Archive for the Legends MMA Category

Big Dog & Little Dog bark at Tuff-N-Uff

Posted in Legends MMA, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2011 by jaytan716

Light heavyweight Gio Zavala with the Legends MMA team after his KO victory.

Legends MMA got off to a respectable start in 2011, with flyweight Jacob Rockymore and light heavyweight Gio Zavala both making their Tuff-N-Uff debuts on January 7th at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

After a series of false-starts in 2010, Zavala marked his first MMA match definitively, with a first-round KO victory. Rockymore, facing yet another larger opponent, came up short on a unanimous decision, though by all accounts, he fared well in the striking department.

“I feel like I should have went the opposite of what I was trying to do. . . I was trying to clinch with him and take him down. But I didn’t know he was that much bigger than me. He was probably like 20 more pounds than me,” Rockymore said in reflection.

According to teammate (and Tuff-N-Uff welterweight champion) Eddie Jackson, Rockymore’s opponent, Junior Gomez, weighed in at 133 lbs., claiming he thought the match was at 130 lbs. A request was made for Gomez to try to make 130 lbs., despite that the original agreed upon weight was 125 lbs. Though Legends received no confirmation that Gomez ever reached 130 lbs., Rockymore agreed to fight regardless.

“[Jacob] tagged him up a few times and he bloodied the guy’s nose and everything, but he was too strong and too heavy for Jacob to handle. . . If the dude would have made weight, Jacob probably would have ate him up,” Jackson said of the pairing.

125 lbs. Jacob Rockymore vs. Junior Gomez (Hawaiian Fighting Arts)

Though undersized against his opponent, Jacob Rockymore fought valiantly to clinch and take the match to the ground.

Having the obvious reach advantage, Gomez started in with jabs, but Rockymore didn’t hesitate to fire combos right up the middle, bloodying up Gomez’ nose for his efforts. They clinched and worked for position, with Rockymore landing some knees. Unfortunately, one of them caught Gomez south of the border. Rockymore landed some more knees from the clinch and worked for a hip toss. Round two saw both men trade combos. Rockymore worked for a single-leg takedown, but Gomez blocked with underhooks and swung Rockymore down. Gomez kept side control and tried to circle behind Rockymore, who likewise blocked that advance by holding onto the single-leg. In the final round, Gomez landed a head kick that Rockymore no-sold and stalked him around the ring. Rockymore alternated between throwing combos and knees to a takedown attempt, and had Gomez in a Thai clinch at the match ended.

Judges awarded Junior Gomez the victory by unanimous decision.

“The first round was good. I busted his nose and got in some strikes. After the second round, my arms were gassed from clinching with a bigger guy. Should have stood back and struck with him like I did in the last one. . . I won the first round. I know that,” Rockymore said of his match.

 

205 lbs. Gio Zavala vs. Gabriel Garzon (Mobsters United Fight Team)

Zavala opened the match with a low kick.

Zavala landed the first shot with a leg kick, but Garzon responded with wild lefts and overhand rights. Zavala was controlled, circling away and getting Garzon’s pace. Heavy fists started flying before Garzon shot in and Zavala controlled him with underhooks. Garzon broke away, giving Zavala the chance to land a massive left to Garzon’s temple. Zavala got one more shot in on the ground before referee ?? stopped the bout at 1:33 of the first round for the KO finish.

Zavala’s debut was a long time in the works, with several false starts in the year or so prior. Matches falling out are far from a rarity in amateur MMA, but after his last opponent backed out literally ten minutes prior to match time, at a Total Fighting Alliance (TFA) show in July last year, the anticipation of getting that first match started to test Zavala’s patience.

“His attitude going in was ‘fuck, I hope it’s not going to be another one where the dude bails out,’ but when he found out it was going to be official, his whole demeanor changed,” noted Jackson. “He jumped 10 notches on taking it seriously. He was like ‘this shit’s about to go down.’ His whole attitude changed. He was happy, he was excited, he was nervous. . . His family and friends were there. Everything played out the way it was supposed to go down.

The weekend was also a new chapter for Jackson, whose last trip to Sin City was a three-round dream-come-true, as he won the Tuff-N-Uff welterweight championship, an accolade he’d been chasing for two years. For this event, however, Jackson assumed cornerman duties for the first timee, as teammate Chris Brady did late last year on several shows. Ironically, the focus and intensity is no different than when he’s the one scheduled to fight.

One monsterous-ass brotha.

“For some reason, going up there, even if I’m cornering, I still get the jitters. Because every time I go up there, it’s like I’m going to war. . . this time around, cornering my boys, I got a different perspective, from the outside looking in. I can see what [Legends head trainer Chris] Reilly and Conor [Heun] are looking at. And I can see it too. . . They’re the eyes and ears for what you can’t see or hear [as a fighter in the ring]. Because sometimes the nerves get the best of you and you block everything else out. That corner tells you to do this, do that. That’s like a lifeline. And I didn’t realize how important that was.“

Rockymore anticipates a victorious return to the Tuff-N-Uff ring as soon as possible.

