Ferrari Fairtex Edges Main Event Win

March 25, 2024
3 weeks

The Lumpinee Boxing Stadium is a fabled venue for combat sports in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. ONE Championship was back in town for a stellar card with mostly Muay Thai fights, headlined by Ferrari Fairtex and Mavlud Tupiev.

Ferrari Able to See Off Tupiev

By the time the main event started, the crowd at ONE Friday Fights 56 was incredibly excited, having already seen nine KO finishes throughout the night. Fairtex Ferrari wanted to give his native Thailand another exciting end, but his opponent had other ideas. Mavlud Tupiev took many shots, which significantly disrupted his fight strategy.

The Uzbekistani fighter had a solid first round, with some being able to argue that he won that period. However, as the fight went on, he tired quickly. Fairtex Ferrari looked very fresh by comparison as he continued to trade blows with no visible signs of fatigue. He landed better strikes in the second and third rounds as Tupiev had to back off.

The commentators on the global feed were eager to say that it was a close fight with a draw possible, but the judges may consider the extensive bruising on Tupiev a winning point for Fairtex. The judges believed that Ferrari was superior and handed him the unanimous decision win, a result that would get MMA news sites talking.

Karabag Gets 3-knockdown TKO

On paper, Furkan Karabag and Hiroyuki Ihara shouldn’t be fighting. Karabag is a well built muscular 25-year-old while the latter is a skinny 40-year-old, the tale of the tape reads like a mismatched bar brawl. The Japanese fighter might have a long lineage in combat sports having fought in kickboxing tournaments too but showed nothing that made him look competitive in this fight.

The Turkish fighter played the fight exactly how he wanted. He led into his adversary, giving him nowhere to go, at one point forcing Ihara to switch stance, nearly making the Japanese fighter trip up on his own feet in a comical moment. Sensing blood was in the water, Karabag was able to floor his opponent multiple times. The ref had to call the bout when Ihara hit the deck for the third time. Karabag, while not originally born in Thailand, was treated with a hero’s applause given his hard work and dedication to Muay Thai.

Kara-Ool Goes 5-0

While Dagestan often gets the plaudits for producing multiple Russian MMA superstars, it’s not like Novosibirsk will be short of upcoming talent. Changy Kara-Ool took on Sanlang Gexi, a Chinese fighter with much more experience and a 14-1 record.

In the only MMA fight of the night, the two fighters started on an equal footing. Sanlang landed a series of good punches, giving him control of the early going. A clinch ensued where both fighters showed decent grappling. While Kara-Ool’s pro-MMA record is lacking in fights, it was at this point that his experience in Sambo and other grappling-based disciplines came to the fore, especially given that he’s had over 300 fights across various combat styles.

Sanlang showed a lot of mettle in the latter stages of the first round, taking multiple shots on the chin without too much distress. He even had a kick caught, leaving him grounded, but he remained offensive with his opponent in the superior position. A common theme emerged, where the Chinese fighter would be floored, after which he would taunt his opponent, infuriating the crowd and those who have to report about it on MMA news websites, just like this one.

The ref stepped in and ordered Sanlang to resume the standing position many times throughout the fight. Seconds before the end of the first round the Chinese fighter was again on the canvas with his hands behind his head as if he were on the beach. With nominal time left Kara-Ool decided to give some taunting back, as he performed ‘Just Bring It’ style gesture, similar to that seen from The Rock back in his WWF days.

The Russian was clearly the fighter in the ascendancy here and the second round followed suit. Sanlang did try to land some high kicks but Kara-Ool was able to withstand the majority of these strikes. Ultimately the Chinese fighter was running out of stamina as he continued to defend, this led to the Russian breaking the guard and landing multiple shots that ended the fight with 30 seconds left to go in the second round.

Malaysian Masterclass from Masdor!

It doesn’t take a genius to read a map and see that there are geographical ties between Thailand and Malaysia. Given that Muay Thai is from Thailand (it shouldn’t take another genius for that one either), there’s a certain amount of national pride on the line whenever a Thai fighter contests the fight sport against a foreigner on home soil.

Malaysian fighter Rifdean Masdor decimated his opponent and secured a first KO win. The ref assigned to this fight had to repeatedly check on Pichai Lookbanmai, who was knocked down multiple times in just a few minutes. Masdor forced his Thai adversary into the ropes and hit out with an unanswered combo, grounding Lookbanmai and leading to the official waiving off the fight.

It is worth noting that Lookbanmai is 17 years old. While there are praises for fighting a pro-Muay Thai at this age, is this too young for combat sports? There are serious moral and ethical considerations here.

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By Dean McHugh.