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Female championship fights in spotlight at Lion Fight 31
Jorina Baars, left, versus Angela Whitley during the main event.
Photos by Nicola Faraone and John Fulcher
By Brian Woodman Jr.
(Sept. 2 -- Mashantucket, CT)

    Live Muay Thai came returned to Foxwoods Resort Casino and the fighters came from across the world. Four of the five professional bouts on Lion Fight 31’s main card were title fights. All of the bouts, including the six amateur fights on the preliminary card, ended in unanimous decisions despite occasional differences in the judge’s scoring.
    The main event was a women’s welterweight championship bout that ended with champion Jorina Baars (41-0) retaining her belt. Baars, who rains out of SportsArt Den Helder in the Netherlands, clinched and exchanged strikes with opponent Angela Whitley (14-1) during a fight that increased in intensity by the end of the second round. But Whitley, who trains out of Thunder Muay Thai in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was bleeding from the forehead courtesy of a spinning elbow from Baars by the third round.
    Whitley, who was also bleeding from her nose, took Baars’ back during the clinch while dodging spinning elbows. Several high kicks also marked the fight.
    The main card opened with a light heavyweight bout between Brad Mountain (3-4) of Kaizen MMA and Brett Hlavacek (17-3) of New York City’s The WAT. Mountain, who trains out of Woodbridge, Virginia, tended to favor punching while Hlavacek throws more kicks and elbows. Hlavacek, who opened a cut in Mountain’s cheek during the second round, tossed his opponent during the cinch a few times during the bout, eventually securing a decision from the judges.
    The next bout was a women’s lightweight bout that ended with Antonina Shevchenko (37-1) of Lima, Peru retaining her belt. Shevchenko, who trains at Tiger Muay Thai Phuket, caught several of the kicks from challenger Paola Cappucci (46-10-1) and threw her. Cappucci, who trains out of the Brizon Gym in Florence, Italy, brought Shevchenko to the ground earlier in the fight but the champion dominated all the rounds.
    During another women’s championship bout, Jeri Sitzes (33-13) of Springfield, Missouri’s Budo Kai Fight Game Gym fought Iman Barlow (84-5) of the British gym Team Assissins for the vacant super bantamweight belt. Clinching and exchanges that increased in pace marked the first three rounds, with Sitzes throwing more punches and Barlow leaning toward kicks. Two judges awarded the fight to Barlow with a 50-45 score while the third one scored the fight 49-46.
    During the only male championship bout, Tum Sityodtong (76-22-3) of Thailand fought Gaston Bolanos (8-1) of Dublin, California for the lightweight belt. Sityodtong, who trains at the Winner Muay Thai Gym, was grinning oddly throughout the fight -- the joke was on him when referee Kevin Mulhall penalized him by one point during the third round.
    During the round, Sityodtong ate a spinning elbow from Bolanos -- a technique Bolanos tends to favor. Sityodtong tried to return the favor after the bell rang ad received the penalty. 
    Earlier in the fight, Sityodtong nearly kicked Bolanos while he was on the ground and received s warning. 
Sityodtong kicked Bolanos’ legs out from under him during the second round and generally dominated the fight in points despite sustaining some spectacular hits as the rounds ended. 
    Two of the judges scored the fight 48-45 in favor of Sityodtong while one scored it 49-44.

Tum Sityodtong, left, versus Gaston Bolanos at Foxwoods.
Photos by Nicola Faraone and John Fulcher
The preliminary results were:

Super Bantamweight: Ava Scheininger (1-0) of the UFC Gym and Hard Knocks defeated My Seppo (0-1) of Redline Sports. Both fighters train out of Boston.

Welterweight: Jerral Womack (2-1) of Plus One Defense (West Hartford, CT) defeated Manny Sanchez (1-1) of Valiant Martial Arts (Berlin, CT)

Light Heavyweight: J. Luck Henry (5-4), who also trains out of Hard Knocks, defeated Skye Soderberg (4-2-1) of Pride Martial Arts (South Kingston, Rhode Island).

Super Flyweight: Brandy Young (4-3), also who also Redline Fight Sports, defeated Marissa Messer-Belenchia (0-1) of Calandrelli MMA (New Haven, CT).

Heavyweight: Steve Walker (9-2), also of Hard Knocks, defeated Doug Holland (8-2-1) of Pride Martial Arts.

