The first Thai Fight show of 2013 kicked off a few hours ago in Pattaya, featuring names like Saiyok Pumphanmung, Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee, Iquezang Kor Rungthanakeat, and Saenchainoi Pumphanmung. In typical Thai Fight fashion each Thai was matched up with a farang and competed over the course of 3 rounds instead of the usual 5. The undercard of the event wasn’t broadcasted on Channel 3, so I’ll just be taking a look at the main fights.
Fight 1: Peemai JitMuangnon vs. Jackson Alves de Souza
I won’t spend too much time on this match because it was extremely lackluster. Peemai was clearly the better fighter, but both guys had an ugly to watch style. The judges didn’t give an an 8 count to the Thai even after being knocked down by a lazy head kick in the first round, which could have potentially made the bout a draw. It didn’t happen though, and Peemai walked away with a unanimous decision.
Fight Two: Saiyok vs. Thiago Texeira
Some people started to doubt Saiyok was the Thai to beat at 70 kg after he dropped two fights last year to Mootje Kamal and Dylan Salvador. In my humble opinion, he’s still the best. A loss to Kamal is a loss to one of the greatest farangs in recent history, and his fight with Salvador was decided by an injury. Either way, tonight saw his return to form against a very game Thiago Texeira.
Texeira came out swinging in the first, but Saiyok pushed forward throwing elbow after elbow, each whizzing by Texeira’s head until one found it’s mark almost a minute into the first round. Cut and bloodied nearly from the start, Thiago was never able to mount an attack. For a moment it looked as though Saiyok could have ended the fight in the second round, but whether it was through his grit or the Thai’s mercy, Texiera pushed through to the final bell. Saiyok earned a unanimous decision victory and I imagine Thiago was happy to have survived until the end.
Fight 3: Iquezang vs. Behzad Rafigh Doust
This entire match-up was craziness waiting to happen. Doust was outclassed even before the fight started- the highest level he had fought prior to Thai Fight was in the Korea MAX tournament that took place a few weeks previously. He lost in the opening round.
Iquezang took the fight with a grain of salt. He danced, made faces, jumped in the air, and threw more flying knees than I have fingers. To his credit, Doust did not give up or let himself be intimidated. After all was said and done however, Iquezang took home a clear-cut unanimous decision win.
Fight 4: Yodpayak vs. Paulo Sergio dos Santos
A student of Kaoklai, Yodpayak must have been instructed to fight the exact opposite of Iquezang. About a minute into the first round the Thai landed a crippling blow to the body of the stunned Brazilian. The punch dropped Sergio to the ground where he remained until the ref counted him out.
Fight 5: Sudsakorn vs Veselin Veselinov
Veselinov gave it everything he had in the first round. You could almost feel his drive to end the fight before Sudsakorn slipped into the typical Thai rhythm and began his methodical, painful breakdown of the Russian’s defense. While Veselinov’s left hook managed to find Sudsakorn’s jaw more than once in the first, it became exceedingly apparent that his range of weapons was highly limited at the start of the next round.
In round 2 Suds began unloading on all cylinders, hurting Veselinov and knocking him down. The Russian never recovered. While he foggily waded through the remainder of the second round, round 3 became an absolute beat down. Sudsakorn knocked him down once in the opening few seconds of the third, before finishing him off with a punch around the second minute mark.
Fight 6: Payakdam vs. Ashley Bryne
This was the fastest fight of the night. Payakdam came out swarming from the opening bell and Bryne just couldn’t keep up. After being downed multiple times with the first two minutes, Payakdam finally put Bryne away for good late in the first, winning by TKO.
Fight 7: Saenchainoi vs. Jose Neto
Of all the fights most people assumed had the potential of being close, it wasn’t this one. Neto proved the disbelievers wrong by keeping up with Saenchainoi rather admirably over the course of three rounds. The fights was ugly overall, and Saenchainoi has slowed considerably from his prime. Considering the fight was at 68 kg, he also had a bit of pudge around the mid-section and may not have been in the best shape.
The action was back and forth and primarily clinch heavy. Neto has a wild style and was physically stronger than the Thai, but Saenchainoi’s ring generalship saw that his hand was raised at the end of three rounds.
While it’s always good to watch some of the best higher weight Thai fighters in the business, this Thai Fight was a far cry from some of the earlier shows with Fabio Pinca, Michael Piscitello, Houcine Bennoui, and other world class farang fighters. As time has gone on we’ve seen the Thai’s competition go from elite, to relatively middle of the pack. This is not knocking the foreign fighters at all. They give it their best shot and try to put on entertaining shows for the fans. But when there’s already a great difference in skill between the Thai’s on Thai Fight and high level farang opponents, it seems strange that the quality of competition would get lower instead of higher. Hopefully we’ll see some bigger names from TF in the future.