January 9th, 2009 The Orleans in Las Vegas felt thunder. There was no shortage of mayhem as the future stars of MMA took to the ring during Tuf n Uff’s Amateur Fighting Championships. The 26 men and 10 women rocked the house to its foundation with brutal battles well fought by the warriors who took up the challenge. Top names and permanent fixtures to the sport such as Gina Carano, Frank Muir, Frank Trigg, and Kim Couture were in attendence to watch a great night of fights…and it didn’t disappoint. The male fighters brough their A games. Marcus Balton and John Gettle must be commended for one of the most explosive, electrifying, and quick bouts ever seen in MMA with Gettle walking away with the win via submission. The rest of the men rounded out their places on the card with solid showings. But this night belonged to the ladies.
Five seperate bouts showcased some of the best up and coming young female fighters in the game today. The first fight saw Moa Palmer, a solid 145lbs, take on the fiery Tamara Riley. Palmer used her size and strength to stuff Riley early on. She remained calm on the ground, working from the bottom and eventually maneauvered a submission out of Riley with a variation on a triangle choke.
The next women’s match-up saw Clarissa Calibuso against Sarah Weeks and they brought the fireworks early going to-to-toe and exchanging blows back-and-forth in the first round. Calibuso looked as though she would take an early advantage by capitalizing on a stiff right hook but Weeks battle back with a fury and a flurry of well placed knees and strikes. Calibuso was weathered but not yet beaten as they went into round two where Weeks brought more knees to her opponent, eventually landing one into the floating rib of Calibuso and winning Weeks the match.
Megan Thomas was particularly impressive in her fight against Maria Witt fighting out of the famed Lion’s Den. After touching gloves, Thomas (looking like a mini version of Gina Carano) went right to work with hard blows that dominated Witt early in the first round resulting in a referee stoppage and a decided win for Thomas.
The featured ladies match of the night found its way into the featured match of the night male or female as the men’s final match was scratched. Jessica Halverson fighting out of Team Illusion was ready, willing, and able to take up the challenge.
“I’m not nervous,” she said before the match as she prepared herself in the fighters warm-up room adjacent to the grand ballroom that housed the ring for the night. “I’d like to get a submission but I’m just going to go out there and do my best and take whatever I can get.”
It was a long, grueling 3 rounds as Halverson and her opponent April Penrod felt each other out and then each went in for the kill. Halverson delivered strong strikes and leg kicks that looked to weaken Penrod but Penrod refused to fall or falter. Her steady game wound up edging out Halverson in the end as the judges awarded Penrod the win via split decision.
This was truly a night where “Chicks Kicked Ass.”
Cynthia Vespia has been a writer for over 15 years. She currently lives in Las Vegas, NV home to many fight cards.