Archive for June, 2010

Hawaii Sweeps TUF 11 Finale 3-0

Posted in Breaking News, Live Event Reports, The Ultimate Fighter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2010 by jaytan716

Story By: Jay Tan- MMA Hawaii Staff Reporter – Photos by Silton Buendia

Chris1Despite the fact that three different fighters came from three different camps, Travis Browne, Brad Tavares, and Chris “The Crippler” Leben all gave the Islands proud reason to celebrate last night, as each won their respective matches decisively at the UFC’s 11th “Ultimate Finale,” at the Palms Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The event was the “Ultimate Fighter” season 11 finale, and was headlined by Court McGee vs. Kris “Savage” McCray, in a match to determine the reality show winner. In the end, McGee submitted McCray by rear naked choke at 3:41 of round two, earning him a six-figure contract with the UFC.

In the opening match, Honolulu-native Travis “Hapa” Browne defeated James McSweeney by TKO. Browne, who currently resides and trains in San Diego, was making his UFC debut with the match, riding in on a nine-match win streak, including victories in King of the Cage, Bellator Fighting Championships, and Gladiator Challenge.

The fight itself started out slowly, with both men sizing each other up and trading occasional strikes. Midway through the round, Browne dropped McSweeney with a left hook and pounced on top to fire a series of lefts. He worked briefly for an Americana, but transitioned to full mount and ground-and-pounded with punches until referee Kim Winslow stopped the action at 4:32 of the first round, awarding Browne victory by TKO.

The match that Hawaiians were perhaps buzzing most about was Hilo-born / Kailua-trained Brad Tavares vs. Seth Baczynski, both members of the TUF season 11 cast. The fight was in fact a rematch from a quarterfinal bout between them, which ended when Baczynski hit an illegal strike (kick to the head of a grounded opponent) on Tavares.  Because of the kick, Tavares was awarded the win by DQ and advanced to the semi-finals.


Despite the illegal strike, there was no bad blood between the two. In SpikeTV.com bonus footage, after the match, Baczynski was shown chasing after coach Chuck Liddell and Tavares, apologetic and repeating “I’m not a dirty fighter.”

Both men were all business in the first round, as Tavares hit his trademark hip toss off Baczynski trying for a takedown. Baczynski did later threaten with a triangle choke, as he would again in the third, but Tavares was dominant in the first, riding the back for most of the first and some of the third. Round two saw Tavares get the takedown and punish on the ground until Baczynski would escape to his feet, where Tavares would repeat the process. Baczynski came alive in the third, shooting for takedowns, throwing punches from bottom, and cinching what seemed like a very tight triangle, but Tavares weathered the storm and walked away with the unanimous decision victory.

Despite the triangle chokes, Tavares maintained that he was not going to give up voluntarily, saying he was “never close to tapping.  Close to going out.  I didn’t expect him to get it.  He’s got skills.”

Finally, Oahu-transplant Chris “The Crippler” Leben defeated wrestler Aaron Simpson by TKO in the first round.

Simpson scored two takedowns in the first round, the second of which he peppered Leben’s head with punches, but to no seeming effect. Around 1:20 in the second round, Leben and Simpson came alive with flurries, with heavy “Leben” chants emanating from the crowd. After taking several shots to the head, Simpson shot in for a takedown, but Leben caught it and fired lefts from a front facelock. Simpson escaped and ran, falling forward and off balance, at which point referee Josh Rosenthal called a stop to the action.  Leben was awarded the match by TKO / referee’s stoppage at 4:17 of the second round.

After the match, Leben simply said “You know what, that’s what I do.  What am I supposed to say, I hit him in the face because that’s my job.”

For his efforts, Leben was awarded $25,000 for Knockout of the Night.

This article originally appeared under National MMA News at MMAHawaii.com on June 20th, 2010.