As for Rockymore, despite not getting the win, he feels that fighting for Barry and Jeff Meyer marks a major turning point for his amateur career, one that he’s anxious to embrace with his next match: “That was the biggest fight that I’ve had. The first two fights are alright, but Tuff-N-Uff is where you want to be as an amateur. It was a bigger crowd, a bigger entrance,” he said. “I’m going to be way more ready than I was for my last fight. I’m gonna gain a lot of weight, put up those protein shakes, get that cardio up. I’ll be ready to go next time.”

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that night:

160 lbs. – Casey Picard (10th Planet Riverside) def. Cody Hamm (Team Envy) via TKO, R1, 1:33.

185 lbs. – Tyler Jeppesen (Team Vegas Bail) def. Joshua Morgan (Centennial Tae Kwon Do) via TKO / doctor’s stoppage due to a cut, R1, 0:28 (team)

135 lbs. – Jesse Romero (Xtreme Couture) def. Raul Sandoval (10th Planet Riverside) via unanimous decision.

Female 145 lbs. tournament quarterfinal – Ashlee Evans-Smith (Gladiator Training Academy) def. Jessamyn Duke (AFS Academy) via unanimous decision.

185 lbs. – Shane Johnson (Xtreme Couture) def. Rick Borden (10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu) via unanimous decision.

170 lbs. – Ramon Hernandez (Team Felony / Pitbull Jiu-Jitsu) def. Tony Totero (Team Suffer) via submission, R1, 1:39.

155 lbs. – Troy Remer (Xtreme Couture) def. David Thompkins (10th Planet Riverside) via unanimous decision.

Female 145 lbs. Exhibition –Tamikka Brents (Team Warrior Concepts) def. Tori Adams via split decision. This match was originally part of the female 145 lb. tournament, but became an exhibition when Brents was unable to make weight.

155 lbs. – Jon Gorton (Team Quest) def. Jonathan Rodeffer (Team Thompkins) via unanimous decision.

145 lbs. – Cesar Campus (LA Boxing (Las Vegas)) def. Josh Grevas (Xtreme Couture) via unanimous decision.

170 lbs. –Lee Henry Lilly (Striking Unlimited) def. Joey Angelo (Tapout Training Center) via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Matt Church (Throwdown) def. Kimo Yadao (Xtreme Couture) via split decision.

Female 145 lbs. tournament quarterfinal – Ronda Rousey (Team Hayastan) def. Taylor Stratford via technical submission, R1, 0:24.

155 lbs. – Trace Gray (10th Planet Riverside) def. Jake Swinney (Xtreme Couture) via unanimous decision.

Legends MMA is sponsored by X-Pole. Tuff-N-Uff’s next event is February 11th at the Orleans Hotel & Casino.

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Horwich TKOs Rosholt in OK

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by jaytan716

Matt Horwich (right), with Joe Christopher, who won the XFN welterweight title that night.

Legends MMA’s favorite metaphysician, Matt Horwich, upset local favorite Jake Rosholt at November 12th’s “Xtreme Fight Night” at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, defeating the three-time NCAA champion in the third round by TKO due to strikes.

“I lost the first round. . . .My game plan was to come back strong the second round. I won that round, finished him in the third round by TKO. So I was thankful the fight went beautiful. It was kind of like a rope-a-dope in the first round, except it was on the ground, so I guess I’ll call it a ground-a-dope,” joked the ever-optimistic Horwich.

By all accounts, Roshalt’s two takedowns and ground-and-pound in the first secured him the round. Horwich tried to secure a footlock and wear his opponent’s cardio out. Seemingly, the slow-burn worked, as Horwich took over in the second, taking Rosholt’s back and implementing his own offensive of punches and rear naked choke attempt. Rosholt escaped, reversed, and went for a guillotine choke, but sure enough, Horwich had his own escape, moving to side control and forcing more ground-and-pound action to round’s end. Round three saw another Rosholt takedown and Horwich reversal, respectively, before they were back to their feet. Finally, Horwich scored his own takedown, mounted Rosholt’s back, and threw punches at will until the referee called for the end.

“When he came back [after the first round], what I told him was that [Rosholt] put a lot of energy into that round, and let’s just make him work everywhere. I want him to work everywhere that he’s at. I want him to have to worry about something everywhere. And Matt just put it to him,” said Brady.

For the reigning Powerhouse World Promotions champion, match result wasn’t just an exercise in redemption, but also in the power of positivity.

“There’s a lot of positive momentum going with our team. After I lost my previous fight [at Bellator 28, against Eric Schambari], I heard my teammates storming in, all mad they lost their fights as well. And I felt like God was up to something with it. So I was telling them if we can keep the same positive momentum after a loss, it’s going to be a huge advantage. . . And I told them I’d be telling them ‘I told you so’ after the next fights. And then Brady came and was cornering me for this fight. So after the fight, I said ‘I told you so.’

