By Teri Nehrenz
Saturday, Aug. 11, was an exciting night as Barry Meyers’ world famous Tuff-n-Uff and the CasaBlanca Resort brought the future starts of MMA and Mayhem XV to Mesquite fight fans that, in turn, battled the elements to be there.
The night began as any other with fighters and fans from California, Nevada, Utah, Florida and Mexico packing in and around the cage that would be the center of attention all evening long. The tent was three quarters full when the skies opened up, down came the rain and the fans poured in; soaking wet but ready for some action.
Eighteen MMA fighters were on the ticket with half of them making their debut at Mayhem XV, the Randy Anderson Band came in out of the rain to sing the national anthem and the fights began.
In the first bout, Andrew Bonifaz, an independent out of Las Vegas and making his debut, faced off against Hyrum LaBaron fighting for Fusion MMA out of St. George, who was also making his debut. The two beginners were only 1.2 minutes into the first round when the referee called the fight due to Bonifaz dislocating his shoulder after throwing a punch that LaBaron was no doubt glad missed his face. LaBaron was proclaimed the winner and began his amateur career with a TKO to his credit.
Bout two also had a pair of fighters making their debuts. Steve Turner, fighting out of TMT in Las Vegas, shook hands with Rashard Lee Thomas, fighting out of Rebel MMA also in Las Vegas, and went three full rounds before the bell rang its last and the referee announced Turner the winner by unanimous decision.
Another pair of fighters making their debut in the third bout gave the crowd three, almost full, rounds before Christian Hermosillo fighting out of Entram Gym in Tijuana, Mexico, tapped out to Feliz Gonzales, an independent out of Las Vegas.
The fourth bout wasn’t so long and it was only 1.9 minutes into the first round when Desmond Manabat, fighting out of Las Vegas Krave, tapped out to Keith Hale, an independent from Las Vegas.
Bout five was shorter yet when 7 seconds after the first bell Dustin Drake, fighting for Team Damarsh out of Las Vegas, knocked out Arious Caudell, fighting for Ground Zero MMA out of Jacksonville, Florida. Both fighters made their debuts at Mayhem XV but it only took a “one-two punch” for Drake to claim the victory.
Bouts six, seven and eight went the full three rounds with Alek Aragon, fighting for Xtreme Couture, claiming victory, by unanimous decision, over Quinton Seui fighting for 9th Isle BJJ, in bout six; both fighters were from Las Vegas.
Heavyweight E. J. Diaz from Redemption Fight Team in Las Vegas also claimed a unanimous decision victory over his opponent Mark Dubovoy from Team Dubovoy out of Sarasota, Florida. In bout seven.
judges were split on their decision in the eight but decided that Jameson Belleus, fighting out of TMT in Las Vegas beat Quincy Havis who fought for Rebel MMA also located in Las Vegas.