Archive for Bill Cooper

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

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

By Jay Tan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that night:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

 

No Excuses: Legends has Tuff Night in Vegas

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2009 by jaytan716

Legends MMA’s 11-fight win streak at Tuff-N-Uff amateur MMA fights came to a halt last night, as Chris Brady, Christian Palencia, and Eddie Jackson faced defeat in their championship title matches.  Lightweight Palencia and welterweight Jackson had fought their way to the finals of an eight-man tournament in their respective weight classes, while Brady was scheduled to challenge Jamie Hernandez (West Coast MMA) for the Tuff-N-Uff bantamweight title.

“Obviously, it’s a tough pill to swallow, but to be totally honest, with such young guys fighting so many times this year, and all the success that they had, and then having to turn around three and a half weeks from their last fight. . . at some point, something’s gonna give,” commented Legends’ head trainer Chris Reilly.

Ironically enough, both Brady and Jackson faced last-minute replacements in their championship matches, as their original opponents, including reigning bantamweight champion Hernandez, bowed out due to injury.  Jimmy Jacobs (Xtreme Couture) stepped in to fight Brady for what was redubbed the Tuff-N-Uff Bantamweight Interim Championship.  The two had met previously in October 2008, when Brady defeated Jacobs by decision.

Jackson’s new opponent also turned out to be an Xtreme Couture fighter, as Kenny Marzolla was brought in to take the spot of Bill Cooper (Paragon MMA), the other welterweight tournament finalist. Cooper had defeated Marzolla by first round submission at the previous Tuff-N-Uff to determine Jackson’s opponent in the tournament finals.

Addressing the change in opponents, Reilly said “the fact that they were last minute replacements I actually find to have been a big advantage [for those fighters].  They probably got the appropriate amount of rest that they needed.  They didn’t have the month to stress out about being in their first title fights.  I know that the times that I got a last-minute call to do a fight, if I was in shape. . . whether I’d been in the gym or not, I went in there and fought really, really well – due to that lack of stress, the lack of being nervous and thinking about it the whole time.”

In that these were championship matches, each bout’s duration was changed to three three-minute rounds, as opposed to three two-minute rounds.

Chris Brady applies a tight rubber guard on Jimmy Jones.

Chris Brady applies a tight rubber guard on Jimmy Jones.

135 lbs. – Chris Brady (Legends MMA) vs. Jimmy Jones (Xtreme Couture)

Round one opened up with Jones charging and trying to trip Brady to the ground.  They did go to the ground on Jones’ second attempt, with Jones working for an armbar, but Brady pulled out.  It’s believed that Brady injured his shoulder at this point in the match.  Jones landed a few up kicks before they took to standing again.  Brady stayed light, keeping out of Jones’ range and countering jabs with kicks and combos.  Jones caught a kick, but couldn’t capitalize for a takedown.  Toward the end, Jacobs caught another kick and charged to throw Brady off balance, pushing him through the ropes.  In round two, they traded kicks, as Jacobs landed a back kick and Brady replied with hard rights to the body and legs.  Jacobs missed a superman punch and caught another kick, but to no avail, as Brady continued the stick-and-move strategy.  Jacobs did eventually land a trip takedown, but pulled out when Brady worked his rubber guard.  Standing, Jacobs charged with punches, pulling guard and tripping Brady to the ground.  Jones clinched in a triangle choke and forced the tapout at 2:09 of the second round.  This victory makes Jimmy Jones the new Tuff-N-Uff Interim Bantamweight champion.

After the fight, Reilly suggested that Brady’s shoulder made all the difference in the fight, saying “I think there is no way Brady would have lost, had he not gotten injured. . . that shoulder separation made it impossible for him to get out of that triangle, once [Jones] got the bad arm.”

As of this writing, the severity of Brady’s shoulder injury has yet to be determined, but the Tennessee native was quick to reset his resolve for redemption, stating “the tough losses and hard times just make my resolve to be a champion that much more real and concrete.  I’m a warrior.  This is who I am.  I won’t stop till I have my revenge and that belt around my waist.”

Christian Palencia, cornered by Chris Reilly, Jimmie Romero, and Conor "The Hurricane" Heun.

Christian Palencia, cornered by Chris Reilly, Jimmie Romero, and Conor "The Hurricane" Heun.