Oklahoma itself was a welcome trip for both fighter and corner, however, as both share an affinity and reverence for Native American culture and spirituality.

“When I found out we were going to an Indian reservation, I was kind of excited. You can definitely feel it in the air and in the land. It’s a special place,” said Brady.

“We hung out with some Comanches after the fight, because one of them fought. It was a beautiful experience and cool memory,” added Horwich.

As if a weekend win in the Sooner State wasn’t enough good news, Horwich also is close to signing a three-fight deal with the Palace Fighting Championships, located at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore. PFC has hosted a who’s who of top-tier free agent fighters, such as Razor Rob McCullough, John Alessio, James ‘Sandman’ Irvin, Ulysses Gomez, and even Legends’ alum Jorge Oliveira.

Horwich expects to make his PFC debut in February 2011.

Of course, no Matt Horwich fight would be complete without a new nickname, and indeed, the man of 1,000 monikers seems to have outdone himself in Oklahoma, reportedly declaring himself ‘The Multiverse-Surfing-Sabretoothed-River-Dolphin-Lion-of-God.’

“I had it on the back of my shirt when I walked into the ring. But the Lion of God part wasn’t on it . . . that would have been a lot of money for the printing. Especially if I had Limit Smasher in it too,” he explained deadpan.

The victory also continues Brady’s consecutive string of wins as a chief second. The bantamweight fighter first took the cornerman reins in August, at Combat Fight League, helping teammates Alan Jouban and Eugene Marenya win. In October, Brady supported Garren Smith in his return to the cage after a 10-month hiatus.

“It’s something special. Those certain moments that you experience with people. . . Most people don’t have any idea what that’s like. Right before someone’s about to go out in someone’s hometown and fight five five-minute rounds of combat. That’s a special moment for someone, whether they win or they lost. That’s the most emotional and important part.”

In other XFN action that night:

185 lbs. Amateur MMA – Andrew Todhunter def. Jazz Pierce via submission (triangle choke), R1, 1:36.

155 lbs. Amateur MMA – Brandon McDougal def. James Warren via unanimous decision.

175 lbs. Amateur MMA – Jesse Chaffin def. Wes Long via TKO, R2.

122 lbs. Female Boxing – Chelsea Colarelli def. Jasmine Simmons via TKO / refuse to answer the bell, R2.

160 lbs. Amateur MMA – Charles Wright def. Johnny Wester via unanimous decision.

190 lbs. MMA – Trey Houston def. Brandon Lyons via submission (armbar), R1, 0:44.

170 lbs. Boxing – Codale Ford def. David Taylor via unanimous decision.

XFN 145 lbs. Championship – Nate Murdock def. Josh Pulsifer via TKO, R1.

205 lbs. Kickboxing – Randy Blake def. Ruben Zammaron via TKO, R3.

XFN 170 lbs. Championship – Joe Christopher def. Levi Avera via submission (arm triangle), R3.

168 lbs. Boxing – George Tahdooahnippah def. Steve Warren via TKO, R2.

Special thanks to Dwayne Davis of the Urban Tulsa Weekly for assistance with the event results.

Legends sweeps with wins at Combat Fight League

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2010 by jaytan716

The combined Legends MMA - Bond Squad MMA team went undefeated at CFL's Halloween Fight Fest in Oxnard.

The treats came a day early for Chris Reilly and Amir Rahnavardi’s four-man squad over Halloween weekend, as amateur fighters from Legends MMA and Bond Squad MMA swept Combat Fight League’s ‘Halloween Fight Fest’ on October 30th at West Coast Jiu Jitsu in Oxnard, CA.

Reilly and Rahnavardi brought Bond Squad brothers ‘Pistol Pete’ and Andrew ‘Worst Case Scenario’ Mostowa, protégés of Rahnavardi’s, along with Legends MMA’s Dustin Mueller and Alan Jouban. Mueller and Peter walked away with decision victories, while Jouban and Andrew both finished their opponents in late in the first round.

“Everybody did real well. My brother’s fight went real well. Probably as good as anyone could have guessed or wanted it to go. Dustin, his fight, he did a lot of good things in it. And then Alan, he’s undefeated . . . that sort of keeps that ball rolling. With us all winning, it just made it a great night,” said Pistol Pete.

“Just knowing that they’re Amir’s guys, you feel like you’re part of the same team. Because Amir is just everybody’s boy. It’s camaraderie,” Jouban said of his teammates for the night.

As one part of the main event, Jouban wasn’t able to watch their matches until seeing video footage after the event, but their continual victories throughout the night helped keep his spirits high and focused during his warm-up backstage.

