RFA STARTS 2015 IN SOUTHERN COLORADO RFA 22 – SMITH vs. NJOKUANI IN COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
GILBERT SMITH vs. CHIDI NJOKUANI
WELTERWEIGHT WORLD TITLE
MARK DICKMAN vs. DONALD SANCHEZ
ALVIN ROBINSON vs. RICKY MUSGRAVE
FRIDAY, JANUARY 9th LIVE ON AXSTV
Live at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Tickets on Sale through TicketsWest.com
LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) president Ed Soares announced on December 12, 2014 that the promotion will kick off 2015 in southern Colorado. RFA 22 – Smith vs. Njokuani will feature a main event between two of the world’s top welterweight prospects. The headliner will see hometown hero Gilbert Jamal Smith battle RFA fan favorite Chidi “Chidi Bang Bang” Njokuani for the vacant RFA welterweight title. In the co-main event, Mark “Tricky” Dickman and Donald Sanchez will meet in a high-stakes featherweight showdown. The event takes place Friday, January 9th at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The entire main card will be televised live and nationwide on AXS TV at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
“I am excited to announce that RFA 22 is headed to southern Colorado to kick off 2015,” stated Soares. “Gilbert Smith vs. Chidi Njokuani is a welterweight title fight that will start the new year off the right way!”
Tickets for RFA 22 – Smith vs. Njokuani are available at TicketsWest.com. Ticket prices start at only $26.00. Special 8-seat VIP cageside tables are available by calling 303-521-0966.
Smith (10-3) is a longtime Colorado Springs resident and U.S. Army vet that is best known for his time on the seventeenth season of the UFC’s hit reality show The Ultimate Fighter. The UFC vet is now looking to have a triumphant homecoming in his second straight appearance for the RFA. In November, Smith defeated Serbian submission ace Bojan Velickovic in his RFA debut just up the road in Broomfield, Colorado. He now looks to continue his success in the RFA and the Centennial State by winning RFA gold in front of his home crowd.
“Obviously, fighting for the RFA title is a huge opportunity. It’s the proving grounds and best place to showcase your skills,” stated Smith. “The venue is also a 10-minute run from my house, so it will be great to fight in front of all of my friends and family.”
Smith is also friendly with his opponent and knows this will be a fight the fans will enjoy.
“It’s funny that Chidi and I are fighting,” Smith explained. “Last summer, during the 4th of July weekend, I was in Las Vegas for my teammate Chris Camozzi. I ended up watching UFC 175 with Chidi. He’s a really cool guy and it never crossed my mind that we would be fighting each other. He’s a taller kickboxer and I’m a shorter wrestler, but it could be decided by my striking versus his grappling.”
Njokuani (11-4) will be making his sixth appearance for the RFA. During his time with the promotion, Njokuani has never lost a fight at his natural weight class of 170-pounds. He also quickly won over the RFA faithful with his dynamic striking skills and crowd pleasing style of fighting. Possessing a similar skill set to his older brother, eight-time UFC vet Anthony Njokuani, the younger Njokuani will be looking to make a mark on his own career by capturing his first world title. To help prepare for this moment, Njokuani is taking full advantage of the knowledge and skills of his newest teammate and coach, former UFC welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch.
“This is great. Fighting for a world title on national television is what I’ve always wanted,” stated an excited Njokuani. “Training full-time with Jon Fitch has been cool. We are the exact opposite. He’s that style of fighter that has always given me problems. It’s perfect for me to be working with a Top 10 welterweight that has fought for the UFC title. It makes me realize I can reach my dreams.”
Njokuani also admits he is friendly with Smith, but that won’t play a factor in the fight.
“Gilbert is a cool dude outside of the cage,” Njokuani added. “It will be great to fight someone like him, who has been to the UFC. I know it will be a tough fight, but Fitch is the perfect training partner for him and I will be ready. The fans are going to see a great title fight at RFA 22.”
The co-main event of RFA 22 will see the the return of Njokuani’s teammate Mark “Tricky” Dickman (9-2), who like Njokuani, will also be making his sixth appearance for the RFA. Dickman made his debut for the RFA at RFA 1 three years ago and has since made a name for himself for his world-class grappling skills and take-no-prisoners approach to fighting. In August, Dickman came up empty-handed in a 5-round, 25-minute war with Justin Lawrence for the RFA featherweight title, but also sees the addition of Fitch to his fight camp as a huge benefit heading into RFA 22.
“For me, it’s a new year, a new day, a new dawn,” stated Dickman. “I learned a lot about myself and what I needed to change in my camp after my last fight. You’re going to see a trickier Mark Dickman at RFA 22. Jon Fitch has been a huge influence. His leadership skills, his conditioning tips, and the way he sets up his ground-and-pound are some of the main things. Jon, Chidi, and I all have big fights coming up around the same time too, which has helped us push each other.”
Sanchez (30-12) will be the man tasked with facing Dickman in the RFA 22 co-headliner. Sanchez represents the most experienced opponent Dickman has faced in his career and he will look to capitalize on that experience. Sanchez has fought for several of the world’s top promotions such as Bellator, ONE FC, and Legacy FC in faraway destinations such as Japan, Singapore, and Canada. The former eight-time KOTC champion has won five of his last six bout and looks to build on that momentum against Dickman.
“I’m excited to showcase my new skills in front of all of the RFA fans on AXS TV,” stated Sanchez. “Mark Dickman is a great wrestler and his striking is improving with every fight. I expect our styles will clash perfectly in what should be the ‘Fight of the Night’ on January 9th.”
The main card of RFA 22 will also include a featherweight clash between UFC vet Alvin Robinson (14-8) and Bellator vet Ricky Musgrave (13-4). In the featherweight division, local favorite Prentice Ingram (9-4) faces undefeated Jackson-Wink MMA prospect Landon Vannata (6-0). Then in the flyweight division, hometown standout Joey Eisenbraun (3-1) battles RFA vet Kevin Gray (3-1).
The entire main card of RFA 22 – Smith vs. Njokuani will be televised live on AXS TV starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT on Friday, January 9th. RFA 22 will be the promotion’s first event in southern Colorado and its fifth event to take place in Colorado. More fights on the RFA 22 main card and preliminary card will be announced soon.
RFA is a professional mixed martial arts promotion that gives rising stars and top contenders the opportunity to prove their talent to fans and leaders in the industry. The RFA presents up to 10 fights annually around the United States including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver and Milwaukee. RFA can be seen live in over 40 million homes nationally through its television deal with AXS TV. Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, RFA is one of the most active and respected MMA organizations in the fastest growing sport in the world. (The Octagon, Ultimate Fighting Championship®, UFC®, and the eight-sided competition mat and cage design are registered trademarks owned exclusively by Zuffa, LLC. All rights reserved).
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