While the sport of mixed martial arts is based on a rich history of respect and honor, a little bad blood between rivals can often provide the foundation for an entertaining slugfest.
Tuff-N-Uff – Las Vegas' premier amateur mixed martial arts organization – is banking on that fact when the promotion returns to the Orleans Hotel & Casino's Mardi Gras Ballroom on Saturday, March 12, with the 15-bout event "The Future stars of MMA!."
The night’s main event sees Tuff-N-Uff middleweight champion Edmond Xhelili (4-1) put his title on the line against three-time Rage in the Cage veteran Jason Richey (3-1) in a rematch of an August 2010 affair held at an undercard on Strikeforce. The Edmund had a point deducted in which the challenger claimed a hotly-contested split decision.
Xhelili looks to rebound from the lone loss of his career against the man that handed him the razor-thin defeat. Prior to the loss, Xhelili had reeled-off four-straight wins, all under the Tuff-N-Uff banner. Meanwhile, the once-beaten Arizonan Richey seeks to prove the first result was no fluke. The 25-year-old makes his Tuff-N-Uff debut.
Additionally, the card’s co-main event sees media personalities Aaron Tru (0-0) and Lee Honish (0-0) face-off in a grudge match so intense the two nearly came to blows during February’s official fight announcement.
In Tuff-N-Uff’s first-ever Charity Celebrity Match, Tru and Honish each make their amateur debut with a considerable amount of pride on the line. The two media personalities have both been outspoken during the buildup to this special attraction, and while the pair’s chosen charities will benefit regardless of the outcome, only one fighter will leave the cage with his head held high.
"As a lifelong practitioner of martial arts, I’m a firm believer in the discipline, respect and honor that are inherent to the sport of MMA ," Tuff-N-Uff president Barry Meyer said. "However, there are certain occasions when rivalries brew and the combatants need to settle their difference in the cage.
"Edmond Xhelili and Jason Richey both believe they were victorious in August, and they’ll have a chance to prove who is the better fighter – and with Edmond’s middleweight title belt on the line. Add in the finals of the 8 women female 145lb. tournament, and our March 12 card is guaranteed to deliver fireworks."
In the night’s final featured contest, Tuff-N-Uff’s eight-woman 145-pound tournament concludes with Tay Stratford (6-1) meeting Ashlee Evans-Smith (4-1) for their first-ever 145-pound championship belt on the line.
Both combatants have encountered hurdles along the way, as Stratford advanced to the finals despite a submission loss to Ronda Rousey when the Olympic judoka elected to turn pro, and Evans-Smith was granted passage only after Tori Adams was forced to withdraw from the fight due to personal obligations. Nevertheless, both women are considered top prospects, and the fight promises to be heavy on action.
Tickets for "Tuff-N-Uff: Xhelili vs. Richey," which start at just $25, are available at the Orleans Hotel & Casino's box office or online at OrleansCasino.com and TuffNUff.net.
Fans from around the globe can watch the fights live at GoFightLive.com or TuffNUff.net, while highlights of the action air in more than 47 million homes across the nation on Tuff-N-Uff's weekly series, which airs on SportsSouth and Sun Sports.
In addition to the night's featured matchups, a full lineup of aspiring amateur fighters from some of the world's top academies – including Kings MMA, Striking Unlimited, TapouT, Throwdown, Wand Fight Team and Xtreme Couture – will compete at Tuff-N-Uff's March 12 event.
The full fight card is available for viewing at TuffNUff.net.
Come see the future stars of mixed martial arts.