Archive for Alan Jouban

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.

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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.

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.

Jouban & Palencia Sweep at County Cage Fighting

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2010 by jaytan716

Alan Jouban and Christian Palencia were victorious in their California MMA debuts last night, at the second County Cage Fighting event, held at Adrenaline Combat Sports & Fitness in San Bernadino.

Jouban finished his opponent in the first round via gogo plata, while Palencia demonstrated his striking power and grappling finesse to secure a unanimous decision.

“I was really excited about fighting in the cage. That was a big step for me, to get that first cage fight out of the way,” noted Jouban.

SparWithMe.com was on hand to record the fights, and has graciously made them available to the public.

175 lbs. – Alan Jouban vs. Jason Townsell (Combined Martial Sciences)

http://www.sparwithme.com/2010/07/13/rob-bird-team-cff-manuel-murillo-team-quest/ (Mislabeled, but the correct video)

“I was really happy for him. I was surprised he got taken down, but it kinda looked like he was kinda fine with it and didn’t want to fight it too much. He kinda pulled guard and started working that gogo plata. Got it eventually. He’s working all aspects of the game, which is really good,” Palencia said of his teammate.

Indeed, Jouban says he intended to fight from bottom, explaining that he feels that his amateur days are the prime time to test as many different fight situations as possible.

“I want to finish every one of my fights differently while I’m an amateur. I want a knockout. I want a submission. I want a submission from top, from bottom. I want as many varieties of finishes that I can have. I just want to test myself. So far it’s worked out. . . . Not to sound arrogant in any way, but I don’t want to say ‘oh this works,’ and keep doing it. I really want to see what I can do. How many ways I can finish people, and then have that in my arsenal when I go pro. And know what works, and know what I’ve done in the past,” he explained.

160 lbs. – Christian Palencia vs. Vince Vouquez (HB Ultimate Training Center)

http://www.sparwithme.com/2010/07/12/vince-blue-vs-christian-palencia-red/

 

Christian Palencia ground and pounds from mount on Vince Vouquez.

 

“He was easily dominating the striking. He had so much more power on his punches. The first round, he didn’t have the distance yet, because the guy had the way longer arms. But once he had the distance, I thought Christian was gonna knock him out,” said head trainer Chris Reilly.

“Christian, in my eyes, puts on a great fight. I think, after this fight, he’s at the pro level. He’s been tiptoeing in that category, but after this fight – he fought a much bigger, much stronger guy. Very, very tough guy. . . I thought he fought a three-round perfect fight. He won every part of the fight. Stand-up, ground, clinch, takedown, sweeps. Everything,” added Jouban.

For Palencia, the victory was a moral one as well, as he came in far more under weight than necessary. Weighing himself at 170 lbs. (for a 160 lbs. match) 24 hours before the fight, Palencia went into overdrive for the weight cut. However, he officially weighed-in at 153 lbs., and with only a few hours before fight time, rehydrating and rejuvenating his energy levels continued the strain on him.

“It felt really good to win, afterwards because I felt like before the fight, I was going in there less than 50%. Just the way I was feeling. . . . That cut really did me bad. I just felt like I wanted to throw up, but I fought for it to stay down. . .I was like ‘there’s no way I’m going to be able to fight a full fight, or do whatever I want to.’ When I did, I actually beat him, everybody said I did good, I was really proud of myself,” he recanted.

“I was just nervous because I knew how bad Christian’s insides were feeling. Because of the weight loss. Christian was puking at the trash can right before we went out. And he was really not feeling well and he was really worried about it. . . I was like ‘remember how you felt, after your last fight? And you’re the one who begged to get in right away, because you wanted to wash that loss off your memory. Don’t let a little stomach thing stop you,’ recalled Reilly.

Jouban and Palencia will next fight possibly as early as July 30th, joining teammates Eugene Marenya and Jacob Rockymore, for Spar Star MMA, at the El Monte Civic Center in El Monte.

Jouban wins debut, Bollinger blemishes Couture’s amateur graduation in controversy

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2010 by jaytan716

By Jay Tan

Ryan Couture and Sean Bollinger fought to an inconclusive draw at the March 26th Tuff-N-Uff amateur MMA event in Las Vegas.

