Last night (Nov. 1, 2013), Lion Fight returned to "The Joint" at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, with Lion Fight 12 on AXS Television. The main event between Fabio Pinca and served to crown the very first Welterweight champion in the promotion's history.
The bout created a new star in Pinca, who dominated Malaipet from the opening bell with knees to the body. He was always a step ahead of his opponent and was the one who pushed the pace for the entirety of the bout. The judges agreed he won the fight and he took home a unanimous decision victory.
The card also featured Lion Fight darling, Tiffany Van Soest, fighting a very much outmatched Magali Foroni. The bout wasn't even close and cemented Van Soest as the best American kick boxer.
With the card in the books, let's talk about last night.
Fabio Pinca is one bad Frenchman ...
Part of the problem with Muay Thai is that because of the lack of American shows, it's very hard to become familiar with international talent. While Lion Fight had done an amazing job at promoting Malaipet as an absolute killer, his opponent, Fabio Pinca, was a relative unknown to the AXS TV audience.
Pinca was unlike any of Malaipet's past Lion Fight opponents in that he entered the bout without any fear. In the grand scheme of the Muay Thai world, Pinca is one of the best right now, while Malaipet is approaching the end of his fight career.
Pinca proved to be the better fighter last night and one that fans should look forward to watching. He's one of the best right now in the sport. Enjoy it.
Can anyone beat Tiffany Van Soest?
Tiffany Van Soest has quickly become one of the faces of Lion Fight Promotions. Since joining the promotion, she's been the single most dominant fighter on the roster. As an American woman, her options are very limited as Muay Thai does not have the popularity or appeal of mixed martial arts (MMA).
This is the reason it's been so difficult for Lion Fight to find opponents that will pose a sufficient challenge. Her opponent last night, Magali Foroni, had no business being in the same ring as Van Soest. Though she carried an undefeated record, her skills just weren't comparable.
In fact, it was such a drubbing that Foroni's corner threw in the towel. Dominant win for Van Soest, who continues to blow away everyone placed in front of her.
- There was a knockout of the year contender and it's likely that no one will ever see it happen. Jason Andrada landed one of the cleanest elbows I've ever seen and put Mohammed Lemjerdine to sleep. It was brutal and beautiful all at once and it was just perfect.
- There was another knockout that was just ridiculous, but won't receive any attention. When Anthony Castrejon landed that head kick to Miguel Rosales' grill, I jumped. It was perfectly timed off a failed elbow. Jeez, I'm getting goose bumps thinking about it.
- I talked about it up top, but Foroni had no business fighting on this card. She was so clearly outmatched that her corner didn't give her the benefit to fight back. She failed so hard that they decided it was enough. That's a bad look.
- Malaipet was pretty disappointing if only because he was trying to goad Pinca into a fist fight from the word go. He was out techniqued so bad that he tried and failed to take Pinca of his game. He'll still be a draw in Vegas, but last night was very much the end of Malaipet as a killer.
- Another great card for Lion Fight. I'm very much a mark for their brand of Muay Thai and appreciate the uphill battle that its fought to bring a niche sport to the public. I'd love to see more of Pinca and Van Soest and hope that their success on AXS means there will be more regular cards in the future.
Check out MMAmania.com's play-by-play and reactions for Lion Fight 12 here.