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Fighter Spotlight: Werachai Wor. Wiwatananont

In 2009 the Wor. Wiwatananont gym was voted as the best gym at the Lumpinee Stadium awards. The best fighter, or at the very the least the most notable fighter from the gym is Werachai Wor. Wiwatananont. A teen who fights with a swagger and once 105 pound champion of Lumpinee. Over the last year or two he has grown into a top 10 ranked fighter at 115. A long the way he has beaten good competition, including a pair of wins over the current champion, Wanchalong Sitzornong.

In 2010 and into 2011 he had a trilogy with Mongkolchai Skindaewgym. Unfortunately there is no video of the first fight, but Mongkolchai won after dominating Werachai and finally in the 5th he scored a head kick knockout. Here's a look at the two fights they have had since and how his favorite technique, the teep helped him win both fights.

Werachai is a bit unconventional in that he uses a lot of push kicks to the face, not just as a measuring stick, but an actual way of hurting someone. Here he does just that.  

                   

The 3rd fight was just this July, and again Werachai's teeps played a major roll in how this fight was decided. You can see they both get a little careless and perhaps tired later in the fight and start swinging punches, which is undoubtedly the weak point for most elite Thai boxers. But when the well timed teep lands it clearly has an effect on Mongkolchai, and Werachai is able to finish in spectacular fashion, and avenge his head kick loss from the previous year. 

 

This fight was against Nueangthep Eminentair one of the top fighters in Thaialnd regardless of weight. He was too big and probably too good for Werachai, but as you can see at 8:30, and 12:12 he is always capable of landing that kick. 

 
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It's Showtime Announces January 28th Card and Details

It's Showtime sure does know how to package the good in with the [possibly] bad. in the process of announcing that Badr Hari's last fight in the realm of Kickboxing will be on January 28th against Gokhan Saki and that the K-1 World Grand Prix even happening depends on FEG paying all of the It's Showtime fighters in advance. That is a lot of news that will leave you wondering why you got up this morning, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, as they announced their January 28th card and it is incredibly stacked, if not the most stacked event we've seen in years.

Fight card January 28, 2012 in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands:

Badr Hari vs Gökhan Saki
Daniel Ghita vs Hesdy Gerges (IT’S SHOWTIME world title heavyweight)
Tyrone Spong vs Melvin Manhoef
Errol Zimmerman vs Rico Verhoeven
Ben Edwards vs Ricardo van den Bos
Murat Direkçi vs Robin van Roosmalen
Lhoucine ‘Aussie’ Ouzgni vs Yohan Lidon (IT’S SHOWTIME world title 73kg max)
Gago Drago vs Hinata Watanabe
Chahid Oulad El Hadj vs Harut Grigorian
Danyo Ilunga vs Mourad Bouzidi
Michael Duut vs Anderson ‘Braddock’ Silva
Henry van Opstal vs Hafid el Boustati


There are two relevant title matches, four competitive Heavyweight/Super Heavyweight bouts, competitive 95kg bouts and a lot more. [source]

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The-Lek vs. Detkart: A Guaranteed Thriller

 

This Wednesday at Rajadamnern Stadium fans will be treated to seeing two of the top young talents in the sport go to battle for the first time. Light flyweight champion of Thailand, The-Lek Wor. Sangprapai will take on the light flyweight champion of Rajadamnern Stadium, Detkart Por. Pongsawang. The two fighters have solidified themselves as the two biggest draws and the two best under 110 pound fighters in all of Thailand. Unfortunately I couldn't find any video of Detkart, but everything I've read about the 18 year old suggests he's a highly technical fighter with his favorite and best techniques being a snapping left kick to the body, and well timed knees as his opponent marches in looking to clinch. He will need to be at his best if he wants to be the consensus #1 fighter at the weight, because The-Lek is a flat out beast of a fighter. Most fighters in Thailand use round 1, and sometimes round 2 just to feel each other out and then start fighting hard in 3 and 4. The-Lek is not one of these fighters. From round 1 until the final few seconds in the 5th round when the other fighter concedes he's always marching forward looking to cause pain. He has been compared to fighters in the past who were also known for pushing a frantic pace like Samson Isarn and Pongsiri Ruamrudee. It should be interesting to see if Detkart can keep The-Lek at bay with kicks and overall better technique, or if The-Lek will impose his game yet again. Either way, with this being for top dog at at 108, and both coming from different competing promotions, expect a fight of the year candidate. This is a big fight in Thailand and will likely be uploaded to web by Siamsport TV in the days that follow. 

Here you can see The-Lek in action from a fight he had last month at Lumpinee Stadium. Oh, and did I mention he's just 15 and has been in over 200 fights? Its not uncommon to see 15 year olds fighting at a high level, but 200 fights with that style? Wow!

