night, Resurrection Fighting Alliance will feature its 25th installment live from the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, IA with an action packed card. At the top of the bill an RFA championship doubleheader will go down, with featherweight champion Justin Lawrence defending his crown in headlining action against challenger Sam Toomer, and Gabriel “Zangief” Checco against Francisco”Kiko” France for the vacant RFA middleweight title. Lawrence has resurged since his time in the UFC came to a head, but he faces a difficult task in the undefeated Toomer. Meanwhile, Friday night represents Checco’s second crack at an RFA middleweight title, but to get it, he must defeat France, who has not been defeated since 2011. The card also planned to feature the latest installment in Abel Cullum’s comeback. Fresh off of two wins inside the RFA cage, Cullum anticipated a duel with Josh Rave, but Cullum was forced out due to injury. Rave now rides a two-fight winning streak against undefeated Geane Herrera, who is still coming into his own as a fighter but carrying a lot of promise with him into his RFA debut. RFA 25, which also features the return of highly-touted Khalil Rountree, comes live on AXS TV at a 10:00 PM ET start, as part of AXS TV’s “Friday Night Fights” programming. Justin Lawrence (c) vs. Sam Toomer – for featherweight title Against most guys, it would be easy to peg the champ as an easy favorite, given his improvements from his time at The Ultimate Fighter 15, but Toomer is no easy task to take. “Super Sam” got the better end of a majority decision in his last bout, which some debated, but there is no question that Toomer’s reach will provide the toughest obstacle for the champion in this go-round. But then, Lawrence came into his fights with Mark Dickman and Luis Saldaña at significant reach disadvantages. Toomer can become “the man” if he can use his reach effectively in areas where Dickman and Saldaña could not, but until the fight happens, that is easier said than done, which means Toomer better prepare for a 25-minutes affair or else he will fall like the rest. Lawrence def. Toomer by unanimous decision. Gabriel Checco vs. Francisco France – for vacant middleweight title By trade, Checco does knockouts and TKOs as well as any unsigned middleweight, though he does mix in takedowns and submission attempts when he creates openings. Still, when he tried it with Jake Collier, Checco found himself dropped and submitted. Lucky for him, France is probably better known for his grappling than his power, but if Checco is to survive, he’ll need to keep an airtight submission defense. If not, France gets this to the ground and finishes this bout as he has finished most of his other fights: by way of one mean choke-hold. France def. Checco by submission (arm-triangle choke). Round 2 Geane Herrera vs. Josh Rave It might be hard to gauge whether or not Rave can expect the same fight out of Herrera that he would have anticipated out of Cullum, as both Cullum and Herrera can submit someone if given the chance. It also does not help that Rave has lost five of his pro bouts by an actual submission hold of some sort. That notwithstanding, Herrera is a tough battle for anyone, even at 24, and will prove that he can go on for a long time in order to stay perfect professionally. Herrera def. Rave by unanimous decision. LaRue Burley vs. T.J. Hepburn Hepburn is no stranger to the RFA cage but he flies so far under the radar, despite being undefeated, that people forget that his career started with the RFA back in 2012. RFA fans have not seen Hepburn since he beat Ryan Shell, but they known Hepburn gets a man in Burley that, like Hepburn, flies under the radar despite an unbeaten run. The former Bellator MMA and King of The Cage standout carries a reputation for being well-rounded, and in a bout where someone must lose, it will be Burley that emerges victorious with everything his arsenal holds. Burley def. Hepburn by unanimous decision Jarrod L’Heureux vs. Jordon Larson It’s been almost three years since Carey Vanier submitted Larson, and since then, Larson has become a bit of a different fighter. It is somewhat ironic that Larson is looking that kind of part as he prepares for L’Heureux because Larson handed L’Heureux his first pro loss back in 2010, when L’heureux made his pro debut, and L’Heureux has evolved as well. Nothing stops a man from going 2-0 with a foe, but in a rare instance of a man running it back with the person against whom he made his debut. L’Heureux will come out with a “W” by implementing his grappling prowess to keep Larson down before pounding out the win. L’Heureux def. Larson by TKO (punches). Round 1. Cameron Oleson vs. Khalil Rountree Rountree might be one of the RFA’s more highly-touted names in recent memory, and rightly so. The man does everything from submissions and knockouts to fun-filled decisions, and he keeps an exciting style that shows some clear shades of both Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva. Oleson is a man that can submit a lot of good guys at this stage of competition, but the freak athlete known as “The War Horse” will not succumb to that fate. Instead, he uses his counter-striking and his movement to systematically dismantle Oleson early before putting him away through the midway point of the first round. Rountree def. Oleson by knockout (punch). Round 1.