Lion Fight 29 provided a night of hellacious knockouts from Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut and live on AXS TV Fights.
Most notable amongst the stirring finishes was the result in the main event as Dutch star Regian Eersel, coming in on with two weeks’ notice as an injury replacement, delivered shock waves with a thunderous head-kick knockout of Lion Fight super welterweight champion Jo Nattawut. The bout, taking place in the middleweight division without Nattawut’s title at stake, was a fantastic display of techniques. Eersel took a solid lead when he dropped Nattawut with an elbow in the second, but Nattawut rebounded by using body kicks and taking Eersel to the canvas with dumps from the clinch.
Nattawut pressed early in the fifth, but left himself vulnerable and Eersel (40-4) ended it in dramatic fashion. Eersel blasted his right foot onto the chin of Nattawut (56-6-2) for the walkoff blow at 2:02 of the final round.
“I had knockout in my head. His hands were low and I thought I could counter him,” Eersel told AXS TV Fights in the post-match interview. “He thought, I think, that he had it won and his hands were low.”
The evening’s opening main-card bout was a precursor of things to come – vicious knockouts.
In a super welterweight affair, PJ Sweda seemed on the verge of taking out late replacement Diego Llamas midway through the second round after dropping him hard to the mat and pursuing the finish. But Llamas baited Sweda in and sprung the trap. Llamas (8-2) drilled him with a crushing left hook that face-planted Sweda (1-1) into the bottom rope. The knockout finish came the 2:42 mark of the second.
Two familiar opponents faced each other next. Asa Ten Pow teed off on his former training partner Bryce Lawrence, and the all-Florida encounter quickly became a one-sided sparring session. Ten Pow was all over Lawrence right from the start, battering his legs with kicks and jarring him with fast-paced punches. Mercifully, the end came 1:34 into the fourth round when Ten Pow (2-0) backed a thoroughly whipped Lawrence (2-2) into the corner with a body shot and inflicted more damage that finally drew the stoppage.
Featherweight rising star John Nofer (8-1) was stoic at the start and punishing at the end as he defeated Jared Tipton. Through the first two round, Tipton used a high work rate to take control and potentially in line for a surprise result. In the third, Nofer started to reverse the flow when he connected with a sharp elbow that stunned Tipton (1-2). One round later, the fight came to a sudden end when Nofer thumped a kick to Tipton’s liver, putting him on the mat, down and out at the 1:57 mark.
The lightweight bout that followed was a potential show-stealer. In the end, it was a convincing verdict for one of Lion Fight’s top young talents as Travis Clay (2-0) delivered a one-strike curtain-dropper on Julio Pena (4-1). A deputy sheriff from Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Pena had registered three highlight-reel finishes in his previous Lion Fight outings including a Knockout of the Year nomination. On this night, though, it was Clay who set off the fireworks, firing out his right leg and connecting with a bullet-like high kick to Pena’s chin.
The lone fight of the six-bout main card to go the distance was the co-main event as former Lion Fight lightweight champion Ognjen Topic (19-11) bounced back from his title loss to Sergio Wielzen at Lion Fight 28 to muster a majority decision over former Lumpinee Stadium champ Dechsakda Sitsongpeenong (67-28-4). The bout likely swung in Topic’s favor in the third when he put Dechsakda on the mat with a left hook. The ringside judges scored the fight 49-45, 48-46, and 47-47. AXS TV Fight’s analyst Pat Miletich also had it even 47-47.
“I did what I had to do and that’s be persistent and keep going,” said Topic post-fight.
Lion Fight will return to Foxwoods on Friday, July 8th, with a lineup featuring new lightweight champion Sergio Wielzen and surging American star Ky Hollenbeck, plus the debut of highly touted K1 Enfusion Tournament winner Antonina Shevchenko.
Matchups and the entire Lion Fight 30 lineup will be announced shortly.
Tickets for Lion Fight 30 are available at http://www.foxwoods.com or by calling 800-200-2882 or by visiting the Foxwoods Box Offices.
The Lion Fight 30 main card will air live on AXS TV Fights with a special start time of 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT. with commentary from renowned duo “The Voice” Michael Schiavello and UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich.
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