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ARCHIVED STORY SPRING 2013
AMMO fighter Tugman to fight in Rhode Island on June 7
By Brian Woodman Jr.
Thirty-three-year-old Blair Tugman (5-4) of Branford, whose career includes competing in Bellator and the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) Submission Wrestling World Championship, will be fighting Andre Soukhamthath (4-1) at the Twin Rivers Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island on June 7. Although CES (Classic Entertainment and Sports), will be presenting that evening's event, the Glastonbury-based MMA organization AMMO Fight League will also participate.
More information on CES, which also promotes boxing, may be found at
"This will be my first fight with AMMO as a sponsor," said Tugman, who currently fights at 135 pounds and trains at Ultimate MMA in North Haven. "I competed in their very first grappling tournament and won my weight division and the absolute division. Bill Idol (the promoter) is a good guy and is doing great things with the AMMO grappling league. I know that it will continue to grow. I will be wearing an AMMO walk out t-shirt for this fight."
Tugman, who describes his core form as wrestling, said he did not begin his MMA career in amateur bouts. He made the transition directly from Division I Freestyle Wrestling in college into professional fights with organizations that include Bellator.
"I have been wrestling since I was eight years old," he said. "I was a three-time New Jersey High School State Place Finisher(fifth, third, fourth), four-time New Jersey Freestyle State Champion, AAU Freestyle Grand National Champion and a D1 wrestler at Lock Haven University."
He has since branched out into Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Kickboxing and Boxing. He earned his BJJ black belt under Andrew Calandrelli, who earned his black belt under Marcelo Garcia.
Tugman competed in the 2007 ADCC mixed grappling event, which was held in Trenton, New Jersey. Tugman, who competed in the 66 kilogram division, lost to Bruno Chavez in the first bracket of rounds held during the 16-man tournament for that weight class. The event also included divisions for other weight classes for both men and women, during which Garcia came in first place for the 77 kilogram division (complete results are available at http://www.adcombat.com/adcc-2007-results).
"He (Calandrelli) is one of the top grapplers and fighters in the world and I am lucky to have him as a coach," said Tugman. "He is a huge 155 pound fighter and is currently 2-0 in Bellator with two submissions. I know he is capable of big things and love watching his rise to the top."
He also cited UFC vets Randy Couture and Wanderlei Silva as two fighters that he enjoys watching.
"I liked watching Randy because he had a wrestling background and utilized his skill set to win some of the biggest fights in UFC history," said Tugman. "I like Wanderlei for his aggressive and fierce striking style."
He described his previous fights in BODOG, Bellator, CES, RIE, Battle Cage, ICE fighting and Extreme Challenge as character builders.
"I have lost some tough decisions," he said. "I have fought in some pretty big shows. I fought in BODOG fight league my 2nd fight (against Dan "the caveman" Hawley). At the time BODOG was one of the biggest fight organizations in the world under the UFC."
Tugman won by decision against Hawley, according to information available online.
"I lost a decision that I thought I won," Tugman reflected. "But I learned from that experience. I learned that I need to finish fights and not leave anything up to the judges. I had my opportunities to finish that fight but I didn't. I won't make that mistake again."
He also said he would like to drop to 125 pounds, adding that he has fought at 145 and 150.
"I want to win the CES 135 pound title, and then I want to become one of the top 125 pound fighters in the world," he stated.
Shown above: AMMO fighter Bill Tugman who will be fighting Andre Soukhamthath at the Twin Rivers Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island on June 7th. Classic Entertainment and Sports will be presenting the event.
Tugman vs. Soukhamthath
Results from RI
Branford resident Blair Tugman (5-5), whose background includes winning the AMMO Fight League's first mixed grappling event in 2012 for its absolute division and fighting for Bellator, lost by decision to Andre Soukhamthath (5-1) on June 7 at the Twin Rivers Casino in Lincoln. CES (Classic Entertainment and Sports), presented the event.
"I lost the first two rounds and won the third," said Tugman afterward. "I had his back but we were pressed against the cage. I couldn't slip in the choke."
Previously published story below.
Blair Tugman (right) lost by decision to Andre Soukhamthath on June 7 in RI.