The friendly rivalry between Legends MMA and Xtreme Couture, best illustrated with the historic three-fight saga between Chris Brady and Jimmy Jones, wrote another chapter last weekend, as Sean Bollinger and Ryan Couture battled to a razor-thin draw, capping off a Tuff-N-Uff event which saw six members of the combined 10th Planet / Legends MMA gym face difficult but important moral victories.

The match, a title bout for the Tuff-N-Uff 155 lb. championship, was a back-and-forth battle of wits between two celebrated ground technicians, one of whom had quickly become an affable fan favorite, and the other an underestimated but dangerous dark horse.  Fans were calling it one of the most exciting matches in Tuff-N-Uff history, although several were up in arms that a title match would be allowed to end in a draw.

For Bollinger, the victory was, if nothing else, a moral one, as he said “this fight really showed me my heart.  It proved something to myself: nine minutes of straight war.  And I didn’t quit. . . It didn’t surprise me, but it showed me something.  We both took a beating.  I just need to see that in myself, to pursue this MMA career.”

Moreover, there was much debate over whether the match should continue into the third round,  as Bollinger trapped Couture in a triangle choke and by all accounts (including Couture’s), put the second generation star to sleep moments before or right at the bell.

Teammate Tommy Gavin noted “I think Bollinger clearly won the first two rounds.  He actually put the kid to sleep, so I think he won the fight. “

In a Las Vegas Sun article that ran the next morning, Couture told writer Hepi Mita that that he was put out, saying “He did have me asleep as the bell rang. . . It’s not every day you get to pass out and then still fight another round.”

Not to be outdone, Legends MMA / 10th Planet mainstay Alan “The Jedi Knight” Jouban finally made his MMA debut, winning with a highlight reel-caliber 14-second TKO over Dustin Chevalier (Striking Unlimited).  With an 8-0 record in amateur Muay Thai, Jouban’s MMA cherrybreaker came after a series of injury mishaps.  Ironically enough, Jouban was a last-minute replacement for Eddie Jackson, who himself withdrew from the event due to injury.

“I felt like I was more hungry for that fight than I was for almost anything in my life.  It was almost two years of being sidelined, watching my peers grow and get better in this sport, and me not getting to do it.  And once I kept building momentum, I get hurt again. . . Now that I think I’ve got that first hurdle out of the way . . . that’s my biggest goal right now – to stay hungry, to keep building a career,” explained Jouban.

“Alan was, what can you say?  He went out there and took the guy out quick.  He did exactly what he wanted to do and looked like an animal with his twelve-pack, the whole time,” said teammate and pro fighter Garren Smith.

155 lbs. – Tommy Gavin vs. Jon Gorton (Team Quest)

Tommy Gavin vs. Joe GortonGavin scored two trademark takedowns in round one, and Gorton worked for submissions from the bottom each time. The second takedown was a guillotine choke, which, while tight, offered little threat to the Upstate New York wrestler.  With credit to teammate Eddie Jackson’s pre-fight head-shaving tradition, Gavin had little problem popping his head out, working for a D’arce choke to the round’s end.  Round two saw Gavin and Gorton repeat the takedown / guillotine sequence from before.  Gorton got a takedown of his own, and although Gavin worked for the armbar from bottom, Gordon was able to pass guard to full mount, throwing lefts and rights until the referee ended the match at 0:42 of the second round.  Gordon was awarded the TKO victory.

Never one to get hung up on the past, Gavin saw a silver lining in the match itself, noting “one positive thing is I’m definitely getting better on my feet.  I believe I was winning the stand-up in the fight, and my coaches told me to keep it standing, but I kind of went back to the wrestler instinct.”

Teammate Jouban added “Tommy let his hands go.  He might have discovered something, that he’s got power in his hands.

170 lbs. – Takashi Munoz vs. Warren Roberds (Wand Fight Team)

Takashi Munoz vs. Warren RobardsThis match was three rounds of Roberds keeping the pressure on Munoz with jabs and wild overhand rights.  Fists flew right from the bell, as Roberds charged and cornered Munoz, who got caught up in the ropes.  Munoz was able to retard Roberds’ pace with over/underhooks and Muay Thai knees, but Roberds broke free with lefts and overhands rights, scoring a knockdown that threw Munoz under the bottom rope just as the bell rang.  Roberds again bullied Munoz into the corner in round two, but Munoz was able to slip in some knees from a Thai clinch, as well as mounting an offense of his own with kicks.