Lightweight: Mike Triana (14-4) of Team Link (Worcester, Massachusetts) defeated Steven Summers (6-5) of Sidthilaw Muay Thai & MMA (Nashville, Tennessee)

Makashavili submits Soriano at CES 38
Foster loses decision to Kattar
MMA fighters Levan Makashavili and Sean Soriano
Levan Makashavili sinks a rear naked choke into Sean Soriano on September 23 at Foxwoods.
Photos by Nicola Faraone and John Fulcher
By Brian Woodman Jr.
(September 23: Mashantucket)

   There was a lot of local support for Middletown’s Chris Foster (9-5) at Foxwoods Resort Casino during CES 38 despite former Bellator fighter Calvin Kattar (16-2) being the apparent crowd favorite. But the abundance of Chris Foster t-shirts in the Fox Theater was not enough to sway events in the cage.
    Foster, who trains at Nova Uniao and seemed to favor boxing, put on an impressive performance during the co-main event as he slipped punches, slapped away high kicks, scored a double-leg takedown and grabbed receding lower leg kicks during the first two rounds of the featherweight bout.
    But despite one of the three cage side judges actually giving Foster the second round, Kattar brought him to the ground about halfway through the third and final round. Kattar, who trains at Sityodtong in Boston, repeatedly lifted and dropped Foster as they clinched on the ground. He won by unanimous decision.
    During the main event, which was also a featherweight fight, UFC veteran Sean Soriano (9-5) appeared to actually be winning the bout. But Makashavili (9-2), who is also a UFC veteran, secured a rear naked choke at 4:05 in the first round and won the fight. Makashavili’s over-the-top reaction to winning, which included running into the cage and somersaulting, garnered nearly as much attention as his quick victory.
    The card opened with a bantamweight fight between Kris Moutinho of Milford, Massachusetts and Matthew Maldonado, who were both making their professional debuts. Moutinho scored a few takedowns and attempted to ground-and-pound Maldonado, whom trains at Kings Thai Boxing in New York City, earning a unanimous decision.
    Lionel Young (7-16), who trains at Redline in Massachusetts, used takedowns and bully mounts to dominate the first round of the next bout - a lightweight fight with Wayne Ahlquist (2-3) of Lake Region Vale Tudo in New Hampshire. During the second round, which one judge awarded to Young, Ahlquist nearly secured to rear naked chokes and began to change the direction of the fight. By the third round, Ahlquist was dominating the fight (Young ad Ahlquist did go back and forth during a brief but vicious striking exchange in the final round). It ended in a split decision win for Ahlquist.
    The next bout, a flyweight fight between Richie Santiago and Brandon Warne (2-2), ended in the quickest finish of the night. Santiago, who trains at RAC with Moutinho and made his professional debut, submitted Warne of Team Bombsquad with a rear naked choke at :52 in the first round. 
    Norwich’s Pete Rogers Jr. (2-4) appeared injured after he left the cage in the next bout -- a featherweight fight with Derek Shorey (4-7) of Shatterproof Combat in Maine. Shorey secured an armbar at 3:25 in the first round and won the fight. 
    Rogers lifted and threw Shorey at one point. Shorey used a professional wrestling-style suplex on Rogers earlier.
    Kody Nordby (7-4) of Topflight Wrestling in Woonsocket, Rhode Island won a bantamweight fight with Brandon Seyler (6-4-1) of Next Generation in Pennsylvania by unanimous decision. 
    The first round went back and forth with Nordby attempting to extend Seyler’s leg and Seyler going for a guillotine choke. Seyler scooped up and threw Nordby at one point, but the round ended with the latter on top. 
    Seyler went for another guillotine in the second round and Nordby attempted a rear naked choke. Nordby ended the third round taking Seyler’s back.
    A heavyweight bout between Pat Walsh (8-2) of Victory MMA and Carlos Zevallos (3-4) of Arena Sports Combat ended in a gruesome manner. The referee waved off the fight at 1:49 in the first round after Walsh dropped elbows during some ground-and-pound. Zevallos had a visible bulge in his forehead above is eyes that appeared to prompt the stoppage and Walsh won by TKO.
    David Garcia (3-1-1) of Chicago’s Team Mac secured a victory by key lock submission at 2:25 in the first round of a bantamweight fight with Rico Discuiullo (6-1) of Sityodtong. “I give all things to Jesus Christ, who strengthens me,” said Garcia while a visibly upset Discuiullo left the cage.
    A middleweight fight between John Poppie (7-4) of South Carolina’s Chosen Few and Mike Rodriguez (5-1) of Lauzon MMA in Massachusetts went back and forth for two rounds. But at 1:32 in the second round, Rodriguez secured a leg triangle choke but grabbed Poppie’s head rather than his arm. Poppie, to who one judge gave the first round, tapped out.

MMA fighters Chris Foster and Calvin Kattar
Chris Foster, left, versus Calvin Kattar at the latest CES event.
Photos by John Fulcher and Nicola Faraone