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Court McGee wins TUF honors, Hamill Edges Jardine in All Out War

Posted in Breaking News, The Ultimate Fighter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2010 by jaytan716

Story By: Jay Tan- MMA Hawaii Staff Reporter – Photo by Silton Buendia

_MG_8731Camaraderie and career crossroads may have been the universal storyline for the top headlining matches at the 11th “Ultimate Finale,” held at the Palms Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

As is customary, the event was headlined by the “Ultimate Fighter” final, between Court McGee (Team Liddell) and Kris “Savage” McCray (Team Ortiz). The co-main event, at one point the headliner, was “The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine vs. Matt “The Hammer” Hamill, in a light heavyweight bout that saw both men at a crossroads in their careers.

For Jardine, the bout represented a rebirth, as the Jackson’s MMA fighter claimed in a conference call interview that after three losses in 2009 and 2010, he had reworked and refined his fight skills.

“Me and Greg Jackson. . . We looked at all of my fights, from my first UFC fight until my last. And we started breaking down when I’m doing good stuff, when I’m doing bad stuff. And now there’s a little bit more rhyme and reason behind what I do. Like I can be – I can get back to my old style, if I want to, or I can get real clean and crisp and do new stuff, if I want to,” he explained.
“But it’s just I feel like I’ve come full circle, and I’ve needed these learning pains to get to where I am right now. And I’m excited now to show off a little bit and make another run for the top.”

Conversely, Hamill said he felt he was continuing his way to the top. In the post-fight press conference, Hamill stated that his goal was to crack the top 10 fighters in his weight class, and to do that, he had to beat fighters the caliber of Jardine.

The match was a back-and-forth war of attrition, almost exclusively on the feet. Jardine seemed to want to keep the fight standing, escaping Hamill’s clinch and keeping the former Utica wrestler at bay with low kicks and overhand rights. Hamill found himself chasing Jardine for much of the match.

In round two, the exchange of combos continued, though Hamill reached for more takedowns. Midway through the match, Hamill took several fingers to the eye, for which referee Herb Dean eventually penalized Jardine one point. The poke was apparently bad enough that Hamill spun away from Jardine and even fell to the ground, off-balance, but ringside physicians allowed the match to continue. At this point, Jardine was a house of fire with combinations, perhaps frustrated by the point deduction. Hamill’s reply was just as strong, taking Jardine down and throwing fast rights off a front facelock, then knees from a Muay Thai clinch. Jardine had a nasty deep cut in the middle of his face. Hamill scored a takedown early in the third round, and tried for seve_MG_8585ral more, though Jardine, who was visibly gassed, evaded most shots.

Judges award the match to Matt Hamill via majority decision (two wins, one draw), off scores of 29-27, 29-27, and 28-28.

One of the most interesting yet understated aspects about the McGee x McCray finals was the fighters’ mutual respect and admiration for each other. In numerous interviews surrounding the fight, both men demonstrated a mutual bond and friendship that was more characteristic than any pair of TUF finalists in any of the past ten seasons.

“I support him 110%, and he’s gonna do the same for me. I know he is,” McCray declared in the post-fight press conference.

Even before the opening bell, “Let’s Go Savage” chants resonated throughout the crowd. Both men started out with fast flurries in the center. McGee took the fight to the ground twice early, with McCray escaping to his feet both times, with McCray firing headshots the second time. McCray pushed the action with strikes, though McGee was never one to shirk from the challenge, forcing McCray to the fences. In round two, McCray stayed heavy with the striking and worked some dirty boxing from the clinch. McGee grounded the match again and worked a modified side choke / arm triangle. McCray escaped, but after another big double-leg takedown, McGee got the back and sunk in a rear naked choke until McCray was forced to submit at 3:41 of the second round.

After the match, McGee dedicated his victory to recovering addicts and people who faced drug and alcohol problems. McGee, himself a recovering addict who once overdosed to the point of near death, said “when I broke up like that, that’s seven years, man. All in one minute. I dedicate that fight to anybody who’s in the struggle, tonight. If you’d have come from where I came from to where I am today, man, you’d have been the same way.”

This article originally appeared under National MMA News at MMAHawaii.com on June 20th, 2010.

