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Full Card for Lion Fight 20 on Feb. 20th

  • Published in Muay Thai

February 20th on AXS TV Lion Fight returns with Lion Fight 20. The headliner for Lion Fight 20 features Women's Welterweight Champion Jorina Baars taking on the accomplished Chantal Ughi. The co-main of the night features Chris Mauceri against Sittisak and fan favorite Jason Andrada will take on John Nofer as well. 

Lion Fight Welterweight Championship: Jorina Baars(C) vs Chantal Ughi 
Chris Mauceri vs Sittisak
Jason Andrada vs. John Nofer 
Tom Evans vs. Julio Pena 
Tim Amorim vs. Bryce Lawrence 
Gaston Bolanos vs. Caleb Archer
 

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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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Kevin Ross Talks Signing with Bellator Kickboxing, Freedom of Expression and Always Entertaining

Perhaps the thing that caught my eye the most about the early leaks for the inaugural Bellator Kickboxing card was some of the names included. Sure, Melvin Manhoef makes a lot of sense, considering he’s signed to Bellator for MMA already, but it was the names Denise Kielholtz, Raymond Daniels and Kevin Ross that really caught my eye. All three were stars in other promotions before; Kielholtz in Enfusion Live, Daniels in GLORY and Ross in Lion Fight. While Daniels departing GLORY came as a bit of a shock, Kevin Ross signing with Bellator Kickboxing was the real surprise.

Kevin Ross is perhaps the poster boy for muay thai in the United States, to the point where Ross himself is sort of a meme. Seriously, Ross is sort of a meme for this photo of him bowing, fists extended towards the camera with the words “muay thai” scrawled across his knuckles. Chances are that you’ve seen that photo before, even if you aren’t super into kickboxing or muay thai. Regardless, Ross made his name among hardcore fans as a tough-as-nails American nak muay who wasn’t afraid to fly over to Thailand and scrap with the best of them or to sign on to face top level Thais in his home of California. The list of Thai opponents stretches from Coke Chunhawat to Malaipet, Sagetdao and even, yes, one of the greatest of all time in Saenchai. 

The Famous Photo of Ross
The Famous Photo of Ross

Win, lose or draw (Ross actually has zero draws to his credit) Ross is always looking to entertain. “I’m there to put on a show for the fans,” he explained to me. “I put everything into my fights, I’m never taking it easy or trying to just hold on, I’m always doing my best even if it means losing.” This is the Kevin Ross that endeared himself to a larger audience thanks to Lion Fight’s television deal with AXS TV that saw Ross as one of Lion Fight’s centerpieces for so long. Much like Ross explained, he entertained in each and every outing with Lion Fight, which is what made the fact that Lion Fight somehow let him go all the more insane. Who let’s a guy like that go?

Bellator’s Scott Coker made a deal that Ross simply couldn’t resist. “What’s important to me is staying active, being able to go anywhere and fight anyone if I have downtime. That’s what they offered me. Of course, Bellator is my home base and takes priority, but part of my deal is that I can take outside fights.” If you’ve never spoken to Kevin before he’s an incredibly nice guy, always easy to talk with. I joked with him about how he had multiple fight offers in China, only for those to fall apart due to his contractual obligations and exclusivity. “Yeah, exactly,” he said. “I can take outside fights now. If you are gonna keep me under lock and key at least keep me active. Fighting once or twice a year just isn’t enough.”

As I mentioned above, Ross is best known for muay thai. In fact, if you talk to Ross he’ll express his love and passion for the sport, but kickboxing has been on his agenda for a while now. Ross has had multiple false starts when it comes to kickboxing, from being booked with K-1 in China to GLORY announcing that they signed Ross only for Lion Fight to impose their will and keep Ross from fighting there. I’ve always seen Ross as sort of a ride-or-die guy for muay thai, but he brushed that off.

“Muay thai is my passion,” he explained, “but I’ve always loved kickboxing as well. I’ve always been a fan of it and it’s a really good fit for me. I can’t throw elbows or anything, but that’s okay.” His style actually adapts incredibly well to kickboxing. Ross has a fluid style that relies a bit heavier on range than your average muay thai fighter. Sure, kickboxing lacks the clinch or the elbows, but that also means we probably won’t have that many more Kevin Ross bloodbaths, which got a laugh out of him. “Yeah, I’m comfortable with kickboxing, for sure. You’ll see the same Kevin Ross that you always see, I’m gonna be fighting my heart out as always.”

