Josh Copeland KOs Ex-College Football Star Jan Jorgensen, Wins RFA Heavyweight Belt

By Tristen Critchfield Jul 25, 2014
Absorb too many punches in heavyweight MMA, and you’re bound to take a fall.

Former Brigham Young University football standout Jan Jorgensen learned that lesson the hard way, as the Mountain West Conference’s all-time sack leader was battered, bloodied and finally knocked out by Josh Copeland in the Resurrection Fighting Alliance 16 headliner at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo., on Friday night.

Copeland (9-0) polished off The Pit Elevated Fight Team member with a violent volley of punches 4:49 into the first round to capture the promotion’s inaugural heavyweight strap.

The fighter known as “Cuddly Bear” seemed determined to be the antithesis of his moniker at the outset, as he punctuated many of his punches with a menacing growl. A crisp jab set the table for Copeland, and a bloody Jorgensen would wear the damage on his face as the fight progressed.

“Man, I’m blessed,” Copeland said. “I asked [former UFC heavyweight Pat Barry] for advice, and he was like, ‘Use your jab.’”

Those jabs opened the door for more powerful offerings from the Grudge Training Center export. He wobbled Jorgensen (7-1) on a couple occasions with overhand rights, but his opponent appeared to be on the verge of surviving the round. Jorgensen found a brief respite in the clinch, but when the two men separated, Copeland resumed his assault and sent his man tumbling to the canvas with a pair of vicious right hands to the jaw -- and his attack would not relent from there. Moments later, referee Adam Martinez put a halt to the beating.

In the co-main event, Jarred Mercado raced out to an early lead on the scorecards, then held off a late charge from Daniel Swain in the final frame to garner a hard-fought unanimous decision. All three judges saw the catch-weight contest 29-28 in favor of the Elevation Fight Team product.

Mercado (12-1) utilized a grinding approach to keep Swain on his back for the majority of the bout’s first 10 minutes. While Swain’s guard didn’t provide any major openings, Mercado remained methodical with his ground-and-pound to rack up the points.

Likely needing a finish to avoid a defeat, Swain (11-4) stymied Mercado’s advances in the third. Eventually, the American Kickboxing Academy representative scored a takedown of his own. Swain then secured a triangle and tightened the hold while punishing “Shutout” with elbows. Just when the situation appeared to be at its most dire, Mercado escaped and held on until the final bell.

Earlier, St. Louis’ Chris Heatherly weathered a second-round assault from Josh Cavan to rally for a guillotine choke triumph in a welterweight clash. With Heatherly unloading power punches against the fence, Cavan shot for a takedown out of desperation but left his neck exposed as a result, tapping out 3:20 into the second frame.

Heatherly (8-1-1) controlled round one. He quickly took Cavan’s back and spent most of the opening five minutes being carried by his larger foe like a backpack. Cavan (9-4) appeared to seize the momentum in round two, but Heatherly turned the tide with a big overhand right followed by a flying knee. He continued the onslaught from there, which prompted the Team Wildman Vale Tudo member to attempt the takedown that led to his demise. Zac Chavez was dogged in his pursuit of the takedown in his 135-pound clash with Boston Salmon. The Xtreme Couture product made Chavez pay for his diligence, however, winning via technical knockout 4:47 into the opening stanza.

Colorado’s Chavez (2-2) had some success early with his approach, as he limited his opponent’s offense and grounded him on a couple occasions. Salmon (2-0) was able to gain the advantage by taking a page out of UFC heavyweight Travis Browne’s book. A series of hard elbows to head while Chavez clung to a single-leg softened his foe, and when they separated, Salmon crumpled his man with a front kick to the gut. A barrage of standing-to-ground punches followed before “Boom Boom” closed the deal with a couple more elbows to the face.

Marion Reneau gave Maureen Riordon a rude welcome to the professional ranks, tapping the Coloradoan with an armbar in the opening frame of their women’s bantamweight clash. Riordon (0-1) verbally submitted to the maneuver 4:15 into the period.

Reneau (4-1) never really gave her foe a chance to breathe. The Californian known as “The Bruiser” was exactly that, adopting a physical approach in working to advance position while punishing Riordon with ground-and-pound. Reneau moved to side control and later passed to full mount before eventually working her way into position for the fight-ending armbar.

In the evening’s opening main card bout, Factoryx muay Thai product Sid Bice relied on his wrestling to capture a unanimous verdict against Eric Shelton. All three cageside judges scored the flyweight bout 29-28 in favor of Bice (3-0).

While Bice’s takedowns ultimately made the difference, Shelton (4-1) had his chance late in round three. The Illinois native took his opponent’s back and hunted for a rear-naked choke. However, he was unable to secure the tap before the frame expired.


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