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Lion Fight 17 Results

  • Published in Americas

Tonight was another big night for Muay Thai with Lion Fight 17 going down in Connecticut for the second time. This being Lion Fight's second outing to the East Coast they delivered big yet again with yet another solid fight card that proved to be action-packed. Pedro Gonzalez started the card off with a bang by stopping Tim Amorim in round four, while Victor Saravia followed up with a R4 KO of his own. Carlos Lopez took the action to the tough Rami Ibraham, Brett Hlvacek got an upset win over Washington all on the undercard. The two main fights of the night saw Jo Nattawut upset Cosmo Alexandre and Malaipet be Malaipet against Justin Greskiewicz.

Malaipet Sasiprapa (R5 - UD) Justin Greskiewicz
Jo Nattawut (R5 - SD) Cosmo Alexandre
Brett Hlavacek (R5 - MD) Cyrus Washington 
Carlos Lopez (R5 - UD) Rami Ibraham
Victor Saravia (R4 - KO) Andy Singh 
Pedro Gonzalez (R4 - TKO) Tim Amorim 

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Sharing a Six-Pack with Justin Greskiewicz

  • Published in Interviews

8/1/14, Mashantucket Reservation, CT - The night before a fight can be a weird time for a fighter.  Some go into seclusion, turning off their phones and locking themselves in a room.  Some go out to a big dinner with the team or friends and family.  Some just eat, watch movies, visualize and pass out, or try to.  I was lucky enough to catch Justin Greskiewicz, the Purple People Eater, the night before the biggest match-up of his professional Muay Thai career, Malaipet Sasiprapa in the Lion Fight 17 show at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.  

Not wanting to take up too much of his time, especially while he was eating, we shared a quick six questions, and then I let him get back to it:

Okay, the weigh-ins over, the hard work is done, time to eat rest, relax and get ready to have some fun tomorrow... if you have the time it'd be great if you can answer these any way you see fit.

The Arbiter: What makes tomorrow's match-up different or more challenging than previous fight? Do you think it's your toughest?

Justin Greskiewicz: This fight is definitely going to be tough. He keeps talking about how hard he trained and that we're gonna see the old Malaipet again. That will make my victory that much sweeter. This will be one of my toughest fights to date for sure.

T.A.: What are some challenges that you faced in training and teaching/running Stay Fly at the same time?

JG: Training hard for a fight is difficult with my own business to run. I'm pretty much the Lone Ranger running stuff there. Also, I don't really have a coach, but lots of people have helped me out along the way for this fight and so many people have stepped up so I could train hard.

T.A.: How has your training differed from prior fights? Any new wrinkles?

JG: I trained hard for this fight. My last 2 fights I had a tough time finding training, but I still did very well. For this fight, I had the help I needed to get ready to do it.

T.A.: What are the weaknesses in your opponent’s game that you think you can exploit?

JG: Malaipet's biggest weakness has been his conditioning, recently. I think I can exploit that if I really push the pace of the fight. Also, his boxing is not really great, he looks for one big shot at a time, and I'll be looking to take advantage of that.

T.A.: Which part of your game or personality would you say is your most reliable or central to victory tomorrow?

JG: My biggest ally in this fight is my will to win. A win here at Lion Fight would be great for my career, especially against one of the best in the game. I want it bad, and tomorrow I'm gonna take it.

T.A.: And lastly, are there any special combos or techniques we should watch for? Old favorites, new experimental stuff? 

J.G.: I will be looking to mix it up a lot in there tomorrow. You might see a fancy technique or two thrown in, which isn't normally the style that I fight. It should be exciting.

T.A.: Thanks for your time brother, I'll let you get back to your visualizations or Tekken or watching Dolomite, whatever your routine is.

J.G.: Ha-ha! Thanks still stuffing my face…

T.A.: Enjoy, asta manana!

J.G.: Werd up!

T.A.: Thanks again for taking time to answer even a couple if these. Best of health and luck tomorrow, CHOK DEE, BROTHER!!!!

Justin will be fighting Thai Champion Malaipet Sasiprapa tonight as the main event of Lion Fight 17 from the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Casino and Resort tonight.  If you can’t be there live you can catch it on AXS TV, starting at 7:00pm.

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Hungry for Vengeance at Lion Fight 17

  • Published in Muay Thai

Mashantucket Reservation, CT- 8/1/14:  A series of storms rolled up the east coast from the Bahamas up through New England.  Harsh winds and strong rain softened up the surfaces for a big blow from hail much like a series of jabs can set up a strong power punch.  The harsh weather outside reflected what was going on inside the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut.  Lion Fight 17 had brought a thunderstorm of Muay Thai action that few who saw it will forget.  I must say, if you are looking for awesome action, exciting techniques, and awesome aerial displays you don’t need to go to Glory, you can definitely get your fill from the high-class Muay Thai in the Lion Fight Promotions!

