Lion Fight 51 recap

On Feb. 16 Lion Fight Promotions took the City of Angels and delivered a fantastic night of violence.

The night of action took place outside in the chilly Los Angeles night in front of the legendary archway entrance to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a stadium that has played home to multiple sports franchises such as the Los Angeles Rams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and currently, the USC Trojans.

The appeal for the event was adamantly obvious yet alluring; an outside combat sports event in front one of the landmark sporting locations in one of California’s grandest cities. But could the fights deliver under the unusual outside circumstances?

This writer is delighted to say that it did. Lion Fights Promotions brought about a plethora of talent that delivered entertaining bouts through many different avenues. Despite a lack of finishes throughout the entire card, few fights failed to incite excitement throughout the nights crowd.

The night kicked off with amateur action. Mateo Cortes and
Hassady Keophouvong were the first to bring about electricity to the growing stands early in the night. Both men were the smallest on the card, competing at Minimumweight. But what they lacked in power, they made up with in fast-paced action. Across all three rounds both men through fast yet technical strikes at each other for the full nine minutes, giving fans in the early attendance an idea of the action to come later on in the night. Cortes would win his bout with a unanimous decision victory.

Women would also display their talents on Saturday when female Welterweight’s Ashley Smallwood and Jocelyn Belle fought aggressively to maintain the pace set by their male peers prior. Smallwood set a relentless pace early and battered Belle across three rounds with her solid mix of body to head boxing combinations that were complimented with leg kicks that slowed the opposition down as the fight progressed.

Photo Credit: Dave Manly

From the co-main event came the most electrifying bout of the evening and the sure-fire victor of Fight of the Night. Jordan Harris would defend his Lion Fight North American Lightweight title against Amine Ballafrikh. The bout was as hellacious as it was bloody as both men exerted everything but the kitchen sink in a back-and-forth bout that saw Ballafrikh pour it on with superior boxing technique that would make the difference. The fight brought about the most violent sequences of the night as both men refused to give an inch physically in the ring, resulting in Amine Ballafrikh batter the champion en route to a championship earning victory.

In the headlining bout of the evening, the night was capped off with a display of the highest level of Muay Thai kickboxing as Mark Dellagrotte student Chip Moraza-Pollard defended his World Cruiserweight championship against the larger Juan Cervantes. Pollard showed the most proficient level of Muay Thai kickboxing seen in the night as he would stifle his massive opponent with a gameplan that saw the champion wear out the legs an body Pollard up until the later rounds when Pollard would finally attack the head successfully en route to a dominant unanimous decision victory to earn the Team Sityodtong standout his fifth championship defense with the organization.

Lion Fights Promotions will next head out to Dublin, Ireland at the National Basketball Arena on Mar. 16.

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Nick Peralta

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