Local heavyweights fight for Randy Couture belt at Tuff-N-Uff

For MMA fans wanting to get their fix before Saturday’s UFC 132 event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas-based amateur promotion Tuff-N-Uff is holding their second straight card at the Cox Pavilion tonight at 7 p.m.

The main event features a pair of Nevadans as Carl Postma and Brandon Browning square off for the inaugural Randy Couture Tuff-N-Uff heavyweight championship. The UFC Hall of Famer will be in attendance.

Both are former high school football standouts, with the 36-year-old Postma enjoying success at the collegiate level when he played for the University of Nevada, Reno from 1993-95 as a defensive end.

“I kind of got bored with the whole weight-lifting and working out routine after football,” said Postma, who grew up in the small town of Overton, just outside of Lake Mead.

“I decided to switch things up a bit and took a Jiu-Jitsu class, and really enjoyed it and was good at it. So things kept going from there.”

A construction contractor by trade, Postma is undefeated in a handful of Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, but has only one MMA fight on his resume.

“To have just one fight and be the headliner in the Cox Pavilion and fighting for such a prestigious belt is quite the opportunity,” Postma said. “I fill honored and privileged. It’s pretty exciting.”

The 22-year-old Browning was an All-Conference football player at Basic high and a solid wrestler who qualified for the state tournament his senior year.

Browning, who attends College of Southern Nevada, was also looking to feed his competitive edge after football when a couple of wrestling buddies asked him if he’d be interested in training in MMA as well.

Two years ago he accepted their offer and now trains at Team Tompkins, the gym of UFC trainer Shawn Tompkins.

“Obviously I had a solid wrestling base, but I really feel like the guys from the gym made me pretty well-rounded. We got some guys in there that are solid kickboxers and strong at Jiu-Jitsu, and then a couple of big guys who just like to slug it out,” says Browning, who says despite losing two of his three amateur fights could see himself turning pro someday.

Tuff-N-Uff — which debuted in Las Vegas when founder Barry Meyer partnered with the Orleans for the promotion’s first show in 2003 — recently partnered with Justice Entertainment Group and moved the promotion from the smaller ballroom setup inside the Orleans to the larger Cox Pavilion, a 78,300 square foot, multi-purpose venue connected to the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus.

JEG president Daren Libonati said tonight’s event will feature a special tribute to Couture before the main event — an honor the UFC legend says he holds near and dear.

“My son and other amateur fighters have gone through and developed their skills in the Tuff-N-Uff amateur series with their aspirations to become professionals similar to myself,” said Couture, whose son Ryan Couture competed in several of the promotion’s shows before turning pro last August.

Tickets, which range from $23-55, are still available and can be purchased by visiting UNLVTickets.com or TUFFNUFF.com or at the Thomas & Mack Center box office.