STORMY WEATHER AHEAD: THE HURRICANE RETURNS TO STRIKEFORCE

Posted in Features, Legends MMA, Strikeforce with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2010 by jaytan716

Conor "The Hurricane" Heun vs. KJ Noons will open "Strikeforce: Live" this Wednesday, June 16th, at Nokia Theater in Los Angeles,

After a year’s layoff, Legends MMA / 10th Planet’s Conor “The Hurricane” Heun returns to Strikeforce action this Wednesday, June 16th, as part of “Strikeforce: Live.” Moreover, the former Division III wrestler-turned-10th-Planet-brown-belt comes in for no tune-up match, as he faces his highest-profile and possibly most dangerous opponent to date, KJ Noons.

Tickets are available at the Legends MMA / BeSpun front desk.

“KJ is a very talented fighter. Very strong, very dangerous. I’m sure it’s going to be a hell of a fight. Definitely not taking it lightly,” said Heun.

As was previously reported, Heun was scheduled to fight RJ Clifford on this same event. Noons, a former EliteXC lightweight champion, was preparing to fight Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett , in a rematch of their January 2007 bout. That first bout ended when Bennett KO’ed Noons midway through the first round.

However, when Bennett was forced to pull out of his June 16th date, Heun was reassigned to Noons. This new pairing raises the bar for Heun, as Noons comes with bigger credentials and, with victory, more potential reward.

“When I got that fight, I told them I needed to think about it. I hung up the phone and cried for five minutes. Then I called them back and said ‘fuck yeah, put me on that card’,” he recalled.

This match represents not just a professional, but also a personal climax to Heun’s past 12 months. Following his show-stealing three-round war with Jorge Gurgel at the second Strikeforce Challengers show, Heun was forced to undergo ACL replacement surgery, which found him inactive and frustrated for months. Faced with a growing pile of bills, his main gym in transition to its new location, and several important personal relationships strained, storm clouds were brewing for the Hurricane.

“I was in a dark place, sitting on my couch. . . Peaks and valleys. That was my valley, now I’m ready to hit my peak on Wednesday,” said Heun.

A victory over Noons could quickly reestablish Heun as a quick-rising star in the Strikeforce ranks. Prior to his Gurgel battle, Heun was 3-0 since 2007, with two wins in EliteXC, where many expected him to fast-track to a title shot. Unfortunately for Heun, EliteXC went under in 2008.

Ironically enough, their lightweight champion at the time was none other than KJ Noons.

“Opportunity knocks, you gotta answer the door. We’re never given anything that we can’t handle, and it’s my time.”

Tickets are now on sale at the Legends / BeSpun front desk:  $40, $65, and $100.

Conor Heun is sponsored by TapouT, Full Tilt Poker, Five Star Fight Gear, X-Pole, Fight Defense Mouthguards, One 11 Ink, Revive Energy Mints, SFGoldman.com, JoeRogan.net, Melee Fight Gear, HPE, Inc., and On The Mat.

“Don’t Call It A Comeback!” – Legends performs memorably over Memorial Day weekend

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2010 by jaytan716

Legends MMA won four out of five matches in Las Vegas over Memorial Day weekend.

It was going to be a tough weekend, with five fighters competing on two different cards, only 48 hours apart, but Chris Reilly, Eddie Bravo, and Conor Heun led Alan Jouban, Eugene Marenya, Christian Palencia, Tommy Gavin, and Chris “Boulevard” Brady to an impressive series of wins at Tuff-N-Uff’s two-day amateur MMA showcase this past weekend.

“We had a great weekend. We had great coaching, and it’s good to pay them back for all the work they’ve put in with us with some nice wins,” said Gavin, who turned two consecutive losses around with an impressive, heavy-handed TKO in the first round.

Jouban, Marenya, and Palencia fought on Friday, May 28th, while Gavin and Brady had matches on Sunday, May 30th. Overall, the team went 4-1, with the only loss, Palencia’s split decision to Jimmy Spicuzza (Team Lethal), igniting a wave of controversy among fans, fighters, and even the promotion and sanctioning body officials who felt that Palencia deserved the victory.

