On January 15th Resurrection Fight Alliance held RFA 34 at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfiled. Coaches Cory Sandhagen (3-0) of High Altitude Martial Arts and Gigi Good (5-2) of ETC Centennial both entered the cage to fight three rounds, with each of them winning a unanimous decision.
For Gigi, this was her first fight coming off a knee surgery. For six months prior to her surgery, she’d been fighting with a loose bone fragment in her knee, so this fight represented her return to health after a year of mobility issues and joint pain. Leading up to this bout, she’d been working hard on her timing and footwork, and had added in a more structured conditioning program to her training, so she was feeling stronger and more confident in her physical capabilities than she had in a long time. This was her first time on the RFA promotion, as well as her first time fighting in a venue as big as 1st Bank, and she was both excited and nervous about the opportunity. Nerves are nothing new for Gigi, though, and she dealt with them as she always does–with concentrated mental preparation and visualization.
She faced Chelsea Howard at 135 lbs, and during the fight, Gigi was particularly happy with her striking performance. She was able to open up with some things she’s been working on recently, and even worked in southpaw for a portion of the fight. She was pleased that she felt relaxed enough to set up combinations and respond to Howard’s attacks. She was dominant throughout the rounds, and though she would have liked to finish Howard, the 30-27 unanimous decision was a great end to her first experience on the RFA promotion.
She’s hardly pausing to celebrate, though. Her thoughts are already on ways to hone her art. Gigi says, “Every fight is an opportunity for me to realize my potential as a martial artist and fighter. As I’ve grown, I’ve realized you can’t celebrate or mourn to intensely. Both a win and a loss are learning opportunities and life goes on regardless of the outcome. I want to perform closer to the level of a pro, and this fight was a window to look through and see what I need to do to get to that level.” Her goal is to become even more relaxed and comfortable in the cage. Now that this fight is behind her, she’s moving on to preparing for IBJJF Pan Ams in March.
For Cory, this fight was his third as a pro, and he was slated to face Andrew Tenneson at 145 lbs. Tenneson trains out of Jackson’s MMA, and was 3-0 going into RFA 34, with all his wins coming by submission. Cory knew this would be his toughest bout to date, and it was his first time being televised, so the pressure and nerves were higher than usual. He wasn’t able to watch any footage of Jackson’s previous fights, so he needed to be prepared for anything. Leading up to the fight, he trained with TJ Dillashaw almost every day during Elevation Fight Team sessions to help TJ prepare for his bout against Dominick Cruz.
During the fight, Cory was especially pleased with his ability to be very present and alert, noting that it was the calmest he’s ever been in a fight. It was a tough one, with Jackson catching Cory in a couple of submissions that he was nearly able to finish. Cory pulled through and was able to escape each one. Looking back, he is happiest with his standup, recalling a right hook and a knee that made Jackson’s eyes roll. Overall, he was proud of how well he kept his composure, and the judges scored the fight 30-27, for a unanimous decision in Cory’s favor. His next fight is coming up on April 15th at the Paramount for a new promotion called Paramount MMA, which is run by the UFC’s Tomy Sims.