Two title fights featured on RFA 17, which crowned the inaugural lightweight champion, in addition to crowning a new featherweight champion. Dakota Cochrane (17-6) and Christos Giagos (10-2) competed in the main event to determine the first RFA lightweight champion.
This is Dakota Cochrane’s 7th appearance for Resurrection Fighting Alliance, currently 4-2 inside the promotion. Cochrane has won his last four bouts in RFA, most recently defeating Efrain Escudero by unanimous decision at RFA 13.
Christos “The Spartan” Giagos, a veteran of Tachi Palace Fights, makes his debut on a 3-fight win streak, previously defeating Sevak Magakian via Submission at TPF 19. And he dressed the part of “The Spartan” during his main event walkout, wearing the spartan mask on the way to the cage.
An exciting back and forth first round filled with grappling exchanges and scrambles with both Cochrane and Giagos exchanging takedowns and getting back up to their feet. Dakota eventually took control of the round, landing a huge slam on Giagos and remaining on top for the remainder of the round. Giagos made it difficult, staying active with strikes from his back.
Things would turn drastically in the second round, as Giagos was able to defend the takedown attempts of Cochrane, and begin to land strikes on his fading opponent. The fight came to an abrupt end when Giagos landed a perfectly timed flying knee to the chin of Dakota Cochrane, for the knockout. Christos Giagos becomes the inaugural RFA lightweight champion.
“I knew he was going to be tough and he was, I tried my hardest not to come in here scared. I knew if I was going to beat him, I needed to come at him,” Giagos said post-fight. “I’ve actually been working on that [flying knee] with my teammates.”
“I’m the Tachi Palace Fights champ, now I’m the RFA champ. I’m ready to fight with the best,” Giagos said making a plea to join the UFC.
While in the co-main event Mark Dickman (9-2) and Justin Lawrence (6-2) faced off for the vacant RFA featherweight title.
Lawrence, a TUF 15 alum, was released from the UFC following back-to-back losses, but quickly found a new home with RFA. He won his debut at RFA 10 with a unanimous decision over Luis Saidana.
“Tricky” Mark Dickman fought on the inaugural RFA 1 event, and has achieved a 3-1 record inside RFA. Dickman is riding a 4-fight win streak into this title fight, most recently defeating Raoni Barcelos at RFA 14.
The story of the fight was Dickman’s relentlessness in his attempts to take the fight to the ground, while Justin Lawrence continued to showcase great takedown defense throughout, avoided being put on the mat.
Dickman spent the entire first round latched onto Lawrence attempting to drag him to the mat, which he eventually achieved with 10 seconds left in the round. Lawrence began to gain more confidence in the 2nd round after he stuffed a couple of Dickman’s takedown attempts. “The American Kidd” began to work his technical stand up, gauging the distance on the feet.
Dickman once again got hold of Lawrence in round 3, taking control of his back standing, but was unable to take him down. Roles reversed shortly after the two were separated and it was Lawrence that got control of Dickman’s back standing.
Lawrence’s clear advantage on the feet was apparent, when the two had separation between them, he remained patient but threw accurate combinations. Most notably a head kick in round 4, opened up Dickman–causing his nose to bleed.
Mark Dickman did not live up to his nickname, having little to offer other than his pressure against the fence. Lawrence was only taken down once in the entire fight, in the first round. As a result, Justin Lawrence was crowned the RFA Featherweight champion when the judges’ scorecards were read, they were lopsidedly in his favour (50-45, 50-45, 49-46).
- RFA Lightweight Title: Christos Giagos def. Dakota Cochrane via Knockout (flying knee)–Round 2, 2:04
- RFA Featherweight Title: Justin Lawrence def. Mark Dickman via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)
- Luke Sanders def. Darrick Minner via TKO (punches)–Round 2, 3:15
- Francisco France def. Isaac Appel via Submission (kimura)–Round 1, 3:46
- Jordan Larson def. Donavon Winters via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Bruno Frazatto def. Cory Galloway via Submission (triangle choke)–Round 1, 1:32