“Christian had a great fight. That was just back and forth. . . And everyone here thought Christian won the first and the third, and gave the other guy the second,” commented Jouban.

As close as the match was, Palencia was able to see both sides of the coin, saying “to me, I was in offense. He was in survival mode when I had him in those guillotines. . . Also, when I was fighting him, it really felt like I was the one being the aggressor. But then, I guess, what can counter that is I guess him taking me down”

Always one to find the silver lining, for Palencia, even without his hand raised, the moral victory was his: “Overall, I felt pretty good about my performance. . . It’s been over a year since I fought, and [fighting in] the same month that I started training again and coming back from my injury – I feel good, coming back and still being able to perform. No fears or anything.”

Tuff-N-Uff Future Stars of MMA – Friday, May 28th

170 lbs. – Alan Jouban x Joden Sieders (Throwdown)

Alan Jouban finished off his opponent with this rear naked choke in the first round.

Jouban looked very composed for his second Tuff-N-Uff appearance, opening the round with a right kick and a flurry of punches, punctuated by a head kick that Sieders ducked. Sieders shot in for a clinch, but Jouban fended it off, slipping in a knee. From out of nowhere, Jouban landed a superman punch that immediately dropped Sieders. Jouban pounced, firing lefts and rights on the ground, before taking the back and sinking in a rear naked choke for the win.

Alan Jouban wins by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:16 of the first round.

“He’s already was really seasoned and composed. . . Everyone sees Alan being a Muay Thai fighter, but now he’s definitely an MMA fighter,” commented Palencia.

According to Jouban, the difference between this and his previous Tuff-N-Uff showings, despite them both being first round finishes, was vast: “I was so balled up in the first one. Just ready to explode. So much weight and pressure on me. And this one, I was very relaxed. I just remember going out there and seeing people in the crowd, and looking for my girl. I was just very aware of everything, and it had me a little bit worried that I was so relaxed.”

“Reilly said many times that it takes 10 fights to get to that level, before you go pro. And [I realized afterwards] that was my 10th fight. . . But I was told afterwards that people could see it in my body language – they said ‘you looked real relaxed. You were looking like you were trying to pick your shots, rather than just explode.’ So it felt great. I’m hoping that’s the feeling I get; Now that I’ve hit that level of certain fights.”

170 lbs. – Eugene Marenya x Mike Sutton (Fasi Sports / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu)

Eugene Marenya came close to finishing in the first round. He went on to win by split decision.

Round One: Sutton got a takedown early, but Marenya got to his feet with little problem, keeping the clinch and firing knees. After breaking apart, Sutton tried the stand-up game, but Marenya’s reach was too much. Sutton tried to take him to the ground with a clinch, but it was Marenya who ended up on top, punishing Sutton’s ribs with strong rights to the body. Marenya continued with the ground and pound to the round’s end.

Round Two: Again, Sutton charged in and tried for a trip takedown, but Marenya once more ended up on top, ground-and-pounding and passing guard. Sutton did spin around and get full mount in his own corner, landing some rights of his own, but Marenya eventually turned it around. They got into the ropes then fell into the corner, with Marenya on bottom. Marenya did get to his feet, but Sutton worked a guillotine choke to keep him grounded, and eventually took his back with hooks in, firing rights on Marenya from behind. If Marenya took the first round, this was definitely Sutton’s.

Round Three: Sutton went in for the takedown, and eventually did force a single leg, but Marenya got up and threw a knee to break it up. Marenya’s combos kept Sutton at bay. Another Sutton shot and another Marenya sprawl. Sutton tries to spin him to the ground, but Marenya was calm in defending. Sutton kept trying for takedowns, with shots and body clinches, but to no avail.

