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Jason Andrada Dishes on Rematches, Lion Fight 22 and how Kevin Ross is the Keanu Reeves of Muay Thai

Lion Fight 22 is on Friday evening on AXS TV, live from Las Vegas and as always, they are promising a night of high octane muay thai action. They’ve yet to fail to deliver since they’ve gone live on AXS TV and even though there was a last minute change to the main event, the show is still primed to deliver a lot of full rules muay thai action. A part of that action is Jason Andrada vs. Anthony Castrejon at 122lbs.

When it came time for me to decide who to focus on for this event, as much as I respect Kevin Ross and Tiffany Van Soest or the main eventer Jo Nattawut, it was hard not to be drawn to Jason Andrada. Andrada is not the most experienced fighter on the card -- even though he had a long, storied amateur career before turning pro -- but he’s been featured on Lion Fight events for a while now. He’s coming off of a tough loss to John Nofer that came via an elbow TKO but he was all smiles after that loss, showing more character in loss than most show in victory. 

Andrada is one of those guys that you might not see main eventing Lion Fight events, but more often than not you see him on the card and when you see him, you know to expect a fun fight and for him to leave it all in the ring. It’s not a coincidence, either, because his disposition is that of a laid back guy that is always looking to put on a show. Andrada sees himself as one of the many guys who is just trying to make an impression.

“You know, I think for some guys, guys like the ones that I’ve been fighting like Nofer, they’re all looking to make a name for themselves just like I am. There are a lot of guys out there that aren’t getting featured on TV like I am and they are clawing for those spots,” he explained. “All of these guys out there they go out there swinging, not many fighters that I’ve encountered are gonna take a shot and not want to go down swinging. Look at a guy like Pedro Gonzalez, for example. A lot of people in muay thai want to see someone demonstrating their perfect muay thai technique, but he’s more of a brawler, an MMA guy. I like watching him fight and so do a lot of other people, if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.”

He was quick to point out some of the more established names in the world of muay thai like Kevin Ross, Chad Mulkey, Joe Schilling and Tiffany Van Soest earned their spots through not only being skilled, but through their humility, personalities and experience. Andrada is quite accomplished in his own right, but he’s quick to point out those that have accomplished more than him and how he strives to be better and achieve what they have. 

Muay Thai might be a career for Andrada now, who spends most of his time at the gym training for fights or holding classes, but he likes to get some distance sometimes as well. “I love fighting, of course,” he said. “But sometimes I need time away from it, so I’m not one of those guys that has to watch every fight ever. I’ll watch my friends, you know? If Kevin, Chaz, Joe, any of my friends are fighting I’ll watch it and look, I could read off a pretty long list of fighters that I’m friends with and watch them fight, but I’m not a junkie for it anymore or anything. It’s nice to take time away. You know, I come home, I watch TV, watch Netflix, just relax sometimes and get some distance. It keeps the passion there.”

His fight on Friday is a rematch with Anthony Castrejon, the two of them meeting a few years back when they were both amateurs in a bout that Castrejon won via a head kick knockout. Andrada is open to any and all challenges, but was not really looking for this rematch. “I mean, we’ve fought before, he landed a nice head kick, which was good for him, but we are professionals now. A few of my recent professional fights have been rematches from my amateur days, which is fine,” he explained. “But look, like 1/3rd of my pro fights have been rematches from my amateur days. He’s been calling me out since before he fought Victor Saravia, so he’s wanted this for a while. I’m looking to grow as a fighter and be ready to challenge these international guys. I’m not saying that I’m looking past anyone,” he said. “I’m really not, I just want to be fighting guys from all over the world now. I want to be fighting guys from Japan, Europe and Thailand, I want to be ready to be able to go overseas and make a big impression. I don’t know if these rematches are going to really prepare me for that.”

He goes on to explain that it isn’t a great fight for either of them, considering that a loss for either guy could be the end of their Lion Fight careers. “I look at how UFC handles losses and you know, once you start racking up a few in a row they tend to cut a guy. I don’t want to be that guy and I’m sure that Castrejon doesn’t want to be that guy, either. Two straight losses wouldn’t be a good thing.”

Andrada is a guy that isn’t afraid to talk about his shortcomings, although he admits talking about losses can be tough. “Man, it sucks when I meet somebody new and they are like; ‘what do you do?’ I tell them that I’m a fighter and they ask about my last fight and it’s like, you gotta tell them that you came in second place,” he joked. “Nobody wants to have to say that, to say that you lost, but you gotta look forward.”

When it comes to Kevin Ross, it’s hard for Andrada to not talk about his friend and cohort with nothing but respect. “Kevin is a great guy, really. I mean, I learn so much from him still and no matter how much success he has, he’s always the same guy,” which spiraled into us discussing how Ross handles himself in the ring, how he’s always entertaining and composed, but always easy to talk to and deal with. “Yeah, I mean, he’s like the Keanu Reeves of muay thai in a way. He has all of this success and he hasn’t changed, he’s still the same guy. At the same time, he’s been through a lot of tough stuff in his life and he doesn’t let it drag him down. He’s always that guy that I like to be around.”

