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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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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.

Balboa wins Pro Muay Thai Debut

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by jaytan716
'Yo Adrian!' - Balboa triumphs in her pro debut.

'Yo Adrian!' - Balboa triumphs in her pro debut.

Seven years ago, Roxy Richardson could barely do a push-up.  Fighting was the last thing on her mind. But this past weekend, the reinvented Legends fighter Roxy “Balboa” realized a milestone that was long in the making, emerging victorious in her pro Muay Thai debut.  Based on scores of 49-46, 50-45, and 49-46, Richardson beat Sarah McCarthy (Bad Company, Leeds, UK) via unanimous decision at the 2009 Ultimate Warriors Muay Thai-Kickboxing World Championship, held at the Anaheim Convention Center.

“It feels great.  The nerves were there, but mentally, I was strong. . . It’s been a long road.  This’ll be my 13th sanctioned fight, my 20th or 21st fight total, including smokers,” Richardson reflected later that night.

“To be honest with you, there wasn’t a round that I was concerned about at all. . . She didn’t get winded, she wasn’t breathing heavy in the corners. . . She just let her hands go. . . Other than that, I was very, very impressed with her and very, very proud of her,” said Legends MMA team trainer Jimmie Romero after the match.

Richardson, a staple in the regional Muay Thai scene, was the International Amateur Muay Thai Federation (IAMTF) champion from 2008 and 2009.

“I was terrified of fighting, when I first started.  Honestly, someone would ask me if I wanted to fight two months from now and I would get this horrible pain in the pit of my stomach, and just want to throw up.  And now I am excited and I look forward to it.  I think of it as a test of everything that I worked really hard for all the time.  it was never like that in the beginning.  I wasn’t a natural fighter, but I saw it as a challenge and it made me want to do better each time.”

Ironically enough, it was only recently that Richardson, whose connection with Legends MMA dates back to its days at the Bomb Squad, started working with Legends trainer Jimmie Romero.

Jimmie Romero spearheaded the "Reinvention of Roxy," leading to the night's victory.

Jimmie Romero spearheaded the "Reinvention of Roxy," leading to the night's victory.

“When she came to me, last fight, I think I had her, like five weeks out within her fight. . . I just worked with what she had, and tweeked a little here and there, until I could get her after,” commented Romero.

But once they were past that match, the team went back to basics: “we broke her down, and built her right back up. . . I changed everything, and made it make sense with her footwork.  I made it sync up to where every punch counts. . . Where it’s not just random shit being thrown. . . It flows, like water,” he added.

Of the partnership, Richardson was enthusiastic about going back to the drawing board: “this is the second time I’ve been working with [Romero], and we make a real good team.  I’m learning some new things.  It’s tough, because I’ve been fighting for awhile and he’s got to make adjustments for me, and that’s always been difficult.  But I’ve trusted him and he’s brought me in a good direction.  The results speak for themselves.  I’m pretty happy with that, and I’m happy with how this training went.”

The story of the match itself largely spoke to the changes and improvements in Richardson’s arsenal and team, as Richardson consistently circled out of McCarthy’s charging line-of-fire, countering with jabs, right straights, steady combinations , and body kicks.  McCarthy, who is known for controlling her matches by imposing her will, fought a chasing game, throwing low kicks to make contact.

“We used that jab to utilize space, because Roxy is a lot longer. . . And that’s why Roxy circled a lot, and she moved.  Sarah likes to press and close in you, and make you feel claustrophobic.  And the thing that stops that is ‘hey, you’ve got to follow me’.  . . And while she’s eating punches at the same time,” explained Romero.

135 lbs. / Full Muay Thai Rules – Roxy Balboa Richardson (Roxy Fit) vs. Sarah McCarthy (Bad Company)

The first round saw McCarthy utilize low kicks to breach the distance, while Richardson answered back with a body kick and a Superwoman punch.  Richardson looked comfortable with her hands, landing a lot of punches to the face, especially at round’s end.

In round two, McCarthy kept with the combos and low kicks, while Richardson circled out and brought the action to the middle of the ring.  Richardson fired a triple jab, checked a kick, and volleyed one back.  She swung a kick and tried some elbows in the corner, but it was an overhand right that nailed McCarthy square in the face.