Eugene Marenya wins by split decision, off scores of 29-27, 29-27, and 28-29. All three judges were in agreement that Marenya won the first round, while Sutton took the second round. However, two judges awarded Marenya 10-8 scores in the first, while one gave a 10-9. The second round was 10-9 across the board, which still had Marenya ahead 19-18, 19-18, and 19-19 even. The same two judges who awarded 10-8s in the first gave 10-9s to Marenya for the third, while the final judge awarded Sutton the final round by 10-9.

“I felt that Eugene won because of his work to finish. I felt like he almost finished that fight a couple different times. . . And I also thought that the last 15 seconds of the first round was pretty ridiculous. He was sitting there pounding on that dude, and all the dude was doing was holding his hands up. And they let it go. I thought that fight should have been stopped then and there. Especially if they’re supposed to be stopping fights early,” said Brady.

“I think Eugene learned a lot in that fight. That he’s not always going to be able to use his strength and length and athleticism to his advantage. He’s gotta throw his technique in there. But we were all real proud of him. He toughed it out. It was a hard-fought fight. He pulled off the W and that’s all that matters,” said Jouban.

155 lbs. – Christian Palencia x Jimmy Spicuzza (Team Lethal)

Christian Palencia made a tremendous comeback after a year-long hiatus.

Round One: Palencia looked more determined than he usually does, which, once the bell rings, is extremely focused. Spicuzza’s vocal fan base clearly confirmed the hometown boy’s popularity. Spicuzza caught a right kick early, dumping Palencia to the ground. Engaging on the feet, Palencia stalked Spicuzza from the center, keeping him against the ropes and forcing him into the corner. Spicuzza grounded Palencia with a high takedown, but Palencia threatened for several minutes with a tight guillotine choke. Spicuzza did eventually pop out, but was ineffective from the top. Palencia should have won this round with the guillotine and more aggressive striking.

Round Two: Spicuzza continued to circle while Palencia followed him from the center. Spicuzza scored a takedown and side control, but let Palencia up after getting nothing on the ground. Palencia with a right low kick, and later charged in. Spicuzza worked for a clinch takedown, but Palencia instead slipped in a standing guillotine and jumped guard before round’s end.

Round Three: Spicuzza caught another kick and tried to dump Palencia again, but doesn’t. Palencia, however, did get a takedown off a kick. Spicuzza held him in closed guard, but Palencia was able to stand over him and almost pass guard. Palencia ended up in closed guard again, ground-and-pounding to the end of the round.

Judges award the bout to Jimmy Spicuzza by split decision.

In the days after the match, Gavin suggested that the match could have been quite different with three-minute rounds: “it would have been nice to see Christian and Jimmy – they’re both Tuff-N-Uff veterans – get the three three-minute rounds for the main event. I think that would have showed even better. But with the shorter rounds, sometimes that takedown and getting on top, is real big to the judges.”

Heun likewise echoed the sentiment: “[Spicuzza] wasn’t able to do anything, but they score takedowns very highly out there. . . I thought [Palencia] did more damage. I thought he was trying to finish the fight. Would I like the judging criteria changed? Yes. I think the fights should be judged on a whole.”

According to the scorecards, the difference was in the first round, when two judges awarded Spicuzza the round, while one judge saw Palencia winning. All judges agreed that Spicuzza won the second round and Palencia the third. The end result was scores of 28-29, 29-28, and 29-28 in favor of Spicuzza.

“I felt like I got the win. I think the judges just couldn’t tell how tight my guillotines were. The one in the first round, I thought I had that one. The one in the second round. . . it felt really tight, but when I dropped down, I somehow lost it. And then in the third round, I felt like I definitely controlled him on top, and was hitting him up on top. When he took me down, he wasn’t doing anything.”

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that night:

140 lbs. – Joseph Viola (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu) def. Ramsen Merza (LA Boxing) via TKO, R3, 1:20.

160 lbs. – Lyle Rivera (Hard Knox) def. Carlos Caliso, Jr. (Team Spiritwolf) via split decision.

145 lbs. – Mac McNamara (Xtreme Couture) def. Johnny Parsons (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu) via split decision.

