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Big Dog & Little Dog bark at Tuff-N-Uff

Posted in Legends MMA, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2011 by jaytan716

Light heavyweight Gio Zavala with the Legends MMA team after his KO victory.

Legends MMA got off to a respectable start in 2011, with flyweight Jacob Rockymore and light heavyweight Gio Zavala both making their Tuff-N-Uff debuts on January 7th at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

After a series of false-starts in 2010, Zavala marked his first MMA match definitively, with a first-round KO victory. Rockymore, facing yet another larger opponent, came up short on a unanimous decision, though by all accounts, he fared well in the striking department.

“I feel like I should have went the opposite of what I was trying to do. . . I was trying to clinch with him and take him down. But I didn’t know he was that much bigger than me. He was probably like 20 more pounds than me,” Rockymore said in reflection.

According to teammate (and Tuff-N-Uff welterweight champion) Eddie Jackson, Rockymore’s opponent, Junior Gomez, weighed in at 133 lbs., claiming he thought the match was at 130 lbs. A request was made for Gomez to try to make 130 lbs., despite that the original agreed upon weight was 125 lbs. Though Legends received no confirmation that Gomez ever reached 130 lbs., Rockymore agreed to fight regardless.

“[Jacob] tagged him up a few times and he bloodied the guy’s nose and everything, but he was too strong and too heavy for Jacob to handle. . . If the dude would have made weight, Jacob probably would have ate him up,” Jackson said of the pairing.

125 lbs. Jacob Rockymore vs. Junior Gomez (Hawaiian Fighting Arts)

Though undersized against his opponent, Jacob Rockymore fought valiantly to clinch and take the match to the ground.

Having the obvious reach advantage, Gomez started in with jabs, but Rockymore didn’t hesitate to fire combos right up the middle, bloodying up Gomez’ nose for his efforts. They clinched and worked for position, with Rockymore landing some knees. Unfortunately, one of them caught Gomez south of the border. Rockymore landed some more knees from the clinch and worked for a hip toss. Round two saw both men trade combos. Rockymore worked for a single-leg takedown, but Gomez blocked with underhooks and swung Rockymore down. Gomez kept side control and tried to circle behind Rockymore, who likewise blocked that advance by holding onto the single-leg. In the final round, Gomez landed a head kick that Rockymore no-sold and stalked him around the ring. Rockymore alternated between throwing combos and knees to a takedown attempt, and had Gomez in a Thai clinch at the match ended.

Judges awarded Junior Gomez the victory by unanimous decision.

“The first round was good. I busted his nose and got in some strikes. After the second round, my arms were gassed from clinching with a bigger guy. Should have stood back and struck with him like I did in the last one. . . I won the first round. I know that,” Rockymore said of his match.

 

205 lbs. Gio Zavala vs. Gabriel Garzon (Mobsters United Fight Team)

Zavala opened the match with a low kick.

Zavala landed the first shot with a leg kick, but Garzon responded with wild lefts and overhand rights. Zavala was controlled, circling away and getting Garzon’s pace. Heavy fists started flying before Garzon shot in and Zavala controlled him with underhooks. Garzon broke away, giving Zavala the chance to land a massive left to Garzon’s temple. Zavala got one more shot in on the ground before referee ?? stopped the bout at 1:33 of the first round for the KO finish.

Zavala’s debut was a long time in the works, with several false starts in the year or so prior. Matches falling out are far from a rarity in amateur MMA, but after his last opponent backed out literally ten minutes prior to match time, at a Total Fighting Alliance (TFA) show in July last year, the anticipation of getting that first match started to test Zavala’s patience.

“His attitude going in was ‘fuck, I hope it’s not going to be another one where the dude bails out,’ but when he found out it was going to be official, his whole demeanor changed,” noted Jackson. “He jumped 10 notches on taking it seriously. He was like ‘this shit’s about to go down.’ His whole attitude changed. He was happy, he was excited, he was nervous. . . His family and friends were there. Everything played out the way it was supposed to go down.

The weekend was also a new chapter for Jackson, whose last trip to Sin City was a three-round dream-come-true, as he won the Tuff-N-Uff welterweight championship, an accolade he’d been chasing for two years. For this event, however, Jackson assumed cornerman duties for the first timee, as teammate Chris Brady did late last year on several shows. Ironically, the focus and intensity is no different than when he’s the one scheduled to fight.

One monsterous-ass brotha.

“For some reason, going up there, even if I’m cornering, I still get the jitters. Because every time I go up there, it’s like I’m going to war. . . this time around, cornering my boys, I got a different perspective, from the outside looking in. I can see what [Legends head trainer Chris] Reilly and Conor [Heun] are looking at. And I can see it too. . . They’re the eyes and ears for what you can’t see or hear [as a fighter in the ring]. Because sometimes the nerves get the best of you and you block everything else out. That corner tells you to do this, do that. That’s like a lifeline. And I didn’t realize how important that was.“

Rockymore anticipates a victorious return to the Tuff-N-Uff ring as soon as possible.

