Archive for Eddie Jackson

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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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.

 

 

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.

Tommy Gavin Represents at Tuff-N-Uff

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2010 by jaytan716

By Jay Tan

Photos courtesy of Ray Kasprowicz / Ultravista.com

It wasn’t the 2010 kickoff that he wanted, but Legends’ resident lightweight Tommy Gavin fought the good fight this past weekend, facing Jake Swinney (Xtreme Couture) at “Fight Night III,” presented by MTX Audio and Tuff-N-Uff, at the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  Swinney caught Gavin in an armbar at 1:31 of the first round, winning (as listed) by TKO.

Gavin, always a man of few words, simply said “I’m disappointed.  I made a mistake.  Can’t wait to get back out there, fight again, and redeem myself.”

According to his teammates and cornermen, Gavin started things off early, connecting with a right cross and scoring the takedown.  However, Swinney was able to catch Gavin’s arm and transition to an armbar.  After trying to wrest out of the predicament, Gavin was forced to tap before any real damage was done.

“I was too worried about rushing and finishing the fight. I left my arm out when I was trying to brace off him.  He took it.  I made a mistake and he capitalized and took the armbar.  I had to tap,” he lamented.

“He was looking good, ‘til he got caught.  He fought it for awhile, like 15 seconds,” said teammate Eddie Jackson.

In classic “no excuses” form, Gavin was back to the drawing board on Monday, training for the next call to fight.  “Everyone rebounds from a loss.  That’s it.  Just – no excuses.  Next time, just go out and take care of business.”

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that night:

155 lbs. – John Hahn (Xtreme Couture) defeated Jovon Lorenzo (Freestyle) via TKO, R1, 1:28 sec.

170 lbs. – Dustin Chevalier (Striking Unlimited) defeated Jesse Bowler (Filipino MMA) via KO, R1, 0:16 sec.

145 lbs. – Shane Larsen (Culture of Intensity) defeated Eric Center (Xtreme Couture) via split decision.

170 lbs. – Charles Lee (Xtreme Couture) defeated Paul Garcia (MTX) via TKO, R1, 0:58 sec.

135lbs. – Jesse Romero (Xtreme Couture) defeated Colton Bowler (Filipino MMA) via unanimous decision.

185 lbs. – Tim Bowman (Striking Unlimited) defeated Brandon Donnelly (Warrior Training Center) via TKO, R1, 0:32 sec.

145 lbs. – Roman Isbell (Striking Unlimited) defeated Scott Kelsey (Xtreme Couture) via unanimous decision.

125 lbs. – Junior Gomez (Hawaiian Fighting Arts) defeated Richard Junio (Striking Unlimited) via TKO (armbar), R1, 1:35 sec.

155 lbs. – Gil Guardado (Xtreme Couture) defeated Jon Gorton (Team Quest) via unanimous decision.

145 lbs. – Alex Brooks (Hawaiian Fighting Arts) defeated Justin Vadnais (Vadnais Fight Team) via TKO, R3, 0:44 sec.

135 Lbs. Tuff-N-Uff Title Defense – Jimmy Jones (Xtreme Couture) defeated Maurice Senters (Striking Unlimited) via TKO, R1, 2:43 sec.

150 lbs. – Larry Mir (Vadnais Fight Team) defeated Anastacio Cruz (Team Aftershock) via TKO, R1, 0:35 sec.

155 lbs. – Ryan Couture (Xtreme Couture) defeated Joe Tussing (Team Hollywood FC) via TKO (rear naked choke), R1, 1:07 sec.

Tuff-N-Uff returns to their residence, the Orleans Hotel & Casino, on February 26th.  Legends anticipates sending several fighters, including Gavin, to that event.  Ticket and hotel reservation details will be posted shortly here and at www.TuffNUff.net and www.OrleansCasino.com.

Tommy Gavin was sponsored for this fight by X-Pole and Proformance Sports Training.

Legends Finishes the Year with Blood and Sweat, but No Tears

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2009 by jaytan716

The final Tuff-N-Uff of 2009 took place on November 27th, at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.Legends MMA wrapped up their competitive team schedule over the weekend, sending up three fighters – Eddie Jackson, Chris Brady, and newcomer Tommy Gavin – to fight at the final Tuff-N-Uff amateur MMA event of the year.  Gavin and Jackson both emerged victorious with crowd-pleasing first-round finishes, while Brady battled over three three-minute rounds to the short end of a close and debatable unanimous decision.

