TEMECULA, CALIF. -- Tetsuya Yamato proved that his first meeting with Kevin Ross was no fluke, finishing “Da Soul Assassin” at 2:43 in the first round at Lion Fight 21.
Yamato defeated Ross once previously -- albeit in less definitive fashion -- but Friday also cost Ross the Lion Fight super lightweight title. The card took place at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif., and aired AXS TV.
It was a kick to the liver that spelled the beginning of the end for Ross. After eating the blow, Yamato followed with an elbow that led to the first knockdown of the main event. After the referee counted to eight, Ross claimed he was ready to go, but Yamato sprinted across the ring in order to put an end to the action. Ross did what he could to cover up, but the referee ruled that he was done and in the process crowned a new champion.
With the loss, Ross drops to 31-9, with two of those losses coming at the hands of Yamato. Meanwhile, the Nagoya, Japan, native moves to 34-11-1 and becomes the new promotional kingpin.
Related » Lion Fight 21 Play-by-Play
Van Soest Rolls Against Bellekhal
In the co-main event, Tiffany Van Soest showed why she is receiving widespread acclaim and attention for her muay Thai efforts. The San Diego native destroyed Chajmaa Bellekhal for 15 minutes, en route to a unanimous decision [50-45, 50-45, 50-45].
Bellekhal did her best to try and slow down the offensive output of the former champion, imploring a bit of gamesmanship with her mouthpiece, which only upset Van Soest into pouring on the shots.
“I hit her with my best shots and she still stood and brought it for five rounds,” Van Soest said after the fight. “She was holding me a little bit longer than I wanted to be held. No disrespect to her, but in the head of battle I was getting upset. Now that it’s all over, it’s all good. But May 22, everyone come to Las Vegas and watch me get my belt back.”
Now Van Soest moves to 11-2 and a fight on May 22 that will ultimately lead her back to the Lion Fight title. Meanwhile, Bellekhal dropped to 44-11 in her professional career.
Malaipet Dominates Yelle
Malaipet competed in his 181st muay Thai contest against Ben Yelle at Lion Fight 21 and picked up his 146th victory in the process.
The veteran got out to an early lead before slowing down a bit in the latter stages of the welterweight contest, but in the end, the judges gave him the unanimous nod with scores of 50-46, 49-46, 49-46.
With the victory, the Sasiprapa representative moves to 146-29, while Yelle drops to 23-17.
Victor Saravia and Sam Poulton (2-2) went to war for five rounds on Friday, but the scorecards didn’t represent how closely contested the fight actually was. Saravia, a Muay Thai America Gym representative, tore down the lead leg of Poulton, actually earning a 10-8 round in the fourth because of the damage induced. Ultimately, the judges scored the fight [50-45, 50-44. 49-45] in favor of Saravia, pushing his record to 3-0.
It didn’t take long for Josh Shepard to dispel of Jose Lopez, landing a perfectly placed knee to the liver that brought an end to the action at 1:33 of round one. With the knockout, Shepard now moves to 4-1 and likely puts himself in the position for a title shot sooner rather than later.
In the opening main card attraction of the evening, Nick Chasteen absolutely wrecked Tony Fausto in his professional muay Thai debut. The welterweight fight lasted four rounds, but could have easily been stopped sooner, as Fausto ate a considerable amount of damage before his corner finally threw in the towel at 2:19. With the win, Chasteen improves to 4-1, while Fausto drops to 0-1.
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