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Lion Fight 26 a crowd pleaser
despite card changes
Gonzales and Fagan at Lion Fight 26
Pedro Gonzales, left, receives a knee from Sean Fagan at Lion Fight 26 on Nov. 20.
Photo by Nicola Faraone
By Brian Woodman Jr.

   A super lightweight title fight between British fighter Greg Wootton (35-2) and Japan’s Tetsuya Yamato (35-12) was scheduled as the main event for Lion Fight 26 – a Muay Thai event held on Nov. 20 at Foxwoods Resort Casino. While the bout was cancelled, the event apparently still kept the vocal crowd in Mashantucket entertained.
   The 142-pound bout between Turan Hasanov (15-8-1) and Nick Chasteen (5-1) became the main event, and it ended with a third-round TKO. Chasteen won the fight at :25 after knocking down Hasanov and missing a kick -- the referee subsequently waved off the fight.
   Chasteen dominated the first round following a furious exchange, giving Hasanov a kick in the behind before the bell rang. 
   During the second round, the referee counted off as a dazed Hasanov struggled to get to his feet after eating punches and a spinning elbow attack. Later in the round, the referee counted up to nine before Hasanov recovered from a second knockdown.
   The main card opened with a bout between Sean Fagan (0-2) and Pedro Gonzales (3-1). Gonzales earned a unanimous decision after winning four of the five rounds and generally pushing the action. As the bout progressed, it became less one-sided and Fagan actually won the fourth round. But Gonzales got the last word in, landing a light spinning back kick to Fagan’s face as the final round ended.
   Tim Amorim (1-3) was actually winning his 135-pound fight with Julio Pena (4-0) before his opponent caught one of his kicks in the third round. A visibly-hobbled Pena then threw Amorim off balance and against the ropes before landing a spinning elbow to the side of his head. The round ended with a knock out at 2:59 that had the crowd going insane.
   The next bout was a 160-pound fight between Ben Peak (10-4) and Josh Shepard (5-1) that ended with the later earning an unanimous decision. Peak won the first round, tripping Shepard a few times while mixing punches with a variety of kicks. But Shepard became more dominant as the bout progressed, landing punches and a knee before clinching as the fourth round ended. By the fifth round Shepard was fighting with his hands at his sides, slipping punches as the round ended. 
      The fourth fight on the card, a 122-pound bout between John Nofer (3-0) and Victor Saravia (4-1), earned mixed reactions from the crowd. It was a back-and-forth battle that ended with Nofer earning a unanimous decision. Some of the crowd booed while others cheered as the announced read the judge’s decision.
Nofer won the workman-like first round but Saravia won the second and third round. Nofer bobbed and weaved during the exchanges in the fourth and fifth round, although Saravia did lift him in the air and throw him during the last round.
   Stergos Mikkios (6-5-1) of Hartford was among the fighters competing in the amateur bouts on the preliminary card. His super lightweight bout with Niko Qirjazo (3-5-1) ended in a draw.
   In the opening amateur fight, Frank Welles (4-1) defeated Fabian Wilson (3-3) in a middleweight bout. During the third preliminary bout, Jermaine Palmer (3-1) defeated fellow middleweight Justin Lozada by unanimous decision. Super lightweight Malcolm Hill (4-1) then earned a unanimous decision victory over Mike Savvas (2-1). Super middleweight Brian Bogue (5-2) won the last amateur bout of the evening by unanimous decision against Chris Baker (1-1). would like to thank George Caravakis for his contributions to this article.
Nofer and Saravia at Lion Fight 26
John Nofer, left, versus Victor Saravia at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Nov. 20.
Photo by Nicola Faraone