LAGUNA PUEBLO — Within the sport of Muay Thai, there’s a thing called Muay Khao.
Albuquerque’s Whitney Tobin “Muay Khao’d” the daylights out of Candice Mitchell Saturday night, defeating the Toronto fighter by unanimous decision on a Lion Fight Muay Thai card at Route 66 Casino Hotel.
Tobin’s victory, televised nationally on CBS Sports, earned her the Lion Fight Women’s super bantamweight (120-pound) title.
Tobin used dominance in the clinch in scoring a clear-cut decision.
Asked the key to victory, Tobin said, “Honestly, the clinch. It’s my home. It’s what I know best.
“I’m a Muay Khao fighter, which means more knee. It means knee fighter, forward, pressure. .. Just go for it, wear a person down and take them into the deep end.”
The official scorecards read 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46.
Tobin had a bit of a problem closing the distance against the taller Mitchell in the early going, and Mitchell might have had a slight advantage with the hands.
“I like to feel someone’s power first,” Tobin said. “I like to get a little feel for what they have. Then, I take it away from them.”
Tobin, a Minnesota native, improved her record to 33-13. Mitchell is 13-3.
As the fight progressed, Tobin was more and more successful in the clinch — pounding away with knees at Mitchell’s thighs and hips.
The Trinidad & Tobago native was unable to match Tobin’s work with her knees in the clinch.
In a featured fight, Albuquerque heavyweight Cody East pounded out a victory by unanimous decision over Joe Stripling of Wilmington, Del.
East, superior both technically and physically, was in trouble only after sustaining a cut above his right eye in the fourth of five rounds. It momentarily appeared the ring doctor was stopping the fight, but East was allowed to continue.
East was dominant through three rounds, landing punches from both sides almost at will. He dropped Stripling with a right hand in the second.
The former Los Lunas High School wrestling champion may have worn himself out with a barrage of some 20 unanswered punches in the fourth.
Stripling did his best work in the final two rounds, particularly the fifth, the only round he won on the Journal’s scorecard.
The official scorecards read 49-45, 49-45 and 48-46, all for East.
East, who has a 13-4 record as an MMA fighter, is listed at 2-0 in Muay Thai. Stripling, 8-10 as an MMA fighter, is 4-1 in Muay Thai.
The night’s main event for the CBS Sports Network telecast lasted only 47 seconds.
In a fight for the Lion Fight Women’s super flyweight (113-pound) title, Scotland’s Amy Pirnie defeated Sandra Godvik, a Swede who lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, by first-round TKO.
Just a few seconds into the fight, Pirnie (22-3-1) landed a crushing left-footed kick to the area of Godvik’s liver. As Godvik (27-6) backed into the ropes in obvious pain, Pirnie stepped forward and dropped her with a left hook and a knee to approximately the same spot.
Godvik got to her feet at the count of nine but was ruled unable to continue.
In Saturday’s co-main event, New York’s Brett Hlavacek defeated Ardany Mora of Arlington, Texas, by unanimous decision, earning the Lion Fight North American Cruiserweight (185-pound) title.
In an entertaining, rough-and-tumble fight, Mora (4-2) gave almost as good as he got. But the more experienced Hlavacek (19-5) appeared to have the edge in all departments — punches, kicks, knees in the clinch.
In a “swing fight” that followed the main event, lightweight (135-pounds) John Seagle of Winston-Salem, N.C., defeated Los Lunas’ Gene Perez by second-round TKO.
It was the Muay Thai pro debut for both fighters.
In the final fight of the night — and perhaps the most entertaining — super welterweight Mark Entenberg (3-1) defeated fellow Albuquerquean Sean Baca (pro debut) by third-round TKO.
Among the amateur fights:
- Albuquerque’s Quinton DeLeon defeated Nate Cullison of Pueblo, Colo., by unanimous decision for the Lion Fight Amateur flyweight title.
DeLeon, a stylist in the ring, controlled most of the fight with a sharp jab and accurate kicks.
Asked what won the fight for him, DeLeon said, “My heart, my coaches and God. That’s all that really matters inside the ring.”
All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for DeLeon.
“(Cullison) was strong. He has a good overhand (right),” DeLeon said, pointing to a bruise on his left cheekbone as evidence. “… It was just a war.”
- Middleweight Samuel Martin defeated fellow Albuquerquean Swagath Pillal by unanimous decision.
- Welterweight Jonathan Trujillo defeated fellow Albuquerquean Andre Mitchell by unanimous decision.
- Denver welterweight Alan Dudo defeated Los Lunas’ Thomas Horton by third-round TKO.
- Albuquerque cruiserweight Damien Holguin overcame the effects of a low blow to defeat Cameron Wesley of Midland, Texas, by unanimous decision.
- In a welterweight fight between Albuquerqueans, Nick Gomez defeated Matthew Marshall by first-round knockout.
Gomez twice dropped Marshall with knees to the body. On the second occasion, Marshall couldn’t beat the referee’s count.