Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) CEO Ed Soares announced today that the promotion will crown an interim middleweight champion when it makes its first trip to Vail, Colorado in May at LFA 39. LFA middleweight champion Anthony Hernandez is currently taking time off to heal injuries, while also welcoming the birth of his fourth child. He is expected to face the winner of the LFA 39 main event later this year.
The main event of LFA 39 will crown an interim middleweight champion when Colorado native Ian “The Hurricane” Heinisch faces BJJ black belt Gabriel “Zangief” Checco for the interim strap. LFA 39 – Heinisch vs. Checco takes place Friday, May 4th at Dobson Arena in Vail, Colorado. The entire main card will be televised live and nationwide on AXS TV at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
“I am excited to bring LFA to beautiful Vail, Colorado,” stated Soares. “Our middleweight champion Anthony Hernandez is taking some time off to heal injuries, so we will crown an interim champion that will face Hernandez in a title unification bout later this year. Ian Heinisch and Gabriel Checco are the top two contenders for the title and they both have title fight experience. This will make a fantastic main event at LFA 39.”
Tickets for LFA 39 – Heinisch vs. Checco are available for purchase NOW at TicketsWest.com.
Heinisch (9-1) is widely considered one of the top middleweight prospects in the world. The two-time Colorado state wrestling champion from Ponderosa High School impressed many in his LFA debut last year, which served as the main event of LFA 10. “The Hurricane” overwhelmed his veteran Brazilian opponent Lucas Rota in less than a round and finished him with a rare Ude-Garami (Keylock) from Kesa-Gatame (Scarf Hold). The flashy submission win earned him a shot at the LFA middleweight title in September at LFA 22. Things did not go as he planned that night, but the 29-year-old quickly rebounded with a highlight reel one-punch knockout in January. Heinisch was able to showcase his underrated striking and big right hand that put away Daniel Madrid in the co-main event of LFA 31. The win earned him a second chance at LFA gold in front of his home crowd at LFA 39.
Checco (10-2) is a Brazilian powerhouse and dangerous BJJ black belt known as “Zangief”. This is due to his signature mohawk and jaw-dropping finishing ability much like the popular Street Fighter video game character of the same name. All ten of Checco’s wins have come via KO, TKO, or submission. That includes three highlight reel finishes under the RFA banner. The first was a blistering 74-second knockout of Joseph Henle in the co-main event of RFA 23 in southern California. The second was a beautiful Triangle-Armbar submission of Mike Jasper at RFA 31, which took place in downtown Las Vegas. The third was a comeback win via Heel Hook against Heinisch’s close friend and training partner Adam Stroup in the co-main event of RFA 43. Checco also brings the experience of two RFA title fights. He will need that when he faces an extra-motivated Heinisch for LFA gold at LFA 39.
Currently Announced Main Card (Televised on AXS TV at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT):
Main Event | Interim Middleweight Title Bout (185 lb)
– Ian Heinisch (9-1) vs. Gabriel Checco (10-2)
Co-Main Event | Middleweight Bout (185 lb)
– Jordan Wright (9-0) vs. Hayward Charles (15-10)
Flyweight Bout (125 lb)
– Brandon Royval (6-3) vs. Jerome Rivera (7-1)
Women’s Strawweight Bout (115 lb)
– Maycee Barber (3-0) vs. Audrey Perkins (1-0)
In September 2016, RFA and Legacy FC officials announced that they would be merging to form the premier developmental organization in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) starting in January 2017. RFA and Legacy FC have launched the careers of over 150 athletes that have reached the pinnacle of MMA by competing in the UFC.
LFA 39 will serve as the fourth LFA event to take place in the state of Colorado. RFA visited “The Centennial State” eight times before the merger. Further information about LFA 39 will be announced soon. The entire main card of LFA 39 will be televised live and nationwide on AXS TV at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.