Yes, it is almost finally here. Lion Fight 13 goes down this Friday night February 7th inside of the The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. The main card will air on AXS TV with the action being called by Pat Miletich and Michael Schiavello. It will be an action filled night with some awesome Muay Thai. The action will kick off with Jason Andrada and Andy Singh. It is headlined for the first time by the women as Tiffany Van Soest is set to defend her title against Caley Reece. In between there is a rematch between Rami Ibrahim and Coke Chunhawat (in a winner takes all match), a highly anticipated fight between Nick Chasteen and Jonathan Del Rosario, and Josh Shepard will take on Daniel Kim. The co-main event featuring Kevin Ross and Matt Ebree is the second rematch on the night. It will be a night of highlight reel action that you do not want to miss. With the women as the main event for the first time it is guaranteed to be a historic night of fighting.
The main event between Van Soest and Reece is a classic fight. Reece is the Muay Thai legend who has recently come out of an eight month retirement. This fight represents her fourth fight back. She might be the first real challenge for Van Soest. It is not that Lion Fight has not tried to find her tough opponents. The problem is that Van Soest has disposed of them so easily that people have criticized her for being fed easy fights. This is criticism coming from the uneducated and is insulting to the fighters. Jeri Sitzes was an undefeated World Champion, Alexis Rufus also a multiple WC, Lucy Payne WC and 19-6, and Magali Foroni was 10-1 and a WC when they all fought Van Soest. Of her last five opponents only Natalie Yip was a little suspect as she was making her pro debut, but she was the only fighter besides Sitzes to go the distance with Van Soest. This is what happens with a special fighter like Van Soest. It is a part of what makes them special. She is able to take very good to great fighters and make them look ordinary.
That criticism cannot be said about her opponent in this fight as Reece has been at the top of the sport for a long time. She brings a 48-5 record with 8 KO’s into this fight. She is another multiple World Champion and there is no doubting her place as one of the best in the world in Muay Thai.
This has the potential to be one of those special fights as both fighters are cut from that warrior “I just love to fight” mold. They have enough difference in styles and are both highly skilled to put on one of those rare fights. It has all the makings of a classic sports movie. Reece is the veteran who stepped away from the sport but was brought back by her love of the sport and her need to fight. Van Soest is the rising young superstar not just meeting every challenge, but destroying them. They are both dynamic, athletic and likable.
When it comes to the matchup the basics are this; Van Soest utilizes more movement, has more power and is one of the most creative strikers in combat sports. Reece might be a little quicker, she has more experience and will not be intimidated going into the fight. One of the unique things about Van Soest is how she mixes up her striking and everything is a part of some kind of combination . Reece has fought tough talented fighters that are similar to Van Soest in the past and this sets up as something special between two great fighters.
The co-main event is the re-match between Ross and Embree and it is going to be very different from the first fight. Ross started slower than usual to give Embree a different look than expected. Instead of a little tweak he took a little bit further than needed. By the time he got going he was too far behind the judges scorecards. At the end of that fight Embree was gassed and could barely answer Miletich’s post-fight questions. Ross looked ready for round six and Embree was looking for oxygen.
For this fight Embree has stated that he knows Ross is going to bring the pressure from the beginning and he has specifically worked his cardio for this fight. Ross is back to himself and ready to bring his unique brand of pressure and violence. He has stated, “I definitely want to make sure he does not want to fight me again.”
Both fighters know what the other is like in the ring and there will be few surprises in this fight. It will come down to whether or not Embree can deal with a full on Kevin Ross in this fight. If he has raised his cardio that will help but it will come down to heart in this fight. Ross fought more of Embree’s fight in the last one and in this one he will be looking to impose his will upon Embree and the fight right from the beginning. Embree has promised fireworks and Ross has promised to be himself in this fight. That means he will be in Embree’s face pushing the pace and bringing the violence. Embree is going to work the jab and try to get in and out. Ross is looking to do damage Embree is looking to score points and get the win. It will come down to who can force the other one to fight their fight. Last time it was fought more at Embree’s pace and style in the early part of the fight and then Ross kicked it in. Look for what we saw in the fifth round of that fight from the start of this one.
The other re-match on the card between Chunhawat and Ibrahim is a lot more personal. Both Embree and Ross thought they won their fight but have been respectful about it. This has not been the case with these two. This one is a lot more personal and they have agreed to make this a winner take all fight. That is right, the winner of this fight walks away with both fight purses.
In their last fight, Chunhawat took a majority decision that was a little controversial and Ibrahim is looking to avenge that loss. They both put the other one down in their first fight. Look for them both to try to finish this fight early as neither will want it to go to the judges. Ibrahim in particular feels like he was robbed and is looking for some payback. The winner take all element just makes things even more interesting for this one.
The Chasteen (1-0) versus Del Rosario (0-0) fight has a lot of intrigue stylistically. Chasteen is considered by many to the next big thing in North American Muay Thai. He had a lackluster debut against Chris Culley and is looking to show more of the skills that have many people excited about his future. He brings a lot of skills into this fight. His opponent Del Rosario is more of a competitor and fighter than he is a stylist. This is one of those fights where Chasteen is supposed to win as he brings the more pedigreed background into it. However, Del Rosario is capable of taking this fight if he can get inside and make it a little uglier. He cannot allow Chasteen to work at distance and pick him apart.
In the Kim (3-1-1) versus Shepard (2-0) battle they both have predicted a knockout. With both fighters looking for the KO win do not be surprised if we get one. They both have proven that they have the power as Shepard has 9 KO’s as an amateur while going 14-1 but is seeking his first as professional. Kim is the naturally bigger fighter in this one as Shepard is coming up in weight for this fight. This one could be over quickly.
The night will start with Andrada (4-0) versus Singh (3-0) in another battle of two rising young stars. This is also another contrasting one stylistically as Singh likes the more highlight reel style techniques and Andrada is a little cleaner. Singh is known to have a little more speed but Andrada has the power as evident by his three KO wins. Singh also brings a perfect 26-0 record as amateur with him. They share a common opponent in Eric Ruiz. Singh fought him to a five round UD win back in November of 2013 while Andrada knocked him out in the first round at Lion Fight 9. Their two fights kind of illustrate their different styles. Singh threw and landed the more flashy techniques while Andrada landed one of the cleaner and perfectly targeted strikes. The right hand he dropped Ruiz with did not look like much but it was perfectly placed. Both of these fighters like to move around a lot but again, Andrada has the power to end this fight with one clean strike at anytime. Look for a lot of action in this fight to start off an exciting night of fights.
Once again, Lion Fight has put together a stacked card filled with guaranteed action fights. If you fancy yourself a Muay Thai fan then you do not want to miss this card. If you are one of those MMA fans who hates when the fight goes to the ground than this just might become your new favorite sport. It is all about some of the best standup striking action in the combat sports world today. You can find all of these fights on AXS TV Friday night 10pm EST as they present Lion Fight 13.
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