RFA 45: Meerschaert vs Walden is a welcome MMA refuge this weekend

There’s only one US MMA show of note this weekend, so be sure to tune in Friday night for Resurrection Fighting Alliance 45 as the top regional promotion touches down on casino grounds in Prior Lake, Minnesota for another night of stellar prospects in action.

     This Friday’s card boasts two title matches as RFA featherweight kingpin Raoni Barcelos tries to bank a second title defense at the expense of hometown favorite and challenger Dan Moret, while the main event sees a pair of Wisconsin’s finest middleweights square off when Chase Waldon and Gerald “The Machine” Meerschaert vie for the vacant RFA 185 pound belt. The action beams directly into your living room at 10 PM EST, 7 PM PST Friday, 10/28/16 live on AXS TV. (The event will also be televised internationally on Esporte InterativoThe Fight Network, and Fight Live TV.)

     Roufusport’s Meerschaert (23-8, #66 LHW Fightmatrix world rankings) has competed in a who’s who of US regional promotions, with a short notice 1:22 submission over previously undefeated prospect Sid Wheeler and a TKO win over Lucas Rota in Titan FC highlighting his recent record.  The rugged Meerschaert, who moonlights as a jazz saxophonist in his spare time, has finished all but one of the seven opponent he’s faced in the last 36 months with the exception being a 2014 decision loss in a rematch with world top-25 middleweight Smilin’ Sam Alvey. Alvey also doubles as the standout win on Meerschaert’s record, as “The Machine” managed to tap the knockout specialist extraordinaire with a Round 5 guillotine in their 2010 matchup for a regional title. Meerschaert’s record is dotted by choke submission victories; look for the Racine native to try to get this one to the ground and hunt for the neck early and often.

     Meerschaert will have a substantial experience edge over his main event opponent, but may find himself outgunned in the strength and athleticism department by the explosive Chase Walden (10-1, #90 MW).  Walden, who hasn’t lost since his second pro fight against recent WSOF heavyweight title challenger Derrick Mehmen, blasted through his last two AXS TV opponents in just 43 seconds combined. But punching power isn’t all that Walden packs, with four submission victories on his record including an impressive Peruvian necktie finish in 2014. This fight asks interesting questions of both men. The experience of winning a five round fight is no mystery to the relatively lean Meerschaert, and if neither man finds the other’s neck early then this bout should represent a strong test of the cardio underlying Walden’s heavily muscled frame.  Of course that assumes that Walden doesn’t make it a quick night of work, just as he did in his last two TKO wins.  Finishing “The Machine” won’t be an easy task, as he has never been KO’d or TKO’d in 31 pro contests.

     Another title belt is up for grabs in the co-main as defending champ Raoni Barcelos (10-1, #59 FW) looks for his fourth straight RFA triumph when he faces the Gopher State’s Moret (11-2, #117 FW) in hostile territory. Barcelos’ striking and overall game is good, but the biggest knock on the former Shooto Brasil champ is that he has had difficulty finishing the better competition that he’s faced; despite a sparkling skill set Barcelos has only managed decision wins over quality regional fighters like Brazilian vet Jorge Rodrigues and AXS competitors Ricky Musgrave and Bobby Moffett. This fight affords the highly-regarded 31 year old Brazilian another chance to put it all together and show off his finishing skills on the big stage, in anticipation of either a call up to a global promotion or a featured 2017 spot in the highly-anticipated Legacy Fighting Alliance.

     You can be sure that the casino crowd will be strongly against that notion, though, as support should be through the roof for Mankato, Minnesota’s Dan “The Hitman” Moret.  The 29 year old Moret has overcome some early adversity in the RFA cage to record back-to-back decision wins over fellow prospects Alex Gilpin and Josh Wick, and now the local product will try to shock the world and wrest the belt from the reigning Brazilian champ. This fight represents a huge step up in competition for “The Hitman”, and one with tempting rewards; given his recent success and the level of competition he’s facing this Friday, Moret himself could be enjoying a UFC call-up if he can send the Minnesota crowd home happy with an impressive win.

     Chad Curry (7-1, #585 LW) stepped in the cage with a bad, bad man in his first RFA outing against the insane Lando Vannata, and didn’t quite last 90 seconds. Curry, whose resume is highlighted by good regional wins over Hugh Pulley and Alonzo “Zo Diddy” Martinez, has a second chance at tasting RFA victory against another extremely dangerous opponent in Frank “Nightmare” Schuman (8-2, unranked). Schuman quickly climbed the King of the Cage welterweight ladder in his three years with that promotion, scoring eight submission victories (including seven wins by armbar, six under 80 seconds) to balance two submission defeats. At 23 years old and only three years into his pro career, Schuman may have as much upside as anyone on this card; the only two losses on his early ledger came to more-than-respectable competition in experienced Bellator veteran Jesse Juarez and current UFC prospect Zak Ottow. It goes without saying that Schuman will try to cash in with an early submission, but if Curry can keep things standing and weather the early storm he may be able to take advantage of Schuman’s tendency to push hard from the first bell and put his foe away late or simply use his reach advantage to pick him apart at distance.

And in the other televised matchups:

  • This one should be a ripsnorter as Jordon Larson (7-2, #402 WW) looks to run his RFA promotional record to 4-1, but lanky opponent Ben “The Baker” Neumann (10-4, #495 WW) also has a pair of RFA wins to his name and either man could put be in the conversation for a 2017 LFA welterweight title shot with an impressive win. It may prove key that both of Larson’s losses have come by submission, while 9 of Neumann’s 10 wins have been earned via tap.
     
  • Two men will enter undefeated, but one will stay that way as Damian Sheehan (3-0) takes on Muay Thai stylist Bobby Lee (4-0) at lightweight.  Both men have shown a well-rounded game thus far, earning both submission and TKO stoppages early on in their MMA careers.
     
  • And in the televised opener, young bantamweights Mitch White (1-1) and Antonio Sanchez (3-0) will do battle in hopes of climbing the next rung up the RFA ladder. Sanchez may have the prettier record, but White’s one loss came with the benefit of 15 hard fought minutes of cage time against a serious prospect in current Victory FC contender Rafeon Stotts.

AXS TV will have all the action at 10 PM EST/7 PM PST, accompanied by the dulcet strains of Michael “The Voice” Schiavello and the grizzled wisdom of UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich. Enjoy the fights, and never miss another show with CombatDocket!