“When everyone’s winning, that energy, feeding off of it . . . It always puts you at ease when you see them happy and laughing.”

Andrew Mostowa concurred, saying that his older brother’s win helped set the tone for his own debut: “It helped a lot. It was like ‘alright, we have one win under our belt. Let’s make it another one.’ We’re pretty close, so it’s just one of those things.”

155 lbs. – Pete Mostowa (Bond Squad MMA) def. Carlos Sanchez (West Coast Jiu Jitsu) via decision

Pistol Pete’s previous match, at the first Combat Fight League event, was a lopsided affair in which West Coast Fight Academy favorite Francisco “Turtle” Estrada overwhelmed the then-debuting young gun. In this return match, however, Pete was more composed and relaxed.

Sanchez caught Pete with several shots and a takedown early in the first round. After some scrapping, Pete ended up on bottom and worked to set up a triangle or armbar. When Sanchez stood up, Pete slapped on a tight kneebar which had Sanchez close to tapping. Round two saw similar action. Pete had a mount on Sanchez, who flipped him over. Pete was able to set up an oma plata, but was too crowded against the cage to finish. Round three showcased both men’s stand-up skills. Pete pushed Sanchez against the cage and landed several knees before round’s end.

Judges awarded Pete Mostowa the victory by split decision.

“It was a real close match that went back and forth, and because I was working the whole time for submissions and the positions I was in, I was trying to get the better position and do something . . . That’s when the judges kind of saw that and gave me the decision,” theorized Pete.

(From left): Dustin "Dirty D" Mueller, "Pistol Pete" Mostowa, & Andrew "Worst Case Scenario" Mostowa

“Peter’s a really good fighter. He’s really complete. . . His last fight didn’t get him much experience. So this fight . . . he learned a lot,” noted Rahnavardi.

Dustin Mueller felt that Pete was particularly strong on the ground, noting “Pete was going for a lot of submissions on the ground. . . He seemed definitely more aggressive in this second fight. . . He was transitioning from one move to the other.”

205 lbs. – Dustin Mueller (Legends MMA) vs. Paul Elias (West Coast Fight Academy)

Though he came in with a significant height and reach advantage, Mueller went through several opponent changes, and subsequent weight class changes, which took its toll on his cardio reserves. After his initial fight (at light heavyweight) fell through, Mueller got booked for a heavyweight scrap, and subsequently started to add weight. However, one week before the fight, his light heavyweight match was back on, forcing Mueller to cut 15 pounds in a week, with no prior weight-cutting experience.

“I learned a lot about my body and my whole self. Because I never got to really cut weight. I just felt weak. It was a weird feeling. But thank God that I won. The next fight will be a lot different for me, for sure,” he said in retrospect.

Elias almost immediately shot in early in round one. He caught a knee from Mueller and used it to score a takedown. Elias stacked himself over Mueller on the ground and threw rights, trying to pass guard, but Mueller kept control of Elias’ head and set up an armbar. Mueller flipped over, but Elias stayed on him and threw headshots from behind. Mueller managed to pop his head out the back door, but Elias scrambled and sunk in a guillotine choke, stuffing Mueller in the corner and taking his back as the round ended. Round two saw Mueller keep the match on the feet for the most part, throwing sporadic combinations. Mueller pushed Elias against the cage with lefts and rights. Elias charged for a double-leg takedown and got it, but Mueller transitioned out to side control near round’s end. Round three saw Mueller kept control of the center of the cage and pressure Elias with combos. Elias went for another takedown and eventually took Mueller’s back, but Mueller flipped him over and threw rights from front facelock top position to the end of the match.

Judges awarded Dustin Mueller the victory by unanimous decision on scores of 29-28.

“Dustin’s married, and he’s got three kids, and he’s got a full-time job. So he’s one of those full weekend warriors. But he did good. He’s the guy that came to Legends when I first started teaching, and he knew nothing. And he was a fat guy, so how far he’s come, I’m so proud,” said Rahnavardi.

185 lbs. – Andrew Mostowa (Bond Squad MMA) def. Bobby Fiscer (TapouT Fight Team) via TKO, R1, 1:34.

The younger Mostowa brother came on strong and kept the pressure on Fiscer with combos and several low kicks. He forced Fiscer against the cage and threw knees until Fiscer went to the ground. Andrew stayed on him with ground and pound until the referee called the match at 1:34 of the first round, awarding the man they call ‘Worst Case Scenario’ with the TKO victory.

Rahnavardi couldn’t have been happier about Andrew’s performance, boasting “he stayed completely on game-plan, did exactly what I told him, and just destroyed him. We call him Worst Case Scenario because he’s more flexible than any human being that you’ve ever met. He’s got awe some hands, awesome kicks, and great ground. So he’s seriously like the Worst Case Scenario for anyone to fight.”

Being his debut match, Andrew conceded that nerves were a slight factor, but that “when you get in the ring, everything goes so fast that it just goes back to your instincts, I guess. And everything that you train, it just comes out.”