Munoz opened up round three with a perfectly-timed head kick that could have possibly knocked Roberds out, had he not gone with the momentum, but Roberds was able to clinch up and catch his bearings.  Up against the corner, Munoz threw a controversial leg strike which the referee ruled as an illegal knee to the head, penalizing Munoz with a one-point deduction.    Munoz threw more kicks and knees in this round than previous bouts, but that wasn’t enough to stop Roberds, who looked for the trip takedown and knees.  Munoz fired another head kick, but tripped to the floor as the final bell sounded.

In a very close differential, Warren Roberds takes the match with a majority (split) decision.

Like with his teammate, Munoz indicated that despite not getting the victory, the match added another block to his mental arsenal: “I found out a lot of things about myself in this fight. I realized I’m way tougher than I thought I would be . . . You know how there’s a saying – ‘how can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?’  In this fight, I now know that I’m ready to get hit, and I’m still going to come back at you.”

Discussing the point deduction, Munoz explained “[the referee] said something like ‘I told you there’s no knees to the head.’ And in my case, I was looking at him like ‘that was no knee.  That was the middle to the top of the shin.’  If he looks carefully, it didn’t even look like I was throwing a knee.  It was a kick.  A complete kick.”

185 lbs. – Rick Borden (10th Planet Riverside) vs. Zach Conley (Xtreme Couture)

Rick Bordon vs. Zach ConleyDespite this being Borden’s Tuff-N-Uff debut, the 10th Planet Riverside rookie is no stranger to the lights and big stage.  Borden went into the event 2-0 in amateur MMA, and previously played football at Eastern Oregon University.

After the first flurry of strikes and a takedown attempt by Borden, he and Conley circled and felt each other out.  Borden pushed Conley into the corner with a punch combination, throwing left body shots as Conley tried to mar the action with over/underhooks. During the scuffle, the corner pad came loose, which led to a brief stop in the action.  Upon the restart, the two traded combinations and vied for takedowns that neither got.

Both men engaged much more gingerly in round two, only throwing single or two-strike combinations.  Conley had a chance to capitalize off a slip by Borden, but didn’t.  Borden tried for another takedown towards the end of the round, but Conley stuffed it and held him at bay, landing a big knee.  In round three, Conley opened up with a wild right, then attacked with single left hooks and low kicks.  Borden fired combos to the head.  Conley scored a trip takedown off a body lock, but was unable to get out of Borden’s half-guard.

Judges awarded the match to Zach Conley by unanimous decision.

“I wish I could have got a little more takedowns and worked my ground game, because that’s what I’ve been working on.  My jiu Jitsu game is probably my strong point. . . I knew he was gonna be a pretty well-rounded fighter.  I knew he had a lot of experience on me, which obviously showed at the end of the fight,” Borden said after the fight.

135 lbs. – Chris Brady vs. Casey Johnson (Team Driven)

Chris Brady vs. Casey Johnson

This match was destined to be a barn burner from the entrance music, as Brady walked out to “A Country Boy Can Survive,” with Johnson emerging to Justin Moore’s “I Could Kick Your Ass.”  Johnson, making his Tuff-N-Uff debut, is the 145 lb. champion in the MMA Explosion promotion, with a 7-1 MMA record and training out of Jens Pulver’s Team Driven in Idaho.

Round one was a kicking battle, as both men traded a series of low shots, one of which Johnson used to trip Brady to the ground.  Johnson chose to keep it standing, however, knocking Brady down again with straight-ahead punches.  Brady got revenge by knocking Johnson down with a high kick, but got tied up in top position and almost caught in an armbar before the round ended.  The pair traded heavy leather and furious kicks and knees in the second round.  Brady neutralized Johnson on the ground with rubber guard and mission control.  Round three saw Johnson catch another kick, pushing Brady to the ground and in the corner, but Brady escaped and engaged on the feet, brushing off a Superman punch from Johnson.  They traded combinations until Johnson got another trip.  Brady had him in an armbar in the waning seconds of the match.

Judges awarded the match to Johnson by unanimous decision, but this was one of the closest matches in recent Legends MMA memory.