By the third round, McCarthy’s charge-and-attack M.O. was clear and constant.  She pushed Richardson towards her corner, but Richardson clinched up and tried throwing elbows.  McCarthy got in some jabs and an overhand right, but Richardson was on fire, ending the round with a flurry of punches standing and from the clinch.

Richardson lands a left body kick.

Richardson lands a left body kick.

Perhaps sensing the need to turn on the steam, McCarthy quickly started round four in the middle of the ring, pushing Richardson into the corner.  But Richardson circled her way out, firing an overhand right and body kick.  McCarthy swiftly replied with her own attack.  Clinching against the ropes, McCarthy tried for a trip, but couldn’t make it happen before the referee called for a clean break.  Richardson landed another stiff combo to the face and attempted a spinning back elbow to end the round.

The fifth round opened with a brief clinch early on, but the two quickly broke apart, with McCarthy going after Richardson, who landed several kicks.  McCarthy overextended on a punch, but Richardson didn’t capitalize.  She did, however, land several body shots.  The referee stopped the action to check McCarthy for blood, but the doctor allowed the match to continue.  By this point, the once intensely-silent crowd was vocally cheering both fighters.  With ten seconds left, Richardson went into overdrive and shot jabs and combos to end the match.

In the end, judges awarded the match to Roxy “Balboa” Richardson by unanimous decision with scores of 49-46, 50-49, and 49-46.

When asked her thoughts on the fight, Richardson said “I always have it in my mind that if I give two good rounds, then at least [it’s] a good show, but I felt I was on from the very first round.  Which is unusual because I’m normally kind of a slow starter.  So I was really happy that I was able to throw multiple things.  And I felt like my timing was a lot better than I have been.  I could hear both corners, which was cool.  I actually would hear her corner, and then wait for her to do what her corner said . . .I’ve never been that clear before.”

Teammate Jordan Wright added “I really think she looked amazing . . . she was popping her jabs, rather than pushing. . .and her footwork was great too.”

Romero added “her next fight will be even better.  We gave her a whole new set of tools to work with.  And changed the arsenal up a little bit.  And now that she’s actually used it in battle, she’s now more confident, like ‘yeah, I can use these new tools, and they work damn well.’”

Other Muay Thai action that night went as follows:

112 lbs. – Janet Coakley (Budo Ryu) TKO Victoria “The Prodigy” Beltran (Boxing Zone) in R2, 0:53.

135 lbs. – Rubin Ekyotin (World Muay Thai Gym) TKO Hien Nguyen (Pacific Ring Sport) in R2, 0:16.

155 lbs. – Yilen Pan (Sit Rama Soon Muay Thai) TKO Caesar Pimentel  (Guizar Martial Arts) in R1, 1:50.

160 lbs. – Edgar Islas (Team Oyama) def. Greg “The Leg” Spellman (Millennia MMA) in R1, 1:16 via referee stoppage (after two knockdowns).

155 lbs. – Olavi Naar (Muay Thai School USA) KO Daniel Eyi (Dobler’s Muay Thai) in R1, approximately 1:00.

175 lbs. – Steve Kuo (The Yard Muay Thai) def. Michael Ellison (Boxing Work) via unanimous decision off scores of 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28.

170 lbs. – Laban Spicer (Sit Yod Tong Pasadena) def. Sean Delfossey (Budo Ryu) via unanimous decision off scores of 29-28, 29-28, and 29-28.

150 lbs. – Sheldon Gain (MTA) def. Patrick Channita (Team Oyama) via unanimous decision off scores 29-27, 29-27, and 29-27.

145 lbs. – Sean Ueda (Pro AM) TKO Hector Ekyotin (World Muay Thai Gym) in R3, 1:32.

130 lbs. – Jessie Magusen (Dobler’s Muay Thai) def. Felipe Andalla (KR Muay Thai) via unanimous decision off scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 30-27.

155 lbs. – Cooper Gibson (Team Toby Grear) TKO Andrew Santee Santhivong (MTA) in R2, 1:20.

185 lbs. – Jason Rezepka (KR Muay Thai) def. Salah Azzazi (Red Scorpion Martial Arts) via unanimous decision off scores of 30-26, 30-26, and 30-26.  This match was for the UKKA Light Heavyweight championship.

155 lbs. (Full Pro Muay Thai rules) – Ryan Roy (Fairtex) TKO Koji Iijima (KR Muay Thai) after the referee stopped the match in the fourth round, due to numerous knockdowns.