In the days after the fight, head trainer Chris Reilly commented “obviously, I’m really proud of the guys.  Everybody fought their hearts out, and they always do.”

“Obviously, Tommy was as technically perfect as somebody can be, for their debut, on a big show like that. . . Eddie Jackson is Eddie Jackson.  We always know he comes to fight.  But I thought he looked [calmer] and [more] composed this fight than he has in the past, which is where we’re trying to go with him. . . Brady had a great fight.  He was in there banging the whole time.  Certainly not a performance that he should have any shame about.”

Lightweight Tommy Gavin won his debut Tuff-N-Uff match in under a minute by submission.

155 lbs. – Tommy Gavin vs. Rob Isenor (Striking Unlimited)

Gavin, the younger brother of pro fighter Steve Gavin, is one of the two recent additions to the Legends MMA amateur team.  He was originally scheduled to face Alex Brooks of Hawaiian Fighting Arts, but Brooks was forced to pull out at the last minute due to injury.

In a match that was almost too short to report, after a very brief feeling out period, Gavin shot in for a takedown, took full mount, and slapped on an arm triangle.  Isenor was asleep before the referee was able to stop the match at 0:46 seconds of the first round.

“I remember he was throwing fast kicks.  I took him down and I transitioned right into the arm triangle,” said Gavin, whose thoughts on the match were as brief as the match itself.

Apparently, Gavin channeled the spirit of Babe Ruth and his famous “called shot,” as the young lightweight decided backstage exactly how he’d finish the match.  According to Reilly, “right before he actually went to fight, he goes ‘I’m gonna take this guy down quick, and choke him out.’  I was like ‘well, that’s the game plan.’ And he did it.”

Eddie Jackson tagged Jesse Bowler early in the first round with this right.

170 lbs. – Eddie Jackson (Legends MMA) vs. Jesse Bowler (Filipino MMA)

Jackson, known for his heavy hands and don’t-blink TKO finishes, faced one of his toughest challenges in Bowler, who was riding back-to-back submission wins.

After an awkward front kick from Bowler, Jackson charged in and clinched up in the corner.  Bowler was able to tie up with double underhooks, but Jackson countered with Muay Thai knees and right punches to break them apart.  He chased after Bowler to the other side of the ring and dropped him to his butt with a right hook that many thought would end the match.  But Bowler was able to recover, clinching up against the ropes.  Bowler tried grounding Jackson with a side headlock takedown, but Jackson slipped out from behind, following up shortly thereafter with a left hook that proved to be the beginning to the end.  Jackson complemented the shot with ground and pound until the referee stopped the match.

Fully aware that Bowler’s headlock takedown / neck crank was his signature submission, Jackson worked extensively with teammate Bryan Brown, a 13-year wrestling veteran, to avoid the scenario.  When he found himself in Bowler’s clutch, Jackson said “I panicked a little bit, because that’s how he caught everybody, with that same fuckin’ headlock. . . I knew what to do, and I did exactly what I had to do.  I snuck out the back door.”

Post-fight, Brown was beaming, saying “I was so proud.  It went exactly like we thought it would.  He did everything that he said he was going to do, and it just worked out perfectly . . . His takedown defense was much improved since the last time I saw him fight. . . And I just knew Eddie’s striking was on a whole other level.”

135 lbs. – Chris Brady (Legends MMA) vs. Gor Mnatsakanyan (Filipino MMA)

Brady’s prior two outings, both with Xtreme Couture’s Jimmy Jones, ended in misfortune and controversy.  During that same time, Mnatsakanyan notched up a pair of unanimous decision wins, each time surprising fans and commentators who debated the verdicts.  With those ingredients, this match was sure to provide a fresh and engaging challenge for each combatant.

Chris Brady and Gor Mnatsakanyan traded leather on the feet for most of a 3 x 3 round war of attrition.