And fight he will, because on April 16th he’s schedule against Matteo Taccini, whom we both admitted to not exactly know a ton about. “I know that he’s young, I know that he’s hungry and for me this isn’t anything different. I’m prepared to be myself and to fight like I always do, whatever he brings to the table I’ll be prepared for. It’s gonna be a fun fight.”

The future's looking bright for Ross, who admits that he’s been fighting for over 13 years now. The inevitable question was that now that he’s under contract to Bellator would he consider MMA, something that he had considered for a long time in the past, but was able to avoid. The answer was pretty simple. “If I was going to do it, I would have done it already, you know? For a long time I thought that I was going to, I was getting ready for it. Never say never, I guess? But probably not.” We had agreed that it makes a bigger statement for him to stay where he is, and according to Ross he’s already see the flow move towards kickboxing and muay thai thanks to the popularity of Glory and Lion Fight. “I’m already seeing fighters trying to make their way in kickboxing, choosing it over MMA, I think that you’ll see more of that in the future.”

When I brought up the topic of if MMA and kickboxing needed to be connected closely for kickboxing and muay thai to grow, or if it was detrimental he was optimistic in it finding its own audience as well as appealing to fight fans in general. “It’s a little of both, I think. I don’t think that being closely related to MMA will be a bad thing for it, or that anyone will look down on it. I think that people will realize that it’s different and that it’ll come into its own. I’m just happy that I get to be a part of it and to help move the sport forward still.”

The decision that Ross made to jump to Bellator Kickboxing is a huge one for the sport, with Ross being incredibly upbeat heading into his first fight for the organization and clearly holds Scott Coker and his past accomplishments within kickboxing and MMA in high regards. “I mean, it’s Scott Coker,” he said, “his track record speaks for itself. Nobody has more experience doing what he’s done and how he’s done it, I’m looking forward to seeing how it pans out and I’m honored to be an important part of it. He’s got the right fighters, the right team and the right network in Spike TV in place to help to make this a success.” 

Indeed, Scott Coker made his mark on kickboxing a great deal of years ago with his own events before he took the reins of K-1 USA and before Strikeforce transitioned to MMA and took the world by storm. On April 16th (airing on April 22nd on Spike TV) we’ll see the vision start to fall into place with Kevin Ross at the forefront against Matteo Taccini.

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Ten Questions with Lion Fight 21's Kevin Ross

  • Published in Interviews

This Friday evening on AXS TV we'll get the pleasure of watching one of the biggest rematches in Lion Fight history at Lion Fight 21. Kevin Ross and Tetsuya Yamato had a knock down, drag out brawl at Lion Fight 11 and on Friday evening they will have a rematch that has the muay thai world buzzing. We asked Kevin Ross ten questions before his big fight and got his opinion on time off, the rematch and how Joe Schilling is doing.

LK: The first fight with Tetsuya Yamato saw a lot of action, a lot of blood and both of you looking fantastic regardless of who won or lost. Since the last fight you’ve both been on a winning streak, Yamato defeating Sagetdao and Masaaki Noiri, you Embree, Mauceri and Thompson. The big difference is that his fights were in kickboxing, do you think that gives you an edge?

Yamato has more of a kickboxing style anyway so it's not really that big a deal to go back and forth, although he does like to fling those elbows hahaha

LK: The Yamato loss ended 2013 for you as 2-2, but 2014 saw you go 3-0, was that important for you to have such a streak before fighting Yamato again?

KR: Not really, I don't dwell on wins/losses, I'm more concerned with the improvements I've made and the performances I've put on

LK: Who had the idea to fight again, was it you, Yamato or Lion Fight who pushed for it?

KR: I'm sure it was a bit of all 3. It was a great fight and good for everyone so we all want to do it again 

LK: Is it possible for this rematch to live up to the hype, or are you kind of hoping to have an easier time with this fight and less of a knock-down, drag-out, grueling affair?