For Johnson, the slugfest took its toll, commenting “I tell ya, halfway through the second, all into the third, my ears were ringing. . . Chris Brady is a tough, stacked kid. . . I appreciate him taking the fight.  It’s a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to fight him, to go three rounds with him.  Hat’s off to Chris and hat’s off to Tuff-N-Uff.”

170 lbs. – Alan Jouban vs. Dustin Chevalier (Striking Unlimited)

Alan Jouban vs. Dustin Chevalier

Jouban and Chevalier almost instantly started throwing flurries at each other.  Jouban connected with left high kick to the head, following up with a right hook that dropped Chevalier.  With Chevalier on his knees, Jouban fired off several more punches to the head before the referee jumped in.

Alan Jouban won by TKO, R1, 0:14.

Ever the perfectionist, Jouban was surprisingly disappointed in at least one aspect of his match: “I was really actually kind of jealous of [my teammates’] fights.  All of them did things that I wanted to do in my fight that I didn’t get to do.  A 14 second knockout’s great, but all-in-all, the amateur league is to get the ring experience, which I feel like I’m not getting when I was with that dude. . .  Takashi went three rounds, Brady went three rounds.”

155 lbs. Tuff-N-Uff Title Match – Ryan Couture (Xtreme Couture) vs. Sean Bollinger

Sean Bollinger vs. Ryan CoutureThis match, along with the two other title matches of the night, were three-minute rounds.  The story of the match was that Couture, a noted armbar specialist, was facing his toughest submission challenge in Bollinger, who was only the second black belt under Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu system.  This was also Bollinger’s second amateur MMA fight.

Bollinger set the first round off with kicks, including an unexpected headshot.  Couture got Bollinger to the ground after engaging with a combo, but opted to keep it standing, which would be the theme of the fight for Couture’s ground strategy.  Conversely, Bollinger would pull guard whenever possible, and did secure Couture in tight mission control at one point, but Couture eventually escaped.  Bollinger didn’t shy away from stand-up engagement, however, holding his own with headwork, left hooks, and overhand rights.  Couture missed several overhand rights, but did his fair share of damage with low kicks to Bollinger’s left leg.

Round two opened with a longer feeling out period, as the two traded measured combos for the first minute.  Bollinger got double overhooks and pulled Couture down, trapping him with mission control and a triangle. The controversy really kicked in with eight seconds left, as Couture, still trapped in the triangle, tried to escape by stepping over Bollinger’s head.  Sensing it, Bollinger hooked the leg and held on to the ring of the bell.  Referee Joe Sullivan, not in position to stop the action right at the bell, made contact with the fighters 1-2 seconds after the ring, by which point Couture’s arm was visibly limp.

According to commentator Ron Yacovetti, Sullivan’s hand gesture could have been interpreted as the round ending or the match ending.  After a brief celebration by the Legends / 10th Planet corner, Sullivan informed them that the match was not over.

Going into round three, both men engaged.  Couture caught a Bollinger kick and tripped him to the ground, then followed up with combos, stepping away from Bollinger’s sweep attempt.  Couture kept the pressure on Bollinger, stuffing a takedown attempt and landing rights to the body and head.  Bollinger did briefly get mission control on Couture on the ground again, but Couture peppered the body with punches and escaped.  The two traded selective shots in the last few seconds of the round.

Judges scored the entire bout evenly, ruling it a draw.  Couture won the first round by a split, with two judges scoring it 10-9 for Couture and one judge scoring it 10-9 for Bollinger.  Bollinger took the second round unanimously, 10-9 on two judges’ scorecards and 10-8 on the third scorecard.  Couture walked away with the 10-9 for the third round on all judges’ cards, ending the match with one judge scoring it 29-28 for Couture, one judge scoring it 29-28 for Bollinger, and one judge scoring it 28-28 as a draw.

Fans were visibly upset by the decision, with loud chants of both fighters’ names, as well as “one more round.”

Afterwards, Bollinger spoke about the match being an opportunity to show that he wasn’t simply a one-dimensional fighter, saying “I’m just happy that I could go all three rounds, and I can display other talents than just the grappling.  I guess people kinda know where my hands are at.”

