Taylor Stratford, Edmond Xhelili Capture Tuff-N-Uff TitlesLeading amateur promotion Tuff-N-Uff held its third event of 2011 Saturday night at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the main event, Edmond “The Albanian Assassin” Xhelili avenged his lone loss by defeating Jason Richey for the Tuff-N-Uff Middleweight Championship.

Tuff-N-Uff’s inaugural 145-pound women’s champion was also crowned as Reno, Nevada’s Taylor “No Mercy” Stratford impressively submitted Ashlee “The Terminator” Evans-Smith. The victory was Stratford’s second in eight days, as she earned an Ultimate Reno Combat title last weekend.


Xhelili and Richey first squared off last August in a razor-thin bout for Strikeforce, with Richey taking a close decision victory. Friday’s Tuff-N-Uff headliner was another competitive bout, but this time the Throwdown Elite prospect was able to defeat Arizona Muay Thai’s Richey.

Xhelili dropped Richey with a flurry of punches early on, but Richey recovered and tried for a takedown. Xhelili reversed and worked for a takedown of his own, but wound up on the bottom. Richey stood over him and landed hard punches. Xhelili kicked Richey off, but inadvertently struck him in the groin and time was called. The fight soon resumed and both fighters landed kicks. Xhelili scored with a right hook and sprawled out of a takedown before the end of the close round.

Richey tried to take the fight to the mat in the second round, but Xhelili defended and took Richey’s back. He tried for a Kimura from the side and then moved to mount. A scramble ensued on the ground and the fighters returned to their feet. Xhelili landed punches and a leg kick, then sprawled out of a takedown. He stood and landed some solid punches in the final seconds.

Round three began slowly with an exchange of kicks and Xhelili defended a takedown. He began to put together punch-kick combinations, but came up short with his strikes as Richey circled away. Xhelili sprawled out of another takedown and landed punches, then stood and kicked at Richey’s legs. Richey was stood up and Xhelili countered a late takedown before the bell with punches.

After three, hard-fought 3:00 rounds, all three judges sided with Xhelili, who captured the Tuff-N-Uff Middleweight Championship with the win. After the fight, he expressed a desire to turn pro soon.


Earning her second straight win since suffering a tough defeat to Olympic judoka Ronda Rousey, Stratford began her title bout with Evans-Smith very aggressively and nearly finished the fight with a barrage of punches and knees early in the first round.

After a quick touch of gloves, Stratford rushed forward and scored with hard punches. Evans-Smith was forced to retreat and more punches landed for Stratford, who secured a Thai clinch and fired knees to the body. Evans-Smith weathered the storm and clinched. The fighters soon separated and exchanged punches. Stratford followed with a knee to the body and a combination, then defended a takedown. Evans-Smith kept Stratford up against the cage and both fighters landed knees before the bell.

Round two opened with a combination from Stratford, who sprawled out of a takedown. Evans-Smith took the fight to the cage again, but Stratford reversed a takedown and locked on a quick rear-naked choke on the ground. Evans-Smith tapped out, giving Stratford the title win at 1:01 of round two.


Quick finishes highlighted the evening, as 10 of the 16 fights on the card ended in the first round. Of those, five ended in less than one minute.

Throwdown Elite’s Matt “The Sleeper” Church picked up the unofficial Knockout of the Night award by dispatching of highly-touted 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu Riverside prospect Trace “Midnight” Gray. Church needed just 22 seconds to finish Gray, who met his demise after a right hook to the temple and follow-up punches on the ground.

Tuff-N-Uff mainstay Troy Remer needed even less time to submit Jino “Blaze” Martinez. Remer, fighting out of Xtreme Couture, dropped Martinez with three straight right hands to open the fight. He dove in with more punches on the ground and Martinez tried to roll to his side. Remer took advantage by securing a rear-naked choke for the tap at 21 seconds of the opening round.

Wand Fight Team’s Ben “The Drill” Sergent made a successful Tuff-N-Uff debut, as he submitted Howard Schmitz in impressive fashion late in the first round. Sergent dropped Schmitz right away, then pulled guard with an arm-in guillotine choke. A bloodied Schmitz escaped and punched from the top, but Sergent worked for an armbar. He eventually secured the hold and bent Schmitz’s arm back at a gruesome angle until Schmitz tapped out at the 1:49 mark.

Milan Zerjal also impressed in his third fight in just over one month. The jiu-jitsu expert needed just 1:43 to submit Felony Fighter’s Justin Calhoun with an armbar. The fighters traded punches early on and Zerjal dragged Calhoun to the mat. He worked from the top in Calhoun’s half-guard, then spun into the armbar. Calhoun attempted to fight it off, but was forced to submit.


Other quick finishes saw Team Quest Redding’s Shane Larsen submit Cascao Jiu-Jitsu’s Ray Buckner with a triangle choke in just 38 seconds, while Khalil “The War Horse” Roundtree of Wand Fight Team needed only 21 seconds to finish ultra late-replacement Travis Jelmyer by technical knockout. In a super heavyweight bout earlier in the evening, Carl Posma stopped Juan Chavarin with punches in 12 seconds; the fastest finish of the night.

Friday’s card also featured a “celebrity title match” between Aaron “Hebrew Hammer” Teweles – also known as Aaron Tru – and Lee Honish. The bout was not received well by the crowd in attendance, as both fighters fatigued quickly and Teweles twice fell on the ground after missing with wild haymakers. After three 2:00 rounds, Teweles’s takedowns were enough and he was awarded a Unanimous Decision in a fight that was openly mocked by the in-cage announcer at its conclusion.


Tuff-N-Uff: “Future Stars of MMA” Results:

– Edmond Xhelili defeated Jason Richey by Unanimous Decision after three 3:00 rounds.
– Aaron Teweles defeated Lee Honish by Unanimous Decision after three 2:00 rounds.
– Taylor Stratford defeated Ashlee Evans-Smith by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 1:01 of round 2.
– Rudy Morales defeated Eric Center by Unanimous Decision after three 2:00 rounds.
– Matt Church defeated Trace Gray by KO (Punches) at 0:22 of round 1.
– Troy Remer defeated Jino Martinez by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 0:21 of round 1.
– Ben Sergent defeated Howard Schmitz by Submission (Armbar) at 1:49 of round 1.
– Carlo Junio defeated Jerome Ataman by Split Decision after three 2:00 rounds.
– Shane Larsen defeated Ray Buckner by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 0:38 of round 1.
– Khalil Roundtree defeated Travis Jelmyer by TKO (Punches) at 0:21 of round 1.
– Milan Zerjal defeated Justin Calhoun by Submission (Armbar) at 1:43 of round 1.
– Kenny Fruend defeated Dustin Barks by TKO (Punches) at 1:44 of round 1.
– Carl Posma defeated Juan Chavarin by TKO (Punches) at 0:12 of round 1.
– Fabricio Barbosa defeated Ricardo Martinez by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 1:24 of round 1.
– Brian Bashant defeated Christian Rogers by TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at 1:38 of round 1.
– Shane Benbow defeated Javier Guzman by Unanimous Decision after three 2:00 rounds.