The Nevada-based Tuff-N-Uff promotion has helped launch the careers of dozens of MMA greats, including "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey, Jessamyn Duke, Tonya Evinger and Kyra "Mogwai" Batara. Since forming in 1994, Tuff-N-Uff has built the reputation as one of the top feeder leagues for the UFC and Invicta Fighting Championships.
Many of the most recognizable female superstars in combat sports got their start competing in Las Vegas for the legendary Meyer brothers. The latest up-and-coming talent to emerge from the desert -- Syndicate MMA bantamweight sensation Serena "Southpaw" DeJesus -- is well on her way toward a shot at turning pro and potentially fighting inside the world-famous Octagon. On June 17 at Las Vegas' Thomas & Mack Center, DeJesus (5-2) knocked off MMA Gold's Arlene Culbreth, to become Tuff-N-Uff's new women's 135-pound world champion.
It was a historic, electric performance that earned "Southpaw" praise from across the MMA community. "Feels great," DeJesus said of her championship win. "I worked hard for it and got to showcase my growth in front of thousands of people, live in person and all over the world."
With MMA pioneer Roxanne "The Happy Warrior" Modafferi and legendary coach "Big" John Wood in her corner, the Philadelphia native turned in arguably her strongest showing to date. As an amateur who is still developing, "Southpaw" could have taken on a weaker opponent in an attempt to refine her skills and gain more cage time. Instead, she decided to challenge Culbreth -- a well-respected veteran with a wealth of experience.
With the victory, DeJesus proved she can hang with grizzled veterans as well as rising prospects. "I felt it was one of the best performances I had in my life," DeJesus explained to AXS. "I never take the easy fights. Every fight, I know I grow. Thanks to the hard work I've put in with my coaches and teammates, everyone was able to see a different 'Southpaw Outlaw' than ever before."