For many fight fans in Tucson Arizona it has been far too long since The World Fighting Federation set up shop and brought a venue to its knees. As it turns out the wait was well worth it as the staff of the WFF returned to T-Town in style Saturday night and reminded local MMA fanatics exactly what they had been missing.

Putting on their first event in Tucson since last year, a card stacked with talent was as entertaining as it was explosive. As they often do Thom Ortiz, Brandy Pierce, and the athletes they feature lived up to if not exceeded expectations for a packed house that deafened the ears on more than one occasion.

Sitting cageside and commentating for the WFF was none other than living MMA legendary icon Don The Predator Frye. His presence added to an already electric environment that only a Tucson MMA crowd can bring. The athletes competing really rose to the occasion of fighting in front of a man who defined mixed martial arts long before it was mixed martial arts.

Serving as the spark plug for a volatile show Kyler Phillips of The MMA Lab dominated his way to an armbar opportunity in the second round of the first fight of the evening. Leo Tena showed heart but was unable to answer the attack of the very composed and technical Phillips.

Later a unique story line unfolded. As mentioned before Don Frye was sitting cageside enjoying the competition. His MMA fame started as an open weight tournament competitor fighting as a firefighter out of Sierra Vista Arizona on February 16 1996.

In the third fight of the evening, February 21 2015, Dabin Hanson made his way to the blue corner fighting out of Sierra Vista Arizona looking to improve to 2-0 as an amateur. Nineteen years after Frye won the UFC 8 tournament Hanson stepped into the cage of a regional show fighting out of the same small Arizona town.

The contrast is quite compelling to say the very least. Well suffice to say Hanson devastated his opponent earning a first round TKO stoppage. During his post fight interview he turned to The Predator and spoke directly to him calling him an inspiration and dedicating his victory to the legend who was one of the greatest pioneers this game has ever known.

It was a special moment which could never have never been scripted and could not have been more perfect.

That was followed up by a lighting fast TKO victory by Edwin Louis who must have had a hot date back in his hotel room. He absolutely overwhelmed and smashed his opponent early in the first round spending more time walking out that he spent ending the fight in devastating fashion.

Earning Submission of the Night honors Sam Compton returned to the WFF cage and endured an early barrage from Andre Blake who appeared to have crushing wrestling early in the first. Once Blake realized he could manhandle his opponent in grappling exchanges he became more aggressive which is where Compton really switched gears.

Crafty off his back Compton capitalized on his opponents aggression and threw up a barrage of submission attempts eventually sinking in a debilitating triangle choke that forced Blake to submit. It was yet another impressive and significantly dominant performance by Compton who wasted no time warning the entire division that his time is indeed now.

In what was arguably a fight of the night performance Adam Ortiz and Steven Prior locked horns and engaged in savage combat for three entire rounds. Their cage chemistry resulted in a split decision that quite honestly could have fell on either side of the cage without a doubt.

While the result favored Ortiz it was not the judges score cards which told the true story of the fight. It was truly poetry in motion as each fighter found their moments of strength while grappling and striking their way towards the final bell. It was a back and forth battle which featured all the bitter sweet flavors of MMA.

Ridiculous scrambles, vicious striking exchanges, takedowns, and defense were all the stars across a two man show that had fight fans on their feet and screaming at the top of their lungs.

A split decision went the way of Ortiz but this wasn’t the type of fight where an athlete can place all their faith in a decision. It truly was the journey in this case where two modern day samurai crushed one another and sacrificed everything to entertain their fans. Simply put, mission accomplished.

Later in the evening Kamuela Kirk and Kyle Reyes looked to raise the bar a notch or two in their own fight of the night performance. It was a fight which saw Kirk aggressive and effective early but a fight which saw the composure of Reyes play just slightly better as the fight pressed on.

It was another back and forth affair that resulted in yet another split decision.

The confidence of Kirk was apparent early as he really let the gamesmanship speak for him attacking boldly and aggressively. He brought a style that would have thrown lesser fighters off and he really looked sharp early.

On the other hand Reyes was able to weather that storm and subtly make his mark as the fight went on. Slow and steady won the race as his calm and composed approach remained consistent and began chipping away at the confidence of Kirk.

While Kirk never withered nor gave an inch, the consistency of Reyes proved to be the difference in the eyes of the judges who gave Reyes the nod in a razor thin split decision. It was yet another example of a fight where results, while important, were overshadowed by a spectacular bout between two amazing rising fighters.

In the main event Jose Melendez and Ramon Lopez went to war as well. It was a three round affair which saw Lopez start strong. As the rounds went on though Melendez began to find the scrambles and striking exchanges favor his technique.

When the smoke cleared Melendez emerged victorious over an extremely game Lopez capping off what amounted to a ruthless night of MMA action. It was the cherry on top of a combat arts Sundae and the whole time Don Frye was sitting wide eyed and bushy tailed enjoying some inspirational combat arts action.

Fight fans filled the lobby filing out of the venue and discussion were bubbling like bottles of champagne as this fight and that fight were discussed with great enthusiasm. While every athlete competing in the game desires their place in the ranks of the top promotions of the game one thing is always going to serve true.

Nothing beats hearing thousands of fans buzzing about you, your opponent, and what you accomplished together on a night that defined the future of the sport. All the while you start to realize that future is you.

About The Author

Todd Jackson
Staff Writer

Todd Jackson is a lifelong combat arts fan. MMA in particular has become a passion over the years. As an analyst his write ups have been featured by such websites as ESPN, FOX Sports, and Sports Illustrated over the years. Todd has interviewed world champions and hall of fame fighters. Yet his true inspiration comes in studying the fighter of tomorrow, the rising regional athlete. Todd is also a cageside commentator for an Arizona based promotion which allows him very unique insight into the sport he loves.