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Lion Fight 18 Competes For Your Time on Friday Night

  • Published in Muay Thai

This Friday night is pretty much unprecedented for Lion Fight. Usually when they are running events they are clear of most competition. There might be a minor Bellator card here and there, but it’s usually nothing of consequence. This time around, well, things are a bit different. On September 5th combat sports fans are treated to an onslaught of programming that means that inevitably, only one event can be watched at a time. You can DVR what you want to watch later, for sure, but three events at the same time? Some DVRs aren’t even capable of such feats. 

This Friday we get to see the first real event from Bellator that will have his fingerprints all over it. Cokertor will finally make its debut with a card featuring King Mo Lawal against GLORY kickboxer Dustin Jacoby. The Bellator Featherweight Champinoship is on the line in a rematch betweeen Patricio Pitbull and Pat Curran, then you have both Cheick Kongo and Bobby Lashley in action. This is probably one of the bigger Bellator events that we’ve ever seen on free TV, at least since they canceled that PPV and moved the show to Spike. 

Then, on the other side of the spectrum, we have the UFC. The UFC goes down the street from Bellator to Foxwoods in Connecticut with what is a really stacked card for hardcore fans on free TV. The main event is Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi, a rematch from 2008. Then you have 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion and former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem against Ben Rothwell, which is an awesome fight. Add in Matt Mitrione and Joe Lauzon into the mix and you have an appealing free card for fight fans.

This is a lot of direct competition for Lion Fight this weekend. A lot. 

The Lion Fight Middleweight Championship is on the line as champion Yodsanklai Fairtex will square off against the game challenger that is Salah Khalifa from the UK. Then you have all-around bad ass Jason Andrada taking on Stan Mancebo in a bout that should feature excitement from beginning to end. Those are just the top two fights. The rest of the card is bound to provide quite a bit of excitement. In fact, to date, Lion Fight has yet to put on an event that would come anywhere close to considered dull. 

Nick Chasteen vs. Jose Palacios is another fight that you might not recognize their names unless you follow American muay thai and kickboxing closely, but this fight has the potential to be one of the better bouts of the night -- that’s across all three events -- and all you gotta do is tune in. Lion Fight has yet to disappoint and on Friday will have a lot of competition, but this fact alone, that Lion Fight has never disappointed, is reason enough to say that the rest can wait.

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Full Card for Lion Fight 16 on July 4th

  • Published in Muay Thai

This Friday, July 4th at 9pm Eastern time on AXS TV the world will be treated to Lion Fight 16. Lion Fight 16 will take place at the Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada and be an official part of UFC's International Fight Week. That means that the UFC will be helping Lion Fight to promote the event throughout the week and it should be an electric atmosphere on Friday. The event is headlined by Kevin Ross taking on Michael Thompson with the Lion Fight Super Lightweight Championship to be decided.

The event will also feature muay thai legend Rungravee Sasiprapa and Tiffany Van Soest in action. Here is a look at the full fight card.

Super Lightweight Title Bout
Kevin Ross vs Michael Thompson
Co-Main Event
Tiffany Van Soest vs Sindy Huyer
Super Fight
Rungravee Sasiprapa vs. Adrian Morilla
Tyler Toner vs. Gaston Bolanos
Josh Shepard vs Casey Parlett

AXS TV has also released the bloody, awesome video from Lion Fight 15 of Kevin Ross vs. Chris Mauceri. Check it out.

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Lion Fight Announces Deal with Apparel Brand Kate Swim

  • Published in Muay Thai

When we talk about kickboxing and muay thai in the United States, we talk about the desire to go "mainstream" and to make big deals happen. Lion Fight has shown a tenacity in growing their brand within the United States and starting on September 5th at Lion Fight 18, they'll be introducing something pretty new to the world of muay thai; fashion. Today they announced a deal with swimwear company Kate Swim, best known for being featured in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit editions in 2012, 2013 and 2014. 