185 lbs. – Chris Gates (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu)  def. PJ Dombrowski (Xtreme Couture) via TKO, R3, 1:37.

145 lbs. – Justin Vadnais (Vadnais Fight Team) def. Jovon Lorenzo (Freestyle) via TKO / doctor’s stoppage, R2.

155 lbs. – Dustin Bredwick (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu) def. Paul Blancaflor (Team Spiritwolf) via submission (rear naked choke), R3, 0:53.

155 lbs. – Jason Rivera (Wand Fight Team) def. Zac Chance (Xtreme Couture) via split decision.

160 lbs. – Chris Camacho Gameness Competition Team) def. Jon Gorton (Team Quest / Reign Training Center) via unanimous decision.

205 lbs. – Joseph Mengali (Team PFS) def. Tim Martyn (Freestyle) via TKO, R1, 1:10.

185 lbs. – Greg Gifford (Team Fasi / Drysdale Jiu Jitsu) def. Weston Duschen (Xtreme Couture) via ?? R2, 0:51.

Tuff-N-Uff 115 lbs. Women’s Championship –Ashley Cummins def. Gabriella Lakoczky (Wand Fight Team) via unanimous decision.

Tuff-N-Uff Future Stars of MMA – Sunday, May 30th

Only 48 hours later, in the same ballroom at the Orleans, Tuff-N-Uff promoted twelve more matches, with fighters coming from as far as New Mexico (Jackson’s MMA) and Missouri (St. Louis MMA). Though the crowd was somewhat “hungover in enthusiasm” at the onset of the show, having watched as many as 23 fights since Friday evening, the ballroom filled up quickly for the show, and was as heated for the main event as just about any other previous Tuff-N-Uff show.

170 lbs. – Tommy Gavin x Lee Henry Lilly (Striking Unlimited)

Tommy Gavin got to showcase his striking stylings with a first round TKO.

Having fought his last three fights at 155, Gavin moved up a weight class for this event. Being a lifelong wrestler, one would think that he would be extra sensitive to the 15 pound difference, but in fact, Gavin felt very comfortable, noting “I’ve got the strength and power of a 170-pounder. So I think I could fight at either weight class pretty comfortably. . . Not having to do that weight cut was nice for this one, but I don’t know if I’m going to make my home at 170 or 155. I think I’d like to go back down. “

Gavin and Lilly didn’t hesitate in going toe-to-toe with each other, immediately throwing heavy combos to the head. Gavin tried to take control of the pace with a Muay Thai clinch, then underhooks, as they vied for position. Gavin went for the trip takedown, but Lilly broke away with a knee. Coming in with a jab, Gavin caught a left from Lilly that threw him to one knee, but was quick to recover and drop Lilly with an overhand right. Gavin pounced and nailed Lilly on the ground with three more left hooks before referee Jason Tevino stepped in and stopped the match.

Tommy Gavin wins by TKO, R1, 1:06

“We told him not to wrestle so much, to believe in his hands, and he believed enough to put a kid to sleep,” summerized Heun.

For teammate Chris Brady, Gavin’s win hit a personal note, explaining “it made me really happy to see him finish his fight definitively, because we both were on the same track, and he fought before me. . . We had really talked before about snapping that losing streak that we’d gotten on and getting back on track. Back to winning.”

135 lbs. – Chris Brady x Maurice Senters (Striking Unlimited)

Fans saw the new, improved ground game of Chris "Boulevard" Brady.

Round One: Neither fighter had any problem firing combos from the get-go. Senters forced Brady to the ground with a trip takedown, but was trapped in closed guard and soon stuck in an oma plata, which Brady rode on him until scrambling to the feet, where Brady threw knees, holding a front facelock. Breaking apart, Brady got a lot more liberal with his kicks, landing multiples to the legs and body. Senters, to his credit, didn’t shy away from the offense, shoving Brady to the ground when Senters was stuck eating knees in a Muay Thai clinch. Brady worked a closed guard, then oma plata as the round closed.