This night’s line-up featured some great matches and re-matches, and if you had never seen an actual Lumpini Champion in action live, this was a great opportunity.  Scott Kent and Christine Toledo had brought Malaipet Sasiprapa to the States for a second match-up against Philadelphia’s Justin Greskiewicz.  Also on the card as the co-main event, Brazil’s Cosmo Alexandre was matched-up against Atlanta’s Jo Nattawut.  The professional undercard had great talent in the likes of Brett Hlavacek and Cyrus Washington, Carlos Lopez and Rami Ibrahim, Victor Saravia and Andy Singh, and Tim Amorim versus second time last minute replacement, Pedro Gonzalez.  Even the amateur preliminaries were exciting, entertaining bouts pairing local talent and some tough out-of-towners.  

In the Main Event, a confident and energized Purple People Eater aka Justin Greskiewicz started well, as he came out jabbing, and probing Malaipet’s defense.  Everything was going according to plan until thirty seconds into the fight, when Malaipet countered a probing low kick with a solid overhand right that landed flush on Justin’s temple sending him clattering to the canvas quickly.  Running on auto-pilot at this point, Greskiewicz returned to his feet, wobbled on his rubbery legs, and then pulled himself together in time to beat the count and continue.  The dazed Greskiewicz reverted to his hard-wired programming; advance and attack.  As he came forward, trying to reassert himself and recover the fight if not the round, Malaipet circled and moved around and countered Justin’s punches with hard shin kicks to the ribs and underarms.  Somehow, Justin made it through the first round and back to his corner for a refresher.  The minute rest helped a lot, as Greskiewicz came out back in form for the second.  Although by no means dominant, Justin was more accurate and effective with his boxing.  He landed some hard shots to Malaipet’s head and body, pushing the thickly muscled Thai backwards and into a circling pattern, but not hurting him.  At the same time, Sasiprapa continued to pepper Greskiewicz with hard punches and more kicks to the body.  By the end of the second round, Justin’s latissimus muscles had turned the same dark purple hue of his trunks.  Malaipet had tasted Justin’s power in the first two rounds and seemed to be unimpressed as the third round started.  He began to clown around, sticking out his tongue and shaking his head when hit.  He was baiting Justin to come at him, like holding a fat steak in front of a hungry dog’s eyes.  Undaunted, Greskiewicz advanced, landing a clean 1-2 combination.  Malaipet shrugged it off, again clowning.  Justin pressed forward, closing the distance and trying to land some elbows.  With some smooth footwork, the thick Thai avoided the attack and swept Justin to the ground loudly.  Now behind three rounds and an 8-count, Greskiewicz would have to sell out in the last two stanzas if he was to stake any claim on victory.  He came out of the corner under control but more intense with a more consistent pace.  He had mentioned to me previously that he expected Malaipet’s conditioning to be a weakness in his game, and that he would fade as the rounds went on.  Attacking with good boxing skills and combinations, Greskiewicz managed to cut Malaipet in the corner of his eye.  Malaipet’s reaction to the more oppressive Greskiewicz was stolid, more serious now, with no clowning.  I was briefly reminded of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV when he got cut, or James “the Grim Reaper” Roper in The Great White Hype, taking a good shot as an insult and hitting the switch to really turn his game on.  Going into the final stanza, Justin knew he was behind on the cards, at least 3 rounds to 1 and that pesky early knock-down.  Still under control, knowing that Sasisprapa was looking for that over-aggressive movement to counter hard, Greskiewicz attacked from distance.  He landed a clean high teep to Malaipet’s face, snapping his head back, and giving notice that Justin wasn’t ready to admit defeat just yet.   It seemed as if Justin’s comment about the older Thai’s conditioning was ringing true as Malaipet threw less and less, and defended more and more.  This allowed Justin to rack up points in the round.  However, when Malaipet felt Justin taking too much momentum, he would fire back effectively and not just coast through the round.  The final decision was a Unanimous Decision in favor of the Lumpini Champion, Malaipet Sasiprapa.

In the Co-Main Event, Jo Nattawut took on Cosmo Alexandre in what looked as much like a professional fight in Thailand as almost any fight I’ve seen in the US.  They both took their stances and bouncing rhythms early and began the slow feeling out first round typical of fight in the big stadiums in Thailand.  Once in a while one of the combatants would land a sharp strike, countered equally by the other.  It was the slow steady build up that the true fans of Muay Thai can appreciate, much like the Ram Muay/Wai Kru.  Unfortunately, not everyone in the crowd was an educated fan of Muay Thai.  It was one drunk asshole, who just wanted to see some violence who repeatedly shouted silliness into the ring, things like “kill ‘im”, “rip his fuckin’ head off”, and other lame standards.  Undaunted, and not acknowledging the idiot, the fighters moved on, and in to the second round.  Cosmo seemed to be testing Jo’s power, taking a couple of shots, in order to land a hard on in return.  The pace had picked up a tick, as both fighters used quick punches to set up leg and body kicks, and both countered well when hit.  As the rounds progressed, so did the action and amount of power shots.  More knees from both fighters, more kicks to the head from each marked the passage of time.  In the third and fourth, Cosmo’s Defense First style allowed Jo to dictate the pace and get off clean shots consistently over the two rounds.  Alexandre did take the opportunity to explode in a few well-placed flurries and aerial attacks.  It seemed to me that Nattawut was, however, starting the exchanges and finishing them.  The fifth round was somewhat less than exciting.  A strong throw by Jo early was equalized by one from Cosmo towards the end, with not too much in the middle.  The Split Decision went to Nattawut, 48-47, 47-48, 48-47.