170 lbs. – Alan Jouban (Legends MMA) vs. Ruben Gudino (West Coast Fight Academy)

Gudino made first contact with several low kicks as Jouban took his time. Gudino got Jouban against the cage, but Jouban clinched and walked into him, getting a trip takedown. Jouban kept top control with a full mount, landing a few lefts. Gudino got to his feet briefly, but Jouban took him down again with a highlight reel belly-to-back slam. Jouban got full mount, but Gudino quickly swept him and landed in guard. Jouban switched to butterfly guard and set up the gogo plata. Gudino tapped moments later, at 1:57 of the first round.

(Clockwise): Chris Reilly, Alder Hampel, Alan Jouban, Dr. Joe Canu

For Jouban, this match represented a big personal accomplishment, and even something of a possible graduation to the pro ranks, a move which is supported by his head trainer, Chris Reilly. Earlier this year, Jouban set the goal of fighting five times before 2011, and not only hit that mark with the Gudino match, but went undefeated in dominating fashion, winning four times via first-round finish, twice by gogo plata submission.

“I didn’t know if I was gonna really be able to obtain that goal. Before I was averaging maybe one or two a year, because of injuries and whatnot. . . It’s kind of played out that way, so I’m extremely thrilled. If I can get my pro fight in before the next year, it would really complete what I wanted to do, starting at the beginning of this year,” he reflected.

To win via gogo plata in an MMA match is rare. To do it twice is almost lightning in a bottle. Ironically, Jouban had intended to keep it a striking match, after his opportunity to make his pro debut a Muay Thai match in Thailand fell through.

“But it was just weird, because it wasn’t as I envisioned the fight. I just kept picturing a beautiful KO. Like some kind of Muay Thai-related head kick or something of that sort,” joked Jouban. “Big props to Alder Hampel. I’ve been working a lot of jits with Eddie Bravo . . . I went to see Alder a couple weeks before my fight, just to kind of fine tune things, and he really came through for me. . . I’m glad that I’m making Eddie Bravo and everybody at 10th Planet proud.”

In other CFL “Halloween Fight Fest” action:

135 lbs. – Benji Gomez def. Jaime Leon Hernandez via decision.

155 lbs. – Nathan Speer def. William BJ Ingram via submission, R1, 1:57.

185 lbs. – Mike Jasper def. Joshua Ramirez via TKO, R2, 1:55.

135 lbs. – Michael Castanon def. Juan Estrada via split decision.

155 lbs. Female – Samantha Mosqueda def. Hayden Munoz via decision.

185 lbs. – Mose Aieti def. Anton Torres via decision.

Combat Fight League returns on December 2nd with an amateur show at the Westlake Hyatt. Both Mostowa brothers expect to return to action on that show. Legends MMA is sponsored by X-Pole.

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.

Palencia & Zavala advance in CAMO tournament in a challenging weekend

Posted in CAMO, Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2010 by jaytan716

Christian Palencia and Gio Zavala, who advance in the first annual CAMO (California Amateur MMA Organization) state tournament, shine brightly as the two stars of an otherwise difficult weekend for Legends MMA. The event took place on September 11th at Siren Studios in Hollywood, under the Total Fighting Alliance (TFA) banner.

Palencia and Zavala were two of six Legends fighters scheduled to enter the tournament. The other entrants were Chris “Blvd” Brady (135 lbs.), Tommy Gavin (155 lbs.), Eddie Jackson (170 lbs.), and Eugene Marenya (170 lbs.). The roster dropped to five when Marenya was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to injury. However, pending a medical clearance, Marenya will be the alternate in the next round of the tournament, scheduled for October 2nd at the Fight Academy in Pasadena.

For Zavala, the advance to the next level was bittersweet, as his win came by forfeit after his opponent, Tom Kemp of TapouT, withdrew within minutes of the scheduled fight. According to backstage reports, Kemp was warming up with his trainer, doing some light jiu-jitsu, when he re-aggravated a previous knee injury.

The news was beyond disappointing to Zavala, who had one of the largest fan followings in attendance that day. Promoter Todd Meacham brought Zavala out to the cage to explain the situation. On the upside, Zavala automatically advances to the same October 2nd show as Palencia and Marenya.

“I just wanted to thank everybody that came out to watch me. I trained for this fight. I’m really sorry. I trained really hard. I know this guy’s a good fighter, but, you know, things happen, man,” said the disheartened light heavyweight.

