Tachi Palace Fights will have a new, battle-tested 135-pounder come June. | Photo: Jeff Sherwood
When the UFC needs fresh talent on the low end of the scale, it’s no secret that one of the first places they look is Tachi Palace Fights.
In the two and a half years since its inception, the Lemoore, Calif.-based spiritual successor to World Extreme Cagefighting has served as an Octagon springboard for multiple high-level prospects, including No. 1 flyweight Ian McCall and bantamweight up-and-comer Michael McDonald, former Tachi champions both.
But where does the talent supplier turn for their supply of talent? As it turns out, Indiana.
Next month, Indianapolis’ Legends of Fighting organization will launch an eight-man tournament at 135 pounds, set to play out across three events. The prize: a Tachi contract which would ostensibly place its winner only a fight or two away from the big show.
“I work closely with Mike Camp, who match-makes for Legends. He keeps me informed on some of the best talent in the lower weight classes in the Midwest,” Tachi Palace Entertainment Coordinator Jeremy Luchau tells Sherdog.com. “When Mike approached us with this idea, it sounded like just the type of things we are looking to do to continue to grow Tachi Palace Fights and give fighters from around the country opportunities to get to the next level.”
All four tournament quarterfinals and one alternate bout are slated for LOF 51 “Little Giants,” which takes place Feb. 10 at Legends’ home base, the 8 Seconds Saloon in Indianapolis. Among the tourney pairings is an intriguing matchup which pits Roufusport standout “King” Chico Camus against fast-rising 21-year-old Daniel Aguirre of Illinois.
Founded in 2005, Legends of Fighting has itself produced a number of UFC signees: Sean McCorkle, who co-headlines the Feb. 10 event in a heavyweight bout against Mike “The Demon” Williams, began his career with the company, as did Dave Herman and Paul Bradley. It’s part of the reason Luchau expects the bantamweight tournament winner to be a true talent, ready to be put up against the next level of competition.
“Whoever wins the Legends tournament and comes over to Tachi Palace Fights will be battle-tested and then put to the fire here,” he says.
Legends’ bantamweight tournament semifinals are set for LOF 52 on April 13, with the final round expected in June.