LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) announced today that the promotion will return to the “Fight Capital of the World” with RFA 31 – Smith vs. Marunde in October. This will be the RFA’s first trip to Las Vegas since RFA 4, which was the promotion’s first nationally televised event. The main event of RFA 31 will see RFA welterweight champion Gilbert Smith defend his title for the first time against fellow UFC vet Bristol Marunde. The co-main event of RFA 31 will feature Zoila Frausto and Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger competing for the inaugural RFA women’s strawweight title. RFA 31 – Smith vs. Marunde will take place Friday, October 9th at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The entire main card will be televised live and nationwide on AXS TV at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
Tickets for RFA 31 – Smith vs. Marunde are available for purchase through Ticketmaster.com. You can also support your favorite fighter buy purchasing your tickets through CageTix.com.
Smith (11-4) is excited about headlining a third RFA event in a third RFA title fight this year. In January, Smith’s first title shot was hindered after his opponent egregiously missed weight by 5-pounds. Smith then received an immediate title shot in his next bout due to his original opponent’s brazen weight advantage. He capitalized on this opportunity, when he faced the newly crowned RFA welterweight champion Benjamin Smith in June. Smith captured the title with third round armbar victory in Broomfield, Colorado. Smith is now looking to gain holding status with a successful first title defense in Las Vegas.
“First and foremost, it’s a great honor to defend my RFA title in Las Vegas,” stated Smith. “I look forward to putting on a great fight for the fans in Las Vegas, but like I said after my last fight, this belt is staying around my waist. I have nothing but respect for Bristol Marunde, but I will let him know he’s not on my level. Come October 9th, this belt is coming back to Colorado.”
Marunde (16-9) enters the title fight riding the momentum of a four-fight win streak. The Las Vegas based Xtreme Couture representative is a veteran of the UFC and The Ultimate Fighter, just like Smith, and was quick to call-out Smith via social media earlier this summer, when Smith extended an open invitation to take on all-challengers after winning the title. Marunde is a Las Vegas resident that is excited about showcasing his new and improved skill set at RFA 31.
“It’s nice to be fighting in Las Vegas, but I will be the next RFA welterweight champion regardless of where it’s held,” Marunde explained. “I’m ready for this challenge in Gilbert Smith. I want everyone to see this fight. It will be my best performance to date.”
The co-main event of RFA 31 will feature the return of Zoila Frausto (12-4), who was the first-and-only Bellator women’s champion. Frausto won the Bellator women’s strawweight title by winning MMA’s most significant women’s tournament to date. In the eight-woman tournament, Frausto defeated Jessica Penne, Jessica Aguilar, and Megumi Fujii. Penne has gone on to fight for the UFC women’s strawweight title, Aguilar was widely considered the #1 women’s strawweight in the world for years, and Fujii is a legend in women’s MMA who was 22-0 when she fought Frausto for the title in the tournament finale. Frausto, who has never lost at 115-pounds, is now eager to reclaim her throne atop the women’s strawweight division.
“More than anything, I’m happy to be back,” stated Frausto. “I’m a completely different fighter now. I’m not just athletic, but I’ve added world-class striking and won a Muay Thai world title. I now have size, strength, speed, and skill that the girls at 115-pounds aren’t ready for. It’s exciting to fight for the first RFA women’s title in Las Vegas. The first fight I ever saw was in Las Vegas and I remember seeing it and thinking, this is what I want to do and this where I want to fight.”
Jones-Lybarger (5-1) enters the title fight as the most successful woman in RFA history. The MMA LAB product has won three consecutive fights since signing with the RFA last year. In those three bouts, she has showcased a wide variety of skills. In her debut, she won a Unanimous Decision over the scrappy Rosa Acevedo at RFA 14. Jones-Lybarger then out-grappled the heavy-handed striking stalwart Rebecca Ruth at RFA 19. In her most recent outing, she used her formidable boxing skills to defeat talented jiu-jitsu based fighter Maria Rios at RFA 23. Jones-Lybarger was set to return to action this month at RFA 29 as part of Team USA, but her opponent was forced off the card and Jones-Lybarger quickly shifted her attention towards her biggest challenge to date.
“I honestly feel that my time is now,” Jones-Lybarger explained. “When the fight with Kinberly (Novaes) was called off, I knew my time for an RFA title fight with Zoila was now. This is the win I need to get me to the next chapter in my career and I’m excited about becoming the first RFA women’s champion.”
The entire RFA 31 – Smith vs. Marunde main card, preliminary card, and further information regarding this event will be announced soon. RFA 31 will be the promotion’s second event to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada since its inception in 2011. The entire main card of RFA 31 will be televised live and nationwide on AXS TV at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT on Friday, October 9th.