December 21, 2016 – Thapae Stadium, Chiang Mai – full fight video above
I was supposed to be fighting Hongpet at a different event just prior to this, but I can’t remember why that didn’t work out. I’ve fought the Liangprasert gym before and am friendly with their owner/trainer to some extent, but I don’t think I’d ever fought Hongpet before. She’s a Tom and has a very cool style about her, very confident in herself and kind of self-contained. I was watching her gym on the mat prior to the fight and there was this odd disassociation between the owner’s daughter (who is also a fighter but not fighting that night) and my opponent, which I thought was pretty weird. Then I remembered Emma putting up a photo from a year ago where she said the two young women were a couple. So I guess they’ve broken up. That’s gotta suck, especially when you’re supposed to be cornering for each other as teammates. All the female fighters from Liangprasert have names that start with “hong,” which is a swan or used in names of birds. So Hongpet is like a diamond swan.
At this stadium I’m always the last fight on the card. I think it’s because they don’t often put more than one westerner on any one card, so they put the “international” fight as the finale. So it’s kind of a long wait and just hanging out on the mat, saying hello to all the familiar faces that go by. Liangprasert aren’t from Chiang Mai, so they always have more than one fighter on a card in order to make the trip more affordable, so they were busy getting a guy ready for somewhere in the middle of the card while Hongpet slowly got herself ready and I wrapped my hands.
This fight was at the start of the “Sylvie’s Zero Fucks Tour of 2016,” in which I’m mentally trying to let go and just be free in the fight, rather than caring much about the outcome or performance. Just do it, so to speak. It worked well for me and I felt much more loose and free in this fight, almost entirely because I didn’t care whether or not I won or “looked good.” From the get-go, Hongpet was one of these fighters who moves on a dime and loves to load up for big, single shots that wow the audience and judges. With those fighters you have to stay close and eat a few of those shots, but the closer you stay and the more you pressure them to keep moving off their mark, the less they can post up for those big moves. I think my “zero fucks” allowed me to stay much closer than I might if I was thinking about “doing Muay Thai,” which I think can lead to me mirroring my opponents too much. I don’t fight like them; I should fight like me. And it worked. I was throwing combinations off of blocks, which I don’t remember doing much of in previous fights but can handle okay in training, when there’s less pressure. She had a nice body-grab in the clinch so that she could just put her weight against me on the ropes, but when you grab low like that you’re open to elbows and I threw a few… which made me really, really happy. Her, less happy. In the third round when I grab her teep you can hear Pi Eh screaming in my corner. That’s my favorite bit. I need fan-girls, they make fights so much better.
Once we got heavily into the clinch, meaning I didn’t have to “get in” so much as “stay in”, she had a harder time and you can hear Pi Daeng yelling for me to just keep going. Grind her down, basically. When I landed the first knee that dropped her for the 8 count, I kind of strolled over to the corner for the referee to count because I was feeling all, “fuck it.” I think I was pretty sure that she wouldn’t be lasting much longer after that count, that it would only take another hard knee to put her to bed. My charging back in after a count has improved a lot – I used to look like such a goober kind of power-walking in – and she threw a really nice elbow to try to catch me as I grabbed her back into the clinch. That was pretty much her one hurrah though, that elbow was her only chance at this point. She actually was tough while I was kneeing her in the corner, but she got into this keeled over position that was pretty much impossible to get out of and my knees were still going, so the referee called it to protect her and spare her from actually getting KO’d. Refs in Thailand are good like this. On a UFC show with million dollar purses and world championship titles on the line, let the KO actually happen. Give it a few seconds. But for fighters who fight all the time like this, when there’s no sidebet or title on the line, you’ll see refs just call it. It’s to protect the fighters.
So this was a good introduction to the “zero fucks” tour. Apparently the owner of Liangprasert (Hongpet’s gym) thought that I was 52 kg also and at this stadium you have to weigh in when you arrive, just so they can mark it down. When he saw that I weigh 47 kg and some change he practically choked. He had no idea.
Post Fight Video Update
You can see all my fights with audio commentary here