On Friday, June 5, Resurrection Fighting Alliance returned to the Denver area for its 26th event. The promotion once again visited the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo. The night’s main card aired live on AXS TV at 10 p.m. ET.
In the night’s main event, recently crowned welterweight champion Benjamin Smith looked to defend his 170-pound title against former title challenger Gilbert “Jamal” Smith. Benjamin Smith captured the belt in March with his sixth straight victory — a third-round TKO over Tat Romero at RFA 24. His opponent, Gilbert Smith, hoped to rebound from a hard-fought, five-round war against Chidi Njokuani in January at RFA 22.
The co-main event featured the promotional debuts of lightweights Marcus Edwards and Thiago “Monstrinho” Alves. The 26-year-old Edwards is a veteran of Titan FC and Canada’s Maximum Fighting Championship. Eight of his nine career wins had come inside the first round. Brazil’s Alves entered the contest on the heels of back-to-back first-round submission wins. Six of his eight victories had come via tapout.
Gilbert “Jamal” Smith capitalized on his second RFA title shot, submitting former champion Benjamin Smith in round three. Benjamin used his top control well in the first two rounds to keep Gilbert on his back. He looked for a kimura on Gilbert, but was unable to finish. Gilbert worked hard for a takedown in round three and eventually got it. He methodically passed to mount and Benjamin tried to spin into his guard. Gilbert transitioned to an armbar and Benjamin rolled. As soon as Gilbert extended, Benjamin was forced to tap.
The co-main event did not play out as expected as lightweight Marcus Edwards captured a decision win over Thiago “Monstrinho” Alves. Edwards was in control for the majority of the fight, battering Alves with punches. Alves took the back of Edwards late in round one, but could not secure an armbar. The pace slowed heavily in rounds two and three as Edwards connected with single shots, but could not find the finish.
Brazilian Bruno Frazatto made Jarred Mercado pay for missing weight, submitting him in round two via rear-naked choke. Mercado did well on the feet in the opening round, frequently landing with combinations. In the second stanza, Mercado shot for a takedown, but Frazatto sprawled and took his back. Once there, Frazatto’s superior grappling prowess was apparent. He secured a body triangle and then locked on the fight-finishing choke.
Middleweight Andrew Sanchez got back in the win column with a second-round stoppage of Clinton Williams. Sanchez took Williams to the mat in round one with a beautiful single-leg takedown. Once on top, Sanchez delivered a steady stream of punches and elbows for the remainder of the round. Round two saw Sanchez land a kick to the face of Williams before again taking him to the ground. Sanchez flurried hard along the fence and forced the TKO finish.
Heavyweight Ashley Gooch survived a rough first minute against Brandon Griffin to score a first-round TKO. Griffin came out firing, dropping Gooch with a right hand. Gooch scrambled and survived, but Griffin put him on his back. Griffin flurried with elbows from the top, but Gooch powered out. Gooch planted Griffin on the canvas and moved to mount. He patiently dropped heavy shots, forcing referee Adam Martinez to intervene.
Bantamweight Boston Salmon remained unbeaten, earning a unanimous decision win over Danny Mainus. The fight was sluggish throughout as both fighters were tentative with their offense. Salmon scored with combinations standing, while Mainus struggled to get the fight to the mat. Salmon’s striking was the difference on the scorecards.