Sunday afternoon, with live Muay Thai on the television before me, one long succession of youthful fighters slinging the heat rocks, most of whom I’ve never seen before, many whom I probably/possibly wont see again. Some great stuff amongst the hardly-pronouncable names, and it got me thinking about fights that could potentially be brilliant, or just that should rightly be made in the name of all that is good and holy.
So here we go; Muay Thai & Mixed Martial Arts fights that I’d like to see in Asia in the near future, in absolutely no order whatsoever:
- Saiyok vs. Kem
You’re not a fight fan if you don’t salivate at the prospect of this one. What a potential ring-a-ding-dong-dandy of a barnburner Thai Fight have and could possibly put on for the people.
Saiyok Pumpanmuang, and Kem Sitsongpeenong – Lumpinee champion vs. Rajadamnern champion, both of whom now mostly ply their trade against foreign opposition.
Opinions are divided among the faithful; I place great faith in the patient power of Saiyok’s controlled aggression. His kicks land like baseball bats swung by a pissed off Babe Ruth. Kem for his part is aggressive, powerful and skilled, and several notables such as Dave Fox, Liam Harrison and more have asserted that he is the man they’d give the edge to over the 5yrs, 30 fight undefeated (2007-2012) Saiyok.
Hopefully we see it.
- Saiyok vs. Buakaw
70kg. If not Saiyok/Kem, let’s have this one. Or Kem vs. Buakaw, for that matter. Come on baby!
- Kem vs. Buakaw
A true pick’em. Who is your money on?
Speaking of these three Thais (all of whom can/do fight at around 69-72kg), there’s another notable one (not called Singmanee or Sudsakorn either…) but I’ve got other plans for him.
- Jordan Watson vs. Aikpracha
We were robbed of this one; booked for the Prince’s Cup (at least, a tournament set up to feature it as the final, much like the 72kg WMC Grand Prix which Jordan/Saiyok headlined).
It would be a great test of Jordan’s power and poise against such a taller, arguably more skilled fimeu Nak Muay who looks to be the breakout fighter of 2012 for sure. Outstanding year for Aikpracha, and as he now looks to fight solely against international competition a la Buakaw, Sudsakorn, Singmanee, Saiyok and Kem, etc, surely we will be treated to more brilliant displays along the lines of his dismantling of p4p listed WBC champion Fabio Pinca.
Thing is, this might to tricky to rearrange as Watson has signed to GLORY; the “kickboxing” (K-1) promotion based out of Holland, and thus with him fighting under K-1 rules from now, Muay Thai might take a backseat. Time will tell.
On the subject of top English talent;
- Penek vs. Dean James
Why not? Penek (Pen-ake, or Penake Sitnumnoi) might be the current Sportswriters of Thailand Fighter of the Year & Lumpinee 126lbs champion, but after taking fights above featherweight against p4p stars Saenchai and Sagetdao and losing both, he needs to get some scraps at 126lbs or thereabouts under his belt again.
Dean James was the star of super-bantamweight (55kg/122lbs) in England, toppling ISKA & WMC (MAD) world champion Andy Howson in 2011 with his rangy elbow style, cutting the tough Leeds fighter for a TKO. He is the highest ranked non-Thai in the WBC rankings, which I prefer to those of the WMC at the moment. And Penek wants to fight farang as well as top Thais, as his current schedule consists of Lumpinee Stadium title fights, and bouts down in his native Phattalung (which is no break – his last was against Sagetdao. Nice trip out though!)
This would be a fun one, and a springboard for another English lad to get a big super-fight against one of the top Thais around at the moment. W0uld Penek be overwhelming favourite? Absolutely. But DJ is a tough and very skilled Nak Muay who has earned his high ranking, and he deserves a shot at a top name to see if he belongs there yet.
- Buakaw vs. Giorgio Petrosyan II (Muay Thai rules)
This rematch needs to take place under full Thai rules. Were he to win this, Petrosyan would truly prove his greatness, as let us not forget, while Buakaw’s major exploits occurred in K-1 (much like the Italian), the Thai’s background was very much his country’s national sport; elbows, clinch, the full sha-bang. He had an Omnoi Stadium title, and a Toyota tournament win in the Lumpinee Stadium before he ever went to fight with no elbows in Japan.
