Officials with Lion Fight announced the first bouts for Lion Fight 32, which takes place next month.
Below is the complete press release:
The much-anticipated return has finally come.
Lion Fight Promotions is headed back to its original hotbed of world-class Muay Thai action as Lion Fight 32 is set for Friday, October 21st at the legendary Tropicana Casino Hotel Resort on the iconic Las Vegas Strip.
Lion Fight’s return to the Mecca of Fighting is topped by a showdown for the super welterweight crown pitting American standout Ky Hollenbeck (20-5-1) against renowned Thai veteran Malaipet Sasiprapa (145-30-6).
“This is a fight worthy of being a headliner on the famous Las Vegas Strip,” said Lion Fight CEO Scott Kent.
“Muay Thai fans around the world have been wanting to see Malaipet in action again. His status is legendary. There is no better opponent for him than Ky Hollenbeck, and fittingly they should go head-to-head for a title.”
Hollenbeck will ride a three-fight winning streak into the bout, which was extended at Lion Fight 30 by a unanimous decision victory over Mark Holst. That matchup went to the judges midway through the fourth round when the doctor stopped the proceedings due to a cut over Hollenbeck’s eye caused by two accidental head butts.
Prior to that, the former University of Hawaii student notched a decisive third-round TKO victory over Justin Greskiewicz at Lion Fight 28, and a decision win against Richard Abraham at Lion Fight 24.
Hollenbeck is a perfect 5-0 in the Lion Fight ring and is one of the organization’s original standouts. Back in 2011, he earned the WBC world middleweight title at Lion Fight 2 in Primm, Nevada, with a victory over France’s Gregory Choplin. He then defended that belt successfully at Lion Fight 3 by defeating England’s Simon Chu. Both wins propelled Hollenbeck to the honor of Muay Thai Authority’s North American Fighter of the Year award.
During his career, Hollenbeck has fought a handful of notable names including Andy Ristie and Nieky Holzken.
Originally from Surin, Thailand, and now living in Fresno, California, Malaipet (born Mongkhon Wiwasuk) will be making his 11th appearance under the Lion Fight banner. He made his organizational debut in 2012 and promptly rattled off five straight wins highlighted by TKO verdicts over Vishnu Galati at Lion Fight 8, and Caio Uruguai at Lion Fight 11.
It has been an up-and-down tenure since then, however, as the 34-year-old has gone 2-3 since that streak with both wins coming against Greskiewicz. Malaipet fell short in his bid for the Lion Fight Lightweight Title in losing to still-reigning champion Fabio Pinca at Lion Fight 12.
Malaipet has found success in other title bout performances, though, as he won the WBC United States welterweight crown at Lion Fight 4 by taking a split-decision from Jose Palacios. Malaipet is also a former WBC International and Rajadamnern Stadium welterweight champion.
Clay, Saravia part of stacked main card
In a featured main-card matchup, two top prospects collide with the winner certainly taking a big step in the direction of a Lion Fight title shot. Arizona’s Travis Clay (3-0), who is coming off a highlight-reel knockout win over Julio Pena at Lion Fight 29, takes on fellow undefeated Hawaiian-born rising star Marvin Madriaga (5-0).
Lion Fight 32 also marks the return of two up-and-coming talents in Josh Shepard and Victor Saravia.
Shepard gets an opportunity to take a big leap in profile fighting in his home town of Las Vegas when he takes on Peruvian sensation Gabriel Mazzetti. It was at Lion Fight 21 where Shepard gained prominence with a knee-to-the-body knockout win over Jose Lopez. Meanwhile, Mazzetti (11-2) built up his own reputation by winning a semifinal contest at the 2015 EFN Champion’s King’s Cup.
Saravia, who fights out of North Hollywood, California, posted TKO victories at both Lion Fight 14 and 17, and was the first fighter from the organization to be part of the talent-sharing partnership between Lion Fight and England’s Muay Thai Grand Prix. The “Dynamite Kid” is set to clash with Cody Allen Moberly (23-14), who was part of the documentary “Prison Fights” and winner of the 2015 Queen’s Cup in Thailand.
In another expected thriller on the Lion Fight 32 main card, four-time WBC belt-winner and 12-year veteran Romie Adanza (18-7) takes on Ming Freeman (5-0-1).
Adanza, who now fights out of Irvine, California, was triumphant at Lion Fight 23 last July when he notched defeated England’s Daniel McGowan. It was a comeback win for Adanza, who was trailing his opponent until a crushing elbow strike forced a TKO victory via doctor’s stoppage. Freeman, who also fights out of North Hollywood, California, scored the most-notable victory of his Lion Fight career to date when he put a late rally together and earned a fifth-round stoppage of Jason Andrada last October.
An additional matchup will be added to the main card shortly, as will a handful of amateur bouts that will make up the prelims.