MMA Tournament Debuts in Las Vegas

By Dave Mandel Apr 15, 2007
LAS VEGAS, Nevada, April 14 -- The South Point Casino played host to Tuff-N-Uff's second installment of mixed martial arts in Sin City with "Brawl in the Barn."

Originally scheduled to feature the headline bout of Erin Toughill (Pictures) and Megan Baeza, things took a bad turn on Friday afternoon when Baeza failed to be cleared for the fight when her MRI showed indications of an aneurysm.

Not only did a condition of this nature keep her from fighting this weekend, but the prospect of any sort of future MMA career for Baeza is highly unlikely.

With the marquee fight off, the focus of the evening turned to what would be the first Nevada State Athletic Commission-sanctioned MMA tournament.

In the opening four-man lightweight tourney bout -- consisting throughout of three-minute rounds rather than the five-minute stanzas prescribed by the Unified Rules -- Kyle Olsen made short work of Andrew Montanez (Pictures) by securing a toehold just 67 seconds into the first period.

Having been taken down early, Olsen transitioned quickly to grab a hold of the submission and ensure himself a tap, as well as the piece of mind in knowing that he would not have a problem coming in tired for his second fight.

The second match saw Vegas native TJ Brown face off against Tony Fryklund (Pictures)-cornered Lee Gibson. Although Brown did seem to work aggressively from the bottom, Gibson's top game and control of the takedown were the huge factors in him receiving the nod from all three judges at the close of the third round.

Despite going the distance, Gibson didn't really take much in the way of damage, so being prepared for a second fight didn't seem to be much of an issue.

When Olsen and Gibson met in the finals both men looked fresh and ready to go. Olsen scored with some great low kicks as well as the only two submission attempts of the fight. Unfortunately for him, Gibson didn't seem fazed by anything Olsen threw at him.

Like his first fight, Gibson was able to control a takedown and top position with some effective point-scoring ground-and-pound. When the final bell rang, there was little speculation as to which would be awarded the win, as Gibson took a unanimous decision.

The Ultimate Fighter 3 alum Jesse Forbes had a great showing when he submitted undefeated Jesse Taylor (Pictures) by armbar at only 1:21 of the opening round. Battling to stop the takedown for the whole first minute of the fight, Forbes eventually succumbed to his opponent and was put on his back. Quickly isolating Taylor's arm, Forbes slapped on a beautiful armbar that easily earned him the submission-of-the-night accolade.

In what was probably the night's most exciting fight, Ginelle Marquez (Pictures) and Tonya Evinger (Pictures) put it all on the line. It was hard to gauge who was truly winning the striking war as both women landed a lot of punches.

At the close of the second round Marquez locked on a triangle choke that should have finished the fight, but the bell came to Evinger's rescue and the fight went into it's final round. Behind on the scorecards, Tonya had to pull something big out this last round, and she did. At 1:58 in round three, Evinger was able to take Marquez's back and sink in the rear-naked choke for the win.
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