Eersel retains title in vicious style at Lion Fight 34 in Las Vegas
Barlow holds firm to belt and Njokuani scores KO victory
Reigning champion Regian “The Immortal” Eersel was more dominant than ever as he defended his world super middleweight title at Lion Fight 34 with a first-round destruction of challenger D.C. Pratt.
Eersel’s first successful title defense was the main event of the card that took place on Friday night at Tropicana Las Vegas on the iconic Las Vegas Strip, and aired live on AXS TV Fights in the United States plus Fight Network throughout Canada, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
The Amsterdam, Holland, product utilized his height advantage right from the opening moments of the bout. Eersel (45-4) bashed away at Pratt with knee strikes to the body inside the clinch. Eersel then connected with solid right and followed with a jumping knee. With Pratt clearly in trouble, Eersel cracked another jumping knee off Pratt’s chin and followed with a laser-like right that dropped the Bahamian fighter. Although Pratt made it back to his feet, referee Steve Mazzagatti halted the bout just 2:29 into the first when Pratt (20-4) stumbled forward.
“I want to stay active and I’ll fight whoever Lion Fight puts in front of me,” said Eersel, who captured the belt in November with a second-round annihilation of England’s Jake Purdy.
In the co-main event, Lion Fight women’s super bantamweight champion Iman “Pretty Killer” Barlow (87-5-3) easily outclassed Germany’s Meryem Uslu (62-12-1), cruising to a clear-cut unanimous decision victory. The Leicester, England, native continually landed knees and kicks to Uslu’s body with the bout becoming virtually target practice by the third round. In the fourth, Barlow pulled Uslu’s head down and connected with three straight knees to the face. Despite having the verdict sealed up, Barlow went for the late finish with a devastating elbow that split open Uslu’s forehead. All three ringside judges scored the bout 50-45 for Barlow, who was making her first title defense.
One of the highlights from the main card came in a middleweight tussle that had former UFC and WEC competitor Anthony “The Assassin” Njokuani returning to his Muay Thai roots against Australia’s Chris “The Butcher” Harrington.
Njokuani, who fights out of Las Vegas, engaged in a rugged battle with Harrington over the opening two rounds before ramping up his attack in the third. The 34-year-old veteran was backed up by a Harrington flurry but answered with two crisp rights – the second of which put Harrington down along the ropes. With his opponent in obvious difficulty, Njokuani (23-0) pounced, connecting with two more rights and then a left hook that put Harrington (21-3) down for good at the 2:44 mark of the third.
The super welterweight showdown between Nick “The Golden Boy” Chasteen and hot prospect Gabriel “El Nino” Mazzetti was the Fight of the Night that would become a highly dubious decision.
Chasteen and Mazzetti engaged in several toe-to-toe clashes with the American landing more precisely against the Peruvian power shots. All five rounds featured numerous exciting exchanges with Chasteen answering every one of Mazzetti shots with a flurry of punches. The second round closed with one of the best exchanges of the bout as Chasteen connected with four punches and Mazzetti struck back with a blistering right.
The judges’ scorecards had Mazzetti (14-2) coming out on top with a unanimous decision 49-46, 49-46, and 48-47 – a rendering that was booed heavily by the crowd and drawing the ire of nearly every observer on media row including AXS TV Fights commentators Michael Schiavello and Pat Miletich. The UFC Hall of Famer, who called the outcome “disgusting,” scored the bout 49-46 for Chasteen.
“Another terrible decision by the Nevada State Commission who showed us tonight they don’t know how to score Muay Thai,” added Schiavello.
Chasteen (6-4), who has now lost three straight in the Lion Fight ring, left the ring clearly baffled by the odd scoring.
Veteran Kronphet Phetrachapat (75-18-5) scored early and often against Kevin Burmester, but a late rally by the German closed the advantage. One of Europe’s top competitors, Burmester (70-8-1) forced the issue against the tiring Thai and his comeback bid forced a once onesided bout to the judges, who came back with a majority draw (48-46, 47-47, 47-47).
A spirited super lightweight bout opened up the main card as River “The Filipino Flash” Daz took on Diego “The Terror” Llamas. Daz, a product of Lion Fight’s talent-sharing partnership with the Warriors Way promotion in Australia, wobbled Llamas late in Round 2 with an overhand right – a punch that he would utilize throughout the remainder of the bout. Daz put Llamas, a native of Mexico who fights out of California, in trouble in the fifth, grazing him with a head kick and then backing him against the ropes and connecting with the right hand in the final moments. Daz (13-0-1) got the unanimous nod from the judges (49-46, 50-45, 49-46) to notch his 12th consecutive win, while Llamas (8-3) suffered his first loss in Muay Thai action in over five years.
Lion Fight returns on Friday, March 3rd with Lion Fight 35 taking place at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, and live on both AXS TV Fights and Fight Network. The card is topped by a pair of title fights as two-division champ Jo Nattawut puts his super welterweight belt on the line against Kengsiam Nor Sripueng, and women’s lightweight champion Antonina Shevchenko defends her crown against Aleide Lawant.