MORAZA-POLLARD REFLECTS ON TITLE REIGN LEADING TO EIGHTH DEFENSE AT LF67
Chip Moraza-Pollard's reign as the Lion Fight World Cruiserweight champion is not just something special for a single division.
"The Surgeon" perch at the top is the longest- and most-active run of supremacy in Lion Fight history. With a perfect record of 11-0, Moraza-Pollard heads into his eighth title defense at Lion Fight 67 when he puts his belt on the line against Slovakia's Jakub Benko. That fight is part of the action-packed lineup set for Saturday, July 31 in Sicily, Italy, and airing live exclusively worldwide on UFC Fight Pass.
The champ took some time to reflect on his past bouts, leading from his title-clinching win to his most-recent title defense:
LF37 vs. Paul Banasiak Getting the chance to fight for the first ever Lion Fight World Cruiserweight title was an honor, especially against a well-known and popular fighter like Paul. It was interesting since we were both from the northeast and had trained together once or twice a few years before. The fight was a battle, but I managed to knock him down with a head kick right before the final bell to help seal the win. LF39 vs. Jordan Smith This was my first time fighting outside of the country, my first time defending the title, and the vacant Muay Thai Grand Prix belt was also on the line so this fight was a big deal. I took on a tough undefeated UK prospect and won pretty decisively. LF40 vs. Slava Alexeichik This was back home at Foxwoods. Slava was a beast. He'd already fought Israel Adesanya before and did pretty well, so I knew my work was cut out for me. He was coming from New Zealand so I loved how Lion Fight was giving me the best guys from all over the world. The part of the fight that sticks out in my mind was when I scored a knockdown with a spinning elbow, which is funny considering what happened in my next fight. LF43 vs. Mark Mackinnon At this point, I felt like I was on a roll. Mark was from Canada. Hwas strong and athletic and was keeping me outside with a lot of quick kicks, so I remember turning the aggression up and trying to march him down. Later on in the fight, he threw a spinning elbow of his own which I saw coming and covered up to guard against, but the elbow landed right behind my arm and dropped me for a second. That was the first and only time I've been dropped in a Lion Fight contest. I got up and came back at him finishing the fight strong and taking the W. LF47 vs. Remy Vectol Remy was a very experienced French fighter who had trained and fought on some great promotions in Thailand so I was looking forward to this fight a lot. I was very happy with my performance in this one because I did a lot of the things I'd been practicing and my defense was solid throughout. I dropped him with a kick to the leg and he wasn't able to get back up giving me the win in impressive fashion. LF51 vs. Juan Cervantes This fight was very special because I'd never fought in Los Angeles before and that's where most of my family lives. They all came out to watch me in person for the first time so it felt like I was fighting in front of a home crowd. It was also special because Juan was the number-one ranked fighter in the UK and one of the top ranked cruiserweights in the world. Getting the win over someone of that caliber was pretty cool. LF56 vs. Kongjak Po Baoin When they told me I was going to fight a Thai I didn't believe it since there really isn't that many Thai cruiserweights. I was super excited, though, as a farang (foreign) Muay Thai fighter at some point you wish for the chance to test yourself against a real Thai who's been living and breathing the sport for their whole life. Kongjak was incredibly experienced and a former Rajadamnern Stadium champion which is one of the biggest accomplishments in all of Muay Thai. It was a very close fight and I learned a lot, I'm a student of the game who's always trying to improve so that experience was gold. LF61 vs. Daniel Forsberg It had been a lot longer layoff between my fight against Kongjak and this one than usual. I'd been to Thailand for the first time and I felt like in that time, my knowledge of Muay Thai had definitely increased a ton. It was another dream come true headlining a card in Vegas, the fight capital of the world, for the first time since every young fighter dreams of that. I'm also thankful I managed to squeeze this one in right before all the lockdowns started. Daniel was another southpaw, but a more powerful type of fighter so I was expecting an exciting match. Watching it back compared to my first fights I can see my evolution as a Muay Thai fighter and how far I've come and how far I still have to go, but I've had a long time since then to study and improve so expect a whole new version of "The Surgeon" on July 31st. To sign up for UFC FIGHT PASS, please visit www.ufcfightpass.com, or download the UFC app. Please visit LIONFIGHT.com for news, information and event updates, and follow on Twitter @LIONFIGHT and on Instagram @LionFightofficial.