Tuff-N-Uff Returns to Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas Jan. 24

Jamin Tayaba
The new year looks bright for the nation’s premier amateur mixed martial arts promotion, as “Tuff-N-Uff: The Future Stars of MMA” returns to Orleans Hotel and Casino on Jan. 24 (Pictured: Jamin Tayaba)

A pair of championship matchups headlines the card, as flyweight champ Jamin Tayaba (6-4) takes on challenger Junior Gomez (4-7) and lightweight contenders Lenon “Zulu” Ford (3-1-1) and Caleb “The Carrot” Contreras (3-1) battle for Tuff-N-Uff’s vacant lightweight title.

“The loss of my brother, now the chairman emeritus of our promotion, was a tough way to end last year,” Tuff-N-Uff exec and co-founder Jeff Meyer said. “But the Tuff-N-Uff family is determined to carry on Barry’s great work, and I’m excited to kick off a new year and a new chapter in the story of this amazing promotion. We’re going back to work by providing fans with top-notch MMA fighters and by finding the true future stars of MMA.”

The first Tuff-N-Uff fight is at 7 p.m., and doors to the venue open one hour earlier.

Flyweight champ Tayaba looks to defend his belt for the first time after claiming the title with an August victory over Art Nicholas. A UFC Gym product, Tayaba’s third-round win over Nicholas marked his third consecutive knockout win.

Tayaba now meets Gomez, a seven-time Tuff-N-Uff veteran who recently returned from a two-and-a-half year layoff from competition and in November earned a hard-fought split-decision win over Deangelo Yates. Gomez is a Cobra Kai fighter.

The 19-year-old Ford hails from California’s 10th Planet Corona and appears to be one of the brightest prospects in the promotion right now. He’ll look to claim the promotion’s lightweight belt against Contreras, a Syndicate MMA fighter who earned his shot at the belt with an August submission win over Chris Flores.

In addition to the night’s headlining contests, a full lineup of aspiring amateur fighters from some of the world’s top academies – including 10th Planet, Gold’s Gym, Power MMA, Syndicate MMA, Veritas Combat Arts and Xtreme Couture – will compete at Tuff-N-Uff’s Jan. 244 event.

Tickets for the event, which start at just $25, are available at the Orleans Casino box office or by calling (702) 284-7777.

The full fight card is available for viewing at TuffNUff.com.