Buakaw, even in 2012 would most likely be favourite to win that fight under Full Thai Rules. The bout was heavily rumoured to have been signed, until Petrosyan’s management team shot it down “for now”. So let’s see.
- Andrew Leone vs. anyone in One FC
The talented flyweight has been fighting in Road FC and in Malaysia in the year or more since he first signed a contract with One Fighting Championships. Time we saw the Road FC Bantamweight Grand Prix finalist (who went 1-1 with Kyung Ho Kang, recently signed to the UFC) in One, fighting at flyweight and making a run for the title!
- Andrew Leone vs. Roy Docyogen
Oh yes, I forgot. Andrew wants top 10 ranked Roy, Roy wants Andrew, both camps agreed to the scrap. Let’s see it!
- Shinya Aoki vs. Ole Laursen
The Evolve man would indeed be a strong favourite against Ole in this fight, given his magical submission ability combined with Ole’s background and base as a K-1 style kickboxer. Yet Ole is such an entertaining fighter, and he deserves his super-fight. Personally, as a fan of both guys, I’d be watching completely neutral, and happy for whoever won.
- Shinya Aoki vs. Roger Huerta
Shame that Zorobabel crashed the party with the kick heard round the world. Hopefully, this fight can still take place at some point between two of the biggest names in MMA since 2006.
The quite breathtaking grappling of Aoki versus the rugged sprawl-and-brawl of Huerta – which would triumph?
- JJ Ambrose vs. Harris Sarmiento
For the PXC Lightweight championship belt. John James wants a tour of Asia kicking names and taking ass, or something like that. “Superman” is adamant that a scrap with Sarmiento would save the planet.
Is it a bird… is it a plane… cue that epic theme. Cha-ching.
- Rob Lisita vs. Yusuke Kawanago II
For the Legend FC featherweight championship. The first one was a great fight, a close one, and one that Lisita feels he definitely won.
Either way, if Mike Haskaamp makes this rematch, it is ultimately the fans who win.
- Saenchai vs. Liam Harrison III
Why not? Much like Liam’s team-mate and pal Jordan, he was supposed to get another big summer super-fight in Thailand, and this was nixed too. Difference was, he’d have been taking on perhaps the sport’s greatest ever, and for the third time!
We were meant to get it in July, but the fight was sadly nixed. It was perfect timing too – a post-Sinbi Saenchai had just avenged the Sagetdao losses by beating the big man and taking his Lumpinee Stadium lightweight title, and Liam had just barbecued 11x world champion Andrei Kulebin’s leg.
This will always be a fun fight, and I’m more than down for another one. Chok dee Hitman, viva las Leeds, and chok dee Saenchai the great n’all.
- Sagetdao vs. Damien Alamos
More so than a fight with Saenchai – which will finally happen, pencilled in for November in Paris – I think Damien fighting the clinch/left kick specialist Sagetdao will be indicative of where the French Lumpinee Stadium champion truly stands in the top echelon of the sport.
Sagetdao has competed at over 130 and 135lbs before, including against p4p farang Liam Harrison, and crucially he would match Alamos in height and reach; furthermore, in both kicking/kneeing and clinching he is as good as Alamos, or better. It would be a great litmus test for the Frenchie, and if he were to win, he’d prove that he is one of the best p4p around between 130lbs and 140lbs, not just the current best at 140lbs.
- Bibiano Fernandes vs. Hiroyuki Takaya III
With DREAM dead, wouldn’t this rubber match be a novel idea? I mentioned it to Victor and he seemed receptive to the idea of picking up another Dream champion, and an entertaining and popular one at that.
I’ll always be down for this, and despite now competing at bantamweight, I’ve got a feeling that given the closeness of both fights, that Bibiano would too!
- Mitch Chilson vs. Shannon Cai II
After the result of the first being overturned on poor Shannon, a second bite at the cherry would be nice. Chilson will still be the heavy favourite, but as evidenced by last time, this fight is no different to any other – the result is up in the air. Anything could happen, either man could win.
At least it would be closure – either way.
- Arnaud Lepont vs JJ Ambrose, Ray Elbe or Isamu Himura
It wont happen, as Arnaud happily informed me around the time of the JJ callout that he was a “One FC exclusive” contracted fighter now… but we all love grudge fights. Hopefully one of these can happen, possibly in DARE in the future?
Hell, Frenchie is here training on what we in Phuket call “the street” at the moment, and so are JJ and Isamu. Two of those fights could happen in a restaurant. I’ll commentate.
