Tyler Toner at TUF 12 FinaleA series of unforeseen events has created a new and exciting co-main event for RFA 11, as the promotion heads back to Denver, the city where it all started 20 years ago.

Last week, Alvin Robinson’s wife gave birth to triplets and Robinson had spent nearly the whole week in the hospital without training or sleeping, while taking care of his wife and three baby girls as they recovered from the intensive delivery.

The well-being of Robinson and his young family was paramount to the RFA, which quickly began looking for a replacement to fight his scheduled opponent Raoni Barclos in the RFA 11 co-main event.

That is when the injury bug struck Tommy Thompson and a broken foot forced him out of his featured fight with Tyler Toner. This is the first time Thompson has been forced to pull out of a fight during his 12-fight pro and amateur career.

Fortunately for the RFA and fans alike, Toner and Barcelos are two of the gamest fighters in the sport and quickly agreed to fight each other in a new and intriguing co-main event. Toner is one of the most experienced featherweights in the game, who is looking to remain unbeaten in 2013, while Barcelos is one of the most highly touted featherweight prospects in MMA.

Toner is widely regarded as one of the toughest and most experienced featherweights in the sport. The 2011 recipient of Colorado’s “Chin of the Year” Award, Toner holds a Head Kick KO victory over Shootboxing world champion Kenichi Ogata in kickboxing and is a veteran of the UFC, WEC, Strikeforce, and Ring of Fire in MMA.

Now the man known as “Thunder” for his iron chin and formidable striking prowess, will be fighting another top undefeated prospect, which is something he has grown accustomed to and happens to enjoy doing.

“I’ve only gotten a chance to see a little bit of his footage so far, but I know Raoni has incredible jiu-jitsu and his striking is pretty good too,” said Toner. “I always try to do what I do best. I will go out there, play my game, and look for the knock out. I’m undefeated against undefeated fighters and plan to keep it that way.”

Barcelos has been training jiu-jitsu under his father Laerte Barcelos, who is a 7th degree coral belt (red-and-black belt), since he was 2-years-old. Now a black belt in jiu-jitsu, Barcelos is 6-0 in MMA, won the Shooto – Brasil featherweight title, and was also a member of the Brazilian national wrestling team.

Barcelos, who is a training partner of two UFC champions (Jose Aldo and Renan Barão), is excited about his new challenge as he gets ready to fight for the first time outside of his native Brazil.

“I am very excited to have my first international fight on such a big card against someone as good as Tyler Toner,” said Barcelos. “He has fought some of the best in the world in the UFC, WEC, and Strikeforce. I wanted to fight someone that good to test myself. This will let me showcase my skills against a really tough fighter, which will help me take that next step in my career to the UFC.”

Toner and Barcelos will meet in the co-main event of a six-fight main card at RFA 11, which will be headlined by a flyweight title fight between Junior Olympian boxer Matt Manzanares and former MMA world champion Zach Makovsky. Some of the biggest names in the entire sport will also be showing the holiday spirit by hosting a holiday canned-food drive from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. MST at the West Entrance of the 1STBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado on the night of the fights.

As part of this amazing year-end event, the RFA is working with some of the top stars in MMA to help underprivileged families and single-parent homes in the greater Denver area during the holiday season. From 5:30-6:30 p.m. there will be a special autograph session at the 1STBank Center. The event is open to the public, and Fans are welcome to meet and hang out with the fighters for free, as long long as they bring a minimum of one canned-food item. The list of fighters that have already confirmed to attend the canned-food drive on Friday, November 22nd, before the start of RFA 11, includes Lyoto Machida, Brandon Thatch, Cat Zingano, Nate Marquardt, Neil Magny, Pedro Rizzo, Cody Donovan, and Duane Ludwig. More MMA superstars are expected to join this all-star ensemble of fighters in the upcoming days.

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