KR: I want all my fights to be ones that go down in history as great, I always want people to be entertained and as long as they are than I'm happy. I don't think you can ever really compare fights, as they are so unique and different in their own ways 

LK: You’ve had some time off since your last fight, was it important for you to get some rest after being as busy as you were after you returned from your injury?

KR: No, I hate time off and never want it, it was out of my hands unfortunately. I'm sure that my body and brain were happy to have a break but I always want to be as active as possible 

LK: How does it feel to see one of your good friends in Joe Schilling having the level of success that he’s had both in the kickboxing world and MMA arena over the past few years?

KR: I couldn't be happier for him! I'm a Muay Thai purist and will always prefer it but seeing him active and doing so well is wonderful 

LK: Do you still have the itch to try out kickboxing now that it is taking off a bit more in the United States or are you focused on muay thai for now?

KR: I've been focused on Muay Thai since day one, it's my true love, it's my passion and will always prefer it to any other type of fighting but as long as I'm in there than that's good enough for me

LK: What’s the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned fighting over the past few years since your return from your knee injury and your profile being on the rise like it is?

KR: I'd say that no matter what struggles lay in front of you they can either be set backs or set ups for further progression, it's just a matter of how you look at them. When bad things happen I view them as tests to see if I really want something. You either overcome them or quit. They show you who people truly are. That's something I've always known, these last few years just instilled those things in me further. 

 

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Lion Fight Announces Two Title Fights for Lion Fight 18

  • Published in Muay Thai

On Friday evening (due to AXSTV's Inside MMA) Lion Fight announced two upcoming title fights for Lion Fight 18.

Kent confirmed that United Kingdom’s Salah Khalifa will fight reigning champion and Muay Thai legend Yodsanklai Fairtex for the men’s middleweight belt, and that Belgium’s World Champion Anke Van Gestel will challenge the unbeaten Jorina Baars for the women’s welterweight Lion Fight strap.

Inside MMA was the first to report news of the two contenders scheduled to face Fairtex and Baars, as well as the entire line up of live televised fights for LION FIGHT 18.

So we'll get Yodsanklai vs. Salah Khalifa and Anke Van Gestel vs. Jorina Baars at Lion Fight 18, which should be great. Here's the rest of the card for September 5th's Lion Fight 18.

LION FIGHT 18’s main live card is packed with American Muay Thai talent including Las Vegas local Jason Andrada, fighting out of Fight Capital Gym, vs. Canada’s Stan Mancebo. Rising star Nick Chasteen, fighting out of Phoenix, Arizona makes his return to the Lion Fight ring to take on California’s Jose Palacios. The card also features west coasters Brian Del Rosario, fighting out of Van Nuys, California vs. Victorville, California’s Chris Culley. Kicking off the first fight of the night will be Phoenix, Arizona’s Damien Earley vs. Vallejo, California’s Eddie Abasolo.

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Lion Fight 12 Results and Highlights

  • Published in Americas

Lion Fight

Well, just like we all predicted, Lion Fight 12 made a big impression on AXS TV with some really entertaining fights tonight. We saw a Welterweight Champion crowned, we got to see Tiffany Van Soest once again show why she's one of the best female fighters we've ever seen and hell, we even got to see an elbow KO. Elbow KOs are a thing of beauty and somewhat unique to the sport of Muay Thai, which makes it a thing of beauty when it happens.

So here are the quick and dirty results as well as a highlight from AXS TV.

  • Lion Fight Welterweight Title: Fabio Pinca (R5 - UD) Malaipet
  • Tiffany Van Soest (R3 - TKO) Magali Foroni
  • Jason Andrada (R5 - KO) Mohammed Lemjerdine
  • Nick Chasteen (R5 - UD) Chris Culley
  • Stephen Richards (R5 - UD) Glen Spencer Jr.
  • Anthony Castrejon (R1 - KO) Miguel Rosales

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Check Out Can't Stop Crazy's Family Business Vol. 1

  • Published in Kickboxing

CSC

Can't Stop Crazy isn't really a fight team, exactly, just like it isn't just a way of mind. Can't Stop Crazy is sort of a collective within the West Coast Muay Thai scene that features some of the best muay thai fighters in the country who are just friends with each other and look to help each other out. So when they all converged upon one location to help prepare for fights something cool happens, which was captured on video by Jeff Dojillo, and we will be happy to share with you on here.

