Scottsbluff MMA fighter gets bout Friday in Cheyenne: RFA card that includes Acevedo’s 2nd pro match to be televised on AXS Network
     2014-04-10      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Courtesy photo - Rosa Acevedo of Scottsbluff signs her contract for her MMA match Friday in Cheyenne, Wyo. Acevedo will be looking to improve her professional record to 2-0 in her bout, which is part of RFA 14 – the first MMA event in Wyoming since 1995. 
For a mixed martial arts fighter, Rosa Acevedo of Scottsbluff is relatively inexperienced for her 25 years.

Then again, Acevedo – a, a graduate of Torrington (Wyo.) High School who has lived in Scottsbluff for three years – said most of the female MMA fighters range between 20 and 27 years old.

Nevertheless, Acevedo will be taking a big step up the Resurrection Fighting Association ladder on Friday, when she competes on the undercard of the televised RFA 14 at the Cheyenne Ice and Events Center.

Acevedo, who trains out of the Panhandle MMA gym on east Overland Street, is 1-0 as a professional and will take on another relative pro newcomer in the only women’s bout of the RFA 14.

Acevedo’s 120-pound catchweight match is against 28-year-old Jocelyn Lybarger (2-1) of Phoenix, Ariz., and will be the opening bout of the six-fight main card.

Acevedo has experienced some family emergencies in past weeks – in addition to losing her first sparring partner as a youngster, her brother Pastor, in 2010 – but she said Monday night that she is physically and mentally ready

“I just want it to get here,” she said. “I am ready for it.”

RFA 14 will be the promotion’s first event in the state of Wyoming. RFA was founded in 2011 and includes a number of prominent businessmen, fight promoters, matchmakers and others with successful careers in hosting MMA shows across the United States.

According to its Web site, the RFA’s focus is on showcasing the top contenders in the sport, resurrecting the careers of big-name talent others have given up on, and launching all of them into the global spotlight.

By having broadcast coverage nationwide via AXS TV, the RFA is one of the premier MMA promotions in the country.

A growing group like RFA looks to be a good match for Acevedo, who said she had only about eight sanctioned amateur fights before she decided to take the step up to the professional level.

“It’s tough to get noticed because women’s MMA is not as big as men’s,” Acevedo said. “It’s hard to get your name out there. But now, any opportunity would be a hard thing to pass on for me. I enjoy the sport, and I don’t want to make it a job but make it my passion.”

In her first professional match, on March 1 at the Legion Combat 18: Purgatory event in Torrington, Acevedo won a three-round unanimous decision over Sharice Davids of Shawnee, Kan. – a 33-year-old who was competing in just her second pro bout.

“I think the thing I learned the most is that you can look the part of the fighter,” Acevedo said from her first victory. “But if you don’t have the courage – honestly the drive and the push – then if you don’t want it that bad, then you’re not going to win that fight. If you train hard, you’re going to want to fight hard.

“The process of learning three steps ahead,” she said, is the most difficult part in learning effective MMA techniques. “You have to think three steps ahead in a fight and process those.”

Acevedo was born in Mexico and moved with her family – with four sisters and one brother – to Torrington when she was 3 years old.

Her experience with physical combat started when Acevedo said she would box her brother, Pastor, when she was 7 or 8 years old. After several years, Acevedo said she stopped boxing, but about 10 years later, she joined the growing world of mixed martial arts.

Acevedo said that Pastor’s death in April 2010 served as a key incentive to take the step into attempting MMA.

“He’s the one who taught me boxing originally,” said Acevedo, adding “It was just something I had wanted to try for a while, and I think I finally got the courage to do it because I think life is a little too short.”

On her Facebook page, Acevedo also praised, among others, Jason Marlin of Scottsbluff, a promoter and matchmaker for Legion Combat.

“He is the one who has gotten me, and a lot of the people around here, a lot of the opportunities I’ve had. I truly thank him,” Acevedo said of Marlin.

Acevedo’s coaches are Lazaro Perez and Ian Connelly of Panhandle MMA.

“Thanks to each and everyone who has faith in me and has ever helped me reach my goals!” Acevedo said on her Facebook page. “Thanks to God, for my faith grows daily and my strength is never gone! I am not afraid; I was born for this!”

Friday’s broadcast on AXS TV begins at 8 p.m. and includes the six main card matches.

The main card features two co-main events. Cheyenne native Matt Manzanares (7-2) meets top-ranked Brazilian prospect Junior Maranhăo (9-2) for the RFA’s vacant flyweight (125 pounds) title.

Mark Dickman (8-1) of Las Vegas faces undefeated Brazilian Raoni Barcelos (7-0) in a featherweight (145 pounds) No. 1 contender bout.

Also on the main card, Tyler Voth, 5-1 of Sacramento, Calif., takes on Jeimeson Saudino, 8-2 from Wichita, Kan.) in a bout for the No. 1 Flyweight (125) Contender spot. At 170 pounds, Alan Jouban, 7-2 from Los Angeles, meets Amando Montoya Jr., 8-3 out of Denver.

At 145 pounds, Tyler Toner, 15-6-1 of Broomfield, Colo., takes on Daniel Aguiar, 9-3 of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, with Acevedo and Lybarger leading off the main card.

One bout is on the preliminary card. At 135 pounds Scott Ingram, 1-0 from Denver, faces Kearney product Joshua Smith in his professional debut.

Five amateur card bouts also will take place. At 185, Sonny Yohn, 3-0 from Denver, meets Enrique Torres, 13-2-1 from Kearney.

At 145, Zach Hare, 7-4 from Cheyenne, takes on Andrew Kauppila, 12-4 from Rawlins, Wyo.; and also at 145, Leandro Arias, 2-0 from Cheyenne, faces Anthony Cox, 3-3 out of North Platte.

At 170 is a battle of Cheyenne products: Ralph Carabajal, 2-1, vs. Anthony Adams, 2-1. At 125 will be Denver products Joe Guerrero, 2-1, vs. George Martinez, 1-0.

AXS TV is available on Charter Communications Channel 707, on Direct TV Channel 340 and Dish Network Channel 167.

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