As for Rockymore, despite not getting the win, he feels that fighting for Barry and Jeff Meyer marks a major turning point for his amateur career, one that he’s anxious to embrace with his next match: “That was the biggest fight that I’ve had. The first two fights are alright, but Tuff-N-Uff is where you want to be as an amateur. It was a bigger crowd, a bigger entrance,” he said. “I’m going to be way more ready than I was for my last fight. I’m gonna gain a lot of weight, put up those protein shakes, get that cardio up. I’ll be ready to go next time.”

In other Tuff-N-Uff action that night:

160 lbs. – Casey Picard (10th Planet Riverside) def. Cody Hamm (Team Envy) via TKO, R1, 1:33.

185 lbs. – Tyler Jeppesen (Team Vegas Bail) def. Joshua Morgan (Centennial Tae Kwon Do) via TKO / doctor’s stoppage due to a cut, R1, 0:28 (team)

135 lbs. – Jesse Romero (Xtreme Couture) def. Raul Sandoval (10th Planet Riverside) via unanimous decision.

Female 145 lbs. tournament quarterfinal – Ashlee Evans-Smith (Gladiator Training Academy) def. Jessamyn Duke (AFS Academy) via unanimous decision.

185 lbs. – Shane Johnson (Xtreme Couture) def. Rick Borden (10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu) via unanimous decision.

170 lbs. – Ramon Hernandez (Team Felony / Pitbull Jiu-Jitsu) def. Tony Totero (Team Suffer) via submission, R1, 1:39.

155 lbs. – Troy Remer (Xtreme Couture) def. David Thompkins (10th Planet Riverside) via unanimous decision.

Female 145 lbs. Exhibition –Tamikka Brents (Team Warrior Concepts) def. Tori Adams via split decision. This match was originally part of the female 145 lb. tournament, but became an exhibition when Brents was unable to make weight.

155 lbs. – Jon Gorton (Team Quest) def. Jonathan Rodeffer (Team Thompkins) via unanimous decision.

145 lbs. – Cesar Campus (LA Boxing (Las Vegas)) def. Josh Grevas (Xtreme Couture) via unanimous decision.

170 lbs. –Lee Henry Lilly (Striking Unlimited) def. Joey Angelo (Tapout Training Center) via unanimous decision.

155 lbs. – Matt Church (Throwdown) def. Kimo Yadao (Xtreme Couture) via split decision.

Female 145 lbs. tournament quarterfinal – Ronda Rousey (Team Hayastan) def. Taylor Stratford via technical submission, R1, 0:24.

155 lbs. – Trace Gray (10th Planet Riverside) def. Jake Swinney (Xtreme Couture) via unanimous decision.

Legends MMA is sponsored by X-Pole. Tuff-N-Uff’s next event is February 11th at the Orleans Hotel & Casino.

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Jouban & Marenya explode at ‘Ground Zero’

Posted in CAMO, Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by jaytan716

Alan Jouban (left) and Eugene Marenya

Welterweights Eugene Marenya and Alan Jouban kept Legends MMA’s win streak alive-and-kicking this weekend with a pair of victories at Combat Fight League’s “Ground Zero” amateur MMA event, held at West Coast Jiu Jitsu in Oxnard.

In the main event, Jouban was put in the invader’s role, as he faced West Coast Jiu Jitsu’s star Mose Aieti, who has made waves this year in the SoCal amateur MMA scene. However, Jouban proved to have answers for the hometown hero’s questions, winning by unanimous decision. As the winner of what was declared the Match of the Night, Jouban was awarded a Polanti luxury watch.

“Tough dude. Good fight. It was a fight that I wanted, too. Because I’d been saying I don’t want a quick finish or anything. I want a war. . . I haven’t been out of the first round in my last three fights. So to get to go to a three-round decision, and to kick a guy in the head and have him come back wanting more, it was good,” commented Jouban after the fight.

Marenya, who fought at a 160 lb. catchweight in transition to welterweight, was particularly anxious to get in the cage. He was originally scheduled to fight Anthony Olivas of Bloodbank MMA the week prior, and, ironically, was the main event on that show. However, when rowdy and drunk fans in the crowd started their own fight during the match before Marenya’s, El Monte police and CAMO officials were forced to immediately shut the show down, leaving he and Olivas frustrated and unfulfilled.

“I was pissed off last week. And all that built up into this week, and I put it out there in the ring. I did my thang. Did what my coaches told me, and I banged,” said the North Carolina native.

