A last-minute opponent substitution didn’t stop Steve Mocco from winning his third straight mixed martial event.
The 2008 Olympic wrestler and collegiate champ scored a unanimous three-round decision over Lew Polley – a replacement rival announced last Sunday – in a heavyweight match-up at Resurrection Fighting Alliance’s RFA 9 event at StubHub Center in Los Angeles Friday night.
Cageside judges scored the match 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Mocco, according to MMA website Sherdog.com.
Mocco used “superior grappling to score takedowns and ride Polley through the vast majority of the first two rounds,” Sherdog.com said.
“Mocco didn’t amass a large amount of damage, but controlled the fight from bell to bell, and chipped away at Polley with a methodical ground and pound attack,” Yahoo! Sports reported. “Polley mounted a modicum of offense in the third round, starting a trickle of blood from Mocco’s nose, but it wasn’t enough as Mocco scooped him up and planted him on the mat again as the clock wound down.”
With the win, Mocco is now 3-0 in his young MMA career, while Polley – who replaced original opponent James Wilson after he broke his hand -- falls to 12-5.
Both big men brought college wrestling credentials to their RFA 9 bout. Polley wrestled at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, and at University of North Carolina-Pembroke. Mocco was a four-time NCAA All-American and two-time heavyweight champ, winning the 2003 NCAA title for University of Iowa, then, after transferring to Oklahoma State, grabbing his second crown as a Cowboy at the 2005 NCAAs. In addition, Mocco wrestled freestyle for the US at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. After he failed to earn a place on the 2012 U.S. Olympic freestyle team, Mocco announced his retirement from wrestling, and entered MMA.
Mocco, nicknamed “The Bear” in his college wrestling days for his body-build, hard-charging style and heavy hands, more than made his mark in his first year as an MMA professional. In November 2012, Mocco had a successful debut by submitting former University of Missouri wrestler Tyler Perry at 1:32 of the second round. Mocco then put Rashad Brooks in a north-south choke at 1:03 of the first round to notch his second win in early May.
Want more details? Check out MMAMania.com for a play-by-play account of Mocco vs. Polley.
Check out Joey Krebs' photos and write-up on RFA 9 on Facebook.
Prior to RFA 9, Mocco submitted to an interview... at the official RFA website. Lots of facts, lots questions, lots of answers.
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