When Thai Fight first came onto the scene, they were putting on bouts between very good Thai's and very average foreigners. This was lapped up by the partisan Thai crowd, who liked to see devastating exhibitions from their fighters.
They had a very good roster, including Buakaw, and put on shows with high production values more similar to a German boxing show than the warts-and-all shows put on in the Bangkok Muay Thai stadiums.Whilst it wasn't the pinnacle of Muay Thai competition by any means, the shows were fun and you were guaranteed to see an ageing legend have a canvas on which he could paint a masterpiece just as he did in his youth.
Then Buakaw left, returning to K-1 MAX, and since then Thai Fight has slowly but surely gone down the pan.
As of late, Thai Fight has not only taken their show on the road, they've also changed their rules, taking the gloves off and putting on what looks to be very heavily built-up wraps, harking back to the days of Muay Boran, and closer to Myanmar Lethwei (basically Burmese Muay Thai but with no gloves and with headbutts allowed).
Irrespective of me being a Muay Thai purist, I don't like the look of it at all.
This past Saturday (June 28th), they were in Macau, which seems the go-to for any big combat sport looking to get closer to mainland China as of late.
The main event was a showcase for Yodsanklai Fairtex, a great pound-for-pound fighter who won his first stadium title at 112lbs, his second at 147lbs, and is now established as probably the best fighter between 154-160lbs of the modern era having won both the WMC (World Muay Thai Council) and WBC titles. For the uninitiated, Yodsanklai is a superior fighter in full Thai rules than Buakaw.
Last night's debacle has added nothing to his legacy, however.
Maybe someone more in touch with either the Lebanese or Libyan fight scene (conflicting nationalities reported) can enlighten me on Fady Abboud's credentials, but I have honestly never heard of him.
Predictably, Yodsanklai hurt, bloodied up, dropped and then annihilated his undermatched opponent, laying him out with a left high kick.
For a veteran just looking for pay days, I can't begrudge Yodsanklai for the deal he's got with Thai fight. But as a spectacle, it's a little unnerving.
On the undercard, Saiyok Pumpanmuang, former 140lb and 154lb Lumpinee champ, fought the much larger former Bellator fighter Alka Matewa, a Congolese native based in Belgium.
This was pretty horrendous stuff. Saiyok looked out of shape, and although smaller Thai's are known for using their superior skill to defeat larger opponents, Matewa was ragged and gassed pretty quickly. Saiyok landed some lovely short elbows though.
All in all, a really weird show from Thai Fight, who have really shed a lot of credibility post-Buakaw. While it's still nice to see the likes of Yodsanklai and Saiyok getting a payday, for the sake of the sport, progressing shows like this are doing nothing for it.