With mixed martial arts boring full steam ahead and simply taking the world by storm, it has become more abundantly accessible than ever. It seems as though MMA is just about everywhere these days.
At the highest levels of the sport, promotions broadcast their events across pay per view streams, major television networks, just about anywhere they can find a niche. They provide a great opportunity for fight fans to take in the greatest athletes in the sport on a regular basis.
Yet, even with all the mainstream coverage of the pinnacle of the sport, it is simply amazing to watch the growth of regional MMA as it digs its roots deeper and deeper into the community.
The Cain Velasquez’s and Jose Aldo’s of the world weren't born champions; they were made.
Forged in the fires of regional promotions and smaller venues across the globe, fighters cut their teeth and prepare for the next level.
The UFC and WEC become the quest, the final point of a long hard fought journey that started many years ago under some banner that most may have never heard of.
With that said, fans are starting to realize that their local amateur or regional promotion is akin to college sports, where tomorrow’s stars are on display today. It is an exciting aspect to an already compelling sport.
The point here is that today, for tomorrow's stars of MMA, crucial, career altering steps are being taken towards their aspirations for reaching the top of the sport. Where those steps are taken is very important for the fighter to gauge their talent and learn the ins and outs of this business.
Hands down, without a doubt, if there were one amateur organization for a fighter to test their talents and showcase their skills in the most demanding and competitive environment they could find, Tuff-N-Uff Amateur Fighting Championships is that organization.
The rigid competition and outstanding match making was on display yet again this past Friday night at the Orleans Hotel and Casino as the staff at TNU brought together another amazing night of fights.
Across a fight card totalling 13 fights, the impressive performances were countless, and sadly, not all can be addressed in one event recap. Suffice to say that it was simply as advertised, a memorable night of world class amateur MMA by fighters trained at some of the greatest camps in the world.
Before the event kicked off, there was a matter of deep respect that had to be paid to a young man who recently passed away after a hard fought battle against brain cancer. Tuff-N-Uff honored the late Dylan Wood by toning the ring bell with a 10 count before commencing with the event.
Young Dylan was a beloved asset to the entire Vegas MMA community, and he was and is held with the highest regard as a true warrior who inspired through his battle with a foe who was playing with a stacked deck.
Many vital components to the Vegas MMA community ranging from TNU, Xtreme Couture, It Ain't Chemo, and many fighters stood strong behind this young man, and when he passed, it touched them all deep to their core. The 10 count was a moving aspect to a memorable evening.
This young man and his struggle will never be forgotten amongst those whose lives he touched during his fight. On behalf of Hurtsbad.com, rest easy little man; we are thinking about you.
It was in his honor that this event was set off, and the fighters could not have done his memory more justice than they did when they laid it all on the line for those looking on.
One duo in particular really went to war, trading dominant position and angles only to trade off and regain supremacy time and time again. A true back and forth nail biter was fought between Rick Borden of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu and Lee Henry Lilly of Striking Unlimited.
These warriors really put on a hell of a show, and the crowd was insane watching them mix it up. Borden was on the business end of of some dominating striking but threw a nasty Judo throw to put Lilly down and threaten to submit him, only to see Lilly turn it around on the ground.
In the third, Lilly really reigned supreme with crisp and heavy striking that swayed the fight in his favor. With a dangerous right hand that had found a nice home on Borden’s chin, Lilly solidified his victory and won a split decision for his camp Striking Unlimited.
In the first round between freestyle fighter Kenny Gray and Guillaume Fricheteau of Wand Fight Team, fans were treated to a fast paced first round stoppage that showed Gray attempt to escape a vicious triangle with a powerful slam of his opponent.
Yet Gray only found himself in deeper waters as he tapped to a deep triangle choke by the Wanderlei Silva prospect Fricheteau. It was a gorgeous escape attempt trumped by a filthy triangle choke from which there was no escape. It was both men’s MMA debut.
In the most explosive display of striking all night long, Tolin Garcia lived up to the name of his camp, Striking Unlimited, as he destroyed Shane Franklin of Battlegroundz with a right hook followed up by some academic ground and pound.
Simply put, when Garcia landed that right hook, this fight was over. And a great display of sportsmanship as “The Hawk” as Garcia is known checked in on his downed opponent and they hugged and exchanged well wishes.
Trace Gray of 10th Planet had a right hand of his own for James Lanham of Xtreme Couture getting the TKO with a vicious right and a side of ground and pound ending their fight in the first.
In what was a family affair, Rudy Morales of Knuckle Up won a decision over Carlo Fudolig of Striking Unlimited/Cobra Kai. Other than the fight itself, what really stood out was Morales’ son standing ring side watching with glowing pride as his father went to war; it was quite a sight to say the least. His entire family was wearing the pride of Morales’ win on their sleeve.
In the co-main event, former Playboy Model Latasha Marzolla was unfortunately injured early in her fight with Nikki Rae Lowe. In the opening exchange Marzolla and Lowe went down and Marzolla unfortunately dislocated her elbow.
It was counter climactic to a fight many fans in attendance were really looking forward to between two very game and talented female mixed martial artists. What is most important to remember above anticipation for a fight is fighter safety.
On a side note, one thing worth noting was the walk out song for Nikki Rae Lowe. As she made her way to the ring, three Choctaw Cherokee gentlemen performed a war chant complete with drums and tom tom’s. This MMA reporter has never seen or heard anything like it and will not soon forget it.
In the main event, fight fans got their money’s worth, as Eddie Jackson of Legends MMA took on Joey Angelo of Tapout Training Center for the TNU 170 pound title.
These two just threw hands with reckless abandon as they pounded on one another over and over again. The heavy shots were many, their chins and hearts were on full display. There was not one ounce of give as they relentlessly pursued that cherished MW strap.
At one point, Jackson rocked Angelo only to be taken down immediately and then recover and absorb punishment of his own. That exchange was indicative of what these two warriors brought to the table for fight fans looking on.
Both fighters were very dangerous and extremely well matched for this title. Both guys are bangers and love to mix it up, and that is exactly what they did. They threw punches like there was no tomorrow, and the fans loved it.
In what amounted to open war in the Tuff-N-Uff ring, Eddie Jackson emerged victorious over a very game Joey Angelo by unanimous decision to take the title home to Legends MMA in Hollywood CA.
I'm no matchmaker, but the staff at Tuff-N-Uff would serve their fans well to rematch these cats right away; the fight was that good.
All the fights were top shelf and explosive as mentioned before. No one that knows the reputation of this organization or the stable of fighters they pull from expected anything less. For those that don't know this organization, well, now you know.
Check them out at Tuff-N-Uff.net or at Go Fight Live for more information on the premier amateur fighting organization in the world.
This article originally featured at Hurtsbad.com