135 lbs. – Tetsuya Yamato (Yamato Kickboxing) KO Kaensak Sor Pleonjit in R5, 2:59.  This match was for the WMC Muay Thai Lightweight championship.

Richardson was cornered by Romero and Victor Henry, and sponsored for this fight by Revgear, Toe 2 Toe, Ed Hardy Watches, and United Front Productions.

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.

MILESTONE! Legends MMA goes undefeated 5-0 at latest Tuff-N-Uff

Posted in Legends MMA, Live Event Reports, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2009 by jaytan716

Legends MMA team celebrated a 5-0 win streak backstage.

Legends MMA team celebrated a 5-0 win streak backstage.

Led by the command of coaches Jimmie Romero, Conor Heun, and Chris Reilly, the Legends MMA pro team stormed the beaches of the Tuff-N-Uff amateur MMA fights and captured the flag with a perfect 5-0 performance.

“We’re all super proud. . . I’ve been in the fight game since I was four, and I cannot remember seeing one gym outfight five fighters on any show,” Reilly commented. “Once I got up here, I could see that they were prepared. They were relaxed. There was good team spirit going on. . . I thought we [had] a good chance of winning five matches.

Another understated but significant theme of the weekend was that the nights’ performances all proved to be turning points in one way or another for each fighter. Chris Brady faced his toughest challenge to date in Xtreme Couture’s Cory Jeffers, who kept the pressure on throughout the match. Takashi Munoz came back from a four-month hiatus to score a highlight reel TKO victory. Christian Palencia tested his cardio and striking mettle into the third round before directing it to a quick submission finish. Victor Henry continued to win over the crowd with his cagey technique and entertaining in-ring antics. And Eddie Jackson overcame yet another unique new challenge, conquering a towering 6’4” striker with speed, power, and tenacity.

“We’ve had all the Strikeforce guys in town regularly, so they’ve all got to work with guys like Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz, Jake Shields, and Gilbert Melendez. So these guys have seen worse in practice every day than [they saw] on Saturday,” added Reilly.

170 lbs. – Takashi Munoz (Legends MMA) vs. Ernesto Martinez (West Coast MMA)

Takashi Munoz emerges victorious with a first round submission win.

Takashi Munoz emerges victorious with a first round submission win.

Being the “curtain-jerker” first match of the night, Munoz set the tone not just for Legends, but also for the overall fight night. Munoz’ previous match, in November, was his MMA debut, which alleviated him of the dreaded “first-time jitters” here.

“I’m glad to be back in Vegas. . . I’ve already experienced it. When you go through it once, you don’t have to go through it again. It’s like, okay, I’m here again. Nothing’s changed,” he said.

Right from the bell, Munoz and Martinez bartered a left for a right, but then downshifted to feel each other out with punch and kick combinations. Munoz stunned Martinez to the ground with a powerful overhand right, following up with a clinch, but they broke apart just as quickly. Just moments later, Munoz repeated the assault with an overhand right and left jab that dropped Martinez for the finish. Takashi Munoz was awarded the KO victory at 1:22 of the first round.

“I was expecting him to be a little [rougher], but what can you say? A fight’s a fight. A win is a win. You never know until the end.”

145 lbs. – Victor Henry (Legends MMA vs. Billy Bull (Striking Unlimited)

Using Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher” as his ring entrance music, Henry literally walks to the beat of his own drummer. Not only was this song born long before Henry was, but the band had moved on from Diamond Dave to Hagar years before Victor even hit the hospital scale.

Victory Henry sinks in a triangle choke in round two.

Victory Henry sinks in a triangle choke in round two.

As for the match itself, Henry and Bull immediately started trading leather faster than a cattle auction at the OK Corral. Henry took Bull down with a clinch-trip, but, unable to pass guard, let Bull up to continue the slugfest. Bull scored a trip takedown of his own off a Henry high kick, but Henry used rubber guard to trap Bulls arm and dish out some right punches to the head. In the second round, Henry wasted no time, charging Bull with jabs. The two clinched up and went to the ground, with Henry working some ground-and-pound from the mount and standing before finally letting Bull up again. Bull scored another trip takedown off a high kick, but Henry was able to lure him into his guard. From there, Henry clinched on a gogo plata, transitioning to a triangle choke, until Bull finally submitted at 1:15 of the second round.