- Ole Laursen vs. Zorobabel Moreira
This would be a good test as to who the best lightweight in One FC outside of Shinya Aoki is. Zoro proved his worth with the Huerta win, and while Ole’s Mixed Martial Arts record is just that – mixed – from a wins & losses perspective, he nevertheless earned it by fighting tough people. He is consistently entertaining, and is a serious test for any lightweight in Asia.
No doubt opinion would be divided on this one, with many favouring the Evolve man, others banking on Laursen’s stand-up and toughness to pull him through.
- Yodsanan vs. anyone
ATTN: Victor & Chatri, let’s have Yodsanan on every single One FC card. Much like Kikuno, Minowa, Ole, Manhoef and Fedor, he is basically one of those fighters that should be on every single card from every promotion. But then again, that would interrupt training somewhat, he’d regress and get punch-drunk, and then you’re left with a tiny Thai version of Bob Sapp.
- Melvin Manhoef vs. Ikuhisa Minowa
On the one hand, if Road FC put this on it would be horrible viewing, especially for me; one is my favourite K-1 fighter, one is my favourite Mixed Martial Artist (in the absence of Fedor & Ken). But both men have plenty of losses between them now, what’s one more going to matter?
What’s important is that we see them, and get to enjoy their work as they enter the final stage of their careers.
Now, nearer to home; Phuket.
- Thit vs. Jack Siam
Dragon vs. Lion – which beast wins? Both guys are extremely talented Phuket Muay Thai fighters; Thit, a normally 67kg man absolutely toyed with and clowned Ramazan, the-then WMC 90kg world champion, despite conceding a good 20kg on fight day. His own status as “is he/isn’t he” WMC champion is unclear, as a later fight (and win) of his was billed as for WMC gold – at his own weight – but he doesn’t appear to be aware of that or in possession of a belt. Perhaps they aren’t either.
At any rate, Thit is definitely one of the most talented Nak Muays in Phuket, if not the. Jack, of Lion Muay Thai, is a talented boy himself with experience fighting in Bangkok, and at around 63 or 64kg, not much lighter than Thit.
Catch-weight fight at Bangla? Would be fun.
Speaking of Bangla…
- Tracy Lockwood vs Gerry O’Callaghan VIII
After seven fights, one more wont hurt; get that WMC world title up for grabs again. Fucking robbery that last one was, and no belt ever arrived in the mail kids… I wrote the address out in Thai and everything.
- Rolek Sompetch vs. Kem Sitsongpeenong or Saiyok
For the WMC CHAMPIONSHIP OF THE WORLD. Let’s see who deserves the belt most from those top 5 ranking spots…
- JJ Ambrose vs. Matthew Semper
Another one JJ wants, in a different sport. Grudge match! Disgruntled Tiger alumnus & Phuket Top Team standout, Bellator’s MMA lightweight JJ Ambrose, against pro-Nak Muay heavyweight from Tiger, Matthew Semper; Muay Thai, at Bangla, under Semper’s rules (Muay Thai) yet the wrestler Ambrose is extremely confident that in the fists and feet game, he’s got more than enough to win without having to shoot a double leg and dive for C-1′s.
Hey, I’d watch. Plenty of others would, come to think…
OK, enough Phuket. Back to Asia as a whole; the beat goes on.
- James Goyder vs. Tarik
I asked the promoters, Goyder, and they said you no-showed the 2-28 guy you lying bastard.
- William S.Chope vs. Ricardo Sapno
The world’s tallest featherweight is itching his socks off for a chance at some URCC gold, and the 6-1 Sapno will undoubtedly give him a great test if he is to take it.
Chope is 10-1 in his last 11 MMA bouts, after an initial shaky spell in the first six fights of his career. Now, he feels ready. Sapno is a talent on the Filipino scene, and this would be a great brawl!
- Liam Gallagher vs. Noel Gallagher
- Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Bibiano Fernandes
If only Bibi could be tempted back to 145lbs for this potentially epic super-fight… former #1 world ranked lightweight the Crusher versus two-weight DREAM Grand Prix winner and divisional champion. A “dream” for One FC.
Both wrestlers who like to stand and bang.
“That’s all for now folks”. It’s a new week tomorrow, wake up it’s a beautiful morning, feel the sun shining for your eyes…