Last night's Muay Thai at the Mecca, which was Take On Production's latest installment, packed 3,203 fans into the Theater at Madison Square Garden and gave all present a stellar 14-bout card of kickboxing action. To say that this was the biggest, most-impressive Muay Thai event New York has ever seen would be an understatement. MTatM was massive - bigger than most MMA shows I go to - and as the first all-Muay Thai card at the Garden, pretty damn historic to boot. Some thoughts on the fights:
-The first bout of the event was a female championship bout between Prairie Rugilo and Angie Babel, and with a steady stream of right hands, Rugilo took the majority decision and the belt. Good showing by the Girl Fight MMA rep.
-Chris Mauceri of Black & Blue MMA and Tim Schmeier of Sitan could not stop catching each other's kicks. What won the bout, though, was Mauceri's accurate hands and overall resilience (nothing Schmeier did seemed to slow him); he took the unanimous decision when time ran out.
-Evaristo Hernandez of Camp Undefeated was all about flashy Tae Kwon Do-esque kicks, which look impressive but didn't do a lot of damage. No, all the damage was done by Rich Brattole of Weapons 9, who brought the basics to bear and roughed Hernandez up - so much so that Hernandez couldn't answer the bell for Round 3.
-Joey Hernandez of Mushin MMA was taller, more technical, and deadly with his knees, which he used to wreck the body of Brandon Pointdexter from Evolve Ohio. The TKO via body-blow came in Round 2.
-American Killer Bees rep Andrilo Suarez had a decent uppercut, but he looked like he didn't know what to do when opponent Freddy Cheung of Sitan clinched up with him. The result: Cheung kneeing his way to victory, and earning a belt with the win.
-Rudy Felix of Sitan has whip-like kicks that he used to lash out at Five Points Academy's Cornell Ward. Ward spent the entire bout pursuing and head-hunting, but in the end Felix took the unanimous decision.
-Nick Vaughan of the Wat was simply in another league compared to opponent Brian Hutchings of Megalodon Georgia. For the first two rounds, Vaughan chipped away at him, and in the third Vaughan timed a left hook perfectly, sending Hutchings to the canvas at 1:08 of the round. That was all she wrote.
-Steven Hernandez of PinPoint Muay Thai and Ariel Abreu of Camp Undefeated started off having a Muay Thai bout, but somewhere along the way they switched gears and just began brawling. Which was fun as hell, to tell you the truth. Thanks to his hard and fast punching, Abreu took the majority decision.
-Vinny Hui of Five Points and Delroy McCoy of Camp Undefeated went at it, and though the taller Hui seemed to be more skilled and capable, two shots to the nuts had him losing a point and McCoy eventually taking the majority decision.
-Brett Hlavacek of the Wat apparently had somewhere else he needed to be, because he wasted very little time feeding Chris Clodfelter of Sommai Muay Thai shins until Clodfelter dropped. The official time of the knockout was 1:40 of Round 1.
-Eric Ruiz of Progressive Martial Arts unloaded with every strike in the book on Staten Island Muay Thai's Anthony Demaio. To his credit, Demaio took it all, but there was no questioning the unanimous decision Ruiz had earned when it was all over.
-For about two and a half rounds Sean Hinds (Mushin/C3) threw kicks that America's Finest Kickboxing rep Deshawn Robinson caught, with Robinson following each one up with a sweep that put Hinds on his butt. It was a little maddening that Hinds stuck with it, but halfway through the third he nailed Robinson in the head with knees, and Robinson was on jelly legs until the final bell. This one was ruled a majority draw.
-Brian Collette of Eastern Academy versus Marcus Taylor of Performance Muay Thai was ugly. Not because of what happened in the ring - that was short and sweet, with Collette KOing Taylor with punches early in the first - but because of what transpired on the audience afterwards. It seems Taylor didn't like what someone said as he was making his way backstage, and what followed was an unscheduled scrap that security was forced to break up.
-Noted Philly Muay Thai trainer Rigel Balsamico squared off against UFC vet Ryan Madigan, and expectations were high that Balsamico would get to strut his stuff. But Madigan never let that happen, as he swarmed on Balsamico with punches to the head and didn't relent. The local hero went down twice, and after the second time, the ref had seen enough. It was officially over at 2:21 of the first.
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