“He trains with Frank Mir, [so I knew] he was going to turn it into a jiu-jitsu match. . . That’s why, every time I had a good position, I would hit him . . . and that eventually led to me getting a triangle choke. I locked it in, I hit him in the head a couple of times, and then I cinched it up and finished,” Henry commented after the match.

With two exciting wins under his belt, Henry has proven to have some of the more animated, enthusiastic post-fight victory antics in Tuff-N-Uff, running around, hamming it up for the camera, and backflipping off the top rope. “At the time, I’m just really happy. . . When I’m in the ring, it’s like ‘hey, everybody already knows me.’ You really just play who you are in the ring,” he explained.

170 lbs. – Eddie Jackson (Legends MMA) vs. Joshua Morgan (Centennial Taekwondo)

Joshua Morgan (left) vs. Eddie Jackson

Joshua Morgan (left) vs. Eddie Jackson

This match garnered a lot of talk beforehand, stemming mostly from the huge size difference between Jackson, 5’11”, and Morgan, who stood at 6’4”. Moreover, it was one of two semifinal matches in the Tuff-N-Uff welterweight championship tournament.

“I’ve never fought anyone that tall before. . . He was a lot longer than I thought. A little harder to get inside. I tried to stick with the original game plan, but that reach made a whole difference. When he caught me, my killer instinct stepped in and it was all about survival at that point,” commented Jackson about his win.

Morgan made the most of his significant reach advantage, firing off jabs, but Jackson was able to get in the pocket and bull him around the ring. Morgan rocked Jackson twice, opening a cut over his left eye, but Jackson caught himself and was able to stay on his feet. Jackson retaliated with an overhand left that threw Morgan clear across the ring. Smelling blood in the water, Jackson chased after him with lefts and rights, finally sending Morgan to the ground with a left body shot-right uppercut combination. Jackson splashed to the ground on Morgan before the referee could stop the match at 0:42 of the first round.

Eddie Jackson was awarded the win by TKO and now faces Bill Cooper at the Tuff-N-Uff welterweight championship tournament finals in April.

155 lbs. – Christian Palencia (Legends MMA) vs. Tony Martinez (Team Mad Beatings)

In Martinez, Palencia found himself facing a relative unknown. Palencia’s opponent in fact changed several times over the weeks prior to the event. This match was also a Tuff-N-Uff semifinal tournament match, but in the lightweight division.

Christian Palencia looks for the opening.

Christian Palencia looks for the opening against Tony Martinez.

“I was going to fight Odis [Ruiz, of Filipino MMA], but now he’s fighting Chas [Mulkey, of Warrior Training Center], which is the guy I beat last time,” lamented Palencia at the weigh-ins.

In round one, Martinez and Palencia set things off early by trading low kicks. Martinez charged, but Palencia defended the attack with combinations. From there, Martinez was selective in his shots, circling the ring and looking for the opening. Round two saw more low kick combinations. Martinez stuffed a takedown, but Palencia landed a hard right kick and swung for the fences as the round ended. In the final round, Martinez wasted no time keeping the pressure on, but Palencia forced the takedown, having little problem escaping a guillotine choke to full mount. He worked a body lock and cinched in an armbar from below, forcing Martinez to tap out at 1:05 of the third round.

According to Reilly, “knowing that it was a prelim to a title bout, I told [Christian] to get in there and get that guy down on the ground and get him out. But his last three fights have all been under a minute, and I think he was getting overconfident . . . [Martinez] had boxing skills, he had good footwork, and he was tough to catch. It was a great experience for Christian.”

Ironically enough, Palencia now faces Ruiz in the finals of the Tuff-N-Uff lightweight championship tournament.

Chris Brady prior to entering the ring.

Chris Brady prior to entering the ring.

135 lbs. – Chris Brady (Legends MMA) vs. Cory Jeffers (Xtreme Couture)

Chris Brady got a rousing welcome not just from the Legends contingency, but other fans as well, indicating that he has established himself at Tuff-N-Uff events as a force to be reckoned with.

