Mizra Hopovac, left, versus Joe Stripling.

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Lion Fight 58: Walker wins world title;
George defeats Hlavacek during Muay Thai event
Joy Georgeright, vs.Brett Hlaveacek at Lion Fight 58 in CT
Joy George hits Brett Hlaveacek during the main event on August 17 at Foxwoods.
Photo by John Fulcher

By Brian Woodman Jr.
(Mashantucket, CT -- Aug. 17)

   Lion Fight North American Super Cruiserweight champion Steve Walker (8-0) defeated Chris Bradford (24-14) during the main event of Lion Fight 58 at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Walker, who fights out of Boston, earned a unanimous decision and secured the Muay Thai promotion’s world super cruiserweight belt. 
   Joy George (7-2) defeated North American Cruiserweight champion Brett Hlavacek (19-6) during the co-main event, taking his belt after five hard-fought rounds. Hlavacek, who fights out of Brooklyn, currently holds the promotion’s light heavyweight belt.
   Walker opened his fight by standing on one leg and flashing his leg forward in a classic Muay Thai stance. He and his Australian challenger cautiously felt each other out with Walker periodically exploding into brief punching flurries and at one point landing a elbow. Walker stumbled during a striking exchange but recovered quickly before the first round ended.
   The champion opened he second round with high side kicks, punches and two unsuccessful flying kicks that elicited cheers from the crowd before cinching. He landed some light body kicks, threw a punching combination and attempted another flying kick. Bradford attempted some offense but Walker generally dominated the fight, knocking the Australian down before transitioning to body punches. 
   They went back and forth during the third round, but Walker actually slipped three times trying to kick Bradford.
   The Australian caught one of Walker’s kicks and threw him during the third round. Bradford began to shine a little at this point, slipping and bobbing while landing a few strong punches. He slipped a high side kick from Walker while standing his back to him toward the end of the round.. 
   Walker opened the fifth round with aggressive striking but Bradford intercepted some of his kicks and at one point lifted and threw him. Walker almost slipped again and tried to threw another flying kick.
   All three judges scored the fight 80-45.
Chris Mauceri and Stephen Oppong at Lion Fight 58 in CT
Chris Mauceri slips a punch from Stephen Oppong.
Photo by John Fulcher

   Hlavacek, in his first defense of his cruiserweight title, caught George’s kicks and flipped a few times during fight. But the Canadian challenger stayed aggressive and pressured Hlavacek throughout the fight.
   Hlavacek fell out of the ring during the second round, which ended with George cornering the then-champion, landing a spinning elbow and attempting a striking combination in the clinch. 
   Hlavacek’s neck got caught in the ropes during the third and a straight high kick from George sent him backwards into the edge of the ring again. Hlavacek attempted a elbow thrust that went nowhere but after some clinching caught a lick and threw George. He later struck George with an upwards spinning elbow from a awkward, bent position and seemed to try turning the tide. He appeared almost exaggeratedly dazed as he leaned against the ropes following a clinch with George and an exchange of knees, but then sent the Canadian sprawling with a kick as the round ended.
   Hlavacek caught one of George’s kicks and elbowed him early in the fourth round. George then landed a middle side kick but Hlavacek grabbed his leg ad threw him. They continued back and fort although George appeared more aggressive with his punching combinations. 
   Hlavacek tried to become more aggressive despite appearing almost lethargic during the fifth round and George bled from his forehead. The belt holder attempted to hit George with a body combination and then used clinching to stifle his attacks. Both fighters fell to the ground towards the end of the fight.
   Two judges scored the fight 50-45 in favor of George while one scored it 48-47 in his favor.

Mizra Hopovac, left, versus Joe Stripling.
Mizra Hopovac, left, versus Joe Stripling.
Photo by John Fulcher

The main card opened with a heavyweight bout between Bosnian native Mirza Hopovac (2-1) and Joe Stripling (5-1), who fights out of Delaware. The muscular Hopovac appeared to dominate the first round with a variety of strikes but the stocky Stripling began to pick up the pace as it ended.
   Hopovac opened strong I the second round but after some clinching Stripling hit him with some body shots and what appeared to be a knee, ending the fight with a knockout at 1:26.
   The next fight was a welterweight bout between Chris Mauceri (8-4) and Stephen Oppong (7-6) of Montreal. Mauceri, who fights out of New York, seemed to favor punching during the fight while Oppong leaned towards kicks and clinching. Although Mauceri stalked Oppong for much of the fight between striking exchanges, the Canadian became gradually more aggressive with punching combinations during the second round and landed more kicks -- he actually ended he fourth round landing a side kick to Mauceri’s chest.
   Mauceri won the fight by unanimous decision, with two judges scoring it 49-46 and one scoring it 48-47.

   There were also five amateur fights on the preliminary card.

   Super Lightweight - Nate Bennette defeated Stretch Acevedo by unanimous decision.

   Featherweight - Liz Loud defeated Leah Cobelli by unanimous decision.

