Mixed martial artist Jeri Sitzes will defend her WBC muay Thai title. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Four World Boxing Council muay Thai titles -- two of which will be defended by mixed martial artists Ky Hollenbeck and Jeri Sitzes -- will be on the line on Saturday.
Going down from the Star at the Desert Arena in Primm, Nev., Lion Fight Promotions “Battle in the Desert 3” will showcase Hollenbeck defending his world interim middleweight title against Simon Chu in the co-main event. Meanwhile, Sitzes will put her international super bantamweight strap on the line against Misty Sutherland. Headlined by a 155-pound super-fight between Cosmo Alexandre and Sakmongkol Sitchuchoke, the event streams live on www.gfl.tv at 8 p.m. ET.
Hailing from San Francisco, Hollenbeck has only tasted defeat once under mixed rules. Beginning his MMA career in 2007, the Californian’s lone loss came by unanimous decision to Jeremiah Metcalf in 2009. Despite his kickboxing skills, Hollenbeck holds four of his five career wins by submission.
Like Hollenbeck, Sitzes has only been bested once as a mixed martial artist. Known as “Fists of Fury,” she made her promotional debut at Strikeforce Challengers 3 in 2009 but has not competed in MMA since. Though nearly two years have passed since her last in-cage appearance, Sitzes still holds high hopes for both her MMA and boxing careers, all while maintaining her success in muay Thai.
“I love fighting sports, and I love fighting under different rules. I always have. I think to be a real fighter, you can’t always fight under the rules you want. You have to have a certain mentality -- a fighter’s mentality -- and I have that. It’s just in my blood,” Sitzes told Sherdog.com. “I have [the WBC super bantamweight] muay Thai title and held [the XFL 125-pound ] MMA title. I’d like to get a boxing title and be the first person to hold a title in all three sports. My ultimate goal is to be the best fighter in the world.”
Hollenbeck shares Sitzes’ love of the fight game in its many forms. Competing as a welterweight in MMA, Hollenbeck has fought almost exclusively in local California promotion Cage Combat Fighting Championships. However, his last appearance took place outside of the CCFC arena, as Hollenbeck submitted Lucas Gamaza with a guillotine choke at an X-Fight Promotions event in October 2009. Hollenbeck asserts that although there are drawbacks to fighting in both MMA and muay Thai, there are also noticeable benefits.
“The two different styles train my body in two completely different ways. My muay Thai training helps with my speed and fast-twitch muscles, and my jiu-jitsu training helps to build my slow-twitch and flexibility. I can also use things I learn from either style to help compliment the other,” Hollenbeck told Sherdog.com. “Jiu-jitsu helps my clinch game for muay Thai, and my extensive muay Thai training helps my cardio for jiu-jitsu and MMA. The most challenging part is finding enough time get as much training as i would like to get in both sports.
“The end game for both muay Thai and MMA is to find a way to do either or both as a full-time career,” he added. “If I can find a promotion that allows me to make a decent living fighting, then I would jump at it. Being able to do what you love for a living is everyone’s dream. I’m just trying to find a way to keep living the dream as long as I can.”