Muay Thai favorite Malaipet Sasiprapa proved with his performance in the Friday night Lion Fight 17 bout that he is still a headliner worth watching. His understated power and ability to take punishment without a break in his calm exterior made his fight one of the highlights of the night, and worthy of his reputation. A powerhouse right hook delivered early with an almost nonchalance knocked opponent, Justin Greskiewicz to the mat. Greskiewicz showed his mettle, however, and stuck with the former champion for the duration. He offered some resistance later on in the bout, landing some solid kicks in the latter minutes, but the unanimous decision was a foregone conclusion to anyone watching. With everyone waiting to see if he would drop a third fight and announce retirement, Malaipet showed that he still had more than a little gas in the tank.
The first televised bout of Lion Fight 17 was another that provided some excitement Pedro “the beast” Gonzalez gave the crowd an exciting upset over favorite Tim Amorim. Amorim boasted a strategy of knocking Gonzalez senseless with elbows prior to the fight, but that is not the way it went down. Gonzalez came at him with an aggressive attack and never let up. He readily handled Amorim, who may just have underestimated the “beast” he was facing, handing him his first professional loss.
The Lion Fight underdogs continued to make a good showing on the night as Victor Saravia took on Andy Singh. Despite the size advantage Singh had, Saravia brought his game. The diminutive powerhouse knocked Singh around and left no question that Saravia is a rising star in the Muay Thai arena and may be earning some marquee bouts in the near future. One that a lot of fans are talking about, and which was even hinted at by the AXS TV crew in their coverage of the fight, is the possible matchup against Ridiculous Jason Andrada which may be coming later this year in Las Vegas. A Lion Fight matchup with Saravia would be a big draw for the faithful who have been watching both fighters, and particularly satisfying for Saravia. Both Singh, and Saravia’s last opponent, Anthony Castrejon, made statements looking past Saravia anticipating their own matchups with Andrada. Saravia has now proven the folly of underestimating him in both of these bouts.
The co-mail event for Lion Fight 17 was Jo Nattawut versus Cosmo Alexandre, a bout put together on just 10 days notice. For not having the benefit of full training preparation, the bout was still exciting and fast-paced. Nattawut, managing a more effective kicking attack, was given the slight advantage in the scoring by the judges after the five rounds of battle. Without a doubt, however,the match was the closest one of the night. Post-match speculation of a rematch is already circulating.
The featured matches provided exactly the kind of energy and excitement which has caused the discipline to increase so quickly in popularity of late, with no indication of a slowing of that increase. Lion Fight 17 was a spectacle that had upsets which highlighted rising stars as well as the resurgence of favorite headliners not quite ready to be set aside.
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Commentary By Jim Malone