Archive for Joey Angelo

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.

Advertisements

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.

No Shame in their Game: Legends fights tough battles in Edmonton, Las Vegas

Posted in Legends MMA, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2010 by jaytan716

The Legends MMA team stepped up in back-to-back pro and amateur battle, respectively, in the past week, and despite coming up short on hands raised, the team more than earned moral victories for their efforts and marked improvements.

Veteran pro fighter Matt “Sabretooth” Horwich, along with wife Kelly and Legends head trainer Chris Reilly, traveled up to the River Kree Casino in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for Elaine McCarthy’s new “Lets Get It On” promotion, which debuted on April 24th. Horwich, a former IFL Grand Prix champion and UFC veteran, faced an old nemesis in Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald, another UFC alum.

Not only was this Horwich’s first bout of 2010, but also in many ways his first bout since joining Legends MMA. The Pacific Northwest native has been training at “The Brickhouse” since October, strengthening his cardio and technical skill sets. As such, this three-round rematch (from a first-round submission victory over MacDonald six years ago) was Horwich’s first chance since relocating to experiment with his new arsenal, and despite the decision, the recently-anointed “Sabretooth” was very pleased with the upgrades.

“I do feel really good about [getting new skills and strategies]. I was able to get some good clinch work. . . I was happy I got to work my rubber guard, and did a lot of good stuff in the fight. I went out of the fight feeling like a winner, even though I didn’t get paid like one,” he commented.

185 lbs. – Matt “Sabretooth” Horwich vs. Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald

Matt "Sabretooth" Horwich connects a left on Jason "The Athlete" MacDonald

The first round saw Horwich clinch up early, forcing MacDonald into the cage. MacDonald slipped some knees in and tried wresting control with a single-leg takedown, but Horwich kept it a standing match with balance and knees of his own. Horwich sprawled on a double-leg attempt, getting top position on the ground inside MacDonald’s guard. MacDonald held him with a high closed guard and worked for a kimura the last 20 seconds of the match, but Horwich was able to post up and maintain control from top position. In round two, both men threw combinations at the onset. MacDonald immediately went for the single-leg again, with Horwich pulling him back to the side off the age. Horwich eventually got out and threw more knees from the clinch. The two traded punches, and a high kick from Horwich, before MacDonald grabbed Horwich against the cage in a body clinch that, peppered with foot stomps, would compose most of the round. MacDonald briefly got the match to the ground, but it wasn’t long before Horwich was up again. Horwich then scored a trip takedown of his own, moving to side mount for the rest of the match. With seconds left in the round, Horwich tried to take the back, but MacDonald claimed top position right at the bell. MacDonald scored a takedown early in the third round, but Horwich dominated from the bottom with an uma plata for over a minute. MacDonald was able to eventually stand up, and fell into Horwich’s half-guard, where he would stay for the rest of the match,with a punch. MacDonald slipped some headshots in, but Horwich neutralized most of his offense with a tight collar tie-up. It could be argued that MacDonald was in top position for more of the third round, but Macdonald’s “half-mount” position and striking was much less threatening of a finish than Horwich’s uma plata submission earlier.

In a slight controversial decree, Jason MacDonald takes took the win by unanimous decision.

In his post-fight interview, Horwich told the crowd “Jason’s a great fighter. He did an awesome job. I think because I’m on my back in guard doesn’t necessarily mean I’m losing the fight.  But it’s an honor to fight him. It’s always awesome to be in Canada. Al the people are great, once I get through the customs.”

“It was such fuckin’ bullshit,” said Horwich’s wife, Kelly, of the judges’ scoring.

However, the Horwiches were complimentary of Elaine McCarthy’s first MMA production, noting “the promotion was excellent. They treated us really well. The motel was nice, food was good.”

(From Left): Ryan Lupkes, Jacob Rockymore, & Ben "Bird Dog" Sample, backstage at "Rising Stars of MMA"

Roughly one week later and 1,500 miles south of the Great White North, the trio of Benjamin “Bird Dog” Sample, Jacob Rockymore, and Ryan Lupkes fought on the second Las Vegas Mixed Martial Arts show, “Rising Stars of MMA,” on May 1st, at the Plaza Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas.

125 lbs. – Jacob Rockymore vs. T.J. Perez (Filipino MMA)

Although Perez scored several takedowns over three rounds, the majority of the match was spent on the feet, where Rockymore continually attacked with rapid fire combinations that pushed Perez backwards.  The first round was a back-and-forth battle, which proved to be the overriding theme of the match. Perez scored a takedown in the second and came close to a choke and armbar at separate times, but Rockymore was able to escape without serious threat. In the final round, Perez again forced a takedown, but Rockymore trapped him with rubber guard, and was working for an uma plata before getting stood up.  He went into combination overdrive in the last ten seconds of the match, forcing him into the corner as the bell rang.

T.J. Perez was awarded the match via split decision.

“It was like a street fight, but with more skills than a street fight. It was real fun. Can’t wait to get back in there,” Rockymore commented the next day.

“Jacob really impressed me. He’s a brawler,” said Sample. “I was surprised, because he’s so small. He’s 125 lbs, and I could see the anger in his punches. I could see he was really trying to take the guy out. He caught the guy with a couple shots and I’m like ‘whoa, that was a hard shot. Where’d that come from?’”

