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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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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 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 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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Lion Fight 13 This Friday Night

  • Published in Muay Thai

Lion fight

A bit of a programming note as this Friday evening on AXS TV at 10pm Eastern time Lion Fight 13 will be coming into your living room live. Lion Fight 13 is another blockbuster Lion Fight full rules Muay Thai card featuring Tiffany Van Soest vs. Caley Reece for Van Soest's Lion Fight Women's Featherweight Championship.

  • Lion Fight Women's Featherweight Championship: Tiffany Van Soest (C) vs. Caley Reece
  • Kevin Ross vs. Matt Embree
  • Coke Chunhawat vs. Rami Ibrahim
  • Nick Chasteen vs. Jonathan del Rosario
  • Josh Shepard vs. Daniel Kim
  • Jason Andrada vs. Andy Singh
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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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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 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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Jason Andrada Dishes on Rematches, Lion Fight 22 and how Kevin Ross is the Keanu Reeves of Muay Thai

  • Published in Interviews

Lion Fight 22 is on Friday evening on AXS TV, live from Las Vegas and as always, they are promising a night of high octane muay thai action. They’ve yet to fail to deliver since they’ve gone live on AXS TV and even though there was a last minute change to the main event, the show is still primed to deliver a lot of full rules muay thai action. A part of that action is Jason Andrada vs. Anthony Castrejon at 122lbs.

When it came time for me to decide who to focus on for this event, as much as I respect Kevin Ross and Tiffany Van Soest or the main eventer Jo Nattawut, it was hard not to be drawn to Jason Andrada. Andrada is not the most experienced fighter on the card -- even though he had a long, storied amateur career before turning pro -- but he’s been featured on Lion Fight events for a while now. He’s coming off of a tough loss to John Nofer that came via an elbow TKO but he was all smiles after that loss, showing more character in loss than most show in victory. 

Andrada is one of those guys that you might not see main eventing Lion Fight events, but more often than not you see him on the card and when you see him, you know to expect a fun fight and for him to leave it all in the ring. It’s not a coincidence, either, because his disposition is that of a laid back guy that is always looking to put on a show. Andrada sees himself as one of the many guys who is just trying to make an impression.

“You know, I think for some guys, guys like the ones that I’ve been fighting like Nofer, they’re all looking to make a name for themselves just like I am. There are a lot of guys out there that aren’t getting featured on TV like I am and they are clawing for those spots,” he explained. “All of these guys out there they go out there swinging, not many fighters that I’ve encountered are gonna take a shot and not want to go down swinging. Look at a guy like Pedro Gonzalez, for example. A lot of people in muay thai want to see someone demonstrating their perfect muay thai technique, but he’s more of a brawler, an MMA guy. I like watching him fight and so do a lot of other people, if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.”

He was quick to point out some of the more established names in the world of muay thai like Kevin Ross, Chad Mulkey, Joe Schilling and Tiffany Van Soest earned their spots through not only being skilled, but through their humility, personalities and experience. Andrada is quite accomplished in his own right, but he’s quick to point out those that have accomplished more than him and how he strives to be better and achieve what they have. 

Muay Thai might be a career for Andrada now, who spends most of his time at the gym training for fights or holding classes, but he likes to get some distance sometimes as well. “I love fighting, of course,” he said. “But sometimes I need time away from it, so I’m not one of those guys that has to watch every fight ever. I’ll watch my friends, you know? If Kevin, Chaz, Joe, any of my friends are fighting I’ll watch it and look, I could read off a pretty long list of fighters that I’m friends with and watch them fight, but I’m not a junkie for it anymore or anything. It’s nice to take time away. You know, I come home, I watch TV, watch Netflix, just relax sometimes and get some distance. It keeps the passion there.”

His fight on Friday is a rematch with Anthony Castrejon, the two of them meeting a few years back when they were both amateurs in a bout that Castrejon won via a head kick knockout. Andrada is open to any and all challenges, but was not really looking for this rematch. “I mean, we’ve fought before, he landed a nice head kick, which was good for him, but we are professionals now. A few of my recent professional fights have been rematches from my amateur days, which is fine,” he explained. “But look, like 1/3rd of my pro fights have been rematches from my amateur days. He’s been calling me out since before he fought Victor Saravia, so he’s wanted this for a while. I’m looking to grow as a fighter and be ready to challenge these international guys. I’m not saying that I’m looking past anyone,” he said. “I’m really not, I just want to be fighting guys from all over the world now. I want to be fighting guys from Japan, Europe and Thailand, I want to be ready to be able to go overseas and make a big impression. I don’t know if these rematches are going to really prepare me for that.”

He goes on to explain that it isn’t a great fight for either of them, considering that a loss for either guy could be the end of their Lion Fight careers. “I look at how UFC handles losses and you know, once you start racking up a few in a row they tend to cut a guy. I don’t want to be that guy and I’m sure that Castrejon doesn’t want to be that guy, either. Two straight losses wouldn’t be a good thing.”

Andrada is a guy that isn’t afraid to talk about his shortcomings, although he admits talking about losses can be tough. “Man, it sucks when I meet somebody new and they are like; ‘what do you do?’ I tell them that I’m a fighter and they ask about my last fight and it’s like, you gotta tell them that you came in second place,” he joked. “Nobody wants to have to say that, to say that you lost, but you gotta look forward.”

When it comes to Kevin Ross, it’s hard for Andrada to not talk about his friend and cohort with nothing but respect. “Kevin is a great guy, really. I mean, I learn so much from him still and no matter how much success he has, he’s always the same guy,” which spiraled into us discussing how Ross handles himself in the ring, how he’s always entertaining and composed, but always easy to talk to and deal with. “Yeah, I mean, he’s like the Keanu Reeves of muay thai in a way. He has all of this success and he hasn’t changed, he’s still the same guy. At the same time, he’s been through a lot of tough stuff in his life and he doesn’t let it drag him down. He’s always that guy that I like to be around.”

It should be noted that Andrada himself is heading down that same path right now; the amiable guy that seems always cool to be around. He loves to eat and is eagerly awaiting his favorite part of his post-fight life; feasting on some pizza. What struck me the most was that I was talking to him while he was gearing up to head out to the weigh-ins for Lion Fight 22, him just having stepped out of an epsom bath and he was not only in good spirits, but exhibited the same easy-going, friendly demeanor that Ross always projects while still focused and prepared for his fight. 

Becoming a star in any sport is difficult, there will be setbacks, there will be moments of glory and there will be those quiet, contemplative moments. Andrada has experienced many of these throughout the span of his professional and amateur career thus far and tomorrow night looks to be another in those collection of moments that will make up his career while he continues to strive for greatness and move up the ladder. What we know is that no matter what Andrada is looking to put his body on the line and to entertain us and that he’ll do it with a smile. Because he’s that ridiculous.

Lion Fight 22 airs tomorrow night, May 22nd on AXS TV at 10:00pm Eastern time.

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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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