As for thoughts on a rematch, Bollinger said “Ryan was saying he didn’t want to fight a rematch, unless we went pro.  He said he didn’t want to do that for free again, is the actual quote he said.  But I’m down for a rematch for sure.  I definitely want to fight a couple more amateur fights.  I love Tuff-N-Uff.  I love coming here and fighting at the Orleans. I’d love to see him in the future.  Maybe on a UFC undercard or something.”

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that night:

170 lbs. – Joey Angelo (TapouT) def. Jesse Bowler (Team Hollywood) via sub (triangle) R3, 1:27.

135 lbs. – Jerry Shapiro (Cobra Kai) def. Victor Henry (Strike Sub Club) via sub (rear naked choke) R2, 1:57.

155 lbs. Jimmy Spicuzza (Team Lethal) def. Oron Kahlon (freestyle) via TKO, R3, 0:21.

185 lbs. Tuff-N-Uff Title Fight – Edmond Xhelili (Warrior Training Center) def. Tim Bowman (Striking Unlimited) via unanimous decision.

145 lbs. Tuff-N-Uff Title Fight – Andrew Alirez (Top Notch MMA) def. Vince Norica (Suffer Fight Team) via sub (arm triangle), R1, 2:41.

Tuff-N-Uff returns to the Orleans Hotel & Casino on Friday, April 23rd.  Legends / 10th Planet expect to send fighters.  Check back here for details.

Legends MMA is sponsored by X-Pole, Melee Fight Gear, HPE, Inc., and Stripper 101.

Recent 10th Planet News

Posted in 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2010 by jaytan716

To say that 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu has started the year off with a bang would be an understatement. Only six weeks into the year and not only has Eddie Bravo’s network of schools competed and placed in several major tournaments, but they also saw the promotion of Bravo’s second black belt in the 10th Planet solar system – Sean Bollinger (Riverside). Denny Prokopos (San Francisco) became 10th Planet’s inaugural black belt in September last year.

Denny Prokopos & Sean Bollinger become 10th Planet’s first black belts ever

“We’ve got a lot of resistance going on from the traditional community, which is kinda crazy. I never meant it to start that way. I was trying to improve jiu jitsu for jiu jitsu. . . Having Denny represent, that’s where we need to be right now,” reflected Bravo in a video interview after the promotion.

For Prokopos, receiving his black belt “was like graduating college, with a Ph.D., and to be the valedictorian of my class. And I’m also graduating from one of the finest jiu jitsu universities in the word.”

That 10th Planet degree was put to the test six weeks later, as Prokopos competed in the World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championships in November, taking third place in his Black Belt Adult division against jiu jitsu masters such as Rodrigo Ranieri and Baret Yoshida.

“Right off the bat, I proved that I’m a world-class black belt. . . It’s one thing to know about the style. It’s another thing to be able to use it and apply it at the highest levels.”

Of his mentor, Prokopos said “it’s one thing to have a jiu Jitsu coach, it’s another thing to have a jiu jitsu coach, somebody that you love, somebody that you respect so much as a person.”

On the heels of Prokopos, Sean Bollinger was also recognized for his skills and expertise with his black belt in late January. The young head instructor of 10th Planet Riverside was apparently caught off guard with the promotion, saying “Eddie was all like ‘you need to win first place in a big tournament’ . . . I was thinking I’d have to go do a NAGA or Grapplers’ Quest. Go get a gold real quick and then I’d get my black belt. So when he came out and gave me [my belt], it was definitely a surprise. But I think I’ve put in the work. I do feel good about it.”

Both Prokopos and Bollinger face new responsibilities as the sole 10th Planet black belts, not just for that level of recognition, but also as they spearhead their own school branches. With Bollinger’s school taking the 10th Planet reach into the Southern California Inland Empire, Prokopos’ San Francisco dojo has stood for the past two years amidst other noted grappling schools like Cesar Gracie and Jake Shields’ respective Gracie Fighter academies, as well as MMA gyms such as Fairtex and American Kickboxing Academy (AKA).

Additionally, Bollinger is training for an MMA fight against second-generation star Ryan Couture, scheduled for March 26th at Tuff-N-Uff Amateur Fighting Championships in Las Vegas. Bollinger is currently 2-0 in amateur MMA competition.

“It’s a win-win situation for me. That’s how I look at it. I just feel blessed with the opportunity. . . Because I think I could build a good name in that whole organization. Especially after this fight, when people know what’s up.”