135 lbs. – Chris Brady vs. German Balthazar (Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy)

Brady looked to set the pace of the match early with low kicks and combos. Balthazar circled and offered some low kicks of his own, knocking Brady down with a right and clinching up against the cage. Toward the end, Brady shot in for a takedown, but Balthazar caught it and turned it into a trip takedown of his own.  The second round saw Brady stay on Balthazar with kicks and combos. Balthazar scored another takedown off a body kick, but opted to keep the fight standing and backed away. They continued to trade low kicks throughout. Brady was quick to press and clinch up in round three, grabbing double overhooks on Balthazar, who turned it into another trip takedown. On the ground, Brady threw punches from “double-bagger” guard before kicking Balthazar off. They clinched on their feet, giving Balthazar the opening to take Brady down again via hiptoss. Brady was immediately back on his feet, but Balthazar then scooped a double-leg takedown. Brady tried to push him back with upkicks, but Balthazar crowded him and threw rights to end the round.

Judges awarded the match to Balthazar by split decision, off two scores of 29-28 for Balthazar and one 30-27 score for Brady.

155 lbs. – Tommy Gavin vs. Paul Blancaflor (Spiritwolf MMA)

Both men sized each other up for a while, with Gavin charging in with pawing shots, that Blancaflor sidestepped. Gavin shot in from afar for a double let takedown and was caught in Blancaflor’s guard. Blancaflor kept control of his neck and closed the guard, sitting up and rolling into top position before Gavin was forced to tap at 1:31 of the first round.

170 lbs. – Eddie Jackson vs. Bill Cooper

Cooper refused to touch gloves at the onset, which got a rousing chorus of boos. Both men were careful to engage at first, as Jackson circled form the outside. Cooper charged in with a combo, throwing Jackson off balance to the ground. As Jackson got up and reached for a single-leg, Cooper grabbed a guillotine choke and jumped guard. Jackson tried to fight out of it, but was forced to tap out at 1:21 of round one.

155 lbs. – Christian Palencia vs. Shane Watts (TFA Fight Crew)

Palencia fired the first blows with a jab-kick combo, but Watts retaliated with punches that pushed him back to the cage. Palencia came back with a two-punch combo that bounced Watt into the cage, and caught him with another knee as Watts fell to the ground, prompting the referee to immediately stop the action at 0:14. Palencia was awarded the win by TKO.

Unfortunately, Legends’ woes continued on two other shows this weekend as well. On this same night, in Pueblo, CO, light heavyweight pro Adriano Camolese lost to Eliot “The Fire” Marshall via unanimous decision (29-28 for all three judges) at Bring the Thunder MMA. On Thursday, September 9th, middleweight Matt “Lion of God” Horwich lost a frustrating split decision to Eric Schambari at Bellator 28 in New Orleans, LA on Thursday night.

 

 

Matt Horwich, World Champion!

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2010 by jaytan716

Photos courtesy of Brian Robertson / MMAStation.com

Matt Horwich, PHP middleweight world champion

Legends MMA’s resident middleweight metaphysician, Matt ‘The Limit Smasher’ Horwich simultaneously reversed his own polarity and recorded a new milestone for the gym this past weekend, submitting former UFC title contender Thales Leites to become the first Powerhouse World Promotions (PWP) middleweight champion. The event took place on Saturday the 14th, at PWP’s “War on the Mainland” pay-per-view event at the Bren Events Center in Irvine.

“It’s a beautiful universe. Thank God for good friends and good victories,” said the newly-crowned champ in the days after the fight.

“I just think it puts him on a whole other level, if he can keep it up. Thales has never been submitted. It’s a huge victory,“ added his wife Kelly.

Ironically, Horwich was a last-minute replacement for Hawaiian fighter Falaniko Vitale, who withdrew from the event in early August. Anxious to shake off the taint of two recent debatable decision losses to hometown heroes, Jason ‘The Athlete’ MacDonald in Canada and Tom ‘Kong’ Watson in the U.K., respectively, Horwich jumped at the chance to fight in his own backyard.

Moreover, the fact that he didn’t need to board an airplane sat just fine with him. .

“It’s funny, because I like skydiving, but I hate flying. . . God’s well aware I’d rather die any way besides flying, because I mention it to him thousands of times every time I have to fly on an airplane to fight,” he lamented, adding “props to Thales. It’s hard to come to someone’s hometown and fight him. This is where my friends and family are. Where I train, and where I’m comfortable and have everything I want.”

The match itself was largely a back-and-forth ground battle, with Leites taking Horwich down, where both would trade sweeps and transitions for top position until one would escape to his feet. Standing, Horwich pushed the action, stalking Leites with jabs and low kicks, though Leites also had several sweeping low kicks that tripped Horwich on his rear.

Matt Horwich connected with knees on Thales Leites.

“I had the reach on him. I was trying to throw the jab, and work a smart game plan. Tie him up and tire him out,” explained Horwich. “I was getting knocked over with that beautiful leg kick that he was doing to the back leg. I wasn’t really hurt from it. I was just looking dumb. I was like ‘alright Horwich, you’re laying down on the job. Get up, stupid!’”

