Many thanks to MMT community member and contributor “manny66″ for this write up. All pics (except the kevin with malaipet) are via Marty Rockantasky, you can also check out his other fight pics on his flickr stream. Also many thanks to MuayThaiAuthority for taking time to share their interview with Kevin.
Battle in the Desert
So the Elite MMA Academy crew were on our way to Stateline to attend the Battle In The Desert event to support Muay Thai and also our Kru, Ajarn Nelson Siyavong who was going to be in Michael Mananquil’s corner for the rematch and Co-Main Event between Mananquil and Malaipet. The other Co-Main event bout was between top American fighter Kevin Ross and Thai fighter Sittisak Por. Sirichai.
The Mananquil vs. Malaipet fight got off to a quick start with Mananquil pressing the action from the onset, Malaipet scored what looked like a “flash” knockdown of Mananquil in the 2nd rd, but it didn’t prevent the Bay Area fighter from constantly advancing on Malaipet and outscoring the Former Rajadamnern Stadium Champion to win a unanimous decision and the WMC Welterweight Belt.
Michael’s technique and footwork looked very fluid and much improved over their first meeting and was also the much busier fighter, he was able to get past Malaipet’s defense at will. Not to take anything away from Mananquil, but it was rumored once again that Malaipet’s fight training consisted of him, running to catch a cab on the way to the Primm Valley Arena.
The Kevin Ross Vs Sittisak Por. Sirichai fight lived up to the title of Battle In The Desert. Both fighters put on a beautiful display of Muay Thai with neither man relenting to the others constant barrage of nasty elbows and flying knees. The See-Saw battle waged for the entire 5 rounds that saw the crowd rise to their feet on many occasions as the action was brutal and non-stop. Sittisak a complete unknown to the majority of the fans (me included) made a lasting impression on everyone in attendance as he gave local fighter and fan favorite Kevin Ross A run for his money. Cutting Kevin with a textbook elbow from the clinch in the 2nd, the Thai drew first blood from the American who later landed a beautiful spinning elbow to end the 3rd round. With both fighters bleeding, in the 4th Sittisak lands another elbow that splits the left side of Kevin’s forehead and the bloodbath continued. The final round saw the crowd on their feet once again cheering as Kevin was pressing the action, and Sittisak trading blow for blow. Sittisak might have walked away with a split decision victory but both fighters walked away with the respect of the crowd.
The undercard had many exciting and competitive fights with Chaz Mulkey ending his losing streak via A TKO, and Brandon Banda winning over Shawn Yarborough. Of note Amateur Anthony Castrejon put Jason Andrada to sleep with a brutal head kick in 38 seconds of Rd # 1.
After the fights I spoke briefly with a clearly dejected Kevin Ross about his battle with Sittisak and the new scars he earned, even though he spoke optimistically it was evident that He was taking the loss pretty hard, that, as well as the fact that he severely injured his hand in the middle of the fight. For what its worth, Kevin Ross’s performance that night made him a ton of new fans.
Later that nite in the casino I spoke with a fresh and smiling Malaipet who looked as if he had just returned from a leisurely stroll in the park, 5 rounds of Muay Thai and not a single mark on his face! I asked him what’s in store for the future and he said that he’s opening up a new Gym in Los Angeles very soon. So if you live in The Los Angeles area be on the lookout.
All In all, it was a great night for Muay Thai fans, and our Kru Nelson Siyavong,, that is except for that looong 4 hour drive back to Los Angeles.