   Super welterweight - Matt Negrotti defeated Cullen Johnson by unanimous decision.

   Cruiserweight - Nazar Mazurkeyvch defeated Alex Brown by split decision.

   Super middleweight - Kachamaa Hylton defeated Aaron Ortiz by unanimous decision.

   (Editor’s note: a welterweight bout between Dwayne Holman (2-1) and Matt Mclusker (0-3) was cancelled.)
De Jesus retains title with vicious
knockout at CES 58;
Porter punches his way to a win;
Hartford crowd angry with
Kosakowski loss

MMA fighters Vinicius De Jesus, left, versus Chris Lozano
Vinicius De Jesus, left, versus Chris Lozano on September 7 at the Connecticut Convention Center.
Photo by Tasha Naomi Anastasi
By Brian Woodman Jr.
(Hartford, CT -- September 7)

   CES welterweight belt holder Vinicius De Jesus (9-2) successfully defended his title on Saturday night and made a statement with a third-round knockout of Chris Lozano (10-5). The bout marked the main event at CES 58, which took place at the Connecticut Convention Center.
   De Jesus, a Brazilian who trains with Team Link, secured the win during the third round of a five-round bout. He ended the bout by kneeing Lozano in the face at least four times before the referee waved the fight off.
   Clevelander Lozano knocked De Jesus down with a shot to the temple during the first round,. But De Jesus persevered and locked up Lozano’s legs in the clinch. De Jesus picked up the pace and threw a flurry of punches as the fight ended.
   Lozano fell early in the second round after he missed a kick and De Jesus pounced. They were back on their feet and De Jesus later threw a spinning back kick from a very low angle that caught Lozano in the side of the face. Lozano threw a few lower leg kicks during the round, at least one of which landed inside the leg, but De Jesus generally appeared more dominant in the exchanges. 
   De Jesus punched his way into a dominant position during the third round and sealed the deal at 3:22 with a TKO.
   A heavyweight fight between Parker Porter (8-5) and Dirlei Broenstrup (16-7), who fights out of Brazil, capped the rest of the three-round professional fights. Porter, who fights out of Underdog MMA in Hartford, secured a TKO in the final round with a straight right. 
   Porter seemed more aggressive during the often-wide punching exchanges in the first round, but fell and wound up clinching with Broenstrup as it ended. Porter attempted to dictate the pace during the back-and-forth punching in the second round but clearly had a bloody nose. He landed a Muay Thai plum, which a knee to the face during the cinch, and eventually pounced after Broenstrup fell and wound up in his closed guard. He landed another plum during the third round before finishing the fight at 3:17.
   The evening opened with a banatamweight fight between Will Smith of Springfield, MA and Aaron Reese, who fights out of New Mexico. The two threw lots of lower leg kicks during the exchanges in the first round, which ended with West Haven native Smith getting a takedown. 
   Reese caught one of Smith’s kicks during the second round and grounded him before taking his back. But Smith later lifted Reese by the waist and threw him as the round ended.
   Smith throw more punching combinations and knees as the third round progressed. He ended the round with a combination of wide punches that missed but secured an unanimous decision.
   Dan Randall, who trains at FAA, secured a first-round win over fellow heavyweight Jesse Baughman of Team Link at about two minutes in the first round with an Americana during the second fight.
   Nick Giuletti grounded and pounded his way to a first-round TKO of Cody Schieve at :38 during the lightweight fight that followed.
   The next bout, and the first one shown on UFC Fight Pass, was a flyweight fight between Justin Valentin of Underdog MMA and Adrian Haly of Brooklyn MMA. Haly secured a win by split decision.
   Haly landed some kicks during the striking exchanges in the first round but Valentin took his back in the middle of it. The second round featured more cautious striking exchanges and a little cinching as Haly sprawled out of a takedown. Valentin managed two single-leg takedowns and took Haly’s back during the third round -- Haley subsequently took his back but Valentin reversed it as the round ended.
   Harris Bonfiglio managed to get a takedown during his bantamweight fight with Jornel Lugo. But Lugo still managed to land a knee and punch his way to a first-round win at 3:27. 
   Robbie Leroux won a featherweight bout with Pete Rogers Jr. at 1:55 in the first round with a heel hook. Rogers attempted a guillotine and had Leroux’s leg during the bout but ended it in visible pain.
   Area favorite Jesse Kosakowski (3-1) landing a few slipping elbows in the clinch during the first round of a lightweight bout with Reggie Merriweather (13-5). Kosakowski threw a kick that appeared to miss and Merriweather countered with a right punch that ended the fight at 2:37 in the first round with a knockout and catcalls from a visibly irate audience -- Kosakowski legs appeared to be up as the referee waved the fight off and some audience members expressed the opinion that it was an early stoppage.
   (Editor’s Note: statistics for some of the fighters were not available as of press time).
MMA fighters Parker Porter and Dirlei Broenstrup
Parker Porter, in the white shorts, versus Dirlei Broenstrup at CES 58.
Photo by Tasha Naomi Anastasi