Archive for Kate McGray

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.

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

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

Kate McGray won her MMA debut by unanimous decision.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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