It should be noted that Andrada himself is heading down that same path right now; the amiable guy that seems always cool to be around. He loves to eat and is eagerly awaiting his favorite part of his post-fight life; feasting on some pizza. What struck me the most was that I was talking to him while he was gearing up to head out to the weigh-ins for Lion Fight 22, him just having stepped out of an epsom bath and he was not only in good spirits, but exhibited the same easy-going, friendly demeanor that Ross always projects while still focused and prepared for his fight. 

Becoming a star in any sport is difficult, there will be setbacks, there will be moments of glory and there will be those quiet, contemplative moments. Andrada has experienced many of these throughout the span of his professional and amateur career thus far and tomorrow night looks to be another in those collection of moments that will make up his career while he continues to strive for greatness and move up the ladder. What we know is that no matter what Andrada is looking to put his body on the line and to entertain us and that he’ll do it with a smile. Because he’s that ridiculous.

Lion Fight 22 airs tomorrow night, May 22nd on AXS TV at 10:00pm Eastern time.

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Card For Enfusion Live #29 on Sunday

On Sunday Enfusion will present Enfusion Live #29 from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This one will feature a one-night 70kg tournament featuring Aziz Kallah, Fatih Ozkan, Tafun Ozcan and Reouan Larkoubi. Also on the card will be Racehl Adamus vs. Sheena Widdershoven for the Enfusion -67kg World Championship. 

The event will air at 21:00 local time on http://www.enfusionlive.com.

1. 3X3       Tournament Reserve fight
Mohammed Ben Nasser (Morocco)      Vs William Diender (The Netherlands)
-70Kg
2. 3X3       Tournament Semi Final
Aziz Kallah (Morocco) Vs Fatih Ozkan (Turkey)
- 70 Kg
3. 3X3       Tournament Semi Final
Tayfun Ozcan (Turkey) Vs Redouan Larkoubi (Morocco) 
- 70 Kg
4. 5X3       Enfusion World Title
Rachel Adamus (The Netherlands)  Vs  Sheena Widdershoven (The Netherlands) 
- 67 Kg
5. 3X3
Serginio Kanters (The Netherlands)  Vs Abdelmounim Mouya (Morocco)
- 75 Kg
6. 3X3
Ilias Bulaid (Morocco) Vs Maxim Federkov (Germany)
- 67Kg
7. 3X3       Tournament Final
Fight 1 winner   Vs          Fight 2 winner
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Card For May 23rd's SuperKombat Event

This weekend will see the return of SuperKombat in Bucharest, pumping out a New Heroes and WGP card in the same night, featuring some big SuperKombat names to keep the fans happy. The event proper features such names as Amansio Paraschiv, Cristian Milea, Cristian Ristea and of course Bogdan and Andrei Stoica in action as well. It should be a fun, action-packed card that delivers this weekend.

SUPERKOMBAT WORLD GRAND PRIX II - BUCHAREST
Superkombat New Heroes Romania - 20:00 CET (3 rounds x 2 minutes)
1. Super Fight – Light Heavyweight bout (-81 kg)
Ionuţ Stanciu vs Alin Tamaş
2. Super Fight - Middleweight bout (-71 kg)
Madalin Craciunica vs Adrian Giurgiu
3. Super Fight - Middleweight bout (-71 kg)
Andrei Ostrovanu vs Eduard Chelariu
4. Super Fight - Lightweight bout (-65 kg)
Songul Yilmaz (Turkey) vs Cristiana Stancu
5. Super Fight – Light Heavyweight (-86 kg)
Cosmin Ionescu vs Costin Mincu
6. Super Fight - Light Heavyweight bout (-81 kg)
Bogdan Qatawneh vs Mirel Iacob
7. Super Fight - Super Middleweight bout (-77 kg)
Benedek Zsolt (Hungary)vs Bogdan Nastase
8. Super Fight – Middleweight bout (-71 kg)
Adrian Asoltanii vs Claudiu Badoi
 
SUPERKOMBAT WORLD GRAND PRIX - 22:00 CET, LIVE ON EUROSPORT (3 rounds x 3 minutes)
1. Super Fight - Lightweight bout (-63,5 kg)
Suliman Vazeilles (France) vs Cristian Spetcu (Romania)
 2. Super Fight – Middleweight bout (-71 kg)
Hirachidine Saindou (France) vs Amansio Paraschiv (Romania)
3. Super Fight - Middleweight bout (-71 kg)
Marvin Ullrich (France) vs Cristian Milea (Romania)
4. Super Fight - Cruiserweight bout (-92 g)
Ibrahim Giydirir (Turkey) vs Bogdan Stoica (Romania)
5. Super Fight - Cruiserweight bout (-92 kg)
Redha Ogdou (France) vs Cristian Ristea (Romania)
6. Super Fight - Super Cruiserweight bout (-95 kg)
Thomas Alizier (France) vs Andrei Stoica (Romania)
7. Super Fight - Light Heavyweight bout (-81 kg)
Giuseppe de Domenico (Italy) vs Ciprian Schiopu (Romania)
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May 2015 LiverKick Rankings Update

