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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.

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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.