Kevin Ross is preparing for a fight in Lion Fight come the end of September and Joe Schilling is preparing for the GLORY 10 Los Angeles Middleweight tournament, so both men will have their hands full come the end of September. Check out this video below.

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Lion Fight 20's Jorina Baars Talks Ughi Rematch and Life Post-Cyborg Win

  • Published in Interviews

(C) Lion Fight/Bernie Palmore

This Friday evening on AXS TV we'll see Lion Fight return to Connecticut with Lion Fight 20. While women headlining major fight cards is still a bit of a misnomer in combat sports Lion Fight is unafraid to place their Women's Welterweight Champion Jorina Baars as their headliner. Baars will be fighting the tough veteran that is Chantal Ughi in what is a rematch from a few years ago. Both women are world-renowned and have fought the best of the best, but for right now Jorina is the woman to beat. 

We briefly spoke with Jorina heading into the fight this Friday about the American media coverage that has come from the Cris Cyborg Justino victory as well as how she feels about the rematch with Ughi.

You’ve fought Chantal Ughi before and it was a close fight, how do you feel that you’ve evolved since then and how different of a fight will this be?

I have evolved in different ways, I developed and gained more experience in Muay Thai, have become stronger physically and mentally. I still train and fight for SportsArt Den Helder and started training with Andre Mannaart from Mejiro Gym to assist in coaching me, he has been the trainer of many champions such as Rob Kaman, Remy Bonjasky, Peter Aerts, Andy Souwer there is a lot of talent at both Mejiro Gym and SportsArt and all my trainings partners at both these gyms have helped me evolve. I've also been training a lot with Marieke Post, she's a professional fighter as well and a friend, we battle together in the gym each day and she has pushed me forward and I gain lots of strength from her knowledge and passion to fight.

Chantal Ughi is a tough opponent who has made a name for herself by fighting in Thailand, while you have made a name for yourself by fighting in Europe. Do you consider this a clash in styles or traditions?

No I do not think it is a clash of styles and/or traditions, in Muay Thai there are more possibilities than in K1, Glory or Kickboxing rules, that means that this will be a more exciting fight. 

The win over Cyborg Justino was a huge one, how did it feel knowing that many fans saw this as an easy fight for her only to see you outclass her throughout most of the fight?

There was a lot of talk about the Cyborg fight and most fight fans thought that she was going to beat me, they were unfamiliar with me, didn’t know who I am.  But the talk after the fight is that Cyborg only had 2 Muay Thai fights and Jorina has 36.  Cyborg proved to be a great Sport and was honest about it, she stated that she fights anybody, anytime, she accepted the fight and knew where she was up against. I respect Cyborg for that !

Did you feel that you were perhaps being looked over by many people going into the fight against Cyborg?

I am sure some people overlooked me going into the Cyborg fight.  I never underestimated Cyborg, never underestimate any opponent that is put in front of me.  I knew where I was up against as well, Cyborg was a very worthy opponent and she came to fight, we both fought hard and I enjoyed that fight very much. I am always coming to fight, no ifs ands or buts it is what the Fans and Lion Fight expect me to do and it is what I do best.

Have you gotten a lot more attention since the Cyborg win, or has it only been in the United States, really?

I get attention through the Social Media and some Dutch Newspapers after the last fight, now for the upcoming fight against Ughi the newspapers have shown interests again and published some articles.  My day to day life is still the same, I work at a nightclub in Amsterdam as a Bouncer, its happens every once in a while that a guest at our club comes to me and says; “You are Jorina, right ?” it flatters me and respond “Yes, that’s me !”

You’ve dabbled in mixed martial arts before, is that something that you’d like to try again some time, or are you content sticking with muay thai?

I switched to MMA as it was impossible to find anyone to fight me on Muay Thai rules, I like MMA but for now, or at least for the time I am under contract with Lion Fight Promotions I will stay and remain focused on Muay Thai.

Do you feel that there are any specific challenges or hurdles that you have to overcome as a woman in fighting sports?