Finally, right? Here we are with the every few monthly update to the LiverKick rankings. These rankings are updated when there is the most movement across divisions, which now seemed like a good time considering some of the recent shakeups across multiple divisions. As always, I will explain that our rankings are tabulated on who beats who, not on talent, not on flair of wins or even past success. If you were a monster three years ago but lost to a few guys in the top ten and got squeezed out then you got squeezed out. A win over a top ten fighter will get you a spot, but if you aren't fighting anyone in the top ten it'll be pretty tough to get in unless someone drops out due to inactivity. After one year of inactivity a fighter will be dropped from the rankings and upon return will need to compete at the top ten to regain ranking.

So let's get right to May, shall we? At Heavyweight there wasn't much movement at all. Within the ranks of the top ten nobody within the top ten has lost to a top ten opponent or beaten a top ten opponent above them. The only omission is a sad one in Ben Edwards, who has focused on boxing instead. Samedov moved up because of this and Ismael Londt made his return to the rankings after an absence had knocked him off a few years ago. It was down to him or Pavel Zhuravlev and it was heavily weighed before we decided to add Londt back.

For Light Heavyweight there was a similar situation of a few fighters being considered inactive and were forced to be removed. In this case it was two of the best in the world in Tyrone Spong and Nathan Corbett. In turn GLORY's Zack Mwekassa made his rankings debut and Reduon Cairo gets the nod for all of the good work that he's been doing around the world. Not much has changed at Middleweight, outside of Simon Marcus bumping up to #2 due to the draw with Artem Levin and everyone else shuffling down. After careful consideration we decided that Robert Thomas should remain unranked until he scores a top ten win and after much deliberation decided to give the man who beat Simon Marcus earlier this year, Fang Bian, a nod. 

Welterweight remains untouched. Lightweight had a bit of shuffling, including Enriko Kehl moving up, Souwer moving down and more. Aikpracha after a few losses has been removed and Dylan Salvador, who holds impressive wins over a few in the top ten, has been added. 

Now Featherweight. Oh Featherweight, how do we even explain your existence right now? After a long study of the division we came to the conclusion that if GLORY had really moved on from the Japanese talent in this weight class that it was difficult to hold their division as the gold standard as with every other division. A division without Masaaki Noiri or Yuta Kubo is difficult. Right now there is so much talent within that division all fighting each other in Japan that their omission feels tough to justify. K-1 Japan, KRUSH and ShootBoxing have been pumping out fights between the best in the world and we could not ignore it. 

So we poured over the division and came to a rather shocking conclusion; Yasuomi Soda was the #1 Featherweight in the world. How? He beat Minoru Kimura and then Minoru Kimura beat Kaew Fairtex. From there it'll all make sense. 

Heavyweight (Per 5/15)

1 Rico Verhoeven
2 Daniel Ghita
3 Errol Zimmerman
4 Sergei Kharitonov
5 Anderson Silva
6 Benjamin Adegbuyi
7 Andrei Gerasmichuk
8 Hesdy Gerges
9 Zabit Samedov
10 Ismael Londt

Light

Heavyweight (Per 5/15)

1 Gokhan Saki
2 Saulo Cavalari
3 Danyo Ilunga
4 Artem Vakhitov
5 Mourad Bouzidi
6 Igor Jukovic
7 Michael Duut
8 Andrei Stoica
9 Zack Mwekassa
10 Reduon Cairo
Middleweight (Per 5/15)

1 Artem Levin
2 Simon Marcus
3 Joe Schilling
4 Filip Verlinden
5 Jason Wilnis
6 Alex Pereira
7 Wayne Barrett
8 Sahak Parparyan
9 Israel Adesanya
10 Fang Bian
Welterweight (Per 5/15)

1 Nieky Holzken
2 Joseph Valtellini
3 Artur Kyshenko
4 Karapet Karapetyan
5 Raymond Daniels
6 Karim Ghajji
7 Paul Daley
8 Alexander Stetsurenko
9 Jonatan Oliveira
10 Francois Ambang
Lightweight (Per 5/15)

1 Robin van Roosmalen
2 Davit Kiria
3 Andy Ristie
4 Giorgio Petrosyan
5 Sitthichai
6 Murthel Groenhart
7 Marat Grigorian
8 Enriko Kehl
9 Andy Souwer
10 Dylan Salvador
Featherweight (Per 5/15)

1 Yasuomi Soda
2 Minoru Kimura
3 Kaew Fairtex
4 Massaro Glunder
5 Masaaki Noiri
6 Yuta Kubo
7 Gabriel Varga
8 Mosab Amrani
9 Hiroaki Suzuki
10 Zakaria Zouggari

 

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