On Friday, March 22, Resurrection Fighting Alliance made its first visit to Colorado, hosting its seventh event from the 1stBank Center in Broomfield.

The event, which aired live on AXS TV beginning at 10 p.m. ET, featured red-hot welterweight—and Denver native—Brandon Thatch facing off with undefeated Mike Rhodes in the main event.

Thatch had reeled off seven straight wins entering the event, all by first-round stoppage. The Grudge Training Center product returned home to compete for the first time since August of 2011.

Meanwhile, Rhodes stepped up on just a week’s notice after original headliner Leandro Silva was forced out with an infection. The Roufusport fighter had started his career 4-0, but faced a stiff test against Thatch.

The co-main event involved a catchweight showdown between striking specialists Chidi Njokuani and Jeremy Kimball.

Two featherweight bouts also graced the main card as rising prospect Mirsad Bektic squared off with hard-nosed Nick Macias and Tommy Thompson faced Joey Banks.

In all, six fights aired on the AXS TV broadcast. Five amateur bouts made up the preliminary card.

Thatch dominates Rhodes

It was a successful homecoming for Colorado’s Brandon Thatch as he easily submitted fellow welterweight Mike Rhodes in the night’s main event.

Taking the fight on just a week’s notice, the previously undefeated Rhodes was at a disadvantage from the opening bell. Thatch landed early and backed the Roufusport fighter against the fence. Rhodes closed the distance to try to stop the onslaught. Thatch clipped Rhodes with a crescent kick just before Rhodes scored a double-leg takedown. Thatch scrambled to the top position and effortlessly took Rhodes’ back. Once there, he slapped on the rear-naked choke and Rhodes was forced to tap.

“I love home. This is my city,” a victorious Thatch proclaimed in his post-fight interview.

Kimball chokes Njokuani

Colorado’s Jeremy Kimball survived a rough first round against Chidi Njokuani, wrapping up a second-round rear-naked choke to move to 9-3.

Kimball rushed forward and pressed Njokuani against the cage to start the bout. After jostling for position, Njokuani landed in Kimball’s guard. That didn’t last long, as Njokuani moved to mount and then took Kimball’s back. Kimball defended the rear-naked choke attempt and scrambled back to his feet. Kimball made it clear that he wanted the fight on the ground as he worked hard for a takedown as the round closed.

The tides turned in round two as Kimball landed a takedown and put Njokuani on his back. Kimball quickly worked to take the back and locked on a fight-finishing rear-naked choke before the two-minute mark.

Bektic stops Macias

American Top Team featherweight Mirsad Bektic maintained his perfect record, becoming the first to stop Colorado’s Nick Macias with a first-round TKO.

Bektic landed a big right hand early, but Macias took it well. Macias fired back with a leg kick that Bektic caught and drove the fight to the mat. Once on top, Bektic pinned Macias’ left arm behind him and went to work with heavy right hands. Macias did his best to cover up along the fence, but the onslaught was simply too much and the referee was forced to intervene.

Colon submits Lopez by armbar

Middleweight sluggers faced off as New Mexico’s Billy Colon showcased a granite chin and great resolve, submitting Colorado’s Vinnie Lopez in the third round.

The two fighters patiently found their range to kick off the fight. Denver’s Lopez was the first to open up, scoring with combinations. A big right hand from Lopez wobbled Colon late in the frame, but the New Mexico fighter marched forward.

It was a similar story in round two as Lopez again delivered a right hand that stumbled Colon, and followed up with a vicious knee. Colon simply shook his head at Lopez and continued coming forward. Late in the round Lopez again rocked Colon, but the round came to a close.

Colon barreled forward to begin the final round and Lopez planted him on his back. However, Colon showed a slick ground game, attacking from his back. An armbar at the 72-second mark forced the Colorado fighter to submit, moving Colon’s record to 6-4

Thompson knocks out Banks

Featherweight Tommy Thompson moved his record to 5-0 with a lightning-fast knockout over fellow Coloradan Joey Banks.

Banks looked to throw a superman punch-left body kick combination but was countered by Thompson, who delivered a straight right hand directly to the jaw of Banks. The punch knocked Banks out cold at just the 20-second mark.

Chavez edges Mainus by split decision

Bantamweight Zac Chavez kept his record unblemished in a closely contested battle with Danny Mainus to kick off the main card.

The first round saw the two fighters trade takedowns early. Chavez attacked from his back which allowed him to get back to his feet. He scored a takedown late in the round and took Mainus’ back. Despite the dominant position, he was unable to get the finish.

Round two was filled with multiple unintentional fouls early, slowing the pace. Mainus secured the top position on multiple occasions, but was forced to fend off armbar and triangle attempts from Chavez. A late flurry from Chavez put an end to a competitive round.

In the final frame, Mainus dumped Chavez to the canvas yet again. Yet, it was Chavez who was the more active fighter, slicing Mainus up with elbows from the bottom and turning the contest into a blood bath.

When the entertaining affair went to the scorecards, two of the judges awarded Chavez for his efforts.

Preliminary Card Summary

The night’s undercard was capped off with a back-and-forth battle between Allen Washington and Jose Keven Hernandez. The Team Wildman product, Washington, handed Hernandez the first defeat of his career by claiming the final two rounds of the spirited affair.

The lone women’s contest of the night saw Kentucky’s Gina Begley upset the previously undefeated Denver fighter Shannon Culpepper. The pair battled hard for position in the clinch for the first round, but in round two Begley turned a Culpepper takedown into a fight-ending guillotine choke.

Denver’s Carlos Huerta kept his perfect record intact with a lopsided decision win over Jason Huntley. Huerta threatened with submissions frequently as he took home the decision victory.

Welterweight Jared Deaguero remained undefeated with a dominant performance against William Gravely. Deaguero controlled the contest throughout with his wrestling, cruising to the decision win.

The night’s opening bout saw bantamweight Josh Smith quickly submit Toby Lopez by calf crusher in less than a minute. The amateurs quickly hit the mat, and Smith showed his grappling superiority to force the tap.

Brandon Thatch def. Mike Rhodes by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:22
Jeremy Kimball def. Chidi Njokuani by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 1:51
Mirsad Bektic def. Nick Macias by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 1:57
Billy Colon def. Vinnie Lopez by submission (armbar). Round 3, 1:12
Tommy Thompson def. Joey Banks by knockout (punch). Round 1, 0:20
Zac Chavez def. Danny Mainus by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Allen Washington def. Jose Keven Hernandez by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)(a)
Gina Begley def. Shannon Culpepper by submission (guillotine choke). Round 2, 0:51 (a)
Carlos Huerta def. Jason Huntley by unanimous decision (30-27 x3) (a)
Jared Deaguero def. William Gravely by unanimous decision (30-27 x3) (a)
Josh Smith def. Toby Lopez by submission (calf crusher). Round 1, 0:59 (a)

Photo: Brandon Thatch (Isaac Hinds/Sherdog)

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