Sunday, 23 June 2013

Meet RFA's Latest Signings Including Justin Lawrence, Chris Spang, and Kevin Casey

In most European countries, the summer transfer window is the busiest time of year for premier soccer leagues looking to sign top free agent talent. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is no different and tends to get very busy during the summer months. Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) has been very busy entering its second summer in the business.

RFA's key acquisitions last summer included Sergio Pettis, Lance Palmer, Chris Holdsworth, Gregor Gillespie, and Steve Mocco just to name a few. This summer's signees show just as much promise. Meet the RFA summer class of 2013!

Kevin Casey   

Record: 5-3   Division: Middleweight   Hometown: Los Angeles, California   
Team: Black House MMA and Rickson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

How You Know Him: UFC, TUF 17, Strikeforce, and K-1 HERO's. Kevin "King" Casey started training jiu-jitsu in 1999 after befriending Rockson Gracie during childhood. Rockson is the late son of MMA and jiu-jitsu legend Rickson Gracie. After Rockson died a year later, Rickson took a young Casey under his wing and Casey became a standout athlete on the competitive jiu-jitsu scene. Casey is perhaps best known for his time fighting on the most recent seventeenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Before the show, Casey's only losses came in his pro debut to the incredibly experienced Ikuhisa Minowa (K-1 HERO's) and former UFC star Matt Lindland (Strikeforce). On TUF 17, Casey submitted Hawaiian fighter Eldon Sproat to gain entry into the house, but Casey's performance on the show was affected by acute renal failure (kidney failure) from the drastic weight cut he made after being selected for a wild card match. Casey nearly submitted Josh Samman early in his UFC debut in April, but again lingering conditioning ailments affected his performance. This has prompted Casey to revamp his entire health, nutirition, and conditioning program heading into his RFA debut.

Twitter: @KevinKOCasey

Keoni Koch   

Record: 5-0   Division: Bantamweight   Hometown: Cedar Rapids, Iowa   Team: Hard Drive MMA
How You Know Him: Keoni "Evil Genius" Koch is the older brother of UFC star Erik "New Breed" Koch. After making his pro debut in 2007, he took 3 years off to focus on training his teammates at Hard Drive MMA. This is the gym in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that he co-founded with Dave Sherzer. The older Koch brother returned to action briefly in 2010 before taking another 3 years off. In April, Koch returned to competition once again. He picked up where he left off with another win. Koch then signed with the RFA to fight fellow unbeaten bantamweight Pedro Munhoz at RFA 8. Unfortunately, he broke his hand and was forced off the card. Koch expects to be ready to fight later this summer and in the meantime he inked a new multi-fight deal with the RFA. Now it's just a matter of time before RFA fans get to witness one of his epic entrances. His Major League themed "Wild Thing" walkout would have made Charlie Sheen proud.

Twitter: @HardDriveMMA


Justin Lawrence

Record: 4-2   Division: Featherweight   Hometown: Pacific, Missouri (Now in Los Angeles, California)   Team: Black House MMA

How You Know Him: UFC, TUF 15, and Strikeforce. Justin "The American Kid" Lawrence dove into the deep end when he decided to fight professionally. He made his pro debut in late 2010 on the undercard of Strikeforce - Henderson vs. Babalu II. After extending his record to 3-0, Lawrence decided to fight as a lightweight on the fifteenth season of the UFC's hit reality show The Ultimate Fighter. Lawrence made a name for himself worldwide as the #1 overall pick on the show due to his lethal striking ability. These are skills that helped make Lawrence a six-time IKF kickboxing national champion, two-time IKF kickboxing Pan-American champion, two-time Golden Gloves boxing champion, and two-time Diamond Gloves boxing champion. These striking skills also earned Lawrence stoppage victories of James Krause and Cristiano Marcello on TUF 15 and a brutal KO of John Cofer at the UFC - TUF 15 Finale. The win over Cofer earned Lawrence the UFC "KO of the Night" Award as well as the UFC "Fight of the Night" Award.

Twitter: @AmericanKiddMMA

Alan Jouban    

Record: 6-1   Division: Welterweight   Hometown: Los Angeles, California   
Team: Legends MMA and 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu

How You Know Him: Shark Fights and Tachi Palace Fights. Alan Jouban made a name for himself in the now defunct Shark Fights and Tachi Palace Fights promotions. He competed twice for each organization in his first four fights. Jouban now sports an impressive 6-1 professional MMA record with his lone setback being against current RFA star Chidi Njoukani. Jouban won his pro debut in 2011 over UFC and RFA veteran Tyson Griffin's younger brother Kyle Griffin, who is a former NCAA Division I wrestler and ADCC veteran. Jouban supplements his powerful striking ability by training jiu-jitsu under the innovative Eddie Bravo. The professional fighter, who moonlights in Los Angeles as a professional model and actor, became a hot commodity and was heavily coveted on the MMA free agent market this summer. Needless to say, the RFA is pleased to add Jouban to its talented welterweight roster.

Twitter: @AlanJouban

Chris Spång

   Record: 5-2   Division: Welterweight   Hometown: Växjö, Sweden (Now in Las Vegas, Nevada)
Team: Fight Capital and One Kick's Gym

How You Know Him: UFC and Strikeforce. In a sentence: Chris "The Kiss" Spång was born to bang. His father was a professional Boxer in Sweden and his older brother Andreas is a fellow professional Mixed Martial Artist, who was a finalist in the Bellator season 6 middleweight tournament. Spång trains under the esteemed tutelage of Skipper Kelp in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kelp's influence via "Left Hook Productions" was on full display last spring. From March to May of 2012, Gilbert Yvel (RFA 2), Andreas Spång (Bellator 66), and Chris Spång (Strikeforce - Barnett vs. Cormier) all won high-profile bouts with devastating left hook KO victories. The younger Spång brother was then brought over to the UFC during the UFC-Strikeforce merger, but he dropped his lone bout for the promotion in his native Sweden via decision to the decorated Russian grappler Adlan Amagov who was making his welterweight debut. Spång is looking to build off of that experience, now that he is in the RFA, and has time to develop and add to his already impressive skill set.

Twitter: @ChrisTheKiss
Casey Ryan   

Record: 5-0   Division: Middleweight   Hometown: San Diego, California   Team: Alliance MMA

How You Know Him: Strikeforce. Casey Ryan has finished all five opponents he has faced in professional MMA. That includes a Triangle Choke submission win over the well-traveled MMA veteran Jesse Juarez in his pro debut in late 2007. Ryan would return to the sport three and a half years later on the undercard of Strikeforce - Diaz vs. Daley, where he submitted Paul Song with another Triangle Choke. Ryan has gone on to pick up three more wins, two via Arm-Triangle Choke and one via TKO. He currently trains alongside UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, UFC light-heavyweight contenders Phil Davis and Brandon Vera, as well as several other UFC stars at Alliance MMA in Chula Vista, California. Ryan is a black belt in jiu-jitsu and also teaches "the gentle art" at Alliance MMA.

Twitter: @CaseyRyanMMA



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