Friday Fight Night

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click to enlarge Friday Fight Night - Sal Hamaoui
Sal Hamaoui
Friday Fight Night

During this past weekend's UFC 184, Ronda Rousey continued her climb to greatness in the world of mixed martial arts as she ended her women's bantamweight championship match with Cat Zingano in typical fashion — sheer dominance. Rousey's submission of Zingano in 14 seconds was two seconds quicker than her railroading of Alexis Davis in her previous title bout. The fight registered some of the highest ratings in UFC history, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer. Meltzer attributes much of the interest to Rousey's appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue at the beginning of February, while others in the industry say her popularity stems directly from the Mike Tyson-type endings to her fights.

Before Rousey, 28, became a household name in the world of MMA, she got her start somewhere in a different sport — judo. Her illustrious career in the sport was capped by winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Soon thereafter, Rousey began training to enter mixed martial arts. Using judo as her foundation, she has quickly elevated to elite status.

On Friday night, RFC 33 will feature some of the best up-and-coming MMA fighters in Florida as the Real Fighting Championships organization stages a seven-bout event at the Doubletree Hotel on 4500 W. Cypress St. in Tampa. Bradley “Ax Man” Taylor (Fort White, Fla.) faces David Mundell (Clearwater) in the Florida State Welterweight Title bout, the headline match. The event will feature six other Tampa area fighters, including Matthew Frevola, Devin Rodriguez, Michael Miller, Vincent McGuinness, Avery McPhatter, and Luis Zequeira. Taylor, better known for his role in the History Channel's Ax Men, might soon be moving up to the UFC if he continues to dominant the way he has recently. In his latest bout, Taylor (20-9-2) defended his Breakthrough MMA middleweight title last year with a unanimous decision victory over Zach Elkins in the main event of Breakthrough MMA 11 in Daytona Beach. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the first fight beginning at 8 p.m. While tickets are available at the door, event officials suggest purchasing tickets online at or Ticketmaster or by calling 813-964-9818 due to the event's sold-out affairs at previous fights.

click to enlarge Friday Fight Night - Rochelle Valdez
Rochelle Valdez
Friday Fight Night

Meanwhile, SHINE Wrestling will hold another one of its popular happenings when Shine 25 takes place at The Orpheum on Seventh Avenue in Ybor City around the same time as RFC 33. Actually, people might have a chance to catch some of both events due to Shine's start time of 9 p.m. Unlike RFC 33, which takes place in a banquet hall with fights being stage inside a cage, Shine Wrestling gives fans an up-close-and-personal experience. The wrestling ring that is set up on the dance floor at The Orpheum allows patrons an opportunity to witness the athleticism of each fighter — and have them land in your lap if you're lucky. The event features a number of wrestlers who are either seeking to make a name for themselves or veterans who are well-established, like April Hunter. Hunter, who appeared in Playboy in 1999, joined World Championship Wrestling at the turn of the century before working for several professional women's wrestling circuits over the years. A budding entrepreneur and writer, Hunter has recently started making and selling her own line of organic candles, which she sells online and will begin marketing at Saturday morning markets throughout the Tampa Bay region beginning later this month. Hunter will compete at Shine 24 with Su Yang in one match as well as a part of VALKRYIE team consisting of Allysin Kay and Taylor Made. Tickets for the event cost $20 and can either be purchased at the door or online at 

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