Additionally, a group of students from Headquarters and Burbank were also recently promoted, including new blue belts Will Allen, Mel Blanco, Alex Branom, Steve Cox, Matt Dempsey, Scott Elkin, Karen Ferguson, Michel Francoeur, Juli Fung, Tommy Gavin, Carlos Hernandez, Matt Horwich, Alan Jouban, Howard Lee, Richard Mattke, Kyle McGough, Anthony Nealy, Rachel Tan, and Wade Thomas.

Congratulations to all the recent 10th Planet promotions for the deserved recognition of their hard work and spirit.

10th Planet at Gracie Nationals

One of the bigger annual jiu jitsu tournaments, the Gracie US Nationals, took place as part of the Los Angeles Fitness Expo in Los Angeles in January. Among the placers were silver medalists Juli Fung (Burbank / Headquarters; Female Beginners 135 lbs.), Miguel Orozco (Burbank; Male Beginners 135 lbs.), and John Bottello (10th Planet Arizona head instructor; Male Advanced 145 lbs.).

“I feel fantastic. I learned so much, I can’t wait to do the next one,” said Fung after her win.

Amir Allam (Burbank / Headquarters) had a particularly busy day, not only claiming gold status in the Men’s Advanced 206 lbs. division, but also treating fans to an impromptu special exhibition match against MMA fighter Josh Barnett, who showed up only to discover that there were no other opponents in Barnett’s division. Faced with clocking out early for the day, Barnett asked Allam to roll in an exhibition match, to which the purple belt agreed. The scrap itself was competitive between opponents until Barnett caught Allam with a leglock.

Especially worthy of note was the Davila family’s accomplishments, as young Victor Jr. and his uncle Jose (both Burbank) claimed gold in their respective divisions.

Headquarters’ purple belts Ralf Warneking, Ian Quinto, and Dave Callaham also competed at this tournament, as did a large contingent from 10th Planet Phoenix, which included (beside Botello) Annie Jamarillo (Phoenix), Joe Montoya, and Ruben Garcia.

“It was great competing alongside people from Headquarters and Burbank. After the tournament, we celebrated my birthday. Eddie’s show the night before was great too. Just a fun time all around,” said Botello.

“I thought it was great that Arizona came all the way out to compete and trained with us all the week before,” noted Fung in the days after the event.

Scottie Epstein coaching Team Liddell for TUF 11

As reported previously on the Legends MMA blog, brown belt Scottie “Einstein” Epstein (Headquarters) will be featured as Chuck Liddell’s jiu jitsu coach for the 11th season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which is anticipated to debut on Spike TV in April.

Regarding the show itself, Epstein is bound to confidentiality, but when asked if he was enjoying the experience, the enthusiasm was obvious: “it’s been a great experience. . . I was led to believe it was the worst thing ever. I’m like ‘what are you, kidding me?’ I get paid to train motherfuckers. I’m a roommate with Chuck Liddell. All our food is covered. Anywhere we want to go; just one phone call and we’re red carpeted. I wish my whole life could be like this.”

Epstein also spoke positively about the fighters themselves, noting “all the guys that I teach really want to learn. They pull me to the side and ask me how to do something. They’re very open-minded.”

Filming is scheduled to end in early March, at which point Epstein and Liddell will focus on preparing for a second rematch against Tito Ortiz, scheduled for UFC 115 in June.

10th Planet at Grappling X No-Gi Tournament

Finally, you could say that this year, February 14th was for lovers and fighters, as the Grappling X No-Gi tournament took place that day in Long Beach, CA. Of the several different 10th Planet schools representing at the tournament, Burbank in particular shined brightly, with gold medals for Kim Ferguson (Women’s Advanced 130 lbs.) and Richard Mattke (Men’s Beginner 180 lbs.), silver for Ronnie Castro (Men’s Novice Absolute Division) and Aren Asefi (Men’s Novice 145 lbs), and bronze for Miguel Orozco (Men’s Novice 135 lbs.), Rachel Tan (Women’s Beginner 115 lbs.), and Michael Pack.

This being his freshman tournament, Castro particularly impressed his teammates. Purple belt Dustin Shaw (Headquarters) noted “entering the absolute division is a big step for anybody, especially if it’s their first tournament. And he was doing really well against all these guys that are just as big as him and competing for years. So I think he’s going to be a really good competitor, very quickly.”

