The July 31st Muay Thai event at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif. features some very high caliber headliners who will definitely pack the house.
First, they have the legendary Malaipet “Diamond” Sasiprapa from North Fresno, Calif. taking on British sensation Liam Harrison. Then it’s fan favorite Tiffany Van Soest (12-2-1) defending her women’s featherweight title against Poland’s Martyna Krol (30-10) who in 2014 was ranked the No. 1 female foreign fighter in Thailand. Next, they have two more local favorites Marvin Madariaga of Blue Ocean Muay Thai, San Diego going up against Tony Fausto of Eddie Loco’s Pacific Coast Training Center in La Jolla; and last but not least unbeaten phenom Victor Saravia from the Muay Thai America Gym in North Hollywood, Calif.
From the same Muay Thai America gym is 19 year-old Magalie “Molly” Alvarez who will be fighting on the undercard. You might recall her big win over Ashley Acord at the last Battle of Champions show held in Imperial Beach in May. Another well contested bout just might be the Mike LeMaire of San Diego’s Art of Eight Gym (15-2) rematch with late replacement 29 year-old, 6’1” Andrew Kapel (12-5) who is coming to town from The Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Words have already been exchanged. Kapel called LeMaire – “the California Hype job.” The fighters on the Main Card are scheduled to be broadcast live on AXS TV.
Kevin Ross (41-12), known for his fearless style, is making his return after suffering a deep gash in March that required 17 stitches. That was the night he surrendered his Lion Fight super welterweight title to Tetsuya Yamato in a memorable bout.
Van Soest, a 26-year-old native of San Diego who some have dubbed the “Ronda Rousey of Muay Thai” due to her extraordinary Fight IQ, classical beauty and contagious charisma, is a surfer and former college soccer player, fresh off a dominant win over Bernise Alldis (33-4), a performance that saw Van Soest reclaim her Lion Fight Featherweight title after battering the Brit for four rounds and unleashing a nasty elbow that produced a deep cut on Alldis’ right cheek which prompted the referee to stop the bout.
Friday’s opponent, Martyna “The Bully” Krol, is a lanky and crafty fighter who has trained extensively in Thailand and excels in the clinch.
Immediately following the women’s title bout is the evening’s Main Event which should be a dandy. Malaipet’s 146 pro wins (146-29-6 with 23 KOs) and prestigious championships at both the Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Boxing Stadiums assure that he will be a slam-dunk Hall of Fame inductee whenever his fighting days end. Now 33 years old, he lives in North Fresno, Calif. and according to Malaipet, he now only trains at a 70% clip. We’ll see if it’s enough when he faces the heavy-handed Harrison (74-18-2, with 38 KOs), a four-time world champion. Their non-title match has them at a catch weight of 147 pounds.
Tickets for Lion Fight 23 can be purchased at www.pechanga.com or by contacting Pechanga’s Box Office at 1-877-711-2WIN. Tickets range in price from $50 to $100 per seat. Lion Fight 23 airs live on AXS TV starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The broadcast will feature play-by-play and color commentary from UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich alongside commentator Michael “The Voice” Schiavello.