Borges defeats Gabriel to hold on to his IAMTF Super Lightweight Title

After the announcement of his victory in Bout#6, the elated champion Bruno Borges from the Alliance Training Center was presented the IAMTF Super Lightweight Championship Belt by WCK Muaythai Supervisor Master Sarinda Chaney. Also joining the Champ were the veteran referee, Karate/Kickboxing Hall of Famer George Valdez plus the lovely ring card gals.

On Saturday, July 22nd, the capacity crowd inside the Four Points By Sheraton Hotel Ballroom in San Diego was treated to one of the most, hotly contested Muay Thai matches ever. In one corner, battling to hold on to his IAMTF Super Lightweight Title was the 27-year-old defending champion 5’6″ Bruno Borges (10-2) from the Alliance Training Center and in the other corner, threatening to take away his title, was the 29-year-old, 5’7″ Allan Gabriel (5-1) from Carlsbad, who trains with the renown Kru Ruben Rowell Jr. at the Xtreme Power Gym, Oceanside, Calif.

To say there was no let-up in this five round title fight seems like an understatement. Kicks and punches were flying nonstop. Round one was so close, you’d need one of those clicker punch counters to determine who landed the most blows. In round two, Gabriel made a statement by pinning Borges in his own corner and using his knees and elbows to score big time. Dreading the fact that Gabriel might pull even, Borges finished that round with his own spurt on the opposite side of the ring.

Then, make no mistake about it, Gabriel took round three by being the more effective aggressor. What he did was mix things up on offense by using his full repertoire of feints, back fists, elbows, strikes, knees, and kicks.

Sitting there on his stool between rounds three and four, Borges must have felt as if he had just survived an avalanche. He needed more than ever to reassert himself in round four.

Realizing how perception and crowd noise can sway an opinion, Gabriel’s corner began to work on influencing the judges with these annoying shouts of “oohrah, ooee, aueee!” which at times backfired, when it was Borges who had just landed the harder kick or cleaner punch.

Before the bell sounded to begin the final round, round five, the now bruised but still fully energized fighters looked across the ring at each other in hopes of seeing a sign of weakness. There was none. At the conclusion of that round, if anyone were to come up to you and claim that either man clearly won the round, you would be justified in telling that person: “You’re crazy.” Despite that oh-so-close final round, the three judges ended up designating Bruno Borges as their winner by split decision.

At the conclusion of their intense battle royale, the sportsman Bruno Borges initiates an embrace with his rather surprised, reticent opponent.

After it was announced that Bruno Borges had defended his title, there were the expected cheers and perhaps more important not one hostile dissenting opinion.

After his victory, everyone wanted to be in the celebratory photo. (l to r) the show’s promoter Dennis Warner, Muay Thai standout Joe Gogo, ring card gal, WCK Supervisor Sarinda Chaney, Borges, ring card gal and ref George Valdez.

In the opening bout of the night, Bout #1, you had 29-year-old, 5’4″ Stephanie Tanguay (1-0) from The Boxing Club in La Jolla who had her way with the 35-year-old, 4’10” Melissa Nolan (0-1) who despite getting hit repeatedly, doggedly pressed forward. As a result, the tenacious Nolan took far too many head-snapping punches to the head. This one ended early, 1:49 of Round #2, after referee Jim Vanover called a halt to this one-sided beatdown. 

As the winner was announced, we see referee Jim Vanover raising the arm of the victorious Stephanie Tanguay from The Boxing Club of La Jolla after her defeat of Melissa Nolan from the Art of Eight Training Center, Kearny Mesa.

At the conclusion of Bout #1, Stephanie Tanguay was joined by her coaches Jessie Magusen (l) and Caine Gayle (r) from The Boxing Club Sport & Fitness.