In round one, Jeffers quickly established his intent to keep the pressure on, chasing after Brady and, after a brief clinch, following up with kick and punch combinations. Brady was quick to reply in kind, dancing back to the center of the ring. Jeffers took Brady to the ground with a trip takedown, but it was Brady who ended up on top in Jeffers’ closed guard. In round two, as they circled and exchanged punches, Jeffers tried to pull guard. But Brady, making clear that this was going to be a striking match, let Jeffers fall to his back and then get back up. Brady continued the assault with more combinations of the hands and feet, pushing Jeffers against the ropes with a knee. Jeffers eventually did get the match to the ground, but only to end up taking some ground-and-pound punishment. Jeffers was able to neutralize Brady with rubber guard at the end of the second round. He continued to push the action in the third, but Brady was unafraid to trade. They went to the ground twice, once with Jeffers in half-guard and once as Brady stuffed a takedown attempt, ending up in Jeffers’ rubber guard. After a stand-up restart, Brady threw kicks to end the round. Judges awarded Chris Brady the match by unanimous decision. He now goes on to challenge Jamie Hernandez (West Coast MMA) for the Tuff-N-Uff Bantamweight title.

Brady catches Jeffers with ground-and-pound.

Brady catches Jeffers with ground-and-pound.

Of Brady’s performance, Reilly had this to say: “With the team going 4-0 and Brady being the last fight, there’s a lot of different pressure for a lot of different reasons. That was Brady’s toughest fight, at least at this weight. And I think Brady needed a tough fight. He was beginning to dominate on a pretty consistent basis. And he needed to remember that there are always tough guys out there. This sport is never easy. . . I also think that, had there been knees to the head in this sport, this fight would have been over way, way earlier. Brady had full control of the guy’s head. Lots of times, there was nothing to do with it.”

Also worthy of note on this night was the apparent grown of Tuff-N-Uff as one of the most prominent amateur MMA promotions on the West Coast, evidence of that being the fact that no less than 19 fight camps had at least one fighter on the card. Legends was out populated only by Xtreme Couture, who brought six fighters to the event.

Legends MMA returns to Tuff-N-Uff on April 24th, where Eddie Jackson, Christian Palencia, and Chris Brady are all scheduled to fight for Tuff-N-Uff championship titles.

Legends Team Redeems at Tuff-N-Uff

Posted in Legends MMA, Tuff-N-Uff with tags , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2009 by jaytan716

With Valentine’s Day falling on a Saturday this year, Sunday night was alright for fighting, as Legends MMA fight team went 3-0 at Tuff-N-Uff’s February 15th amateur MMA event, at the Orleans Hotel & Casino. Victor Henry, Christian Palencia, and Eddie Jackson all finished their opponents in dominating fashion.

Jackson’s drive for victory was equally personal and professional, as his previous Tuff-N-Uff match was a difficult loss to 185-pound Chance Torres (Xtreme Couture). Jackson, normally a welterweight, agreed to the match after his and Torres’ opponents dropped out at the last minute. This time, Jackson’s match at welterweight was secure, and redemption was the key word of the day.

Conversely, Henry and Palencia were making their Tuff-N-Uff debuts, and both were game to make a triumphant first impression.

“I’m feeling great. I’m excited to fight this guy. . . I’ve done my work at the gym. It’s the easy part now. Go in there and have fun,” said Henry at the weigh-ins.

For Palencia, his fight marked the end of a long road of recovery, as his last fight dates back to July 2007. Unfortunately, a string of injuries shortly thereafter prevented him from returning any sooner, but according to Palencia, that hiatus gave him time to mature as a fighter.

“My last two fights, I didn’t have a game plan. This time, I actually have a game plan, and now I just gotta do it. I got a Plan A, I got a Plan B. I pace myself a little bit better now, and I look more for weaknesses, instead of coming out and putting out everything I’ve got. . . Before, I would just come in there and be the same every day. I’m trying to fight smarter,” he reflected.

Victor Henry won by impressive first-round knockout

Victor Henry won by impressive first-round knockout

145 lbs. – Wayne Wrath (Nation Kenpo / The Pit) vs. Victor Henry (Legends MMA)

After the fight, teammate Chris Brady noted “At first, I was kinda scared, because dude was big and was throwing over Victor’s jab. But Victor saw an opportunity and capitalized on it. You can’t teach that. Victor is a tough kid and very talented. He’s gonna be a bad dude.”Victor Henry fired the first salvo of the match with a left, but Wrath was quick to retaliate with combos. Henry circled and looked for his shot, which came quicker than anyone expected, as a low right kick set up a wicked left high kick that sent Wrath crashing to the ground. Henry followed up with two hammerfists before being pulled off by the referee. The packed arena of 2,500 fans went bananas approval as Henry leaped onto the ropes with “kid-at-Christmas” hysteria. Victor Henry was awarded the win via KO at 21 seconds of the first round.