According to head trainer Chris Reilly, beating Leites at the cardio game was a key strategy in the match: “As each minute passed, I saw [Horwich] get stronger and Thales weaken. By the end of the second, I was getting pretty confident. Event after losing the third. I felt good going into the fourth, and it didn’t take long from there,” he said.

The second round was Horwich’s, successfully muting Leites top position offense early, and then coming back with a leglock attempt and strong ground-and-pound in the last minute. Leites decisively took the third round with a threatening side choke that he held on Horwich for almost a minute. However, in Reilly’s eyes, surviving that position was in fact the tipping point which swung momentum back in favor of the Legends team.

“The arm triangle was [Leites’] best move. . . When Thales got it locked in, I knew he was going to gas trying to finish it. As soon as Matt came out, I knew the fight would shift our way.”

Horwich noted “I worked with my good friends at 10th Planet on how I should defend the side choke, just in case. It’s a good thing we worked on it. I wasn’t gonna tap. I was worried . . . it was like ‘alright, relax. Don’t panic. Do the correct defense. Count to 60’.”

Horwich choked out Leites erly in the fourth round.

Indeed, the energy Leites burned on that choke compromised him for the fourth round, where Horwich scored an easy takedown and cinched in a rear naked choke to end the match, and win his third MMA championship, at 0:44.

“I felt he was getting tired. . . I’ve been working a lot with Eddie on how to finish it better, squeezing my own leg. Working on squeezing the choke muscles. And then it went under his chin and then I knew it was in. And I was like ‘thank God.’ Then I was going to hold on until the referee pulls me off, because I’ve seen a lot of fights where the guy taps and the ref doesn’t see it,” explained Horwich.

For almost any victorious fighter, once his hand is raised, he realizes that journey is the destination. The hard work, training, sacrifice, and discipline all gain mass and resonance, embodied in the win. According to Horwich, it was his spiritual faith that powered that journey, and as such, it was his faith that defined his victory.

“The thing is my faith felt better than any fight. I didn’t really have any anxiety or anything. I felt fired up, but not anxious. . . So I was feeling that. Even when the fight got tough, my faith felt good, when I was caught in the side choke. So I think that was a big difference in this fight. . . Like Proverbs teaches us, those who work hard will be leaders and those who are lazy will be slaves. Those who work hard are likely to get what they want in life. Faith is the most important, but you just can’t expect God to do everything for you. You gotta put in the hard work,” said Horwich.

“It was an honor to fight Thales. He was really respectful, even afterwards. We saw him when we were leaving and he had the most respect for Matt,” commented Kelly.

Links to Horwich vs. Leites from “War on the Mainland” are here:

Round One

Round Two

Round Three & Four:

In other “War on the Mainland” action that night:

PWP heavyweight (275 lbs.) championship – Tim Sylvia def. Paul Buentello via TKO, R2, 4:57.

205 lbs. – Terry Martin def. Jorge Ortiz via split decision.

PWP light heavyweight (205 lbs.) championship – Tony Lopez def. Jason Lambert via KO, R2, 1:49.

Erin Beach def. Joao Silva via unanimous decision.

Diego Garijo def. Jens Pulver via submission, R1, 1:08.

Gustavo Machado def. Rick Reeves via split decision.

Cleber Luciano def. Todd Williamson via submission, R2, 3:18.

A.J. Matthews def. Sean Choice via TKO, R2, 3:54.

PWP has not yet announced a date for their next event. Matt Horwich is sponsored by X-Pole and Melee Fight Gear, with support from Legends MMA and 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu.

Jouban & Marenya explode at ‘Ground Zero’

Posted in CAMO, Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by jaytan716

Alan Jouban (left) and Eugene Marenya

Welterweights Eugene Marenya and Alan Jouban kept Legends MMA’s win streak alive-and-kicking this weekend with a pair of victories at Combat Fight League’s “Ground Zero” amateur MMA event, held at West Coast Jiu Jitsu in Oxnard.

In the main event, Jouban was put in the invader’s role, as he faced West Coast Jiu Jitsu’s star Mose Aieti, who has made waves this year in the SoCal amateur MMA scene. However, Jouban proved to have answers for the hometown hero’s questions, winning by unanimous decision. As the winner of what was declared the Match of the Night, Jouban was awarded a Polanti luxury watch.

“Tough dude. Good fight. It was a fight that I wanted, too. Because I’d been saying I don’t want a quick finish or anything. I want a war. . . I haven’t been out of the first round in my last three fights. So to get to go to a three-round decision, and to kick a guy in the head and have him come back wanting more, it was good,” commented Jouban after the fight.

Marenya, who fought at a 160 lb. catchweight in transition to welterweight, was particularly anxious to get in the cage. He was originally scheduled to fight Anthony Olivas of Bloodbank MMA the week prior, and, ironically, was the main event on that show. However, when rowdy and drunk fans in the crowd started their own fight during the match before Marenya’s, El Monte police and CAMO officials were forced to immediately shut the show down, leaving he and Olivas frustrated and unfulfilled.

