November 15, 2014 – Satuek, Buriram Thailand – full fight video above
This fight is dedicated to Lisa Hearting, who donated to my GoFundMe campaign to help finance my travel for fights. Thanks for your support, Lisa!
This fight was out in the middle of nowhere. We followed in our rented car behind Pi Dit, owner of Giatbundit Gym, in his truck full of folks from his gym. The drive wasn’t very long but we moved through long passages of road with immense darkness on either side – no streetlights, no houses dotting the darkness in the distance. Just the empty ricefields gone black in the night. That’s in incredibly beautiful experience, really. When we finally arrived at the venue it was a proper festival, with fluorescent lights marking the parking area, giant “bouncy castle” inflatables for kids, food stalls and a tin fence surrounding the field that held the ring. Behind the lighted ring was a huge poster for the event, showing the big-name sponsors, including Channel 7 and some local people, including Pi Dit. We’d parked according to where the parking assistants placed us but Pi Dit had us move our car closer to the exit so that we wouldn’t get boxed in and could leave after my fight, as we usually try to do given that we have to drive back to Pattaya early the next morning. After my fight Pi Dit walked us back to the lot to make sure we could get out. We had, in fact, been hemmed in by one truck and he memorized the plates, then walked back to the ring and between rounds I heard an announcement asking for the owner of the car to come move it “so the falang can leave,” more or less. Very nice of him.
My fight was scheduled well into the card so I had lots of time to lay around on the mats and watch the other fights. Mosquitoes are rampant in Buriram this time of year but the ring itself was far less buggy than the last event in Phutthaisong, where I became like fly-paper with my oiled limbs circling the ring.
I think the order of the fights was slightly fluid and there was a little uncertainty around when exactly I’d be going in. Boom was going to act as my corner and when he started wrapping my hands he decided to make my wraps all-new, rather than using the pre-made, reusable tape casts that save on time and effort (and supplies). Just after finishing my right hand, however, the ring announcer made clear that my fight was much sooner than we’d thought. I’m very used to the sudden rush to get into the ring for fights, so it didn’t bother me at all, but Boom had to rush through the second handwrap and oil massage to get me to the ring on time. He does a nice wrap though, even in a hurry. He began fitting my Mongkol on my head and struggled a bit because of the rubberbands in my hair. I had to remind him that I will have to get in the ring without the Mongkol, as I go under the bottom rope. He must have just been on auto-pilot because of the hurry – I’ve had this discussion a dozen times before fights, even with corners who have been cornering me for a long time.
On the way to the stage where I would wait before entering the ring we passed by my opponent, who was off to one side behind some enormous speakers. My heart dropped when I saw her. The program said our fight was at 49 kg but this fighter was definitely above that. I didn’t care that she was heavy, but she was short and fat and looked very much like she was not a good opponent for me. I was disappointed. A couple of times already in Buriram I’ve faced opponents who aren’t great for me and it’s disappointing, even if I do learn from the fights regardless. Apparently these cases have been because the opponents I had scheduled for me dropped out and last-minute replacements had to be called in, generally at weights much bigger than I am to counter a difference in experience. I was honestly a little pissed to be going into the ring with this fighter because I assumed it would be a fairly quick fight – I have no idea what her skill is, you can’t make that assumption based on being overweight, but I did know that she probably wouldn’t be able to last cardio-wise into the later rounds.
So we got in the ring and I reminded myself that I wanted to work on something particular in this fight, which is a tactic Kru Nu introduced to me after my fight against Chalaamlek at the Loi Krathong festival 10 days prior to this. You can always get a lot out of fights by working on something in particular and it seemed reasonable enough to try this on an opponent who likely wasn’t going to be evasive and tricky. Within the first minute of the round, however, Nuunamchok threw a right kick at my head – out of fucking nowhere – and sweet Jesus, it was hard! I’m glad I’ve worked so hard on my guard in the last 6 months because with my old guard, or even a slightly lazy guard, that kick would have taken my head off. She didn’t have a lot that she worked with, but she was working with that kick and it’s certainly one of the top 3 hardest kicks I’ve ever faced.
I was pretty successful with my practice of moving in and closing distance with my left leg coming up and blocking or teeping, which is what I’d aimed to practice. But I was right that she wouldn’t have the gas to last through the rounds. In the first round she timed one of my knees in the clinch and turned me, just tossing me like a ragdoll to the canvas. But after that I was able to start pushing her head down and was landing knees in her middle, draining her quickly. I reckon she was trying to use her weight on me in the clinch, which unfortunately was just exacerbating the bend I already had on her neck and she started going down to the canvas backwards. This was happening with grater and greater ease from my side and the referee saw where this was going, that she wasn’t protecting herself and he stopped the fight.
I got out of the ring and walked back over to the mat feeling pretty unhappy with the fight. Most definitely I was able to learn something by practicing this distance-closer, but the fight felt too uneven. I want hard fights and I’m willing to lose to better opponents in the process of growing as a fighter. It’s not my opponent’s fault – she hadn’t fought in a while and was just stepping in because she was asked to – and I certainly don’t wish I hadn’t fought. That’s not something I’ve ever wished. Just like you can’t always do everything you want to in a fight, you can’t always get everything you want in a fight either. I’m grateful for the opportunity to fight and I thank my opponent and Pi Dit for making the fight possible. Win or lose, expected or unexpected, as always it’s “on to the next.”
Post Fight Update
Complete Fight Record
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