After a brief trade in the first round, Mnatsakanyan set the pace by circling the perimeter of the ring, stick-and-moving with high-kick and side-kick combinations, while Brady stalked him from the center.  Brady tagged Mnatsakanyan with an overhand right before getting taken down.  However, Brady held his knees up to prevent Mnatsakanyan from fully passing guard.  Mnatsakanyan later knocked Brady down with a three-punch combo, punctuated with a high left kick, just before the end of the round.  The second round saw more circling and stalking, respectively, and another trip takedown with Mnatsakanyan on top.  Brady reversed and dropped punches briefly, but then let up.  Brady stayed competitive, landing counterstrike combinations.  He went into overdrive in round three, throwing a flying knee and employing a Thai clinch at separate times.  Both men exchanged spinning backhands at one point.  Brady scored a takedown, but let Mnatsakanyan, who by then was visibly winded, up to his feet.  They were against the ropes exchanging body shots as the final round ended.

Judges award the match to Gor Mnatsakanyan by unanimous decision off scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.

“It always sucks to lose,” said Brady matter-of-factly.  “I was trying to stay tight with my defense, because I knew he was gonna be throwing some crazy shit like that.  Put pressure on him, and try to outwork him there.  I don’t know.  I felt like I was landing hard punches.  I didn’t kick nearly as much in this fight.  I think I probably should have kicked a little more,” said Brady in retrospect.

Of his protégé’s performance, Reilly said “I think he just let himself get slightly outworked by a guy that was throwing a lot of stuff.  Nothing was really all that accurate.  [Mnatsakanyan] didn’t really hit him that hard. . . It was hard, coming off the disappointment in the last fight [in August, against Jones] . . . I think that’s why he probably has a hard time getting fully back up for this fight.  So obviously I’d like to see a rematch there.  I think that’s a fight Brady wins more often than he loses it.  I know he’s probably disappointed, but it was probably a good learning experience for him.”

Nevertheless, Reilly is confident that his young star will bounce back: “Brady’s a veteran at this point.  He’s got over 13 Muay Thai fights and nine MMA fights, so he’s seen both sides of wins and losses in fights.  And he’s in it for life.  This is his career.  It’s always tough to take a loss.  If it’s not, you’re not in the right sport.”

Although there was no vocal debate over the decision, several people believed Brady won the fight.  Teammate Brown noted “I seriously thought that even though the dude was throwing flashy shit, I thought it looked better than it was in it’s effectiveness.  I thought that all of Brady’s countershots and his really clean striking did more damage.  And so, even though the guy might have outstruck him in the first round, I actually really thought Brady won the second and the third round.”

Despite the decision, Brady’s spirits stayed high in the aftermath.  “It’s cool to go up there and fight and be around all the famous legends.  Last time. . . after fighting Jimmy Jones, Randy Couture said ‘great fight, kid.’ Gave me daps.  And this time, after that fight, Wanderlei Silva was in the crowd, was looking at me and he looked at me and he pointed at me and he put his hand over his chest, like ‘you got heart.’  And I was like ‘word!’ .  . . It’s confirmation that I’m not doing this for nothing.”

Two other fighters, Takashi Munoz and Christian Palencia, were also scheduled to compete, but injuries in the last two weeks of training sidelined them from getting in one last fight for the year.

“It was sad not to get a couple of the other guys on, because they were really well prepared too . . . both pretty heavy-duty injuries, especially a week before a fight. Not something that anybody could have fought through,” said Reilly.

But the team is optimistic for their prospects for 2010.  The October opening of Legends’ new location has brought about a hungry new squad of aspiring fighters, many of whom will likely debut next year.  Leading the pack are middleweights Bryan Brown and Ryan Lupkes, while teammates like Jacob Martel, Benjamin Sample, Lila Smadja, Bex Fouquet, and Dawna Gonzales look to represent Legends for the first time.  Likewise, Munoz, Palencia, and Strikeforce lightweight Conor “The Hurricane” Heun will set out to put injuries behind them and return to their winning ways.

“I think these guys are in great shape, and I think there’s been a huge added benefit to coming into this new facility.  We have a lot more space.  We have a lot more areas for guys to train.  It’s attracting a lot of the big-name pros back. . . So it’s a constant state of evolution, and all we can keep doing is keep working and keep trying to improve and keep trying to bring in fresh talent.  I think we’re all getting to where we’re trying to go,” commented Reilly.