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MMA Has a New Stand Up Fighting Star in Malaysian Adam Kayoom

adam_kayoom

It's always exciting when a world class striker decides to make the transition to MMA and the only question is whether they will be sufficiently well rounded to survive in a different discipline of fighting. Adam Kayoom has been thriving at multiple martial arts for over a decade, he is a Taekwondo national champion, a two time Muay Thai world champion and a Muay Khmer champion.

With such a diverse range of titles in stand up fighting you might expect Kayoom to be much more comfortable fighting on his feet but he has a BJJ pedigree which is equally impressive with a black belt as well as gold medals from major national tournaments in both Australia and Brazil. There's no point trying to take the Malaysian outside of his comfort zone because he is comfortable everywhere as Seok Mo Kim discovered to his cost at DARE Championship in Bangkok this weekend.

The Korean gave a good account of himself against Gregor Gracie at One Fighting Championship 1, losing a decision but frustrating the Brazilian who was unable to submit him despite repeated attempts. He was looking to get back on the winning track against Kayoom who despite having too many titles, medals and trophies to list was only 1-1 in MMA going into this fight.

Kayoom is a BJJ teacher at the Q23 Academy and the founder of American Top Team (Thailand) and the sold out crowd in his adopted home of Bangkok included many of his students. He put on a performance which will not only have sent them all home happy but will have welterweights all over the region looking nervously over their shoulders.

Gracie couldn't submit Seok in 15 minutes but it took Kayoom less than five to sink in a fight finishing rear naked choke. It was a perfect demonstration of what a fighter who brings both ground fighting ability and stand up skills into the cage can do as the Kuala Lumpur born south paw dropped his opponent with a straight left hand which landed with laser like accuracy before finishing him with the submission.

He is extremely well known in Thailand and was ranked in the top ten at Ratchadamnern Stadium, something which very few foreigners in the world of Muay Thaihave ever achieved. He also has a large following in his native Malaysia and is a familiar face in martial arts circles in Australia having spent much of his adult life there.

However Kayoom, who started learning martial arts because he had attention deficit disorder as a child, has yet to really make his mark on the MMA world. That is an issue he is looking to urgently address and he hopes the win over Soek will be the first of many in the coming months,

"I'm going to be fighting more MMA now, I really want to represent Malaysia in One Fighting Championship, that's my dream. It means a lot that Victor Cui was here to watch me fight, I know he has a very busy schedule so respect to him for coming to support the fighters at this event. The kid's tough, I saw him fight Gregor Gracie and he couldnt finish him but today was my day because I got to bang and I got to submit him," he said.

Kayoom had to survive an early scare ater appearing to get caught with a knee and he thinks old Muay Thai habits were to blame for him allowing Seok to steal a bit of his momentum at the beginning of the fight,

"I got him with an elbow early in the fight and I thought 'I am gonna punish this guy'  but instead my old Muay Thai habit kicked in and I relaxed. I'm never going to do that again. I have an old training injury, you can't come out of a hard training camp spotless and ready to fight, injuries happen in training all the time and he ended up finding that injury so congratulations on him for that. I had to recuperate and recover but I got back up and bit through the pain and hit him with the straight left," he said

At the age of 33 Kayoom has left it late to mark on the MMA world but having studied and mastered so many different martial arts he has effectively been preparing for this moment for the last two decades. One Fighting Championship are keeping their cards close to their chest and have not announced any additions to their roster since the successful opening show but with a Kuala Lumpur card rumoured to be in the works this Malaysian fighter must be a strong candidate for a contract.

There has never been an MMA promotion with a truly pan Asian appeal but One Fighting Championship has given an incentive to fighters all over the continent to try and compete at the highest level of the sport. Kayoom's latest win was in front of a few hundred fans for DARE Championship, a promotion which is fast making a name for itself in Thailand, and his next could be in front of almost ten thousand if One FC CEO / Owner Victor Cui does decide to sign him.

He will need to work out which weight class he is most comfortable in as he looked considerably smaller that Seok in this 75 kg catchweight fight. A drop down to lightweight might be in order but Kayoom has more than enough ability to make up for anything he might give away in size so there is no reason why he shouldn't stay in the welterweight division.

Stand up fighters are frequently frustrated in MMA by opponents who do everything they can to avoid getting dragged into a striking exchange. With a black belt in BJJ that shouldn't be a concern for Kayoom and Malaysia's top pound for pound fighter has the mixed martial arts world very much at his feet.

Photo by Marcel Braendli. Copyright DARE Championship, www.darefightsport.com


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