155 lbs. – Christian Palencia (Legends MMA) vs. Odis Ruiz (Filipino MMA)

Palencia sparked the fuse with several combinations, one of which almost dropped Ruiz.  After a brief clinch and jockeying for position, the two traded high kicks.  In the clinch, Ruiz landed a pair of right body shots that left a noticeable red welt for the rest of the weekend.  Palencia caught a right kick and tried to capitalize by throwing overhand rights, but had to let go as Ruiz kept his balanced and peppered him with headshots.  Palencia let his hands go with combos to the head as the round ended.  Round two saw Ruiz tag Palencia with some combos and trip him in the corner.  Palencia was crowded up under the ropes, so Ruiz threw body shots until the referee finally stopped the action and restarted them in the center.  Palencia opened up with headshots down the pipe, evading a Ruiz-sponsored head kick.  Just on the eve of the bell, Palencia knocked Ruiz down and sunk in a triangle choke on the ground, but missed the tapout by mere seconds.  In round three, Palencia fired jabs which Ruiz countered with kicks, both trading center ring position during the exchange.  Palencia had Ruiz in trouble standing, firing nonstop combos and landing an especially rocking uppercut, but Ruiz was able to survive and stay on his feet, moving his head and retaliating with combos and front kicks.  At the 10-second mark, Palencia opened up and let his hands fly, but was knocked down with a backhand right.  Ruiz fell into Palencia’s guard just as the bell rang, and the two hugged with mutual respect.

Judges awarded Odis Ruiz the unanimous decision, making him the new Tuff-N-Uff 155 lb. champion.  Palencia vs. Ruiz also won Best Match honors for the night.

After seeing the video of the fight, Palencia admitted that he possibly followed Ruiz’ lead too much, noting “I already knew he was a tough guy but he was definitely tougher than I expected. . . I think that I didn’t fight aggressive enough.  I did the same mistake that I did before, where I kinda wanted to just try and fight whatever he would throw at me, instead of coming in with a game plan.”

Reilly, however, had praise for the aspiring lightweight, saying “I can’t be unhappy with how that fight went.  I actually thought that Christian did more damage.  We sat through the rules meeting right before where they said that damage was going to be scored #1. . . Christian’s bloody nose may have shown more from far away.”

Echoing Reilly’s thoughts, teammate Eddie Jackson spoke to the cardio game in this match: “Christian, man, I think he got robbed. . . And he pushed Odis, as far as cardio and condition-wise.  And [Ruiz is] fuckin’ climbing mountains, swimming – I mean doing all kinds of Mr. Olympian workouts and shit. . . I’ve never seen [Ruiz] struggle the way he did.”

170 lbs. – Eddie Jackson (Legends MMA) vs. Kenny Marzolla (Xtreme Couture)

Jackson came in riding high off his previous Tuff-N-Uff victory, a first-round KO that was featured recently on HD-Net’s Inside MMA.

At the onset, Marzolla landed a high kick that Jackson took square on the neck.  In doing so, Marzolla slipped, and Jackson fell with him, landing in Marzolla’s guard.  But Marzolla swept Jackson and got full mount, with both of Jackson’s arms trapped beneath.  After three unanswered rights, the referee stopped the match, making Marzolla the new Tuff-N-Uff Welterweight champion.

Thankfully, Jackson was able to leave the ring of his own accord, and was clear and coherent backstage, nursing little more over the weekend than bruised pride.  “I ain’t gonna lie; I have a lot of anger built up.  Its part of this sport, you gotta control that shit.  It’s just part of growing up and becoming a fighter.”

Overall for the night, Xtreme Couture came away with a 6-1 record, while Filipino MMA went 2-1.  Attendance was announced as approximately 1,500, and light heavyweight Patrick Begin (Xtreme Couture) deserved Song of the Night honors for walking out to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy.”

In reflection on the night, Reilly concluded “this is a sport for men.  You can’t be a little bitch about it.  And that’s the reality – You get the glory with the win, you gotta suffer the indignity of the loss, and whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger . . . but in the end, it’s going to make them all better fighters.  It’s an experience for them.  It’s almost like keeping that title out there is going to give them that much more motivation to keep going and keep trying hard.  There’s a silver lining in every cloud.”

On May 30th, Tuff-N-Uff will hold their first open-invitational event, scheduled for the Orleans Arena; and in July, the promotion will present an all-female MMA event which may include Legends MMA fighters.  Prior to that, Legends fighters are scheduled for Muay Thai action on May 30th in Costa Mesa, CA and at Hollywood Park Casino on June 13th.