When they announced that there was a split decision for this fight it was shocking. Hearing the first scorecard go 50-46 for Lucy Payne was stupefying. It was bad enough watching this fight and wondering if Tiffany Van Soest was going to end up kicking the referee given his close proximity to the fighters.
Then to hear that score made you wonder if the commission had any idea of what they were doing and if somehow Payne was going to be awarded this fight. Fortunately, Van Soest won the fight on the other two scorecards. Then a little later in the broadcast commentator Michael Schiavello informed us that the one judge had score the fight for Van Soest but had just marked the wrong name on his scorecard.
Seriously! There are two fighters; one is 6’0″ and the other is 5’4″ and one was in the red corner and the other was in the blue corner. They introduced the two fighters. They clearly identified them to everyone in the building. Is it too much to expect the judges to pay some attention?
Who really knows what was going on with the judges on this night. At least the right fighter won this fight. For a moment it seemed like somehow Payne could steal this fight. It was closer than the first fight but it was not that close that you could even give a round to Payne.
It is such a joy watching Van Soest. Her movement and striking are works of art in her fights. She switches stances with ease, cuts angles with slight steps, slides and pivots and works all levels. She also throws a lot of combinations. She varies the speed and power of her strikes making her explosive ones even more devastating. At the same time she will lead with literally any strike making her very unpredictable.
Caley Reece has been the only one to slow her down. Reece did it by using the clinch to negate Van Soest’s movement. Payne had talked about using that blueprint as well. There were some problems for her.
The first one was that Payne does not have nearly the same clinch that Reece does. Also, for Payne to initiate a clinch she has to get close to Van Soest and that negates Payne’s height and reach advantage. It makes no sense for Payne to try the same game plan as Reece as they are two very different fighters.
This is what happens when you deal with a fighter like Van Soest. Fighters start searching for someway to try and deal with her speed and explosive power.
It is easy for people to see the height and reach advantage of a taller fighter. It is more difficult to understand how superior movement, timing and technique will override height and reach.
Which is exactly why Van Soest is so difficult for her opponents. She is never still in the ring between her footwork, her head movement and feints. Combined with her speed, power and timing she often overwhelms them like she did Payne in their first fight.
In this one, Payne was more ready for the moment, speed and power which left her cowering in a corner in the first meeting. She was still not ready for Van Soest though who dominated her for all five rounds. It is one thing to understand what is coming at you it is very different to be able to do something about it. Much like seeing a tornado does not help you stop it’s destruction and devastation.
Payne did have a few moments in this fight. A nice front kick from Payne in the first round after a wicked spine finding body shot from Van Soest was indicative of them. It just seemed to annoy Van Soest that she got hit and she came back with another combination to answer. Even when Payne did land one, Van Soest got the better of the exchange. Usually she landed four or five strikes to Payne’s one. Payne had better defense in this fight but she was still not able to generate enough offense to ever really threaten Van Soest.
You have to give credit to Payne for wanting to fight Van Soest again. She also had a much better showing in this fight. Lion Fight has had some difficulty in finding opponents for Van Soest.
She badly wants a rematch with Reece and during the broadcast Schiavello said it looks like October for them to meet again. He cited Reece’s busy schedule as to the reason for the delay. It will be interesting to see who they find for her next opponent for the July 4th card back in Las Vegas for Lion Fight 16.