170 lbs. – Johnny Batres (Team Fubar) vs. Eddie Jackson (Legends MMA)

Coming out to Redman’s “Time 4 Sum Akshun,” Eddie Jackson could not have been more ready to get busy. This was the second match of the first round of a four-man welterweight tournament.

Round one started out like two bulls clashing, as Batres charged Jackson with full force. Jackson vied for control with a Muay Thai clinch and knees, but the two threw each other around the ring, both deadset on gaining the upper hand. Batres eventually forced a takedown, but Jackson escaped deftly, ending up with a standing front headlock in the corner. Batres continued to try and force the takedown, coming very close several times, but Jackson remained notably composed and unfettered.

Trainer Jimmie Romero said “I was yelling at him to rest there, because when you’re up on the corner like that, it’s all the other guy’s energy. Eddie didn’t want to try for the guillotine, because he couldn’t have slipped it in fast enough. It was better to let that guy expend his energy.”

Eddie Jackson kept control of his opponent throughout the match.

Eddie Jackson kept control of his opponent throughout the match.

In round two, Jackson stunned Batres with an overhand right. Shortly thereafter, Jackson was on the receiving end of a groin shot that briefly stopped the action.

Upon the restart, Batres charged again, but Jackson deftly matador-stepped to the side. They ended up in the same corner position as in round one, but Jackson powered Batres to the ground, keeping the front headlock. Batres continued to strive for a single-leg takedown, but Jackson kept the front headlock, peppering body shots. The referee stopped the action and penalized Batres for holding the ropes. Again, Batres charged at the restart, only to rendezvous with a locomotive right hand to the face. Jackson went on to ground-and-pound on Batres to the end of the round.

Batres’ strategy finally caught up with him in round three, when, charging once again, Jackson delivered another right to the face. Batres dropped, followed by a pouncing Jackson, followed by a referee who pulled Jackson off for the TKO win at 0:08 of the third round.

Analyzing his fight, Jackson commented “he didn’t want to stand toe to toe and swing the hands. He figured by trying to keep me in the corner and go for the takedown, he was safer. I tried to get him off, but he was just bulldozing, so when he took me down, I just kicked him off me. Them wrestling classes are paying off at the gym!”

Jimmie Romero took particular pride in Jackson’s match, saying “I was real happy with his performance. He even used a butterfly sweep like I showed him two months ago.”

Jackson is expected to meet Joshua Morgan (CTKD) in the next tournament round. Morgan beat Michael Ryan McNamara (Nation Kennel) by split decision.

Christian Palencia was all business at Tuff-N-Uff

Christian Palencia was all business at Tuff-N-Uff

155 lbs. – Chaz Mulkey (Warrior Training) vs. Christian Palencia (Legends MMA)

This was the final match in the first round of an eight-man lightweight tournament.

Round one saw Palencia chasing Mulkey before getting the clinch and taking him down for top position. Mulkey was able to get to his feet, but Palencia slapped on a guillotine and forced him to the ground, quickly getting the tapout from top position at 1:09 of the first round.

Romero commented “after his teammates’ fights, it really pumped Christian up backstage. It was pretty impressive. He was calm, but he was ready to do business. We didn’t think he was going to get that submission off him, but it was just there, and it’s kinda hard not to take it when it’s just there like that.”

On the night in general, Jackson summarized “we cleaned house. Victor set the bar real high with that knockout, so when I came out, I knew I had to come with it. And Christian’s jiu-jitsu game is crazy, so you can’t be mad at that.”

Chris Brady was also scheduled to fight on this show, but due to injury, was forced to withdraw from competition and instead corner.

“I’ve never really gotten to corner guys and get them ready for fights, because I’m always fighting. So it’s good to get in the other position and support guys, instead of being the focus. It’s all about y’all. It’s important to do that and humble yourself, because now it’s got me hungry,” he commented.

Tuff-N-Uff amateur MMA action returns to the Orleans Casino & Hotel on March 27th. Legends MMA representatives will be announced shortly.