In Bout #2, it was 6′ tall, 28-year-old Ryan Rahimpour (1-1) of Ocean Beach, trained by Steve Frye at Victory MMA in Point Loma, S. D., Calif., taking on one of those Mr. Universe Body Builders 30-year-old, 5’6″ tall Eddie “PNazty” Perez (0-1) from Progressive Martial Arts, San Clemente, Calif. In round one, it was Rahimpour’s powerful high leg kicks versus Perez’s punches to the face. With so many punches landing, it appeared Perez had taken round one (10-9). After being schooled by his corner, Rahimpour added several new wrinkles to his arsenal – most noteworthy the high knees which he started using on Perez’s head after he managed to pull it down. With so many weapons, even his punches started to land, Rahimpour’s confidence went through the roof. At that point, he could have taken on King Kong. Even though Perez did well down the homestretch, there was no way he could make up the deficit of Round two and the first half of Round three as Rahimpour dominated the action.

In the end, it was Ryan Rahimpour (l) earning the well-deserved victory over the body builder/puncher Eddie “Pnasty” Perez (r).

In Bout #3, they featured Erica Heine of Steel MMA, Tierrasanta, S. D., Calif. taking on 29-year-old, 5’9″ Kayla Fraser (4-0) from Carlsbad, Calif. who is trained by Charles Martinez at The Arena, Point Loma, S. D., Calif. In the uneventful first round, it’s likely the judges went with Heine since she landed the harder, more powerful kicks. At the close of a busy round two, after doing even better, Heine appeared to be favoring one leg as she limped back to her corner. In round three, you were expecting to see Fraser take advantage of the situation, but she never did. Heine finished out the fight throwing more punches than kicks as if boxing had become her only option.

In Bout #3, we see Erica Heine (l) walloping Kayla Fraser from The Arena (r) with one of her lethal kicks.

In the end, it was Erica Heine (l) having her arm raised in victory by referee George Valdez after defeating the always tough Kayla Fraser (r).

Joining Erica Heine after her big win were two of her coaches from Steel MMA & Fitness, Carl Gebhardt (l) and Shaun Shepard (r).

Bout #4 featured a four round WCK full rules Pro Muaythai Women’s Featherweight contest between 5’6″, 30-year-old Natalie Morgan (13-3-2) from The Yard in Los Angeles, taking on 5’7″, 28-year-old Alyshia “Code Red” Madison (10-4-2) from the Steve Frye Muay Thai team who trains at Victory MMA.

In round one, the feeling out round, Alyshia and her dance partner showed very little offense and spent the majority of the round sizing each other up. By round two, the gals started making good use of their knees and elbows. Round three and four were back and forth rounds, with it being near impossible to pick a winner. Then, instead of laying it all on the line, both fighters relied on the judges to sort out the winner in a close one, which went to Natalie Morgan.

(l to r) Natalie Morgan of The Yard in Los Angeles versus Alyshia “Code Red” Madison of Steve Frye Muay Thai who trains at Victory MMA in Point Loma.

(right panel) At the close of Bout #4, veteran referee Vichai Supkitpol raised the arm of the victorious Natalie Morgan from The Yard, Los Angeles, Calif.

Bout #5, an IAMTF Super Welterweight Ranking bout had 5’9″, 27-year-old Jason Breedlove (1-2 kickboxing, 3-0 MMA) from the Art of Eight Training & Fitness Center, Kearny Mesa going up against 6′ tall, 21-year-old Roman Lysenko (5-1) from The Boxing Club Sport & Fitness Gym, LaJolla. After getting off to an early lead there seemed to be no way of stopping Lysenko who kept firing away. To seal the victory, he did switch to more elbows and sweeps in the final round.

Roman Lysenko (green trunks) had it all going his way until this one awkward moment when Jason Breedlove had a clear shot to deliver a knee to the head.

While Jason Breedlove (l) was off target, Roman Lysenko (r) wasn’t.

At the conclusion of their IAMTF Super Welterweight bout, we see referee Jim Vanover raising the arm of the victorious Roman Lysenko of The Boxing Club.

