As in previous shows, Saturday night’s Muay Thai fights at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, CA, featured some of the fiercest battles ever. This International Competition, broadcast live on FOX Sports and promoted by In Sync Productions in conjunction with a Chinese delegation of the WLF, took place in the Grand Ballroom at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, CA on Saturday night. The fortunate patrons saw one riveting match after another.
In the Main Event, Bout #10, the reigning WBC & WCK Super Featherweight Title holder Jemyma Betrian from Netherlands defended her title against the European Champion Christi Brereton of Okehampton, United Kingdom.
This tactical contest was decided early after Brereton, favoring the high kicks to the head, was soon overmatched by the better leveraged and more accurate punching power of Betrian. Like an Oklahoma twister, Betrian found success by attacking Brereton from different angles with straight shots to the head, an occasional elbow or back fist while concentrating on punishing her midsection.
In the second round, after a heated exchange in the center of the ring, Betrian had Brereton back-peddling after catching with a punch to the face. Before long, Brereton was pinned in her own corner. That’s when Betrian went for broke. After seven unanswered blows, Brereton dropped straight down. Sitting there, her coach Steve Pender advised her to stay down. “Stay down! Take your time! Take your time!” After the count reached seven and she was still sitting there, you had to wonder if she was clear-headed enough to get back to her feet. The resurrection did not begin until after the count of eight. It’s rare when you see someone tempt fate and wait that long to get back up on their feet.
The fallout in her local Press
After receiving some negative Press in the United Kingdom, Brereton went on Facebook to give her account. Based on what she wrote, her Facebook fans went straightaway to condemn the judging and their word choice, though naturally partisan, went to an extreme – “Corruption”, “Not a Fair Fight (literally)” and “Why do these events ask you to fight when they have no intension of giving you a fair fight! They need to hang their heads in shame!”
This is why you need an unbiased observer to counteract one of the biggest problems on the internet – the fighters’ or fans’ flawed perspective. We often see people quick to conjure up wicked thoughts about judges being bias, just like all people in government are on the take. In this case, the well-meaning fans were way off base.
This ringside reporter was almost elbow to elbow with Brereton’s coach. Moments before the stoppage of this fight, Jemyma Betrian was putting a hurting on Brereton. If Brereton hadn’t been KO’d in that round, then it was surely going to happen in the next one. By no means was there any favoritism shown to either fighter. Later, the referee was questioned about his “9 count” and he said, “Yes, Christi was up at the count nine, but in my opinion and for her safety, I didn’t feel she was able to continue.”
The reason Brereton lost was the disparity in their experience levels. You have to be darn good to beat a World Champion who has traveled the world, sparred with the best fighters in the world and also had close to 50 professional fights. Christi is a wonderful, dedicated athlete but she needs more experience against the top echelon of fighters who use every weapon at their disposal – all eight limbs.
Bout #1 featured 28 year-old Jon Stark of the Art of Eight Training & Fitness Center, San Diego going up against 25 year-old Michael Wenger of Chaney Muay Thai, Murrieta, CA.
With both men being over six-foot tall, powerful and in exceptionally good shape, you knew deep down, this one wasn’t going to last long. After just a minute into round #1, the crowd was treated to an exchange of punches and kicks you rarely see in bouts featuring the big boys. Stark then maneuvered his opponent into the neutral corner, where he delivered two right crosses, followed by a knee to the head. He then turned Wenger around to eventually land this powerful overhand right that sent Wenger flying backwards on his back.
As Wenger made a valiant effort to get back on his feet, everyone could see his legs were unsteady. He then turned his back to the referee and sought out the support of the ropes. At the 1:34 mark of round #1, referee George Valdez made the signal to end the contest.
Bout #2 had Michael Aviles (5-0) from Dobler Muaythai of Fontana, CA) battling Andrew Gabriel (6-3-1 of Extreme Power, Oceanside, CA) for the IAMTF Welterweight California Championship.
This bout was so close, it would be unfair to tout either man as being superior. Only a clicker could have kept track of the number of punches, elbows and kicks thrown. At times, it was Gabriel in charge and landing the better kick/punch combinations. Then, back came Aviles with some power-shots to the head that would normally stop anyone dead in their tracks.
At the end of four rounds, the gloves were removed while the exhausted fighters awaited the judges’ scores. Then came news that the match had been declared a draw. The boxers were then asked if they were willing to go an additional round to break the tie. Both agreed.
Halfway through round five, the stouthearted fighters had matched each other blow for blow. Three quarters of the way through that final round Aviles landed this flurry of four straight blows to Gabriel’s head. Gabriel answered back with a kick and two of his own shots to the head but that flurry from Aviles made a bigger impression. It’s what you call “splitting hairs.” As a result, Aviles was declared the winner by an unanimous decision.
Aviles’ comments after the fight: “Feeling really happy, blessed, and honored for the opportunity from my trainers Jessie Magusen and Bryan Dobler. Thank you guys for believing in me. Thank everyone at Double Dose for all their love and support. I can’t do this on my own. Glad I had the courage to step up and take this fight on short notice because I was very close to saying no. But I realized it was in God’s hands so I couldn’t let it pass. Thanks again, God bless. It was a great fight, tons of fun! Great experience! Really can’t wait to do it again.”
