Fight fans rejoiced when Take On Productions and MSG Sports announced the first Muay Thai card held at Madison Square Garden. On Saturday, March 17th, The Theater hosted Muay Thai at the Mecca. A capacity crowd was treated to 14 bouts of non-stop action featuring upcoming amateurs and battle-tested veterans alike. The official attendance was 3,203 making it the largest Muay Thai event ever held in New York.
The historic event was headlined by UFC veteran Ryan Madigan (27-6, Evolve Ohio) taking on Thai-trained Rigel Balsamico (24-7, Cool Hearts Muay Thai) of Ireland. Madigan made short work of Balsamico, landing several hard shots to the head early on including a combination that sent his opponent to the canvas. Balsamico beat the count only to go down less than a minute later forcing the referee to stop the bout at just 2 minutes and 21 seconds into the first round.
In the co-feature heavyweight Brian Collette (13-0, Eastern Academy) faced Marcus Taylor (11-2, Performance Muay Thai). Taylor was sent to the canvas in the first round after a series of knees followed by a huge right hand. A dazed Taylor rose from the floor on shaky legs only to fall to the canvas once again causing the referee to stop the bout.
Notable Undercard Bouts:
Prairie Rugilo (4-1-1, Girl Fight MMA) won a majority decision in a close bout against Angie Babel (3-1, Five Points Academy). The taller Babel landed several hard straight right hands and straight kicks early on but Rugilo used superior foot speed to get inside and out punch her slower opponent.
Rich Brattole (5-2, Weapons 9/Strategic Combat) defeated Evaristo Hernandez (4-3, Camp Undefeated) by second round KO. Hernandez looked good early on but began to showboat in the second round, dropping his hands and sticking his head out. Brattole took advantage landing several hard roundhouse kicks. Brattole had Hernandez against the ropes at the end of the second round, clinching and landing several knees to his opponent's abdomen and rib cage. Hernandez was unable to come out for the third round.
Joey Hernandez (3-2, Mushin MMA) beat Brandon Poindexter of Evolve Ohio by second-round KO. Poindexter, who was knocked down twice, was unable to continue following several hard knees by Hernandez.
In one of the most anticipated bouts of the evening, Freddy Cheung (3-1, Sitan Gym NY) defeated Andrilo Suarez (3-1, American Killer Bees) in a unanimous decision. Suarez used solid combination punches early on, but Cheung fought intelligently, clinching often and breaking down his opponent with straight knees and short punches. Cheung was awarded the 155-pound NY State Championship.
Nick Vaughan (15-1, The Wat) successfully defended his 165-pound Take On title with a third-round KO of Brian Hutchings of Megalodon Georgia. Vaughan looked impressive through much of the fight, using combination punching and roundhouse kicks to the head to dominate his opponent. A huge left hand found its target in the third round, landing cleanly on Hutchings' chin and sent him to the canvas, ending the bout.
Vinny Hui (3-3-1, Five Points Academy) lost a majority decision to Delroy McCoy (2-0-1). Hui seemed to have a slight edge over McCoy from the beginning, but was unfairly deducted a point for low blows in the second round following several questionable warnings by the referee.
In the first professional bout of the card, Brett Hlavacek (4-0, The Wat) dominated his opponent, Chris Clodfelter (6-3, Sommai Muay Thai). Clodfelter had no answer for Hlavacek’s solid roundhouse kicking and was unable to continue after just 1:46 into the first round.
In a surprisingly competitive bout Sean Hinds (15-5, Mushin MMA) fought Deshawn Robinson (America's Finest) to a majority draw. Robinson, who was a late replacement for Anthony Ford, seemed very comfortable against Hinds' non-stop pressure. Robinson caught many of Hinds' kicks and used counter low kicks to send his opponent to the canvas throughout much of the fight. A frustrated Hinds was able to come back in the third round however and landed a huge right hook in the third that floored Robinson, allowing him to earn a majority draw decision.