Olympic wrestler Steve Mocco now faces savvy MMA vet Lew Polley at RFA 9

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada — U.S. Olympic wrestler turned undefeated MMA fighter Steve Mocco (2-0) will now face experienced Black House MMA fighter Lew Polley (12-4) in a heavyweight bout on the main card of this week’s RFA 9 – Munhoz vs. Curran event, which will be held outdoors at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles, California and televised nationwide via AXS TV on Friday, August 16th.

The President of Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA), Ed Soares, announced the change after Mocco’s original opponent K-1 kickboxer and unbeaten MMA prospect James Wilson broke his hand in training.

“Lew Polley is a very tough competitor, who has fought for a lot of big events,” said Soares. “It’s unfortunate that Wilson was injured, but I’m very happy that we were able to replace him with such a quality fighter. Mocco is one of the top heavyweight prospects in the sport and Polley has a wealth of experience. This will be an excellent test for both men and an entertaining heavyweight fight for the fans.”

Mocco enters the fight as one of the sport’s most highly-touted heavyweight prospects in years. At RFA 4 last November, Mocco made his long-awaited MMA debut to much fanfare. As one of America’s most dominant heavyweight wrestlers in recent memory, “Mocco Mania” started to circulate in the MMA world in the spring of 2012 after Mocco’s remarkable wrestling career came to a close after the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Mocco transitioned to MMA from a sport in which he won two NCAA Division I national titles, was a four-time NCAA Division I national finalist, four-time NCAA Division I All-American, and represented his country at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Mocco has now set his sights on the MMA world. Mocco is a longtime fan of MMA and began training with former UFC fighter Carmelo Marrero at his Ameircan Top Team (ATT) school in Allentown, Pennsylvania, while serving as a wrestling coach at Lehigh University in nearby Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Marrero eventually introduced Mocco to ATT founder Ricardo Liborio and the rest is history.

After submitting Tyler Perry (Kimura) and Rashad Brooks (North-South Choke) in his first two bouts, Mocco was slated to face K-1 kickboxer and fellow unbeaten MMA prospect James Wilson at RFA 9. However, Wilson broke his hand late in his training camp and the battle-tested Polley stepped in to fill the void. The change of opponents, however, has not changed Mocco’s focus or game plan heading into the fight.

“For me, I’m just going to go out there and do my thing,” said Mocco. “Injuries are part of the game and I’m just glad Lew took the fight. He’s a good fighter and wrestler. He has a lot of experience and I’m ready to get going. It’s going to be a good fight.”

Polley enters the fight as a fellow NCAA Division I wrestler, who served as the wrestling coach for Team Dos Santos on the thirteenth season of the UFC’s reality television show The Ultimate Fighter. Coincidentally, he just trained with recent Bellator Summer Series champion Vitaly Minakov, which has given Polley an elite heavyweight grappler to train with before fighting Mocco.

Polley is also a big-show MMA veteran, who has been fighting professionally for over 7 years. In that time, he has picked up wins over UFC veterans Roger Hollett, Vernon “Tiger” White, and Mocco’s good friend Carmelo Marrero last fall. While this may seem like an interesting story line at first glance, Polley notes that he and Marrero are still friends and they had a mutual friend (Pat Cummins) cornering Marrero for that fight.

“Mocco and I come from a wrestling background, where everyone competes against everyone. Carmelo and I were cool before and after the fight and Mocco knows that,” Polley explained. “As for this fight, I think Mocco’s a tough guy with great credentials coming into the sport. It’s a huge privilege to be fighting someone of his caliber. He is incredibly strong and mentally tough. I think we’re going to see a chess match that will give the fans a glimpse of our future and where our careers are headed. I plan on taking his momentum at RFA 9.”

This intriguing heavyweight bout between Mocco and Polley will be part of the main card of RFA 9, which takes place in Los Angeles, California. It will will be the RFA’s first show in the “Golden State” and will mark the sixth state the RFA has visited. The event will be headlined by a bantamweight title fight between unbeaten Pedro Munhoz (8-0) and MMA pioneer Jeff Curran (36-15-1). The entire main card will be televised live and nationwide on AXS TV at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT on Friday, August 16th. Please visit for the full fight card and event information. RFA is also on Facebook at and Twitter at @RFAfighting.

About RFA:
RFA is a professional mixed martial arts promotion that gives rising stars and top contenders the opportunity to prove their talent to fans and leaders in the industry. The RFA presents up to 10 fights annually around the United States including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver and Milwaukee. RFA can be seen live in over 40 million homes nationally through its television deal with AXS TV. Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, RFA is one of the most active and respected MMA organizations in the fastest growing sport in the world.

About AXS TV Fights:
AXS TV Fights is renowned for its universally recognized Friday Night Mixed Martial Arts and Kickboxing events. As Your Home For MMA, AXS TV utilizes an expansive network of promotions from the United States, Canada, and Europe. And Asia to broadcast more LIVE fights than any other television network. “The Voice” Michael Schiavello and five-time MMA world-champion Pat Miletich provide viewers expert play-by-play, in-depth fighter coverage, and extensive analysis to each fight card. AXS TV broadcasts world-class LIVE fight events from RFA, Lion Fight, Legacy FC, XFC, MFC, and BAMMA every Friday night at 7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET.

Ryan Bevins,