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Chip off the Couture block

Son of legendary UFC champ scores solid win in second amateur bout

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Andy Samuelson

Ryan Couture, (second left) the son of legendary mixed martial artist Randy Couture, poses with his Xtreme Couture teammates after Ryan’s victory over Art Martinez in the main event of Tuff-N-Uff show at The Orleans on Feb. 15, 2009.

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UFC interim heavyweight champ Frank Mir gives instruction to Joe Tussing during his fight against Odis Ruiz.

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UFC legend Randy Couture gives advice to Nick Fekete, who defeated Shawn Frye at The Orleans.

Future Stars of MMA

  • 155 lbs:Ryan Couture (Xtreme Couture) def. Art Martinez (Team Fubar) via submission (rear-naked choke) :28, Round Two
  • 185: Truett Anderson (Warrior) def. Chance Torres (Xtreme Couture) via unanimous decision
  • Hvywt: Nick Fekete (Xtreme Couture) def. Shawn Frye (Team Asylum) via submission (rear-naked choke) :37, Round Three
  • 170: Kenny Marazolla (Warrior/Xtreme Couture) def. Ernesto Martinez (W.C.F. Academy) via strikes (punch) :26, Round One
  • 170: Bill Cooper (Paragon MMA) def. Tommy Phelps (Severn) via submission (rear-naked choke) 1:48, Round One
  • 155: Christian Palencia (Legends) def. Chaz Mulkey (Warrior) via submission (guillotine choke) 1:08, Round One
  • 155: Odis Ruiz (Filipino MMA) def. Joe Tussing (Striking Unlimited) via unanimous decision
  • 130: Sarah Weeks (Aldwood MMA) def. Kandice Gibson (Hahn’s Martial Arts) via strikes (punches) 1:39, Round One
  • 135 Junior Gomez (Team Fubar) def. Jared Jensen (Damage Inc) via strikes (punches) 1:41, Round Two
  • 170: Eddie Jackson (Legends) def. Johnny Batres (Team Fubar) via strikes (punch) :08, Round Three
  • 170: Joshua Morgan (CTKD) def. Michael Ryan McNamara (Nation Kennel) via split decision
  • 155: Justin Ford (Hahn’s Martial Arts) def. David Cabico (Freestyle MMA) via submission (D'arce choke) 1:05, Round One
  • 155: Rich St. Claire (Warrior) def. Eric Bosely (Throwdown/Mica) via strikes (kick) :12, Round One
  • 145: Victor Henry (Legends) def. Wayne Wrath (Nation Kenpo/The Pit) via strikes (kick) :21, Round One
  • 135: Jamie Hernandez (W.C.F. Academy) def. Billy Bull (Striking Unlimited) via unanimous decision

Like father, like son … but not quite.

Obviously it’s a bit premature to lump Ryan Couture into the same sentence in terms of mixed martial arts skills as his legendary father, Randy Couture.

But Sunday night the younger Couture impressed in the main event of the TUFF-N-UFF Amateur Fighting Championship, choking out Art Martinez 28 seconds into the second round of the final bout of a 15-match show that 1,500 fans watched at The Orleans.

“It felt great to get back out there,” said a smiling Ryan Couture, who improved to 2-0 in his amateur career with the victory in the 155-pound weight class. “I was a lot more relaxed all the way through this time. It really helped that I knew what to expect.

“Even right up to touching gloves and fighting, I felt calm. The nerves only kicked in a bit when I was waiting backstage.”

Those feelings might have changed for a few seconds in the first round as Martinez swung away with power punches.

“He didn’t hit me with anything that really hurt,” Couture said. “He was aggressive and the punches were wild, but I knew they had something behind them. I blocked most of them, but a couple of them snuck in.”

Shortly thereafter, Couture became the one on the offensive and secured a well-placed triangle hold.

A violent slam of Couture by Martinez didn’t break the hold, and instead tightened even more. But the bell probably saved him from what looked to be a pending submission.

“I was kind of surprised that I didn’t get him to tap, because it was pretty tight,” Couture said. “But he did a good job of staying composed, not panicking and sticking it out.”

That was until the second period.

The California native again came out throwing big shots, punches and knees.

While Martinez missed his mark, Couture did not this time.

He quickly positioned himself on top of Martinez and proceeded to lock in the rear-naked choke for the victory.

“I think it’s the next step, the second fight,” said the 26-year-old Couture, whose father and stepmother, Kim, watched ringside.

“I learned a little bit more in what I need to do to get better at and can keep improving on the things I did well tonight.”

Former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champ Randy Couture said he thought his son looked solid in the showcase match.

“I was excited. He was so calm and relaxed back there that I wasn’t worried about him at all,” said Couture, who was watching his son in a sanctioned fight for the first time as he was unable to attend Ryan’s debut victory in Washington this past November.

“I’ve seen him in training this whole camp and he’s been doing some terrific things.”

While Randy said it’s always harder to watch someone you care about fight, than fighting yourself, he said both his son and wife have done a great job handling some extremely high expectations.

“I feel bad sometimes because my wife and Ryan both elevated into all this stuff right away, which a lot of other fighters don’t have to deal with simply because they are dragging around this same last name that I have,” Couture said with a chuckle.

“But they both seem to deal with it well and take it all in stride.”

That’s exactly what Ryan said he plans to do with his latest success.

“I have plenty of tough pros to gauge myself against in practice and I think when the time is right (to turn pro), I’ll know it,” said Ryan, who said he’s looking to fight in March at his friend’s gym in Bellingham, Wash., and then back to Las Vegas for a bout in the summer.

It was a big night all around for team Xtreme Couture, which saw three of its four fighters win matches Sunday.

Nick Fekete, who wrestled at Michigan State at the same time as UFC champ Rashad Evans and Gray Maynard, won his heavyweight bout against Shawn Frye with a third-round rear-naked choke.

Kenny Marazolla, who also trains at Couture easily took care of Ernest Martinez with a first round knockout.

The success from the team members who wear his namesake on their shorts came as no surprise to Randy Couture.

“We’ve got a great crew,” he said. “From our coaching staff, strength and conditioning guys, pros and all the way down the line to the amateur team, it’s a great bunch of guys.

“We check our egos at the door and have a lot of fun beating each other up on a daily basis. I think the guys thrive off of each other.”

Another local team, Warrior Training, also enjoyed success at Sunday show filled with smoky entrances and laser lights.

No one more than Rich St. Claire, whose highlight-reel spin kick in the first round made quick work of Eric Bosely, who was out cold and unfortunately suffered a broken jaw.

The only female fight on the card featured Sarah Weeks punching her way to a first-round victory over Kandice Gibson.

Tuff-N-Uff president Barry Meyer said he was pleased with how the first round of the amateur tournament turned out.

“I think it was a complete success. Every show we put on we keep learning and improving,” said Meyer, whose second show in the series will take place on March 27th, with the championship round coming in April.

“Everything from the packed ballroom, to lasers and entrances, down to the quality of matches turned out perfect.”

Andy Samuelson can be reached at [email protected] or 702-948-7837.

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