Headquarters member Erik “Compella” Cruz also noted Orozco’s steady and rapid development, noting “he put his opponent to sleep. That kid’s gonna be a force to be reckoned with. He’s already really smooth.”

Not to be overlooked, Burbank’s Michael Fausto battled through five bouts in a stacked division to a laud-worthy fourth place finish, finishing most of his opponents with triangle chokes.

Headquarters earned their fair share of battle bling as well, as Steve Cox (Intermediate 145 lbs) and Drew Springer took gold. Dawna Gonzales (Women’s Beginner 130 lbs.) and Conor “The Hurricane” Heun (Men’s Advanced 175 lbs.) placed silver in their respective divisions. Dustin Shaw claimed bronze in his Advanced Men’s 145 lbs. division.

Of his own debut in the Men’s Advanced 175 lb. bracket, Compella said “at first, I was nervous going in, but once I got through it, I was like ‘I can do this again.’ I really thought – one or two changes here or there, I can easily win. I don’t see it too far in the reach.”

Also competing were Headquarters members Scott Palmer, Sanni Wehbe, Jr., and Jason Eisner.

“I think everybody did really well. It was amazing to watch Conor roll his first competition back after knee surgery. . . Compella put on a rubber guard clinic. . . Loved watching the other advanced guys – Justin, and Jason Eisner. . . It was beautiful to watch, and it was exciting to watch all the beginner people just go for it. There was not one person on a 10th Planet team that I watched that I was not just absolutely thrilled and proud of, because everybody pulled off something that we worked on every day. And you can’t ask for more than that, and us being an incredibly supportive team, cheering each other on,” said Gonzales.

“There was a time I can remember where 10th Planet would have four or five people in a tournament, and that was a pretty good turnout. . . and [people were] constantly saying that we never competed, and all this stuff that we did never really works and whatever. Now we’ve got all these up and coming people coming in there and winning their divisions. First and second place all over the place,” reflected Shaw.

Other 10th Planet / Pro MMA Fighter Notes

Congratulations to traditional black belt / 10th Planet member George Sotiropolous for his dominant victory over Joe “Daddy” Stevenson in his homeland of Australia at UFC 110. Sotiropolous employed every bit of his 10th Planet repertoire, on top and from bottom, to threaten and thwart Stevenson, himself a black belt under Robert Drysdale. The native Aussie walked away with a 30-27 unanimous decision.

And speaking of 10th Planet students in the UFC, kudos, props, and best wishes go out to Burbank’s Alder Hampel and Dan Hardy (Headquarters), as they prepare for Hardy’s March 27th challenge for George St-Pierre’s UFC welterweight title.

Check back here for more 10th Planet news.

McGray wins in decisive black and white fashion at ‘Tuff Girls’

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2009 by jaytan716
Kate McGray won her MMA debut by unanimous decision.

Kate McGray won her MMA debut by unanimous decision.

Legends MMA / Roxyfit’s Kate McGray’s first foray into mixed martial arts was a success, as she defeated Gabriella Lakoczky (Xtreme Couture) on Friday, July 10th, at Tuff-N-Uff’s latest amateur MMA event, “Tuff Girls.”

“She stuck to the game plan, and every time, after the first round, she put [her combinations] together better . . . She listened to her corner. She executed it, and I’m very, very proud of her. Especially for her first MMA fight. Very proud of her,” commented trainer Jimmie Romero.

Prior to this, McGray spent the past three years in the world of Muay Thai, having first trained in 2006 and going 1-1 in North American amateur competition in that time. In 2008, she also attended a six-week training camp in Thailand, going on to win a full rules five-round match against a local fighter.

“I felt good coming out of it. I was happy . . . This one’s big. The one in Thailand was big. This one was big,” McGray said about her win.

With an estimated attendance of approximately 3,000 fans, the event was the second Tuff-N-Uff held in the larger Orleans Arena.

Lakoczky proved to be the aggressor early in the first round, pushing McGray backwards with jabs and front kicks. Trying to measure up her opponent, McGray backstepped and threw two-punch combos and several low kicks. McGray grabbed Lakoczky in a Muay Thai clinch and landed several knees, to which Lakoczky replied with body shots. Breaking apart, McGray found her stride, chasing after Lakoczky with single jabs and combinations for the rest of the round.

