Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010 | 3:32 p.m.
- What: Tuff-N-UFF: Team Quest vs Xtreme Couture
- When: 7:00 p.m. Friday
- Location: The Orleans
- Featured bouts: Chris Holdsworth vs Anthony Gutierrez, 135-pound title fight
- Jimmy Jones (Xtreme Couture) vs Jon Gorton (Team Quest), 145-pound title fight
- 135-pound woman's tournament
- 125-pound woman's tournament
Eleven years ago, mixed martial arts legends Randy Couture and Dan Henderson — along with fellow U.S. World Greco Roman Wrestling Team member Matt Lindland — founded Team Quest Fight Club.
But this Friday, Couture's new fight team, Xtreme Couture, is set to do battle with his old fight team, Henderson's Team Quest, in the Tuff-N-Uff Amateur Fighting Championships at The Orleans.
"There's definitely a lot more pressure," said Steven Egg, manager of the Team Quest amateur fight team. "Dan will be there, Randy will be there, so it's not just about your own personal pride and wanting do well for yourself. Now it's about the team."
Eight of the card's 16 fights are part of the challenge, including a 145-pound title fight between Team Quest's Jon Gorton (4-2) and Xtreme Couture's defending champion Jimmy Jones (8-3).
As one of Xtreme Couture's first recruits, the 23-year-old Jones is a fitting representative for his team.
Jones went to the grand opening of Xtreme Couture in 2007 simply to get an autograph from his favorite fighter. Instead, he ended up with a fighting career.
"I had never done any type of wrestling or boxing or anything like that; I just came down to get Randy's autograph." Jones said. "I actually got talking to him a little bit and he convinced me to sign up."
Jones made his debut a year later but found he had a lot to learn, beginning his amateur career with three straight losses.
"The first guy I fought was actually a two-time Division I champion wrestler in college," Jones said. "Every round, he just picked me up and slammed me down and threw me around. But the thing I got out of that was he couldn't finish me. All three of my losses ended in decision."
After reassessing his approach, Jones bounced back by wining his next eight fights and two championship titles in the process.
"I would always go into my fights angry or upset, purposefully trying to get that momentum going," Jones said. "But that wasn't for me. Once I started having a good time and getting into it is when I started winning."
His maturation has paralleled the development of Xtreme Couture, which Jones says is a lot more crowded than when he first signed up.
Now he wants to help prove that Couture's new gym is better than his old gym.
"Any time you put one gym against another, there's always that factor of putting on a good show so you can prove to people that your gym is the real deal," Jones said
Despite the competitive nature of the event, both sides insist that their rivalry is a friendly one.
"We have a good friendship between the teams," Egg said. "We'll work out over there, and sometimes they have their guys come our way. There's no animosity between the two teams. We like each other, but we want to see who's the best."
True to its namesake, The Orleans gives visitors a year-round Mardi Gras feeling with a New Orleans French Quarter environment.
Located just a short way from the center of gambling on the Strip, The Orleans offers a collection of attractions that helps to draw in a mix of locals and visitors.
In addition to the 1,885 hotel rooms and 134,000-square foot casino, the property has a 70-lane bowling center, an 18-screen movie theater, an 850-seat showroom and a 9,500-seat arena, home to the Las Vegas Wranglers hockey team.
The hotel also has 14 dining options, including Canal Street, The Prime Rib Loft, Koji Sushi Bar & China Bistro and Big Al’s Oyster Bar.