Women have to train just as hard as their male colleagues, it is easier to get fights as a man, there are just a lot more men fighting then there are women, it’s supply and demand, plain and simple.  Women are underappreciated in the fight business, but there are lots of improvements happening and I am happy to see that and be on the first row of experiencing it.

Is there any one fight out there that you haven’t gotten yet that you’ve really wanted to happen?

Yes there is, I would love to fight Germaine de Randamie. She is a very good and strong fighter. Before she fought in the UFC, both our teams were looking for a promoter who could let us fight at their event, as of today that has not happened yet.  Maybe and hopefully Lion Fight can make that fight happen and I will happily accept that opportunity.

What kind of responsibility do you feel as a World Champion for a sport?

Yes we are an example to all fans, kids and adults alike.  There is a tremendous responsibility with that and I enjoy having to deal with that, in matter of fact it is an honor.  I always like to inspire kids to take on Muay Thai as it not only helps them physically but also mentally, it builds their confidence that they will able to benefit from the rest of their lives. I like to portray the fighting sports and muay thai in a positive light, always have. There are still some misunderstandings for this Sport, especially in the Netherlands and I like to set that record straight and continue to do be righteous– Osu !

 

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Nampon vs. Cosmo Alexandre to Headline Lion Fight 11

  • Published in Muay Thai

Lion Fight

Lion Fight had already announced that their big September 20th event, Lion Fight 11, would go down at the Fremont Experience in Las Vegas and would be headlined by Nampon, but he didn't have an opponent until last night. It was announced that the 23-year old Thai fighter will square off against veteran Muay Thai, Kickboxing and MMA fighter Cosmo Alexandre on September 20th.

Cosmo Alexandre currently trains out of the Blackzilian camp down in Boca Raton, Florida with the likes of Tyrone Spong, Alistair Overeem and Rashad Evans. Cosmo has competed under the Lion Fight banner previously, defeating Cyrus Washington at Battle in the Desert 2 and losing to Sakmongul at Battle in the Desert 3.

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Lion Fight 10 Results

  • Published in Americas

Lion Fight

So, I'm well aware that Lion Fight 10 went down last night, but where was the live coverage? Albuquerque has been in the middle of monsoon season, which means crazy storms, tons of lightning, flash flooding and everything else in the book outside of biblical plagues. For some reason my satellite never went down last night, but my internet was spotty at best, so here are the Lion Fight 10 results kind of late, but better than never.

The main event saw Yodsanklai batter and bruise Chike Lindsay, who had a good first round but then felt the full power of Yodsanklai and was unable to do much. The co-main event saw Matt Embree and Kevin Ross square off in a decision that is hotly-contested, but if you watch the fight closely, Embree was indeed the winner. Ross was applying a lot of pressure throughout the fight, but Embree was landing the cleaner strikes and counters. Ross rallied near the end, but it wasn't enough in the judges eyes to give him the W.

Tiffany Van Soest lived up to her hype in capturing the Lion Fight Women's Featherweight Championship against a tough Lucy Payne via a first round stoppage. A few well placed punches followed up by some brutal elbows was all that the ref needed to see before he stepped in to call the fight. Sean Kearney came in on late notice against a man he knows very well in Malaipet Sasiprapa and once again Malaipet was able to get the better of him, just working him over the whole fight with his kicks and clinchwork.

Ognjen Topic and Coke Chunhawat put on what was arguably the most entertaining fight of the night, as Ognjen was strong earlier on in the fight, but Coke was able to surge later in the fight thanks to the local fans cheering him on. It was a classic battle of Ognjen being stronger from the outside and Coke feeling more comfortable in close with the clinch. The opening fight saw two less experienced fighters in Jason Andrada and JP Cole square off in what was a good scrap and saw Andrada take the W.

Yodsanklai Fairtex (R5 - UD) Chike Lindsay

Matt Embree (R5 - UD) Kevin Ross

Tiffany Van Soest (R1 - TKO) Lucy Payne

Malaipet Sasiprapa (R5 - Dec.) Sean Kearney

Ognjen Topic (R5 - SD) Coke Chunhawat

Jason Andrada (R5 - UD) JP Cole

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