“I was pissed off last week. And all that built up into this week, and I put it out there in the ring. I did my thang. Did what my coaches told me, and I banged,” said the North Carolina native.

Legends MMA's winning team

Also worthy of note about ‘Ground Zero’ was teammate Chris Brady, taking the cornerman reins for the night, covering for head trainer Chris Reilly. Along with Amir Rahnavardi and 10th Planet brown belt Victor Webster, ‘Boulevard Brady’ was chief second for both Marenya and Jouban. With two successful fights, Brady was praised for his leadership, which, not surprisingly, resembled his longtime mentor’s.

“Brady is like a Little Reilly,” noted Marenya. “He really knows his stuff. He knows the advice to give you. Watches the fight really well. Amir is just a great guy. Great coach. One of the most experienced guys we got. I could hear Vic [Webster] advising. So I basically had all three in my corner, and I really appreciated all of them.”

Jouban noted that having Legends’ more experienced fighters corner their teammates not only helps them grow, but also brings the team itself closer together: “I think not only for me, but for my teammates, I think that it builds their confidence as well. In bringing fighters to fights, [cornering] them, warming them up. That way, we can work together as a team, like an actual cohesive unit. Where, if Reilly can’t make it, I could corner my buddy. I can warm them up. We know that we can all rely on each other.”

160 lbs. – Eugene Marenya vs. Marcus Aven (Right Cross)

Eugene Marenya blocks a double-leg shot from Marcus AvenAven spent a good part of the first round working for a takedown, crowding Marenya against the cage and trying a trip, but Marenya fended it off incredibly well, sprawling and stuffing the double-leg shot, quickly escaping when they did finally get to the ground. Marenya opened up with lefts and rights, and then fended off another shot with overhooks and knees. Aven charged and did get Marenya on the ground, peppering him with lefts and taking his back, but Marenya pivoted around and was stacking Aven from above as Aven worked for an armbar as the round ended. Aven was determined to get the takedown in round two, trying to pull in Marenya’s legs against the cage for well over half the round. After breaking apart, Marenya landed a high kick that rocked Aven, who instinctively changed levels and grabbed for a single-leg, which he did score as the round ended. Marenya came alive in the third round, opening with a a low right kic and attacking with lefts and rights to the head, pushing Aven back against the cage until referee Ray Rothfelder stopped the match. Marenya was awarded the victory via TKO.

Marenya’s growth as a fighter, from his first West Coast match back in April, was markedly obvious, not just in his takedown defense, but, according to Jouban, his punches and kicks: “I think Eugene’s striking is really starting to come along. You could see the progression in his last three fights, leading up to this. It really showed because he landed the head kick. . . The guy wore himself trying to take him down. But the striking was the difference-maker. The guy didn’t want any part of the striking, but he had no choice. Eugene had the more dominant reach, and just athleticism.”

“I’ve been working with a lot of the good wrestlers at the gym. I’ve been working with some of the good jiu jitsu guys. Working on little tricks to defend the takedown. And it paid off,” said Marenya.

175 lbs. – Alan Jouban vs. Mose Aieti (West Coast Jiu Jitsu)

Alan Jouban was all chill backstage.

Aieti was active on the attack, taking Jouban down off a combo and working from inside Jouban’s guard. Jouban muted Aieti’s options by pulling mission control. Aieti tried a short slam to no avail. Once referee Ray Rothfelder stood them up, Jouban landed several Muay Thai knees, kicks, and punches to end the round. Both men were more cautious in engaging in round two, throwing selective kicks before Aieti charged in. But Jouban caught him with two more Muay Thai knees before being taken to the ground, where Aieti kept the fight. In round three, Aieti shot in for a takedown that Jouban caught with a front headlock, slipping in an underhook and several strong knees. Jouban let go and tagged Aieti with a right kick, then charged in with kicks and punches.  Aieti dropped Jouban with an overhand right and pounced, but Jouban caught him in a triangle choke that he held to round’s end.

Judges awarded Alan Jouban the match via unanimous decision, off scores of 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27.

Marenya had nothing but praise for the always-poised Jouban, commenting “aw, man. Superman! Great fight. . . He outworked the kid. . . I guess people now know not to stand-up with Legends guys. ‘Cuz Chris Reilly, Muay Thai. It’s just showing how great our stand-up reputation is. No one wants to stand with us.”

In other “Combat Fight League: Ground Zero” action that night:

135 lbs. – Juan Aguilera def. Juan Estrada via TKO, R2.

185 lbs. – JJ Mortimer def. Sid Sidberry via submission, R1.

150 lbs. – Francisco Estrada def. Peter Mostawa via submission, R1.

205 lbs. – John Hernandez def. Jarrod Huggins via KO, R1.

145 lbs. (female) – Ronda Rousey def. Hayden Munoz via submission, R1.

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