Legends MMA's winning team

Also worthy of note about ‘Ground Zero’ was teammate Chris Brady, taking the cornerman reins for the night, covering for head trainer Chris Reilly. Along with Amir Rahnavardi and 10th Planet brown belt Victor Webster, ‘Boulevard Brady’ was chief second for both Marenya and Jouban. With two successful fights, Brady was praised for his leadership, which, not surprisingly, resembled his longtime mentor’s.

“Brady is like a Little Reilly,” noted Marenya. “He really knows his stuff. He knows the advice to give you. Watches the fight really well. Amir is just a great guy. Great coach. One of the most experienced guys we got. I could hear Vic [Webster] advising. So I basically had all three in my corner, and I really appreciated all of them.”

Jouban noted that having Legends’ more experienced fighters corner their teammates not only helps them grow, but also brings the team itself closer together: “I think not only for me, but for my teammates, I think that it builds their confidence as well. In bringing fighters to fights, [cornering] them, warming them up. That way, we can work together as a team, like an actual cohesive unit. Where, if Reilly can’t make it, I could corner my buddy. I can warm them up. We know that we can all rely on each other.”

160 lbs. – Eugene Marenya vs. Marcus Aven (Right Cross)

Eugene Marenya blocks a double-leg shot from Marcus AvenAven spent a good part of the first round working for a takedown, crowding Marenya against the cage and trying a trip, but Marenya fended it off incredibly well, sprawling and stuffing the double-leg shot, quickly escaping when they did finally get to the ground. Marenya opened up with lefts and rights, and then fended off another shot with overhooks and knees. Aven charged and did get Marenya on the ground, peppering him with lefts and taking his back, but Marenya pivoted around and was stacking Aven from above as Aven worked for an armbar as the round ended. Aven was determined to get the takedown in round two, trying to pull in Marenya’s legs against the cage for well over half the round. After breaking apart, Marenya landed a high kick that rocked Aven, who instinctively changed levels and grabbed for a single-leg, which he did score as the round ended. Marenya came alive in the third round, opening with a a low right kic and attacking with lefts and rights to the head, pushing Aven back against the cage until referee Ray Rothfelder stopped the match. Marenya was awarded the victory via TKO.

Marenya’s growth as a fighter, from his first West Coast match back in April, was markedly obvious, not just in his takedown defense, but, according to Jouban, his punches and kicks: “I think Eugene’s striking is really starting to come along. You could see the progression in his last three fights, leading up to this. It really showed because he landed the head kick. . . The guy wore himself trying to take him down. But the striking was the difference-maker. The guy didn’t want any part of the striking, but he had no choice. Eugene had the more dominant reach, and just athleticism.”

“I’ve been working with a lot of the good wrestlers at the gym. I’ve been working with some of the good jiu jitsu guys. Working on little tricks to defend the takedown. And it paid off,” said Marenya.

175 lbs. – Alan Jouban vs. Mose Aieti (West Coast Jiu Jitsu)

Alan Jouban was all chill backstage.

Aieti was active on the attack, taking Jouban down off a combo and working from inside Jouban’s guard. Jouban muted Aieti’s options by pulling mission control. Aieti tried a short slam to no avail. Once referee Ray Rothfelder stood them up, Jouban landed several Muay Thai knees, kicks, and punches to end the round. Both men were more cautious in engaging in round two, throwing selective kicks before Aieti charged in. But Jouban caught him with two more Muay Thai knees before being taken to the ground, where Aieti kept the fight. In round three, Aieti shot in for a takedown that Jouban caught with a front headlock, slipping in an underhook and several strong knees. Jouban let go and tagged Aieti with a right kick, then charged in with kicks and punches.  Aieti dropped Jouban with an overhand right and pounced, but Jouban caught him in a triangle choke that he held to round’s end.

Judges awarded Alan Jouban the match via unanimous decision, off scores of 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27.

Marenya had nothing but praise for the always-poised Jouban, commenting “aw, man. Superman! Great fight. . . He outworked the kid. . . I guess people now know not to stand-up with Legends guys. ‘Cuz Chris Reilly, Muay Thai. It’s just showing how great our stand-up reputation is. No one wants to stand with us.”

In other “Combat Fight League: Ground Zero” action that night:

135 lbs. – Juan Aguilera def. Juan Estrada via TKO, R2.

185 lbs. – JJ Mortimer def. Sid Sidberry via submission, R1.

150 lbs. – Francisco Estrada def. Peter Mostawa via submission, R1.

205 lbs. – John Hernandez def. Jarrod Huggins via KO, R1.

145 lbs. (female) – Ronda Rousey def. Hayden Munoz via submission, R1.

Legends MMA is sponsored by X-Pole, Melee Fight Gear, and MMA Elite.