3 Fight UFC Veteran Roli Delgado (TUF Season 8) fought in NYC last night at Friday Night Fights. This was the 2011 kick-off for Friday Night Fights and featured amateur fights and five pro Muay Thai Fights. My first reaction in going to this event was how weird it seemed that the fights were being held at a church. They were at 60th and Columbus in Manhattan - The Hall at St. Paul aka the basement auditorium of St. Paul's church. Nonetheless, it was a night of non-stop action and pretty good production.
Roli fought Turan "The Tornado" Hasanov at 147 lbs in a pro Muay Thai fight. As Roli entered, he received the loudest ovation of the night with chants of "Roli, Roli, Roli" livening up the crowd. As the energy grew, you could see the joy on the face of the camera man. Standing 6'3", Roli is a monster at 147lbs. He entered into the Muay Thai fighter's element and dominated the fight for three rounds. In the third round, all Turan could do was throw haymakers and looping overhands in an attempt to salvage the fight. Roli would have nothing of it en route to the unanimous decision victory.
Leading up to this fight, Turan was asked what he thought about MMA fighters competing in Muay Thai. Turan was quoted as saying, " I think their out of their mind. In Muay Thai you can't use Jiu Jitsu and you can't lean like the MMA fighters cause there's no take downs and we don't get big breaks like the MMA fighters when their on the ground laying on top of each other." You can find the full interview at Muay Thai Authority's website here: http://www.muaythaiauthority.com/2011/01/turan-hasanov-talks-muay-thai-fight.html
I have to say it was nice to see Roli win the fight, especially in light of the comments made by Turan. I am fortunate that I have had the opportunity to train with Roli at a few seminars and can say that he truly is world class, especially with regards to leg-locks thanks to his Catch Wrestling background. Now that the UFC has completed the merge with the WEC, I for one would love to see Roli get another shot in the UFC, but this time at the 145 lb division. I think his height and reach could really pose a problem for the other 145 lb fighters.