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East Hartford fighter among winners at Lion Fight 36;
Foxwoods hosts Muay Thai event
Felled Jacob Hebeisen at Lion Fight 36
Ringside officials tend to a felled Jacob Hebeisen on April 28 following his lightweight bout with Phuket, Thailand's Lerdsila, who ended the fight with a kick to the jaw. The bout marked the main event at Lion Fight 36.
Photos by Nicola Faraone and John Fulcher
By Brian Woodman Jr.

(Mashantucket, CT -- April 28) East Hartford’s Paul Banasiak (5-0) was among the apparent local favorites that won their bouts at Lion Fight 36 on Friday night. Banasiak defeated Brett Hlavacek (17-5) by unanimous decision in a cruiserweight bout that preceded the main event -- a one-sided non-title lightweight bout between Lendsila PhuketTop Team (his given name at the event) (184-31-5) and Jacob Hebeisen (7-5) of Murrieta, Georgia that ended in the latter suffering a devastating knockout.
   Other winners included Julian Nguyen of Worcester, Massachusetts, who made his professional debut that evening, and former MMA competitor Chip Moraza-Pollard (4-0).
   The main card opened with a lightweight bout between Jonathan George (2-1-1) of Lorton, Virginia and Amine Ballafrikh (8-4) of Sterling Virginia. Ballafrikh, who generally dominated the fight, won by unanimous decision -- two judges scoring the fight 50-45 and one scoring it 49-46. George sometimes reversed the situation, almost pushing Ballafrikh through the ropes and occasionally dictating the pace of the fight for brief spurts but he was visibly exhausted by the fifth round.
   The second bout on the main card was a middleweight fight between P.J. Sweda (2-2) of Philadelphia and Eddie Abasolo (8-2) of Dublin, California. Abasolo won by TKO at 1:36 in the fifth round following a punching combination that included a body shot.
   Moraza-Pollard won by TKO at :30 into the third round during the next bout -- a super cruiserweight fight with Matt Coleman (1-2) of Lynchburg, Virginia. Both fighters fought cautiously in the first round, but Moraza-Pollard ended the second with a combination of liver kick, uppercut, hook and cross that he followed with a second liver kick. The referee waved the fight off early in the following round after Moraza-Pollard used a similar combination on a visibly pained Coleman.

Chip Moraza-Pollard and Matt Coleman at Foxwoods Resort Casino at Lion Fight 36
Chip Moraza-Pollard punches Matt Coleman at Foxwoods Resort Casino on April 28 at Lion Fight 36.
Photos by Nicola Faraone and John Fulcher
   The next fight was a middleweight bout between D.C. Pratt of Atlanta, Georgia and Amadeu Cristiano of Boston. The first round opened with a flurried exchange of punches and Pratt seemed to favor punching more during the course of the clinch-heavy fight. Cristiano won a unanimous decision with two judges scoring the fight 50-45 and one scoring it 49-46.
   Hlavacek adopted orthodox stance during the following fight and appeared particularly dominant during the second and third rounds, while kicking Banasiak’s legs out from under him in the first. But Banasiak, who used southpaw stance, did well during the first and fourth rounds. Hlavacek appeared unconcerned during the fifth round, which went back-and-forth. Two judges awarded the fight to Banasiak by 48-47 and one scored it 49-46.
   Lerdsila handily dominated the main event, pacing himself and favoring kicks during the cautious striking exchanges. He expanded his attacks with cinching and knees during the second round, He eventually scored his knockout with a lightning-fast high side kick to the jaw that dropped Hebeisen in his tracks at 2:16 in the second round and left him bleeding from the mouth while the ringside physician tended to him.
   The final fight of the evening was a super welterweight bout between Nguyen and Trevor Ragin of Richmond, Virginia (also making his professional debut). Ragin, who clearly favored punching and orthodox stance, opened the fight strongly by nearly cornering Nguyen. But Nguyen, who fought from southpaw stance, used kicking to his advantage and kept his distance. Ragin threw a frenzied punching combination at Nguyen near the end of the final round -- when Nguyen tried to respond in kind, Ragin threw a high side kick that got caught in the ropes and send him tumbling. Two judges awarded Nguyen the fight by 48-47 and one scored it 49-46.

Brett Hlavacek, left, of New York City fights East Hartford's Paul Banasiak
Brett Hlavacek, left, of New York City fights East Hartford's Paul Banasiak during a cruiserweight Muay Thai bout on April 28.
Photos by Nicola Faraone and John Fulcher
The results for the amateur bouts on the preliminary card were as follows:

Jurrell Laronal defeated Chris Taylor by unanimous decision in a super welterweight bout.
Shawn Ellis defeated James MacDonald by unanimous decision in a welterweight bout.
Kris Silck defeated Jon Ouellette at 1:40 in round two by TKO in a cruiserweight bout.
Mohammad Davis defeated Brian Bogue by unanimous decision in a super middleweight bout.

(Editorial note: all professional bouts were five three-minute rounds and all amateur bouts were three rounds with certain protective gear worn).