Starting at Lion Fight 18 the promotion will be using Kate Swim models as ring card girls, them decked out in Kate Swim swimsuits. This is some out-of-the-box thinking for Lion Fight, which should definitely be applauded. 

Lion Fight 18 airs on September 5th on AXS TV at 10PM Eastern time.

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Lion Fight Announces Lion Fight 16 Main Card

  • Published in Muay Thai

(C) Bauzen

Lion Fight 16 will be airing live on AXS TV on Friday, July 4th from the Pearl at the Palms. The event will be officially a part of UFC's International Fight week, meaning that fans in attendance for UFC's big, multi-event weekend will have Lion Fight 16 as a part of their official itinerary, meaning Lion Fight might see one of their biggest turnouts yet in their biggest venue yet; the Pearl at the Palms. The event will be headlined by Kevin Ross and Michael Thompson fighting for the Lion Fight Super Lightweight Championship, while the co-main sees Tiffany Van Soest take on Sindy Huyer. 

Lion Fight Super Lightweight Title: Kevin Ross vs. Michael Thompson
Tiffany Van Soest vs. Sindy Huyer (125 lbs.)
Rungravee vs. Adrian Morilla (132 lbs.)
Katel Kubis vs. Michael Corley (155 lbs.)
Tyler Toner vs. Gaston Bolanos (142 lbs.)

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Lion Fight 13 Results

  • Published in Americas

Lion Fight

Lion Fight 13 went down tonight in Las Vegas in a night of some hard-hitting action that saw some shocking moments unfold through some very close fights. Don't be fooled by the amount of decisions on the card, as each fight had their own appeal and saw lots of action. Kevin Ross found his way to the win column again and while he wanted to avoid any decisions in 2014 he found himself scoring a Split Decision over Matt Embree in an incredible, entertaining and close bout with Matt Embree. Both men should be applauded for their efforts in that fight.

The main event saw Australian Caley Reece take the fight to Lion Fight Women's Featherweight Champion Tiffany Van Soest. Van Soest was the favorite going into the fight but Reece's use of the clinch and sweeps was what was able to separate her from Van Soest in the close fight. The fight was difficult to score, depending on how you saw rounds one and five, but Reece looked strong in round three, Van Soest in round four. It was a great fight from both women and saw a new champion crowned.

Lion Fight also announced that Lion Fight 14 will take place on March 28th from the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, with Cris "Cyborg" Justino vs. Jorina Baars for the Lion Fight Women's Welterweight Championship, Gregory Choplin vs. Marco Pique and Malaipet vs. Shane Oblonsky.

  • Lion Fight Women's Featherweight Championship: Caley Reece (R5 - SD) Tiffany Van Soest (C)
  • Kevin Ross (R5 - SD) Matt Embree
  • Coke Chunhawat (R5 - UD) Rami Ibrahim
  • Jason Andrada (R5 - Dec.) Andy Singh
  • Nick Chasteen (R5 - UD) Jonathan Del Rosario
  • Josh Shepard (R5 - UD) Daniel Kim

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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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Lion Fight 16 Highlights

  • Published in Muay Thai

Last night on AXS TV Lion Fight 16 went down, where Kevin Ross took home the Lion Fight Super Lightweight World Championship as well as Tiffany Van Soest picking up a big win. AXS TV has released a highlight reel from last night's event featuring Michael Schiavello and Pat Miletich. 

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Lion Fight 20 announced for February 20th 2015

  • Published in Muay Thai

Lion Fight Promotions have just announced their first show of 2015. Lion Fight 20 will take place on February 20th at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino starting at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

In the main event Jorina Baars will get to defend her title for the first time since winning it at Lion Fight 14 against Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino. She will face Casey Bohrman who only has a record of 8 wins and 5 losses but has fought big names like Germaine DeRandamie.

The Co-main event will feature Chris Mauceri coming off his win over Coke Chunhawat against another tough test originally from Thailand but now training in Atlanta Sittisak. Maybe a win in this fight will give one of them a chance to take the title from Kevin Ross.

