Tonight on AXS.TV, RFA 17 is showcasing another great card featuring two title bouts. The first is for the vacant featherweight strap between Justin Lawrance and Mark Dickman which should be exciting but is headlined by a must watch lightweight title bout between seasoned vet Dakota Cochrane (17-5) and Christos Giagos (9-2).
If you look at who each fighter has fought on paper, most would assume this is Dakotas for the taken (beating Joe Steveson, Jamie Varner and Efrain Escuredo) but Christos might be the best 155lb prospect coming out of Southern California in years, fighting out of Systems Training Center in Hawthorne, California. He is a big 155er with speed of a featherweight and has developed in to a all around threat. He has finished most of his opponents in more than one fashion. Ground and pound, boxing and using submissions, he's a all around threat who should be too much for Cochrane. Cochrane hunts for submissions which has been how "The Spartan" has lost both his fights to Jason Gonzales and Poppie Martinez, both in which he was clearly winning until he got caught. If you watch his following fights though, he's matured and has calmed down with his aggression until he sees an opening.
He dismantled and submitted Sevak Magakain in the first round of the fight in which he won the Tachi Palace strap by taking what is giving to him instead of trying force openings. The previous two fights against Thor Skancke and Preston Scharf, he used his boxing to eventually TKO both with precise strikes and aggressive counters.His team is one of the hottest teams in California at the moment being lead by head coach Ian Harris and producing strong talent at Bantamweight(Terrion Ware, Pedro Munhoz, John Robles, Emil Hartsner), Featherweight (Dmitry Gerasimov, Jared Carlston), women bantamweights (Maria Rios and Melanie Lacrouix) and a hand full of amateurs making a splash.
Betting odds are against Giagos as he is a +200 on most sites, which makes him a great action bet to win out right. This fight is scheduled for 5x5 min rounds but with both these fighters so aggressive and always looking to finish, i see Christos winning by TKO in the 2nd round. He'll just be to overwhelming for Dakota anywhere the fight goes and will be strapped the new RFA lightweight Champ. It's just too bad for RFA that this will most likely be the last time they get to showcase Giagos on one of their cards because after tongiht the UFC will be calling his number and Christos road to add the biggest belt to his collection will begin. Here is Christos's last fight vs Bellator and TUF Vet Sevak Magakain for the Tachi Belt: