Archive for October, 2010

Eddie ”Ambien” Jackson, Tuff-N-Uff Welterweight Champion!

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2010 by jaytan716

By Jay Tan

Eddie "Ambien" Jackson on his way to the ring.

Some called him “Action Jackson.” He called himself “The Knockout Artist.” Going forward, people can call Eddie Jackson “champ,” as he claimed the Tuff-N-Uff 170 lb. championship on October 22 at Tuff-N-Uff’s latest installment at the Orleans Hotel & Casino.

“This is what I’ve been working hard for; this is what I’ve earned, and how that I’ve got it. . . .It’s a personal accomplishment for me. Even though it’s on the amateur level, I worked really hard for this,” said Jackson in his first post-fight interview.

“That was a lifetime performance. That was one of those things that, as a fighter, you always want to be involved in. I think it’ll totally stand the test of time,” beemed trainer Chris Reilly.

The Angelo match was in fact Jackson’s second title shot. In early 2009, Jackson went to the finals of a four-man tournament for the same title, losing by KO to Xtreme Couture’s Kenny Marzolla after catching an unexpected high kick in the first round.

“Everybody knows what happened . . . I promised myself that if I ever had a second opportunity for this, I wasn’t going to repeat history,” he lamented.

Since then, Jackson’s road to redemption had its triumphs and setbacks. He followed up the Marzolla loss with two first-round KO / TKO finishes in August and November. However, the first half of 2010 was spent rehabbing an arm injury that had him sidelined for over five months. Upon his return to action, in July, Jackson finally faced Bill Cooper, whom he was supposed to fight in the 2009 tournament finals before Cooper withdraw due to injury. Again, Jackson faced a first-round defeat, getting caught in a guillotine choke by the jiu-jitsu black belt.

However, for this second title shot, a very different Eddie Jackson wrote a very different story.

170 lbs. Tuff-N-Uff Championship– Eddie Jackson vs. Joey Angelo

Jackson and Angelo traded a few low kicks in the first minute of round one before Jackson tagged Angelo with an overhand right. Jackson rushed Angelo into the opposite corner and landed a knee from the Thai clinch before breaking apart. Angelo circled the ring’s perimeter and kept distance with a front kick while Jackson looked for an opening. Jackson got another clinch and threw knees, one of which slipped to the groin. After a break, Angelo was able to continue and pumped the jab. Amidst a flurry between them, Angelo got Jackson to the ground, but couldn’t keep him down. Jackson charged with another kick-punch combo and Angelo tried to force his own plumb clinch, but Jackson escaped. In the final seconds of round two, Angelo fired a superman punch, but Jackson took him to the ground and pounded away. Both men started swinging more wildly in the third round. Angelo controlled Jackson with several knees from a Thai clinch, from where Jackson fired lefts and rights. This exchange got a big pop from the crowd. Angelo tried a spinning backfist that also impressed fans. Jackson dropped Angelo with a short right and followed up with more punches on the ground. Angelo regained his composure and tried to set up a triangle choke, firing shots from the bottom. The crowd was ecstatic as the final bell rang.

The Joey Angelo match was the first time Eddie Jackson was pushed to the third round.

Judges awarded Eddie Jackson the win by unanimous decision, making him the new Tuff-N-Uff 170 lb. champion.

“Because he was southpaw, I had to keep staying on his outside foot, and just whip it. Just waiting for my time, struck him whenever I could. Try to hit him with combos, but he used his distanced pretty good. He stopped me from finishing it off.  It was a smart fight for both of us,” Jackson remembered.

For Reilly, by the third round, Jackson was clearly ahead, but that wasn’t enough for him to let Jackson coast through: “I was telling him ‘hey, you won two rounds fair and square, but we’re not counting on the judges up here. You need to go after that guy and knock him out’. . . He did such a sound job that I feel like he didn’t leave any opportunity for anyone to rob us. He did it so convincingly that they had to give it to us, even though I feel like they didn’t really want to.”

“The guy had an amazing chin, because Eddie hit him with shots that anyone else would have gone to sleep. That was certainly all I could ask of Eddie,” concluded Reilly.

