My review of the main events at Yokkao 31 & 32

Jonathan Haggerty (Keddles/Knowlesy Academy) vs. Superlek (Kiatmoo9) – 59KGS – A Class

This was the most anticipated fight of the night, with the explosive style of UK’s hottest prospect Jonathan Haggerty versus Superlek, one of Thailand’s lb for lb best fighters.  Headlining the first card, this bout had everyone talking.

Round 1:

In the first round, Superlek wasted no time trying to impose him-self, throwing the first elbow within the first 20 seconds of the fight.  This didn’t faze Haggerty though, as he returned fire with a teep straight to the Thai’s face.  It was clear Superlek was trying to elbow early (similar to what he did to Chris Shaw on his last Yokkao outing) and he narrowly missed a jumping elbow.  Haggerty landed a nice right hand, and Superlek returned the favour with a solid elbow. Other than this, it was a pretty even round with a tentative start from both fighters.

Round 2:

As expected, the action began to hot up in round two, and Superlek started the round with a solid body kick, which Haggerty returned with a blistering kick of his own.  Superlek once again stepped in, looking to elbow, and landed with a nasty downward elbow which caused a cut right above Haggerty’s left eye.  This didn’t seem to deter Haggerty at first, as he scored well with a nice sweep, taking Superlek off his feet.  Shortly after, he began dabbing at his eye as the cut worsened and the referee had to step in to wipe the blood away.  Superlek, smelling blood, was viciously rubbing his head against Haggerty’s in the clinch, trying to worsen the cut, still trying to land nasty elbows. Superlek started to edge forward on scoring, but at no point did Haggerty look out of the fight.  As the bell went, I was really looking forward to the next round, as I knew Haggerty was going to come out all guns blazing, and Superlek was going to continue with the same aggressive tactics, looking to elbow, and there would have been nothing but a complete explosion.  Unfortunately, for me and everyone else in the crowd, but particularly Haggerty and his team, the Doctor stepped in in between rounds and called a halt to the contest. Superlek was awarded a TKO win, as Haggerty was deemed unable to continue, despite his pleas to let him carry on.

I caught up with Jonathan after the fight and saw the cut up close, and to be honest I think he should have been given at least another round.  Unfortunately, the Doctor’s there to do a job and for the safety of the fighter. Hopefully Haggerty will get a chance to rematch him in the future.


Nathan Bendon (Pra Cha Suua) vs. Rambo (Phet Por Tor Aor) – 65KGS – A Class

The main event on the next show was UK number 1 Nathan Bendon versus the Thai champion Rambo.

Round 1:

Rambo wasted no time and opened the fight with a solid left body kick.  Bendon replied with a hard low kick and it was obvious Bendon’s tactics were to try and work the legs of Rambo. Rambo tried to confuse Bendon, switching his stance to southpaw and back to orthodox again, and attempted a nice jumping knee. Rambo landed a solid elbow, cutting Bendon under the eye. A few solid kicks toward the end of the round from Bendon made this a pretty even first round.

Round 2:

Bendon started the round again with solid low kicks however, Rambo took the fight into the clinch and landed a nice elbow and some high scoring knees. Rambo again marched back into the clinch but Bendon tied him up well, both fighters traded knees before the clinch was broken.  Rambo scored another high scoring jump knee, pushing Bendon onto the back foot, followed by a big elbow. Towards the end of the round, Bendon landed some strong punches and low kicks, and a nice screw shot uppercut knocked back Rambo’s head, ending the round.

Round 3:

Rambo started the round scoring with big body kicks. Bendon replied with an elbow.  Rambo went into the clinch again but Bendon nullified his knee attacks.  More big body kicks from Rambo meant he started to pull ahead with the scoring slightly. Bendon still looked dangerous and landed a solid body hook which forced Rambo into the clinch for a breather. More strong punches from Bendon looked to unsettle Rambo every time they landed however, scoring wise the Thai was still in front with big kicks and knees.

Round 4:

Rambo started round 4 with a huge body kick, followed with a big head kick which wrapped right around Bendon’s chin and neck.  Bendon showed he has an absolute chin of granite by shaking it off like it was nothing and headed straight back to business. Rambo upped the pace, scoring with big kicks across Bendon’s arm and body. Bendon was still landing some solid low kicks and the Thai’s leg was visibly damaged.  Towards the end of the round, Bendon executed a nice take down in the clinch and with 30 seconds to go, went for broke with punches as it seemed he felt behind on the score cards and needed a KO.

Round 5:

Bendon went insane, throwing caution to the wind and starting to unload some vicious punches. He rocked Rambo early and continued the round with a devastating onslaught. A solid right hand made Rambo touch the canvas and was probably 50/50 whether it should have been an 8 count (this could potentially have changed the decision if an 8 count had been given). Bendon carried on the pressure with some vicious punches and some nice take downs in the clinch.  Rambo was almost out on his feet and ready to go at any time.

Bendon had fought his way back into the fight and looked as though he’s tipped the balance almost in his favour, and as the final bell went I honestly didn’t know how the fight would be scored.  An extra thirty seconds in the round and it would have been a KO for Bendon. Unfortunately for him, it was too little too late and he lost by split decision. This, along with his last decision win against Chris Shaw, proves that he’s deserving of being in there with the top level.

Both UK lads did themselves, their gyms and the country proud and I’m looking forward to seeing them fight again.