After more than a decade promoting events, RFO is set to crown its first professional champion this weekend at Big Guns 25 in Mansfield, Ohio.
And a man who could be called “Mr. RFO” will have a crack at it, as Cody Stevens (14-9-1) will face Jordan Griffin (11-5) in the night’s main event for the featherweight title.
“Cody’s been with us since the inception,” RFO promoter Matt Trukovich told the Mansfield News Journal. “We’ve never done a pro title, so if anybody deserves a shot at our inaugural pro title, it’s definitely Cody.”
Stevens has won his last two bouts – decisions over Charles Bennett at Big Guns 23 in March and over Anthony Morrison at Big Guns 24 in June – but he will be competing at Fairhaven Hall for the first time since tearing his hamstring at Big Guns 20 last October in a loss against John De Jesus.
Overall, he has a 7-1 pro record under the RFO banner, and is ranked as the No. 1 pro featherweight in Ohio by Tapology. Stevens also joined The Sports Buzz on WMFD to discuss the upcoming bout.
Griffin comes in from Wisconsin where he represents Roufusport Academy. He won the King of the Cage featherweight title in 2015, but his last outing was more than a year ago where he lost the title after dropping a decision to Juan Archuletta at KOTC: Destructive Intent in June. He’s ranked as the No. 4 featherweight in the Midwest.
He had some harsh words for Stevens and clearly isn’t planning on making many fans in Mansfield on Saturday night.
“He’s a decision fighter,” Griffin told MyMMANews.com. “You know what I mean? He goes out there and he rolls around on the dudes. He doesn’t really finish them, he just kind of wrestle f**ks them.”
Gunther has been impressive as a pro, winning three of his five bouts via stoppage. The most recent outing for the Strong Style fighter was in January, when he stopped Devonte Smith via TKO in the third round at Big Guns 22. He’s the No. 2 ranked pro lightweight in Ohio by Tapology.
Browne, a Pennsylvania native, has three wins via submission and two via knockout. In his most recent bout, he submitted Troy Lamson in the first round at a King of the Cage event in January. That was his first bout since November 2015, when he topped Roufusport product R’Mandel Cameron to win the Pinnacle FC lightweight title. He’s the No. 3 ranked pro lightweight in Pennsylvania by Tapology, and No. 7 overall in the Northeast.
Pelton comes in looking to rebound from the first loss of his career, as he was knocked out by Charlie Radtke at IT Fight Series 72 in March. Prior to that loss, he had picked up wins over Keith Bullock, Darryl Madison, and Cameron VanCamp.
Baker will compete for the first time after his suspension is up, as he was sidelined after an illegal blow after the bell in his win over Chachi Tabor at Warrior FC: Middlesboro Mayhem in June. Baker started off his career 3-0 before losing his first bout against Ken Beverly. He rebounded with a win over Tabor and now will face one of the toughest tests of his young career.
McIntosh made his debut a year ago and has notched four straight wins including two under the RFO banner. His last outing was a three round unanimous decision over Marcus Keuchler at Caged Madness 49. He has two first round finishes on his resume and this will mark his third fight this year.
Taylor comes in looking to win a title and make it back to back wins after defeating Keman Jackson at Bayfront Brawl earlier this year. He made his debut back in 2011 but has had some rest periods in between. He was a collegiate wrestler and this fight marks his second appearance in Matt Trukovich‘s cage.
Trukovich, a former fighter himself, has long been known as one of the favorite promoters for fighters in the state.
“I fought first. I was a fighter and then a fan and then a promoter. So I try to take care of those things. Fighters and the fans and then promotion comes secondary,” Trukovich told Richland Source.
Big Guns 25 will steam live via FloCombat, and BluegrassMMA will be cageside with live results all night. Check out the full card for the event below.
Cody Stevens vs. Jordan Griffin – Featherweight Title
John Gunther vs. Nick Browne
Jeff Pelton vs. Nick Baker
Cameron McIntosh vs. Edwin Taylor – Middleweight Title
Max Meese vs. Anthony Kirksey
Trent Frontz vs. Brandon Slade
Lucas Mast vs. William Gilmore
Justin Patterson vs. Chris Fattig
Brad Orsbone vs. Joshua Barbee
Brandon Birr vs. Luke Chokan
Rusty Warner vs. Sean Natola
Kayla Kipp vs. Meghan Williams
Tyree Johnson vs. Mike Seibert
Jerry Thomas Jr. vs. Michael Hummel
Tyler Burgett vs. Derek Pabon
Ethan Hayes vs. Tyler Collins
*subject to change