Before leaving the ring, Roman Lysenko posed for one last photo with his two proud coaches Jessie Magusen (l) and Caine Gayle (r) from The Boxing Club.

Cameras rolling for Bout #7, a Pro WCK Muaythai Super Welterweight Bout? What could we expect in this San Diego vs LA clash? On hand to cover the much anticipated Bout #7, between 32-year-old Alex Higley and 31-year-old Matt H. Erdems was a cameraman from the KUSI News team, Cable 9, Channel 51. Higley, the owner/operator/long-time instructor of Higley Muay Thai of Carlsbad and the newly opened facility in Sorrento Valley was set to do battle against an equally recognizable Hollywood Actor/fighter Erdems from Team Sityodtong of Los Angeles who if you go on the Internet has quite a few classic, inspirational Muaythai videos on You Tube.

Before the start of Bout #7, both Higley and Erdems performed the traditional Muay Thai dance composed of two parts, the wai kru and ram muay with the traditional Sarama or Muay Thai music. The wai kru is their way of paying respect to their coaches, gym, training partners and family. At first, each fighter circled the ring (counter clockwise) before kneeling and then bowed three times to show their respect to God and man. The ram muay, with it’s simple or complex movements displays their style and control. Each was personal and unique. While performing this ritual, both men wore the traditional headbands known as Mongkols and arm bands known as Prajioud with their own unique meaning, history, and powers.

On this night, it was the San Diego Pro who came through. Alex Higley (red gloves) had so much adrenaline flowing, he was simply amazing to watch. As a result, many of his supporters were up from their seats cheering wildly. Everything that he had been teaching and preaching to his students over the past 15 plus years, was right there in plain sight for all to see.

The dread of every camera man – missing the shot of the final knock out blow. At this point in the fight, Erdems (r) was virtually helpless after getting hit first with a left hook, followed by a head jarring right uppercut and then finally getting his bell rung by an overhand right that had him seemingly defenseless.

The end came at the 2:58 mark of round #3 when referee Vichai Supkitpol rushed forward to stop the carnage.

After the stoppage, Alex Higley rushed to his corner and climbed the ropes to salute his many loyal supporters.

(photo bottom) The rambunctious Higley supporters were all smiles.

The final match of the show had Brendon Raftery of Steel MMA, Tierrasanta facing 20-year-old, 5’6″ tall Cody Sessions (3-2) who trains at Team Diamond Martial Arts, Upland, Calif. in a Pro WCK Muaythai featherweight match. In round one, Raftery couldn’t miss as every punch and every kick was right on the money. As his confidence grew, so did the velocity of the punches and kicks. One such kick sent Sessions to the mat. By round #3, Raftery had Sessions’ head snapping back.

After dodging a Cody Sessions’ kick, it appeared a punch to his face was always going to be there.

After one of Brendon Raftery’s direct hits, we see Cody Sessions down on the canvas.

Whether it was a kick or a punch, Brendon Raftery (l) was right on target.

After the bout concluded, we saw Brendon Raftery give a signal to his many supporters, something along the lines of “The victory is ours!”

The fighters, Brendon Raftery (l) and Cody Sessions (r) along with veteran referee Vichai Supkipol await the announcement of the judges’ scores.

In a show of respect, Cody Sessions (r) bows his head and claps for the victorious Brendon Raftery (l).

In some circles, they call it a standing ovation. After his win over Cody Sessions, it was pretty easy to spot the Brendon Raftery supporters.

Overjoyed with their dear friend’s victory, the Steel MMA staff of (l to r) Shaun Shepard, Erik Alignay and Kru Carl Gebhardt were smiling from ear to ear.

Next, on the agenda for Promoter Dennis Warner and the WCK Muay Thai staff is the Cali 23 show which is now scheduled for September 9, 2017, at the Bicycle Hotel & Casino, 888 Bicycle Casino Drive, Bell Gardens, Calif. 90210.

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