Brady added, “everybody knows that if you’re fighting the guys from Legends, it’s gonna be a helluva fight.  I feel like the promoters and the people of Las Vegas, and the fighters themselves knows that Chris Brady, Eddie Jackson, Takashi Munoz, Chris Reilly, Conor Heun and those guys – we come and we fuckin’ bring it.  Every fuckin’ time.”

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that night:

Chris Alvanado (Striking Unlimited) defeated Colt “45” Bowler (Filipino MMA) by unanimous decision

Marcus Aven (Right Cross from PB Fight Center) defeated Eric Center (Xtreme Couture) by submission (armbar), round 1

Jordan Wright (Strike Sub Club) defeated Justin Rote (Freestyle) by submission (triangle choke), round 1

Joden Seiders (Throwdown) defeated Chris Holiday (Alliance MMA) by TKO (strikes), round 1

Tim Bowman (Striking Unlimited) defeated Dan McCoy (Fighting Dragons) by TKO (strikes), round 1

Edmond Xhelili (Warriors / Top Notch) defeated Brandon Sheard (Alliance MMA) by TKO (strikes), round 2

Evva Johnson (Sommerset Karate) defeated Kristen Mason (PKG) by submission (armbar), round 1

Victor Henry (Strike Sub Club) defeated Cory Jeffers (Xtreme Couture) by TKO (Jeffers was unable to answer the bell for round 3)

Joe Ray (Striking Unlimited) defeated P.J. Dombrowski (Xtreme Couture) by TKO (strikes), round 1

Cory Turner (IMMA) defeated Anthony Lee (Never Tired) by TKO, round 3

Latasha Marzolla (Xtreme Couture) defeated Kate McGray (Strike Sub Club) by unanimous decision

Tuff-N-Uff Amateur Fighting Championships returns to the Orleans Hotel & Casino on Saturday, January 8th, 2010.  Go to www.TuffNUff.net or www.OrleansCasino.com for details on buying tickets and reserving rooms, and check back here for details on Legends’ next fights.

No Losers in Brady-Jones III, 10th Planet Debuts at Tuff-N-Uff

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports, Tuff-N-Uff, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2009 by jaytan716

Rematches in amateur MMA are not the norm, and even rarer is the third rubber match.  But Legends MMA’s Chris Brady and Xtreme Couture’s Jimmy Jones seem to be destined to write history as one of Tuff-N-Uff’s more storied rivalries, as their most recent bout, on August 22nd, ended more in controversy than in decisive conclusion.

Chris Brady and Jimmie Jones met for the third time in August 2009.

Chris Brady and Jimmie Jones met for the third time in August 2009.

The latest chapter, which took place at Tuff-N-Uff’s home base, the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, was a rematch for the Tuff-N-Uff 135 lb. title, which Jones won via second-round submission in April.  The bout delivered more than its fair share of back-and-forth action before Brady, from the bottom position, threw an upkick that instantly knocked out Jones, who was positioned somewhere within Brady’s guard.

“The minute that I saw his hips go forward and I felt like his knees were off the ground, I threw a kick.  I felt like he was over me.  You can’t get over somebody with your knees on the ground. . . I didn’t feel like his knee was on the ground,” Brady recalled after the match.

“All I remember is being on top and being so tired. . . I could hear my coaches telling me ‘punch, punch. Body, head. Body, head.’  And the next thing I remember is waking up and doctors telling me I was knocked out,” said Jones in an interview several weeks after the fight.

However, as Brady, his cornermen, and the estimated crowd of 3,000 celebrated the apparent title change, within the ring, the controversy started to unfold.  Referee Jason Trevino was motioning for a time-out right after waving off the match.  Doctors were quick to administer oxygen to Jones, who was out cold, but then revived without complication.  As cornermen and Tuff-N-Uff officials entered the ring, Trevino explained that he was ruling the kick illegal, due to Jones’ knees touching the mat when the kick made contact, thus awarding the match to Jones by disqualification.

Nothing could have taken the wind out of Brady’s sails faster.  “After I got done, jumping on the ropes and everything, the referee came over to me and said his knee was down.  And I was like ‘fuck.  Great.  I was this close to winning this fight and I just fucked it up’ . . . The greatest feeling and then the worst feeling in the world,” he remembered.