Teammate Tommy Gavin also noted Jackson’s improved footwork, especially against a fighter whose reach and stance was unprecedented for the now-champion: “Eddie’s fight was a perfect example of how to cut the outside foot off, and stalk your opponent without leaving yourself open. Joey Angelo was fighting as a southpaw, and Eddie cut him off for the outside leg position for the entire nine minutes. I think that made the difference in that fight.”

“He put himself a step closer to a pro career, and that’s a big-time amateur title. I’m happy for him,” said Gavin in the days after the match.

In his fight against brain cancer, Dylan Woods inspired many in the Tuff-N-Uff community.

Unfortunately, the night’s events started on a sad but honorable note, as the announcement of thirteen-year old Dylan Woods’ passing was made. Woods, a local boy whose battle with brain cancer became a noted local story and cause that Tuff-N-Uff, Xtreme Couture, and several other fight camps championed over the past year. Woods attended several Tuff-N-Uff events as a special guest, and became a favorite among the fans, fighters, and staff.

According to a friend of the Woods’ family, Dylan would be buried with firefighter honors, as the Las Vegas Fire Department made him a junior firefighter just the month prior.

Tommy Gavin was also in action that night, as well as several fighters from Sean Bollinger’s 10th Planet Riverside team. Gavin lost by TKO moments before the end of the first round, which he was decisively winning in the striking game before being taken to the ground and kept down with a series of lefts and rights. Bollinger’s team went 2-1 for the night, with David Tompkins winning by split decision and Trace Gray earning a TKO win at the 0:30 mark of the first round.

Of Gavin’s performance, Reilly reassured “Tommy comes to fight every time. He always lets his hands go. I think his boxing has gotten a lot better. . . But making punches miss is an athletic ability that comes in different levels in people, and it’s something Tommy’s gonna have to really work on.”

Gavin echoed the sentiment, saying “I let that kid have the outside positioning. I’m a southpaw and I can’t do that.”

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that night:

160 lbs. – David Tompkins (10th Planet Riverside) def. Jason Rivera (Wand Fight Team) via split decision

135 lbs. – Roman Isbell (Striking Unlimited) def. Joseph Viola (Fasi Sports / Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu) via TKO, R2.

135 lbs. – Jesse Romero (Xtreme Couture) def. Gerald Vecco via submission, R1, 0:29.

135 lbs. – Autumn Richardson (Team Quest) def. Jessica Martinez (Henry’s TKD Combative Training Center)

170 lbs. – Lee Henry Lilly (Striking Unlimited) def. Rick Borden (10th Planet Riverside) via split decision.

170 lbs. – Guillaume Fricheteau (Wand Fight Team) def. Kenny Gray via submission, R1.

265 lbs. – Juan Chavarin (Xtreme Couture) def. Chrstiain Diaz via TKO, R1, 1:22.

125 lbs. – Tolin Garcia (Striking Unlimited) def. Shane Franklin (Battlegroundz / Las Vegas Muay Thai Center) via KO, R1.

155 lbs. Trace Gray (10th Planet Riverside) def. James Lanham (Xtreme Couture) via TKO, R1, 0:30.

145 lbs. – Rudy Morales (Knuckle Up) def. Carlo Fudolig (Striking Unlimited / Cobra Kai) via unanimous decision.

125 lbs. – Nikki Rae Lowe def. Latasha Marzolla (Wand Fight Team) via TKO due to injury, R1.

Legends MMA is sponsored by X-Pole. Tuff-N-Uff’s next event is November 12th at the Orleans Hotel & Casino.

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Smith claims his ‘Respect’ against Gutierrez

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2010 by jaytan716

Garren Smith came off a 10-month hiatus to win via TKO at Respect in the Cage on October 9th.

After ten months of injuries, false starts, and continuous struggle to hit the restart button, pro heavyweight Garren Smith restarted his momentum with a dominating win on October 9th at the Fox Theater in Pomona, as the semi-main event in Respect in the Cage. Smith beat hometown favorite Andrew “Spike” Gutierrez by TKO in the second round, after Gutierrez’ corner threw in the towel.

“It was a big relief. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever fight again. . . I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fight again,” lamented Smith in the days following the fight.”