“When I got her in the clinch and I got some knee strikes and saw that she was winded, it really helped with my confidence. . . We broke the clinch . . . and she took a couple steps where she was slumped and tired. I was like ‘Awesome! That did exactly what it was supposed to do,’” McGray reflected.

McGray's jab proved to be key in maintaining ring generalship.

McGray's jab proved to be key in maintaining ring generalship.

The stand-up trade would prove to be the theme of the rest of the fight, as McGray pushed the action with boxing combinations, while Lakoczky circled, looking for an opening that wasn’t appearing. Lakoczky came close to finishing, tripping McGray to the ground off a body kick and then sinking in a guillotine choke from the top. McGray kept her composure, however, eventually pushing Lakoczky away and escaping to her feet.

McGray remembered “I knew [getting to the ground] could happen, and I was ready for it, but once I got down there, it was just kinda like ‘oh wait, this is part of the fight too?’ I knew what I need to do, but then, actually doing it in the fight situation is different than training it and drilling it in practice. . .I was nervous at first, because her arm was pretty close to my neck, but she wasn’t really getting it in there all the way. I felt like if I just kept my chin tucked and worked out of it, then I wasn’t in too much danger.”

Romero noted “that’s what we worked at. [Assistant wrestling coach and Legends MMA fighter] Keenan Lewis worked with her on her wrestling. That was the whole plan. When you see that space, get out. Take it back up. And she did that.”

The Terminator chase continued into the third frame, as McGray hunted after Lakoczky with boxing combinations. Lakoczky tried to retaliate with body kicks. At one point, McGray had Lakoczky’s right arm trapped and briefly came close to securing a standing guillotine. Lakoczky landed an uppercut, while McGray returned the favor with low kicks.

In the end, all three judges award the match to Kate McGray.

McGray (left), celebrating with Victor Henry, Lauren Schuchman, and Jimmie Romero

McGray (left), celebrating with Victor Henry, Lauren Schuchman, and Jimmie Romero

Of her own performance, McGray was very satisfied, commenting “I feel like I executed more. And I’ve never executed before. And that was really exciting. Especially with all the new things coming into play. With the little MMA gloves, the fans, and all that. So it’s just really exciting.”

The night marked another impressive milestone, as “Tuff Girls” became the first-ever all-women MMA show to be held in Las Vegas. The results of the other matches were as follows:

135 lbs. – Tamara Riley (Team Asylum) defeated Michelle Velebit (Team Girls) by unanimous decision.

145 lbs. – Autumn Richardson (Team Quest) defeated Holly Dixon (Freestyle MMA) by TKO at 0:44 of round three.

170 lbs. – Latoya Walker (Team XFC) and Brooke Guidry (Xtreme Couture) fought to a no contest after the doctor stopped the match after round one, due to a cut over Walker’s eye.

135 lbs. – Paige Zio (Gracie Fighter) defeated Kiley Martin (Team Girls) by TKO in round two after Martin’s team chooses not to continue due to a bloody nose.

140 lbs. – Stephanie Webber (Victory Athletics) defeated Robin Hartman (Team Pedro Sauer) by submission (armbar) at 0:35 of round two.

135 lbs. – Amanda Lavoy (American Karate & Kickboxing Academy) defeated Maeisha Lowe (Morse Jiu-Jitsu) by split decision.

155 lbs. – Amanda Wilcoxen (Morgan’s MMA) defeated Courtney Stowe (10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu) by unanimous decision.

125 lbs. – Ivana Coleman (Gladiator Academy) defeated Lauren Feldman (FFADC) by split decision. Many spoke of Coleman vs. Feldman as Match of the Night.

145 lbs. – In the main event, Moa Palmer (Team Oyama) defeated Patricia Vandermeer (Buckley MMA) by TKO at 1:42 of round one. McGray was sponsored by Toe 2 Toe, RevGear, and RoxyFit.

Legends returns to Sin City next month with six fighters scheduled for matches – Chris Brady, Victor Henry, Eddie Jackson, Alan Jouban (making his Tuff-N-Uff debut), Takashi Munoz, and Christian Palencia. This show takes place on August 22nd at the Orleans. Tickets go on sale soon via TuffNUff.net and the Coast Casinos website.