Lion Fight 40: Three title fights, including debut of North American titleby Brian Woodman Jr. on 02/04/18
By Brian Woodman Jr., with contributions by Marc Karmelowicz
(Jan. 3 - Mashantucket, CT)
Three title fights went to decision at Foxwoods Resort and Casino during Lion Fight 40 -- Lion Fight’s latest Muay Thai event. One of these was for the company’s first North American belt. Five of the other six professional bouts on that evening’s card ended in knockouts.
Lion Fight also announced that it would host its next event on April 7 in London.
Brett Hlavacek (19--5) won the company’s first North American title, defeating fellow light heavyweight Elijah Clarke (7-2) after five rounds that went to a split decision. The fight began cautiously with Clarke alternating between southpaw and orthodox stance, but the pace gradually increased as the fight progressed. Both fighters exchanged a variety of strikes with Hlavacek attempting a lot of elbows. There were a few instances in which Clarke attempted a high kick and Hlavacek would attempt to kick his standing leg out from under him. Two judges awarded it to Hlavacek by 48-47while one scored it 49-46 for Clarke.
During the main event, Chip Moraza-Pollard (7-0) successfully defended his cruiserweight belt with Lion Fight against Slava Alexeichik (30-9). Moraza-Pollard, who recently won another belt from the British promotion Muay Thai Grand Prix during Lion Fight 39, looked relaxed as he and Alexeichik stalked each other during the first round. It went back and forth as the fight progressed, with Alexeichik leaning more toward punching and Moraza-Pollard working on his opponent’s legs. The pace increased as the fight continued, with Moraza-Pollard applying more pressure with punching combinations and trying to trap Alexeichik against the ropes. Moraza-Pollard landed a knee and a spinning back elbow during the fifth round that prompted the referee to count to eight as Alexeichik recovered. The fight ended with both fighters practically in mid-punch and tempering their actions. Moraza-Pollard earned a unanimous decision victory.
During the co-main event, Lerdsila PhuketTopTeam (195--31-5) earned a unanimous decision over Alexi Serepisos (40-11) during a lightweight title fight. Although both fighters landed strikes, Lerdsila had a visible edge and appeared far more relaxed -- he seemed to be standing still as he inched toward Serepisos before exploding with strikes and clinching attempts. The first round ended with Lerdsila clinching with Serepisos and in the middle of attempting a knee and the second with him landing straight kick to the body. Lerdsila threw Serepisos to the ground a few times during the bout with the latter returning the favor once. The fight ended with a striking exchange. Two judges scored it 50-45 and one scored it 49-46.
During the first professional fight, Tom Evans (1-3) knocked out fellow middleweight Johnny Adams at 2:00 in the first round with a punching and kicking combination. Doctors subsequently examined Adams, who making his professional debut that evening, while a visibly upset Evans looked on. Evans announced after the fight that it would be his last fight.
The next professional bout was a middleweight fight between Cody Laskar, who made his professional debut, and Brian Bogue (1-1). Laskar, who appeared more dominant earlier in the earlier rounds, pressured Bogue through much of the fight and won a unanimous decision. Bogue became more aggressive as the fight progressed and increased his pace during the striking exchanges.
Mike Triana (2-0) dominated the lightweight bout that followed, knocking out Johnny Lindor (2-2) at 2:56 in round four. The referee briefly stopped the fight in the second round after Lindor sustained a kick to the cup -- the round ended with Triana landing a high side kick and a few punches. There was another stoppage after Triana punched Lindor to the ground in the third round -- it ended with Triana clinching and kneeing Lindor. The fifth round began with Lindor catching one of Triana’s kicks and throwing him. Toward the end of the fight, Triana knocked Lindor down twice – the second time, courtesy of a punching combination and a knee, ended the fight.
Julio Pena (5-1), in what he announced would be his last fight, won a lightweight bout against Issac Tijerina (1-2) by TKO at 1:35 in round two. Tijerina opened the fight with a high kick, trying to keep distance between himself and Pena while periodically closing in on him. But Pena brought him to his knees with a flurry of punches and the referee nearly counted him out before the bell saved him. Tijerina went for a spinning elbow early in the next round, but Pena later brought him down with a straight jab that ended the fight.
P.J. Sweda (3-2) won the middleweight bout against Chris Mims (1-1) that followed with a TKO at 2:59 in round three. Sweda was bleeding from the face at the end of round one, but during the fight kept throwing uppercuts followed by a knee – a strategy that eventually worked and sent both men to the canvas. Mims threw lots of elbows and at one point caught one of Sweda’s kicks before he threw him, but had a bloody nose by the end of the fight.
Steve Walker (3-0) defeated Cole Fetzner (1-1) by TKO at 1:42 in round two. Walker knocked Fetzner to the ground in the first round and the referee counted to eight before the fight resumed. Walker ended the round with an impressive punching combination. Walker opened the second round with a series of high side kicks, later unleashing punches that prompted a ten-second count and ended the fight.
The card opened with a trio of three-round amateur bouts on the card.The first was a light heavyweight bout between J. Luck Henry and Ross Levine that ended in a split decision -- the fight ended with two judges scoring the fight 28-29 I favor of Henry and one scoring it 29-28 in favor of Levine. The next was a middleweight bout between Jurrrell Laronal and Shaun Schubert that ended with Laronal winning by majority decision -- one judge called it a tie while the other two scored it 28-29 and 27-30. The third was another middleweight bout -- it ended with Aaron Ortiz defeating Connor Fenton by unanimous decision.