In a very interesting rematch, Cyrus Washington would take on Brett Hlavacek.  Brett had very recently taken Cyrus’ WBC title in a hard-fought battle at Chris Tran’s great Warrior’s Cup promotion in New Jersey.  Although the belt was not up for grabs, a shot at vengeance was.  This type of rematch is often great motivation for the guy who had lost the first.  They often rededicate and refocus themselves, pushing to another level during training.  However, it appeared that Brett had counted on that and trained harder and more effectively than ever before.  Brett came out in the best shape I have ever seen him in, and looked not only confident, as he usually is, but also focused, and serious.  Cyrus came out toned and ready as ever.  At the bell, Cyrus came out swinging for the fences, trying to punish Brett and possibly hurt him early.  Brett, however, was on his defensive game, blocking or evading most of Cyrus’ shots.  In a short clinch, Brett grazed Cyrus’ eyebrow with a rising elbow.  It didn’t land hard and flush, but just enough to open a cut and start a trickle of blood between Cyrus’ eyes.  The fight progressed with an intense pace, with both fighters flashing elbows and power kicks.  At one point, Brett landed an elbow and went to finish the combo with a jumping knee, Cyrus spotted it coming, and stepped around into a safe position and swept the already airborne Brett, flipping him upside down, landing in a heap on the back of his neck.  Brett smiled, picked himself up, and a moment later landed a straight right hand flush to Cyrus’ chin, sending Washington to the mat for an 8 count.  The rounded ended with Brett pinning Cyrus to the ropes and peeking over his shoulder to watch himself on the big screen.  He landed a few lateral knees to Cyrus’ flank then pushed off and landed a nice elbow at the bell.  This caught Cyrus’ attention.  From then on, Cyrus would try to press and push the pace, desperate to even the score and take the victory.  As Cyrus pressed forward, he was stepping into Brett’s range.  Brett used his quick hands and good movement landing some flashy and effective blows, including a teep to the face, some good elbows, and a nice double round-kick going from Cyrus’ body then quickly up to his head.  The fourth round slowed the output a bit, as each man seemed to be resting up for the final showdown.  In that final round, Cyrus’ used a savvy right feint to set up and land a hard left hook to Brett’s head and followed that trying to take the momentum, round and possibly the fight.  Brett tried to smother Cyrus’ attacks, but didn’t go on the offensive in return.  He seemed to be shutting the engines down and relying on the rounds he had banked as well as that knock down.  The decision was one of the only weird ones of the night, as one judge had it 47-47, one 48-46 and the last 48-45 for a majority decision for Hlavacek.

In other notable pro action, Rami Ibrahim suffered a tough loss to the taller, longer, quicker and stronger Carlos Lopez by Unanimous Decision: 49-46, 49-46, 50-44.  An acrobatic aerial attack from Andy Singh was shot down by the grounded, steady approach of Victor Saravia.  Saravia won by TKO in the fourth round.  In his second pro fight, Tim Amorim learned a valuable lesson; don’t sleep on last minute replacements.  The always game Pedro Gonzalez kept up his usual bull-rushing style, driving Tim to the ropes and dropping him with a right hook.  The game Amorim played matador as well as he could, but the ring was not big enough for him to keep a distance.  He was eventually bullied into a TKO loss in the fourth round.

The amateur bouts were exciting and good match-ups, although I would like to see them lose the head-gear and shin pads.  The pro fights were top notch, and the Main Event did not disappoint.  It was a great night that showed not only great Muay Thai technique, but the heart, discipline and character of Thai-boxers that help build the reputation and mystique of our beloved Art of Eight Limbs.  

-CHOK DEE!

Amateur Results:
Jared Tipton def Jose Rivera by UD
Billy Keenan def Chanon Kuldaree by SD
Bryce Lawrence def Stephane Smarth by UD
Nicole Scimeme def Jessica Palencar by UD
Patrick Rivera def Nate King by UD

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Malaipet Dominates at Lion Fight 17, Shows Power Still Left In Body Kicks, Right Hands

  • Published in News

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. 

 

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