Naturally, Legends MMA head trainer Chris Reilly was quick to raise issue with the call, explaining “during that time, there was discussion between myself, the promoters, and the ISKA officials as to whether or not the right call was being made.  The television technician cued it up; we watched it on replay several times.  Four or five guys there, you have it pretty much an even split on opinions. . . The camera angle wasn’t perfect.  Really you have to freeze frame and see right at the point of landing, are the knees up or are they down?”

The third match between Chris Brady and Jimmy Jones ended in controversy.

The third match between Chris Brady and Jimmy Jones ended in controversy.

“The referee has a job to do his best to call them as he sees them and to make the fair calls.  We don’t want illegal blows to go unpenalized. . . But my thing is this:  if you’re standing up to throw a punch, what causes you to drop back down to your knees immediately, other than the blow?  Which is why I was hesitant to accept the call.  In my opinion, it was a legitimate strike,” Reilly added.

“I know Chris is a good guy, and he’s a friend of mine now.  I know he didn’t want to win like that, and I didn’t want to win like that either.  Rather, he didn’t want to lose like that.  Chris came over. . . He was more upset about how hurt I was, rather than him losing the fight, which I thought was pretty cool on his part. I apologized to him also . . . that they wouldn’t let me finish the fight. . . Third fight in that little series there, for the belt, ends in disqualification.  I wasn’t too happy with that,” said Jones.

As if this wasn’t controversy enough, what happened next simultaneously threw even more confusion into the mix, as well as exemplified a high-water mark in MMA sportsmanship.

After ring announcer Jake Gutierrez explained the situation to the fans and declared Jones the winner by disqualification, Jones handed Brady the Tuff-N-Uff 135 lb. title belt.

“Actually, I’ve been getting a lot of credit for what I did, handing Chris the belt, but I don’t want to take full credit, because Barry was the one that put the idea in my head.  Because I had walked out with the belt that I won in the previous fight, but Barry had brought out a new belt for me,” explained Jones.  “The only thing about title fights is that one guy walks out with the belt and the other guy leaves with nothing, not even a metal. . . And after a hard-fought battle like that, I figured Chris deserved something to walk out with, so I decided to give him the belt.”

Later that night, Brady simply said “I didn’t expect him to do that.”

Looking back on the saga that Brady and Jones’ careers seem to be co-writing, the Legends fighter reflected: “Me and Jimmy fought three times, and in my opinion, he’s one of the toughest guys that I’ve fought. . . We respect each other, and he’s a class act. You can’t get in the ring with somebody and go toe-to-toe, and walk out of there not respecting the person.  There’s something wrong if you can’t do that.”

Where this leaves the Tuff-N-Uff 135 lb. title is still undecided.  As of this article, neither Tuff-N-Uff nor ISKA official Cory Schaffer, the sanctioning official who presided over the event, had yet to announce their review or a final ruling.  Nor have they confirmed whether Jones’ handing the belt to Brady constituted any kind of relinquishment or title change.  Both Brady and Jones have title belts in their possession.  If anything, the one conclusion that all parties seem to concur on is the likelihood of a fourth meeting between the two young fighters.

Chris Brady and Jimmy Jones (in the background) ask the fans if they want a fourth match.

Chris Brady and Jimmy Jones (in the background) ask the fans if they want a fourth match.

“It was kinda hard because I wanted that recognition to the crowd, and put a stamp on it.  And now it’s kinda in limbo.  It’s like ‘are we gonna fight again?’ . . . And that’s the reason why I said ‘let’s do it again.  Four.  Really, if that’s what y’all think, that I didn’t win that fight’ . . . and I feel like he’d do the same for me.  We’ll see where it goes from here.”

When asked about a potential fourth chapter, Jones enthusiastically said “man, I’ll fight Chris as many times as they’ll have me. . . We both know, when we come out to fight each other. . . we’re just trying to put on a show for the fans, as well as put on our best performances ourselves.”

“I think Brady has every right to consider himself the champion, regardless of how this goes down. . . It’s been a great legacy for Tuff-N-Uff, and for Legends vs. Xtreme Couture, which are all fun, cool, good stuff,” concluded Reilly.

