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Two title fights at Lion Fight 28 on Feb. 26 at Foxwoods
Cedric Manhoef, left, and Jo Nattawut clash on Feb. 26 at Lion Fight 28.
Photo by Nicola Faraone
By Brian Woodman Jr.

   Two title fights highlighted Lion Fight 28, which Lion Fight Promotions held on Feb. 26 at Foxwoods Resort Casino. “Smokin” Jo Nattawut (56-5-2) won the main event by unanimous decision, successfully defending his super welterweight title against challenger Cedric Manhoef (51-3-1). Sergio Wielzen (41-9-2) won the co-main event by knockout, securing the lightweight belt from Ognjen Topic (17-6). 
   Nattawut and Amsterdam’s Manhoef fought cautiously during the first round of their bout, but during the second round the pace gradually quickened. By the third round several kicks were being exchanged as Nattawut, who trains out of Bangkok Boxing in Atlanta, led on the scorecards.
   During the fourth round, Nattawut missed a punch and nearly fell out of the ring. Manhoef landed a few solid shots to Nattawut’s face following some clinching, although the champion appeared mostly unfazed.
  Throughout the fight, Manhoef blocked several of Nattawut’s kicks and threw lots of punches to the body.
   Wielzen, who is also from the Netherlands, knocked out Topic in the third round at 50 seconds. Topic, who trains out of North Jersey Muay Thai, threw Wielzen to the ground a few times during the fight but the challenger ended the bout with a combination that ended with a left elbow to the champion’s head. 
​   The main card opened with a welterweight fight between Asa Ten Pow of the Florida Kickboxing Academy and Turan Hasanov (15-8-1) of Square Circle New York Muay Thai. Pow, who made his professional debut that evening, won by TKO after referee Brian Miner waved the fight off following a stoppage at about 40 seconds into the third round – sources stated that Hasanov dislocated his shoulder during the bout. 
   The next fight, which was a lightweight bout between Bryce Lawrence (2-1) of Florida’s Fight Sports Naples and Yeison Berdugo (0-2) of Rhode Island’s MMA Prof Fighter, also ended in a knockout. Lawrence finished Berdugo at 2:03 in the first round after hobbling him with lower leg kicks and hitting him with an uppercut.
   The next fight also ended in a first-round knockout. Welterweight Chris Mauceri (9-2) of New York’s Stockade Martial Arts finished Nick Chasteen (5-2) of Arizona’s Best Muay Thai with two consecutive elbows to the head at 1:55.
   Ky Hollenbeck (33-3-1) of California’s Combat Sports Academy dominated both rounds of a super welterweight bout with Justin Greskiewicz (31-16-3) that ended with a TKO in the second round. Hollenbeck ended the fight at 2:09 with a striking combination that ended in an elbow.
   There were six amateur bouts on the preliminary card, which concluded with a super lightweight fight between Niko Qirjazo of Boston’s North Shore Muay Thai and Hartford’s Stergos Mikkios of Thornton Martial arts – a rematch of their previous fight which ended in a draw at Lion Fight 26 last November. Mikkios won by unanimous decision.
   The first five amateur bouts also ended in unanimous decisions. Andrew Murray of North Shore Muay Thai defeated John Nelson of Hard Knocks Muay Thai (another Boston gym) in a middleweight fight. Doug Holland of Wakefield, Rhode Island gym Pride Martial Art and Fitness defeated Greg Muldrow of Sityodtong Boston in a super heavyweight bout. Julian Nguyen of Worcester, Massachussets gym Team Link defeated Jimmy McDonald in a welterweight bout. Maria Kritikos of Lebanon, New Hampshire’s Baan Muay Thai Academy defeated Brandy Young of North Shore Muay Thai in a women’s bantamweight fight. Mike Triana of Team Link defeated Kyle Brenner of Fight Sport Naples in a lightweight fight.

Stergos Mikkios of Hartford gets his hand raised following an unanimous decision victory at Lion Fight 28. His opponent was Niko Qirjazo.
Photo by Nicola Faraone
Justin Greskiewicz, left, fights Ky Hollenbeck at Lion Fight 28 at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Feb. 26.
Photo by Nicola Faraone
Sergio Wielzen, left, and Ognjen Topic face off at Lion Fight 28 during the co-main event. Topic lost his lightweight title that evening.
Photo by Nicola Faraone