Heading to the ring for his main event rematch with Justin Greskiewicz at Lion Fight 17 Friday night, Malaipet Sasiprapa, the decision winner of the first encounter, strode easily and confidently. There was one thing for me to wonder coming in, if he was going to knock him out this time. I am not always clear on expectations.
Perhaps it was obvious.
Malaipet didn’t knock him out, though. He came close, for damn sure. A right hand landed in the first round that crumpled Greskiewicz. The punch did its part. Greskiewicz did not. He got up.
Then the body kicks worked themselves in.
The stakes for the fight were dramatized by “the Voice” Michael Schiavello who relayed Malaipet’s comments that following two consecutive losses if he lost three he would complete the final obligation on his Lion Fight contract and retire.
He won. Number 145.
The conversation then is not about retirement. Thank god! I don’t want to write that shit. The conversation isn’t about title contention, either.
He didn’t have much for Pinca past the second round. Kevin Ross paved over him, even in the earlier rounds when he wasn’t just backing up.
The conversation is about Malaipet, about those punishing kicks, about those right hands that can still put fighters down.
He looked good Friday night. There are still a lot of guys he can beat.
Upper level-elite fighters will put him on his back foot and work his defense. That was true years ago.
Come forward, leave space under your elbows and Greskiewicz did, Malaipet will open shop.
The Victor Saravia-Andy Singh was the high watermark of Lion Fight 17, though the Rami Ibrahim-Carlos Lopez and Cyrus Washington-Brett Hlavacek bouts were entertaining. Pedro Gonzalez could continue to win as long as his opponents don’t even try to counter him up the middle.
Saravia can be a contender.
Malaipet was a contender. Now it’s fun to just watch what he has left.
Sometimes it looks like a lot.