The other notable story of the night was Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu sending up two fighters, Andrew Lunt (135 lbs.) and Sean Bollinger (155 lbs.), to compete.  This was only 10th Planet’s second trip to Tuff-N-Uff, as student Shigeki Matsuda had previously competed in Tuff-N-Uff’s Open Invitational in late May.

Welterweights Takashi Munoz and Eddie Jackson also returned to Tuff-N-Uff action, after several months off.  Munoz, whose last match was a first round KO victory in March, faced Dustin Chevalier of Striking Unlimited.  Jackson, who has been chomping at the bit to redeem himself from suffering a first round KO in April, came back in dominant fashion, claiming a TKO win over King Scott of the Marc Laimon’s renowned Cobra Kai Jiu-Jitsu.

135 lbs. – Andrew Lunt (10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu) vs. Maurice Senters (Striking Unlimited)

Andrew Lunt vs. Maurice Senders

Andrew Lunt vs. Maurice Senders

This was one of two opening rounds in a four-man elimination tournament to determine the next challenger for the disputed Tuff-N-Uff 135 lb. title.  Lunt, who goes to school in Florida and normally trains with American Top Team in Coconut Creek, FL, is a cousin of 10th Planet instructor Scottie “Einstein” Epstein, who was on hand to corner 10th Planet and Legends MMA fighters for the evening.  As such, Lunt committed to fight on Tuff-N-Uff when a spot opened up.

Lunt was impressive in the first round, circling patiently before throwing a Superman punch, followed by a hard left that dropped Senters fast.  Senters recovered and pushed Lunt to the ropes, but Lunt slapped on a guillotine choke and held it to the ground, keeping it even after a referee’s reposition.  Perhaps sensing the need to avenge the first round, Senters charged towards Lunt in the opening seconds of the second, but Lunt pushed the fight back to the center.  Senters caught Lunt’s leg off a kick and pushed him to the ground.  The fight was soon back on the feet, with Senters landing a knee before the end of the round.  Round three opened with a slugfest, as, clearly, both men wanted to secure a win.  Lunt came alive with flurries, but Senters pushed the striking, getting him to the ground.  Senters tried to finish by throwing rights from standing position before being stood up.  Lunt didn’t have much gas in the tank by this point, throwing a desperate overhand left and a spinning back kick that didn’t come close.

Judges awarded the match to Maurice Senters by unanimous decision.

After the match, Epstein commented “I think it would have went differently if the first round didn’t go so well [for Lunt].  Andrew dropped the kid in the first round, and then his confidence went up.  And so did everyone else’s.  You’re like ‘fuck that.  Knock this dude out.  You beat him standing’. . . But anyone else might have made the same mistake too.  You hit a guy and he drops, you’re like ‘sweet.  Alright, I’ll beat this guy at his own game.’

155 lbs. – Sean Bollinger (10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu) vs. Azamat Umarzoda (Throwdown Elite Training Center)

10th Planet's Sean Bollinger sets up  for an armbar.

10th Planet's Sean Bollinger sets up for an armbar.

This was one of two opening rounds in a four-man elimination tournament to determine the next challenger for the Tuff-N-Uff 155 lb. title.  It was also Bollinger’s second MMA match.  Bollinger and Umarzoda clashed right away.  Bollinger either slipped or was knocked down, but Umarzoda let him back up.  Bollinger reignited on his feet with a right head kick.  Umarzoda landed a spinning back kick of his own, but it wasn’t enough to drop the Eddie Bravo protégé, who then stunned Umarzoda.  Bollinger followed his opponent to the ground, ground-and-pounding from full mount.  As soon as Umarzoda gave up his arm, Bollinger swiveled around for the armbar, until referee Jason Trevino stopped the match at 1:38 of the second round.

Bollinger was declared the winner by submission.

“Sean looked great. . . When Sean felt he was at a disadvantage, he went to what he had the best advantage with,” Epstein said flatly.

175 lbs. – Eddie Jackson (Legends MMA) vs. King Scott (Cobra Kai)

Eddie Jackson finishes King Scott

Eddie Jackson finished King Scott with a blistering TKO in the first round.

This was the second time that not only did Jackson come out to song by rapper DMX, but so did his opponent.  Go figure.  Scott and Jackson agreed to a 175 lb. catch weight two weeks before the fight.