Bout #3 was part of the WLF four Women Super Bantamweight Tournament. In this one, Wang “Chaoqi” Kehan of Zhengzhou, China by way of Mudanjiang, China dominated in her match against Lindsay Ball of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, eventually winning by TKO after the referee’s stoppage at 2:55 of round #2.
Since Linda Aguilar of Culiacon, Sinaloa, Mexico was unable to participate in the next bout, Kehan then headed into the finals to face Ciara Irvine in Bout #7.
Bout #4, was a WLF Welterweight contest featuring two of the best in the sport, Melsik Baghdasaryan a powerful southpaw from Glendale, CA by way of Yerevan, Armenia and Wei Chao Chen of Beijing, China.
Simply put, Baghdasaryan won the match by decision by being more diverse, mixing things up, while landing the harder shots to the head and body.
Chen was as crafty a performer that you’ll ever see. Even though he was all business, he knew exactly how to divert your attention with either a smile, a feint, a hold, a hug or a touch of the gloves while sizing you up for another precise kick. He even landed a low blow which looked premeditated. Chen has the power in his kicks but not in his punches.
Bout #5, in a WLF Women’s Extreme Wushu Super Bantamweight contest, Lindsey Marino of Austin, Texas defeated Xiong Jingnan of Beijing, China by an unanimous decision in this hotly contested, extremely close match. For Marino, this is quite a feather in her cap, when you consider Jingnan recently defeated (by split decision) all everything champ Lena Ovchynnikova of the Ukraine back on January 25, 2014.
Wearing the unpadded MMA gloves, Marino took round one by catching Jingnan with unanswered blows to the head. Round two was more of a tossup as both fighters were wild and likely hoping to end the bout with just one punch. Marino prevailed in the final round even though she got caught by this big looping right.
Bout #6, a WLF Muay Thai Lightweight Bout featured the taller, more agile Marvin Madariaga of San Diego’s Black House Team Nogueira and the Blue Ocean Muay Thai Team going up against the shorter, brawny Wei Ninghui of Bangkok, Thailand.
In round one, both fighters had their moments, Ninghui scoring well on the inside and Madariaga darting in and out to score the more damaging blows to the head and stomach from all angles. Then, near the close of the round, Madariaga broke his right hand when throwing an hard overhand right to Ninghui’s head.
From that point on, Ninghui’s confidence grew and he landed these counters off each Madariaga miss. Limited to just feints with his right hand, using an occasional left hook, kicking more and attacking with elbows, Madariaga found himself in a real dogfight. Still, Madariaga managed to maintain his same aggressive style, never letting on that his right hand was no longer in play and courageously fighting on to win the close, unanimous decision victory.
Bout #7, the finals of that WLF Three Women Super Bantamweight Tournament, had Wang “Chaogi” Kehan back to face Ciara Irvine from Eugene, Oregon.
From the outset it was clear Irvine had far less experience and was no match for the hard charging Kehan. Even Irvine’s kicks, her strong point, had little affect. By the second round Irvine’s nose was bleeding and she had that look of the downtrodden. Still, Irvine and her coach took pride in going the distance and stating they will be back.
Bout #8 was a scheduled five round WLF Muay Thai Featherweight International Title match between the always aggressive Adam Rothweiler of the Adrenaline Combat Sports & Fitness Center in San Bernardino, CA and Ji Guangjian from Bangkok, Thailand.
Round #1 was pretty much a chess match as Guangjian resorted to keeping the advancing Rothweiler at a distance with push kicks. In round #2, Rothweiler mixed it some more and added hard kicks to his boxing arsenal. To his credit Guangjian managed to hang in there until the fourth round. That’s when Rothweiler pulled out all the stops, had Guangjian in retreat and scored three consecutive knockdowns. Since Guangjian had no answer for this onslaught of elbows, uppercuts and shots to the liver, he eventually went down for good. Rothweiler gets the KO win at 1:51 point of round #4.
In Bout #9, a four round WCK Muaythai Super Cruiserweight ranking bout, it was Jacob “King Cobra” Poss of Los Angeles, CA taking on Sam “Smil’n” Alvey of Team Quest (MMA record 23-4), Murrieta, CA.
Unlike most matches where you see the big men being tentative in the early going, these two went straight to work and since Poss was busier, more accurate and constantly landing his powerful side kicks to Alvey’s head, arm and midsection he took the early lead.
But as they say, “he’s too legit to quit,” the bruised Alvey with blood trickling from his nose, kept pressing forward to eventually land the knockout blow on Poss’ chin. After he initially went down, it was clear he didn’t have his feet under him. Smelling blood, Alvey bull rushed his opponent and finished him for good.
The next local WCK Muay Thai show is tentatively scheduled for sometime in September. In the meantime, you should be able to watch their regular Muay Thai programming which airs on Fox Sports.