150 lbs. Ben Sample vs. Jonny Parsons (Fasi Sports)

The newly-anointed “Bird Dog” was on the hunt for avenging his debut, in which he came up on the short end of a unanimous decision.  He opened the first round with a high kick, baiting Parson into throwing a wild combination before Sample dropped him with a left hook. Sample pounced and got his hooks in on the ground, but chose to keep it standing, when he was unable to flatten Parsons out. Parsons returned the striking favor, dropping Sample fast with a left hook of his own, but the Bird Dog recovered swiftly back to his feet. Sample opened the second round with another high kick, keeping distance with additional right kicks and a spot-on body shot. Parsons scored two takedowns in the round, the second of which Sample reversed. Early in the third round, Sample shot in under a Parsons combination, but in doing so, caught a high kick to the head, which immediately put him out.

Jonny Parsons was awarded the match by KO, R3, 0:11.

Spirits barely dashed and hardly deterred, Sample spoke confidently about the outcome and the prospects for his future fights: “They say ‘champions aren’t born, they’re created.’ So it may take me a little more time. . . I feel like any given night, one of us could have knocked each other out. Had it been the following weekend, I may have got the best of him. The weekend after, he may have got the best of me. But I definitely can’t wait for the next fight.”

“Ben was real explosive,” said teammate Lupkes the next day. “They were just coming forward, full speed ahead, and just going at it. But Ben was definitely on top of the exchanges . . .He’s a bad motherfucker.”

175. lbs. – Ryan Lupkes vs. Jesse Bowler (Vadnais Fight Team)

With Bowler’s trademark hiptoss-neck crank combination well-scouted, the first round was largely a feeling out period for Lupkes.  The match did go to the ground after a Bowler bodylock, but Lupkes was able to scramble and gain top positio, in guard.  From there, Lupkes threw ground-and-pound and worked to pass guard. Round two saw Lukpes land a head kick, but Bowler was also later able to catch him on the ground with a head-and-arm choke. Lupkes was able to hold on, and get a restart in the middle of the ring. In the final stage, Lupkes claimed top position and worked to pass, but Bowler powered a reversal and took side control. After a referee’s stand-up, the two clinched, with Lupkes again ending up on top just before the match ended.

In a very close call, judges awarded Jesse Bowler the match via majority decision.

“I feel like if I had another 30 seconds, I would have won. I was on top twice, but he was on top for the majority of the rounds, so I can’t really argue.  It depends on how you want to look at it,” said Lupkes after the match.

Despite the losses, all three protégés were in high spirits in the aftermath, speaking with confidence about the lessons learned and the trainers that stood beside them.

“Conor [Heun] is really in touch with how you relate to the environment, and how to summon your inner strength. That really helps during a fight. And Reilly, he’s totally kick-back. ‘Hey man, just get out there, have some fun, give 110%. Make it do what it do.’ Working with both of them is really good. I couldn’t ask for better coaches – striking coach and wrestling coach. It’s just a matter of me getting in there and implementing what they want me to do,” praised the Bird Dog.

For Lupkes, Reilly’s Muay Thai tradition spoke to the young fighter and helped flip the ‘on’ switch right before going into battle: ”Right before we were about to go, he just grabbed my hands and put them together, Thai style. We just put our heads together. I can’t remember – it was like a mantra; he kept saying something like ‘Ryan, go win this fight’ or ‘Ryan’s a great fighter.’ Right in that moment, it totally focused me. It was like ‘let’s do this shit, man!’”

In other Las Vegas MMA action that night:

150 lbs. – Bashir Saber (Summa Sports) def. Mike Robinson (Fight Capital) via doctor’s stoppage due to cut, R1.

145 lbs. – Wes Clinton (Excel / Throwdown Utah) def. Abraham Duenes (Team Wand) via submission, R1.

185 lbs. – Raul Rivera (Team Mayhem) def. Joe Carpenter (Barry’s Boxing) via TKO, R1.

160 lbs. – Craig Jackson (Team Thompkins) def. Cale Errigo (Siege MMA) via submission (guillotine), R1.

160 lbs. – Randy Rodriguez (Excel / Rising Sun Judo) def. Jimmy Like (independent) via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Tony Martinez (Freestyle) def. Josh Smith (independent) via submission (choke), R2.

170 lbs. – Grant Hankinson (Aiki Jiu Jitsu) def. John Allsup (Excel) via submission (armbar), R1.

155 lbs. – David Jorden (Fight Capital) def. Joey Carroll (Team Mayhem) via submission (rear naked choke), R1.

190 lbs. – Christopher Gates (Fasi Sports) def. Danny Pena (Team Mayhem) via TKO, R1.

160 lbs. – Johnathan Rodeffer (Tapout Training Center) def. Michael Sutton (Fasi Sports) via split decision.

265 lbs. – Keven Absher (Tapout Training Center) def. Matt Heinstein (Siege MMA) via KO, R1.

205 lbs. – Mike Florio (Excel) def. Brandon Maynard (Aoki Jiu Jitsu) via submission (rear naked choke), R1.

155 lbs. – Shane Larsen (Vadnais Fight Team) def. Tim Gidley (Lion’s Den) via unanimous decision.

170 lbs. – Joey Angelo (Tapout Training Center) def. Rodney Thomas (Team Mayhem) via TKO, R1.

Sample and Rockymore will return to training after their respective medical suspensions, while Lupkes anticipates fighting as early as the end of May or sometime in June. Matt Horwich is wasting no time getting back to action, as he faces Tom “Kong” Watson on May 15th at the LG Arena in Birmingham, UK, for the vacant British Association of Mixed Marital Arts (BAMMA) middleweight 185 lb. title.

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.