“You take enough time off and you run into injuries and obstacles, you start to question what you’re doing. . . Now, instead of being hesitant, and thinking about ‘do I want to fight again,’ now I realize I want to fight again. And it’s got me pretty much right back to where I was when I first started in the game. It was just train your ass off, fight your ass off.”

Smith’s previous outing was in December of last year in Oregon, against former IFL star Devon Cole.

“I knew Garren was going to win this fight because I spar with him, and I know how good he really is. . . They both went 110%, trying to knock each other out. It was an awesome fight. For people watching, I bet it was really exciting fight to watch. Seeing two big guys go at it that hard is pretty bitchin’,” said cornerman Amir Rahnavardi.

“For having not fought in 10 months and go in there and fight a tough guy in there like that, and to show the skills that he showed in there, I was impressed,” noted Smith’s teammate and other cornerman, Chris ‘BLVD’ Brady.

As if Smith wasn’t facing enough pressure coming back from such a long hiatus, contractual hold-ups at weigh-ins caused more confusion. Unbeknownst to him and his team, Smith was kept on reserve as a likely (but unconfirmed) last-minute replacement.

Gutierrez originally was scheduled to face John Potter in a match based on personal issues. According to promoters, with Potter’s reputation for no-showing, it was expected that the match would fall through, and as such, Smith would be their fill-in. Indeed, Potter was not present at weigh-ins, nor did he provide the necessary medical and licensing paperwork to California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) officials. Only after it was established the Potter could not be licensed in time did promoters finally provide bout agreements to Gutierrez and Smith.

The story of the match itself was Smith stalking Gutierrez with left hooks and kicks to the legs and body, setting up for a Thai plumb clinch and knees. Gutierrez worked to keep him at bay with overhand rights and various kicks of his own. Early in the first round, Gutierrez shot in for a takedown, but Smith caught him with a Thai clinch and knees. He later hit a judo trip on Gutierrez and held him briefly with a front facelock. Gutierrez actually turned his back standing at one point, giving Smith the opening to charge in with an overhand right. However, Gutierrez ducked and Smith fell into the cage. Round two saw Gutierrez throw a high kick, slipping in the process and again giving Smith the window to pounce. Smith landed approximately 50-60 strikes before Gutierrez’ corner threw in the towel at 1:07 of the second round.

Smith was aware that ring rust could be a potential big factor in his performance, and in particular noted that the match showed where there was room for improvement: “It made me realize just how much work I’ve got to do. I’ve got to get into way better shape for any fight I take. If I had fought a top caliber opponent for that fight, I’d have been done,” he explained.

Smith, surrounded by the Legends MMA team after his victory.

Besides a return for Smith, the match also represented continued growth for the Legends team, as the unprecedented combination of Rahnavardi, Brady, and in-house chiro Dr. Joe Canul worked Smith’s corner.

“Amir is great to work with because everything he taught me, everything he did when holding the mitts, right before we went out, that’s what I did to win the fight. Dr. Canul did his magic voodoo on me and completely relaxed me for the rest of the day. Plus, his personality had me very calm in the corner. Chris is very valuable. He helped me with a prayer, right before I went in, that really got me focused. Even though he had a freshly sprained ankle, from that day, he was my runner. He took care of everything. Definitely gonna have him in my corner again.”

Likewise, Rahnavardi noted “the thing that most impressed me with Garren for this fight is how hard he worked eight days before. Because I really pushed him on cardio. He listened to everything that I said as far as getting into shape and dropping the weight. . . What I was telling him on the pads, the way that I was warming him up – he was receiving everything 100%, and then it seemed like everything just fell into place for him,” said Rahnavardi.

Of course, Smith’s win was a big shot in the arm for the rest of the team, several of whom fight later this month and towards the end of the year. “That energy, his positive energy, his happiness, comes into our lives, comes into our mindsets and brings that out in us in our fights,” explained Brady.

Smith is expected to appear at Respect in the Cage’s next event, scheduled for November 12th at the Fox Theater in Pomona.  He is sponsored by X-Pole, The Hundreds, and Royal Clayton’s English Pub.