Jackson made a point to use the opening moments of the match to feel out Scott’s pace, footwork, and combinations.  Scott swung fast, following up with a takedown attempt, but Jackson deftly stuffed the shot.  This didn’t stop Scott from pushing forward, almost forcing Jackson through the ropes and out of the ring.  In fact, Jackson did fall through, but prevented going further by sitting down on the outside ring apron.  After a referee’s warning for holding the ropes and a restart, Jackson held out, then attacked with a flurry.  A left uppercut dropped Scott to the ground, which was window enough for Jackson to pounce with follow up shots before the ref ended the match at 0:47 seconds off the first round.

Jackson was declared the winner by TKO.

“I’m not gonna lie – I was a little traumatized. . . It wasn’t like a comfortable feeling I was used to going in.  I remembered the last time I was here. . . And I had to just tell myself ‘you know what?  It was no big deal. Do what I do’. . . I think after he tried to take me down, that’s when everything snapped out.  I’m like ‘okay, you know what?  Now it’s my turn’,” recollected Jackson, who was anxious to shake off the last vestiges of his previous Tuff-N-Uff appearance.

170 lbs. – Takashi Munoz (Legends MMA) vs. Dustin Chevalier (Striking Unlimited)

Takashi Munoz made his return to Tuff-N-Uff action after a five-month hiatus.

Takashi Munoz made his return to Tuff-N-Uff action after a five-month hiatus.

Chevalier fired the opening salvos in the first round, but Munoz came back with a right that dropped him.  They both survive the initial onslaught and clinch against the ropes.  Chevalier spins Munoz around and gets Munoz to the ground, taking side mount.  Munoz shifts over and eventually escapes to his feet. Chevalier misses a high kick, but stuns Munoz with a body shot.  Munoz recovers, but takes knees to the body in Chevalier’s corner.  Round two opens with more fisticuffs until Chevalier slips.  Munoz doesn’t capitalize on the slip, giving Chevalier the chance to get back to his feet and shoot from afar, but Munoz steps aside like a matador.  Chevalier shoots again and clinches Munoz against the ropes, throwing knees.  Chevalier shoots again, but Munoz stuffs the shot, going into Chevalier’s closed guard.  After a stand-up, Munoz lands a right body kick, and the two trade combos to the round’s end.

The third round saw Munoz almost score a takedown and end up in top position off a clinch, but Munoz chose to keep it standing.  Munoz slipped off his own high kick, giving Chevalier the chance to get into Munoz’ half-guard.  Chevalier lands some lefts to the head before referee Jason Trevino ordered a stand-up.  Munoz came close to dropping Chevalier with a right, but didn’t go in for the kill.  Overhand right, left body kick combo by Munoz.  He attempted a judo throw, but got tangled in the ropes just before the bell rang.

Judges awarded Dustin Chevalier the win by unanimous decision.

Takashi Munoz vs. Dustin Chevalier

Takashi Munoz vs. Dustin Chevalier

Of the outcome of Munoz’ match, teammate Jackson was particularly outspoken, stating “it should not have been a unanimous decision.  Definitely not unanimous. I agree [Munoz] got taken down. . . . And there were times when he rocked the dude 3-4 times.  And I know you gotta give some kind of points or credit for that.”

“If you let it go to the judges’ scorecards, you have to accept the subjective nature of a fight. . . Takashi’s a big boy, and he’s a soldier.  And he’s also a young fighter who’s got a lot of growing to do, and he’ll have a lot of experience.  I think everybody knows he’s really, really talented,” added Reilly.

Tuff-N-Uff 135 Lbs. Title Match – Chris Brady (Legends MMA) vs. Jimmy Jones (Xtreme Couture)

The story of the first round was Brady circling about and striking from different angles while Jones kept the pressure on with his reach.  Jones pushed the action early, reaching for a takedown and later forcing Brady against the ropes off a high kick and two-punch combo.  Brady tried to slip in a guillotine before Jones broke away with uppercuts.  Brady knocked Jones down, but elected to keep the fight standing, throwing a high kick and flurries as he circled.  Jones worked to bridge the gap with kicks and an overhand right.  Towards the end, Jones took Brady down by catching his right foot and bouncing off the ropes to the ground, but stood up within guard, presumably to rain down punches, giving Brady just enough room to escape to his feet.  Jones tried to trip him back down, but Brady spun out and away to keep it standing.