The card will be broadcast on AXS TV which means we will get our dose of Michael “The Voice” Schiavello and he will be joined by UFC hall of famer Pat Miletich to do the commentary.

The card will also include:

  • 123 lbs. Bout: Jason Andrada (Las Vegas, NV) vs. John Nofer (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 140 lbs. Bout: Tom Evans (Central Fall, RI) vs. Julio Pena (Boston, MA)
  • 135lbs. Bout: Tim Amorim (Philadelphia, PA) vs. Bryce Lawrence (Naples, FL)
  • 143 lbs. Bout: Gaston Bolanos (Dublin, CA) vs. TBD 
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Lion Fight 16 Weigh-in Video

  • Published in Muay Thai

Tonight at 9pm Eastern time on AXS TV Lion Fight 16 goes down, coming to you live from UFC International Fight Week in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lion Fight 16 will feature Kevin Ross vs. Michael Thompson for the Lion Fight Super Lightweight Championship, with the card also featuring Tiffany Van Soest and Rungravee Sasiprapa.

Check out the Lion Fight 16 weigh-ins first while you prepare for the action tonight. 

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Cris Cyborg: Negative Narrative, Uplifting Performance

  • Published in News

LF

 

There’s something awfully self-serving about wanting a fighter to lose. It reflects a deeper emotional connection to the fight that elevates it from a mere contest of skill and athleticism to a form of theater. The fighters are suddenly characters in a play with the fight and its outcome having a profound outcome on their narrative trajectories, and as viewers, we are emotionally engaged in that. Savvy promoters who appreciate this may find clever ways to engage our feelings, using various tools and devices to frame the story and its characters in a way that’s more gripping and engaging, where Fighter A becomes that person from Nowheresville who is looking for their big break while Fighter B is that person who’s been talking big and acting like they own the sport. Some readers might go further and call these characters Faces and Heels. That’s a line, however, that some fans don’t like to cross: scripted drama, they say, yet deliberate or not, the narrative process is exactly the same.

What then do we make of Cris Cyborg? The drama is well known and the key words require no elaboration: Steroids. Cheating. Ronda Rousey. Tito Ortiz. Dana White. Why do some fans (at least in the MMA world) choose to hate her? Because of her appearance combined with her accomplishments? Because they think all of her success is due to taking steroids despite only being busted once? Because she calls out Ronda Rousey? Does that make Rousey (ironically) the Face in all of this? Who’s writing the script now?

As powerful and *natural* as narrative is, sometimes it may blind us from appreciating something that’s far more important in this instance: that last night, Cris Cyborg and Jorina Baars put on one of the best fights of the year and possibly one of the all time best fights in women’s kickboxing. It was a battle that saw both fighters dig deep physically and technically, putting on a performance that was worthy of a stage far grander than the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. It was a spectacle that should rightly serve as a career highlight for both fighters, who each landed incredibly hard shots and rallied back from dangerous positions. This is a fight that we should be grateful for seeing with both fighters deserving our admiration and praise.

One of the best things about the K-1 promotional model was its tendency to highlight positive storylines and gloss over negative press. This could be frustrating at times when honesty was demanded, especially with regard to issues like Badr Hari’s behavior and fighter pay. Yet, the ability to sell these storylines allowed us to focus on the fights, not the mud and dirt of the fight business (which believe me, goes to far murkier depths than you or I will ever get to hear about). After all, does having a front row seat to situations that should play out behind closed doors really accomplish anything? Why are the petty squabbles between Dana White and Tito Ortiz every fan’s business? As fans, let’s focus on enjoying the fights and let the so-called “businesspeople” (such as they are) worry about the rest. Let’s enjoy the moment. If you’re new to kickboxing and watch MMA predominantly, I can say that last night, you got treated to a certain caliber of a fight (for free) and an experience that is rare, so rather than dwelling on what this means for Cyborg and the UFC, let’s take a moment to celebrate the incredible toughness of Cris Cyborg and the awesome talent of Jorina Baars.

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