‘Mr. Lightning’ strikes at Lion Fight 36
Electrifying and compelling finishes were plentiful as Lion Fight returned to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, on Friday night for Lion Fight 36.
A packed house inside the Fox Theater and fans watching on AXS TV Fights and Fight Network saw the organizational debut of legendary Thai competitor Lerdsila PhuketTopTeam who didn’t disappoint in showcasing his incredible skillset. Originally set to face Sergio Wielzen for the Lion Fight lightweight title, Lerdsila wound up facing late replacement, MMA combatant Jacob Hebeisen, and he left no doubt about the result.
Lerdsila hurt Hebeisen with a knee to the body and then put him down on the canvas with a head kick. Hebeisen valiantly forged on, but was dispatched in violent fashion moments later. “Mr. Lightning” flicked out teep kick, brought his foot right back with amazing speed and tagged Hebeisen with a head kick that immediately floored him in stunning fashion. The scintillating finish became a must-see highlight across social media.
Though pleased with the result, Lerdsila was clear in his intention that he wanted to return to ring soon and get his opportunity to dethrone Wielzen.
“I have come to Lion Fight because I want the title,” said Lerdsila.
Banasiak beats Hlavacek
In the co-main event, Paul “The Reaper” Banasiak (5-0) kept his perfect record intact and made his case for a prominent spot in the Lion Fight cruiserweight division as he slipped past rival Brett Hlavacek via unanimous decision.
Hlavacek (17-5) likely had an early cushion built up, but Banasiak started to get his offense on track by dominating the action in the clinch. He also landed the best single strike of the bout when he connected with a short-range elbow that momentarily staggered Hlavacek. The East Hartford, Connecticut, product held the action advantage late in the fight and wound up taking the judges’ scorecards 49-48, 49-46, 48-47 over his adversary from New York City.
Finishes for Abasolo & Moraza-Pollard
Two of Lion Fight’s rising stars were able to add resounding finishes to their resumes.
Middleweight Eddie Abasolo took foe PJ Sweda into deep waters and eventually found the finish with at TKO at the 1:36 mark of the fifth round. Abasolo (8-1) took over the bout midway through the third round with a five-punch combo that concluded with a jolting uppercut. In the fourth, Abasolo opened a cut near Sweda’s left eye with an elbow and the onslaught worsened in the opening moments of the fifth. Abasolo went after the body of Sweda (2-2) and put him down a count with a hard punch. Abasolo kept up the attack and a final uppercut brought the referee as well as the corner’s towel in to halt the bout.
Meanwhile, veteran MMA standout Chip Moraza-Pollard continues to find a career resurgence by focusing on an all-standup campaign as he earned his fourth straight victory in Muay Thai action. “The Surgeon” executed a precise game plan as he waited out Matt Coleman then went after him opponent with an attack to the body. Moraza-Pollard connected with consecutive body kicks, the second of which put Coleman down in the second. Coleman opted to keep going but his brave outing lasted until just the 30-second mark of the third when Moraza-Pollard thudded Coleman with a left hook to the liver.
“I’m just showing what I’m able to do after being stuck in MMA for a long time. I’m showing what I’ve been capable of the whole time,” said Moraza-Pollard.
Wins for Cristiano, Ballafrikh & Nguyen
Three fighters dominated their way to unanimous decision victories on the Lion Fight 36 main card.
The broadcast opener was a spirited lightweight affair with a number of entertaining moments that ultimately went the way of Amine Ballafrikh (8-4) as he topped Jonathan George (2-1-1). Ballafrikh picked up his second win under the Lion Fight banner taking the judges’ verdict 50-45, 50-45, and 49-46.
In a middleweight tussle, Brazil’s Amadeu Cristiano dropped D.C. Pratt in the third round with a knee to the body and used that to cruise to the clear-cut decision win by counts of 50-45, 49-46, and 50-45.
Rounding things out, fan favorite Julian Nguyen made a successful jump to the professional ranks as his debut resulted in a 48-47, 48-47, and 49-46 victory over fellow rookie Trevor Ragin.
The amateur prelim bouts saw victories earned by Mohammad Davis (unanimous decision), Kris Silck (second-round TKO), Shawn Davis (unanimous decision), and Jurrell Laronal (unanimous decision).
Lion Fight will reveal plans for its next two shows coming up shortly.