Chris Brady low kicks Jimmy Jones

Chris Brady low kicks Jimmy Jones

The chase continued in round two, as Jones used jabbing combos and kicks to connect.  Brady again pushed Jones down off a kick, but referee Jason Trevino called for a stand up.  Jones caught Brady’s right leg and charged for the takedown, pushing Brady out of the ring.  After a restart in the middle, Brady fired a combo.  Jones got Brady to the ground again, and eventually took his back, but it wasn’t long before Brady escaped and brought it to standing again.  Brady tripped Jones with a low kick and quickly followed it up with another combo that resulted in Brady in Jones’ guard.  Jones worked for an armbar and triangle, but Brady escaped before the end of the round.

The third and final round opened with a heartfelt show of respect, quickly to fisticuffs.  Both men were careful to engage, although Jones forced a double-leg takedown.  Brady pushed him off and was able to escape.  Brady connected with an overhand right, while Jones continued to chase with low kicks, an overhand right, and a trip that dropped Brady briefly.  Standing, the two started trading combos with greater fury before Jones got another takedown.  But Brady kept a tight hold of Jones and largely prevented any assault from top position.  Jones continued to shift knees to fire punches.  Finally, in what no known video has been able to clearly depict, Brady hit an upkick on Jones, knocking him out completely.  At that point, referee Trevino stepped in to end the match.

Brady was disqualified for an illegal strike, resulting in Jimmy Jones as the declared winner and reigning Tuff-N-Uff 135 lb. champion.

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that night:

155 lbs. – Casey Miliken (Warrior) defeated Taylor Pausewang (Solidarity MMA) by TKO, in R3, 0:40 sec.

150 lbs. – Cameron Ramirez (Wand Fight Team) defeated Chris Yang (Valhalla ETC) by KO in R1, 1:53 sec.

145 lbs. – Roman Isbell (Striking Unlimited) defeated Chester Cullen (Cobra Kai) by split decision.

170 lbs. – Stephen Tobias (Team Quest) defeated Michael Martinez (independent) by TKO / referee stoppage due to cut after R1.

205 lbs. – Matt Painter (The Dojo) defeated Josh Bannister (independent) by TKO in R1, 0:44 sec.

135 lbs. – Jerry Shapiro (Cobra Kai) defeated Corey Jeffers (Xtreme Couture) by submission (armbar) in R2, 1:38 sec.

135 lbs. – Maurice Senters (Striking Unlimited) defeated Andrew Lunt (10th Planet / American Top Team) by unanimous decision.

Shapiro and Senters face each other in the next round of the 135 lb. tournament.

155 lbs. – Sean Bollinger (10th Planet) defeated Azamat Umarzoda (Throwdown Elite Training Center) by submission (armbar) in R1, 1:38 sec.

155 lbs. – Rob Anderson (Warrior) defeated Joe Tussing (Striking Unlimited) by unanimous decision.

Bollinger and Anderson face each other in the next round of the 155 lb. tournament.

155 lbs. – Gil Guardo (Xtreme Couture) defeated Linden Allen (Freestyle) by submission due to strikes in R1, 1:10 sec.

185 lbs. – Matt Polly (Xtreme Couture) defeated David Cexton (Nellis Air Force Base) by TKO / doctor’s stoppage after R2.

205 lbs. – Josh Peasly (Xtreme Couture) defeated Jason Walraven (Stevenson Cobra Kai) by split decision.

145 lbs. – Chris Holdsworth (Cobra Kai) defeated Justin Linn (Tapout R&D) by submission (triangle choke) in R1, 1:58 sec.

155 lbs. – Ryan Couture (Xtreme Couture) defeated Jimmy Spicuzza (Excel Defense / Team Mica) by submission (armbar) in R1, 1:22 sec.

Tuff-N-Uff returns to the Orleans Casino & Hotel on September 18th.  Matches for 10th Planet fighters will be announced shortly.  Legends MMA expects to next compete at Tuff-N-Uff on October 24th.

Legends MMA was sponsored by Black Van Industries.