Must dos this weekend in Vegas: Jan. 14 – 18, 2015

Attention MMA, WBC and WWE fans…get ready to rumble! A high stakes weekend in Vegas lingers on the horizon in the worlds of mixed martial arts, boxing and wrestling. Some truly powerful athletes (the kind of guys you wouldn’t want to get into a bar brawl with) will clash on Saturday in many of the city’s arenas and showrooms. If you’re the kind of visitor who isn’t clamoring for confrontation but prefers partying instead, have no fear. There’s a hot new restaurant/bar to take a swig at, some cool concerts to attend and other Sin City fun in store for you.

Tom's Urban is known for playful handcrafted cocktails (left) and dishes like the Hangover Slopper (right)

Tom's Urban is known for handcrafted cocktails (left) and dishes like the Hangover Slopper (right).

Get a taste of Vegas’ hip dining scene at Tom’s Urban

Sure to be a standout on the Las Vegas Strip, Tom’s Urban officially debuts with a ribbon cutting this morning. Positioned along the Las Vegas Boulevard facade of New York-New York, this trendy eatery is the brainchild of restaurateur Tom Ryan. It will become his third location, as Tom’s Urban is already wildly successful in both Denver and Los Angeles. What’s so great about this place, you ask? Really the question should be what isn’t great? Not only fabulous for socializing and watching sports (hint, hint: this would be a good spot for viewing the NFC and AFC championship football games this weekend), you’ll find scrumptious small and large bites here. How do Xiangxiang crispy duck wings and ginger chicken pot stickers sound? (Neat freaks, be warned: Your fingers will get messy.) Or try one of the handcrafted cocktails, which are served in two sizes – “big” or “Tom” (even bigger). From the Absolute Mule Kick to the Walk of Shame, you’re guaranteed to find something unique to drink. And if you imbibe too much, just come back to Tom’s Urban in the morning and recover with the signature Hangover Slopper meal.

An exterior view of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino (left) and the patio at VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub

An exterior view of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino (left) and the patio at VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub (right).

Celebrate Rio’s 25-year anniversary

Being around for a quarter of a century – now that’s a rare thing when it comes to hotels in Vegas. The off-Strip Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, which has a playful Brazilian theme, hosts the World Series of Poker and is home to the super scary VooDoo Zip Line thrill ride, opened its doors on Jan. 15, 1990. Throughout the month of January you can join in a celebration that’s going to be hot, hot, hot! On Wednesday, Jan. 14 from 4 – 6 p.m., a free anniversary reception will be held at VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub. The event will feature appearances by Rio headliners Penn & Teller, the hunky Chippendales dancers and a newly crowned Rio Rita. Plus, there will be a complimentary champagne toast and you may even nab yourself a piece of cake. If you want to keep the party rolling, return to VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub on Jan. 17, when you can get in for free again as well as order the special Witch Doctor cocktail for $25. Throughout the month of January, silver anniversary beads will also be given out to guests at various locations in the casino.

Both Elton John (left) and the band Styx (right) are performing in Vegas this weekend.

Elton John (left) and the band Styx (right) are performing in Vegas this weekend.

Rock out to the music of Elton John and Styx

Elton John returns to perform in “The Million Dollar Piano” at The Colosseum in Caesars Palace on Jan. 16 – 17 at 7:30 p.m. nightly. This is your first chance to see the British superstar, who always puts on an incredible show, in 2015. Playing an amazing Yamaha piano (with digital effects that are eye-popping), John provides what he calls “a gargantuan feast of music and imagery.” Accompanied by his six-piece band, it really will be a night to remember.

Or head to the Pearl concert venue at the Palms on Jan. 18 to see a legendary rock band. The Chicago group Styx, best known for their albums from the mid 1970s and early ’80s, are performing at 8 p.m. It’s a sure thing you’ll be on your feet (with everyone else), belting out the lyrics to timeless songs like “The Best of Times,” “Lady,” “Too Much Time on My Hands” and “Mr. Roboto.”

Welterweight MMA superstars Jake Shields and Brian Foster (left), and Showtime boxing at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Welterweight MMA superstars Jake Shields and Brian Foster (left), and Showtime boxing at the MGM Grand Garden Arena (right).

Join the fight day frenzy

This coming Saturday is going to be a big day if you’re a mixed martial arts, boxing or wrestling fan in Vegas. And if you happen to be a fan of all three, then you’ve got a major dilemma on your hands.

On Jan. 17 at 3 p.m. in The Axis showroom at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, the MMA World Series of Fighting 17 will take place. It features two of the world’s top welterweight MMA superstars: Jake Shields (30-7-1, 1 NC) of San Francisco, California, and Brian Foster (22-6) of Sallisaw, Oklahoma.

There’ll also be some hard-hitting action over at the MGM Grand in the Grand Garden Arena. WBC Heavyweight World Champion Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) will be defending his title. The Haitian-born boxer will face unbeaten knockout specialist Deontay Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs), who is the last American male boxer to have medaled in the Olympics (he took home a bronze medal in 2008 at Beijing). Doors open at 2 p.m. and fists begin flying at 3 p.m. This bout will be broadcast on Showtime.

Later in the evening Mandalay Bay welcomes the return of the WWE (although staged at the Thomas & Mack Center last August, it hasn’t been held at the Mandalay Events Center for more than two years). Beginning at 7:30 p.m. WWE Superstar favorites – Kane, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, The WWE Divas and many more – will climb into the ring and strut their stuff.

As always, may the best fighters win!


I’m a Las Vegas native. By profession, I write at Mostly about the city’s hotels, but on other topics – gaming and transportation – too. I really love staying at hotels. And the ones here are among the biggest and best in the world. Some key things I’ve learned: Resort fees are inescapable (frustrating but true), a friendly attitude at the front desk may score you a great view and over-the-top room amenities – bath butlers, Japanese tea service, menus with “intimate” items – do exist. What else should you know about me? Well, I’m comfortable at a blackjack table. And I like eating late-night pancakes in hotel coffee shops. A lot. Follow Renee on Google+.