Round Two: Both men came out firing legs. Senters caught a right leg and scored a trip takedown, but Brady again worked mission control and an oma plata from the ground position. Eventually, Senters escaped, bringing the fight back to the feet, but Brady had answers there as well, keeping on the attack with combos punctuated by kicks. Senters scored another trip takedown off a kick, but Brady worked for a triangle choke for the remaining time.

Round Three: More kicks from both sides. Senters tripped Brady off another leg catch, but opted not to follow to the ground. Brady kept Senters on the defensive, attacking with combinations punctuated by leg and body kicks. Brady took the fight to the ground with a modified side headlock, spinning Senters down and passing guard. Senters worked to his knees, but Brady stayed with him, riding his back with wrestling legs and a body triangle. Senters eventually did reverse, caught in Brady’s closed guard as the bell ended the match.

“That was a turning point for me – coming up and performing that way. I think my conditioning was a lot better. I was in way better shape . . . the fights before, I had some personal issues and things that were going on at the time. But what you strive for as a professional is to be able to go in there and do your job and do the best you can every time. No matter what happens in your personal life. That’s your job.  So I chalk that one up as a learning experience to keep your mind focused on what’s going on. So that you can always perform at your best, no matter what,” reflected Brady.

For Jouban, Brady’s performance on the ground was a larger declaration of how the team has improved, explaining “the Legends guys – you have to fear them on the ground, finally. You don’t want to fuck with us on our feet, but then this guy didn’t want any part of Brady on the ground. So I was real proud of that. That Brady would get him in his guard and the guy would try to back out. He didn’t want to even try to pound.”

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that day:

185 lbs. – Cody Clunas (Freestyle) def. Matt Brisky (Freestyle) via submission (rear naked choke), R1, 1:15.

170 lbs. – Damian Jackson (Hard Knox) def. Justin Bonner (Throwdown) via TKO, R2, 0:41.

265 lbs. – Ahmed Sanchez (TapouT Training Center) def. Phillip Hernandez via TKO, R2, 1:17.

185 lbs. – Jarred Hopkins (Wand Fight Team) def. Sedrick Sweet (One Kick Nick) via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Barry Prevost (Striking Unlimited) def. Zach Grossman (Wand Fight Team) via KO, R1, 0:14.

155 lbs. – Kalino Yap (Tapout Training Center) def. Alex Brooks (Hawaiian Fighting Arts) via unanimous decision.

145 lbs. – Jace Crawford (TapouT Training Center) def. Rene Flores (Wand Fight Team) via TKO, R1, 1:40.

135 lbs. – Emily Peters-Kagen (Jackson’s MMA) def. Autumn Richardson (Team Quest) via TKO / doctor’s stoppage, R1, 0:23.

265 lbs. – Kevin Absher (TapouT Training Center) def. Chris Simmons via KO, R2, 1:13.

Perhaps the icing on the cake for this weekend of top performances was the lengths from which the team turned things around, having struggled through their previous Tuff-N-Uff event. In fact, until this weekend, the amateur team’s combined record was a difficult 1-8-1 in 2010. “That previous card, where we went 1-4, I thought we had a tougher training camp. Sometimes you just can’t get the W, even if you train your butt off. . . This one, I was working my ass off. People had different things going on. . . It was tough, but we were able to pull together, stick together as a team,” commented Jouban.

With Heun, a Strikeforce fighter, coming back next Wednesday from a year-long hiatus to face former EliteXC lightweight champion KJ Noons, he looks to take the momentum and continue the turnaround: “I’ve been talking the talk to those guys for a long time.  And finally I’m going to be able to walk the walk, and let them see what I’m talking about. I think that spurred by the great victories last weekend at Tuff-N-Uff. And following my victory over KJ, I think it’s going to be the dawning of a new era for the Legends fight team.

Tuff-N-Uff returns to the Orleans Hotel & Casino on July 2nd.

Legends MMA is sponsored by X-Pole, Melee Fight Gear, and MMA Elite.