LAS VEGAS: Lion Fight Promotions, a worldwide leader in Muay Thai combat, will mark the start of its 2020 campaign with a fistic farewell to one of its favorite fight venues.
Lion Fight 61 will take place on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. It will be the final fight event to take place at the famed Hard Rock, which will be closing in February for a rebranding to Virgin Hotel Las Vegas.
Topping the marquee for Lion Fight 61 will be a title defense for reigning undefeated Lion Fight World Cruiserweight champion Chip “The Surgeon” Moraza-Pollard. Aiming to become Lion Fight’s longest-tenured champ, Moraza-Pollard (11-0) will clash with fast-rising European standout Daniel Forsberg (13-2).
“Lion Fight has enjoyed every moment, every single fight card, we have had at the Hard Rock, so we want to send it off with a bang,” said Scott Kent, CEO of Lion Fight. “There have been many memorable moments at the Hard Rock, including this past August with Lion Fight 57. One final time, we want to have another truly special night at the Hard Rock for our fans.”
Broadcast information for Lion Fight 61 will be announced shortly.
Moraza-Pollard faces Forsberg in next title defense
This will be Chip Moraza-Pollard’s seventh title defense and his first foray competing in the Fight Capital of the World – Las Vegas.
After cruising past his first batch of challengers, Moraza-Pollard, who proudly represents his home town of Plymouth, Massachusetts, has seen his margin of victory cut in some of his most-recent action. He dodged past Mark Mackinnon at Lion Fight 45 via a majority decision and then got a split-decision nod from the judges in his most-recent defense when he topped Kongjak Po Baoin at Lion Fight 56. Moraza-Pollard is also the reigning world cruiserweight champion of Lion Fight partner promotion Muay Thai Grand Prix. Daniel Forsberg, who lives and trains in Turku, Finland, has notched seven knockouts amongst his victories. He has won five bouts in a row including two over his Latvian rival Raimond Aukstikalnis – the second of which earned him the King of Kings world title.
Co-main event pits Aragon against Road to Lion Fight winner
The Lion Fight 61 co-main event will see reigning North American welterweight champion Josh “El Gatto” Aragon but instead of putting his title on the line, he will be put to a new test. The Los Angeles, California fighter steps in to face Damian “Raya” Segovia, the first-ever winner from the Road to Lion Fight series. Aragon (16-4-1) captured the North American belt in his last outing when he topped Marcos Vasquez at the Hard Rock back in August. Meanwhile, Segovia (77-16-3) makes his North American debut, having won the four-man, one-night tournament which highlighted the Road to Lion Fight card in Cordoba, Argentina back in June.
Alvarez, Gowing vie for North American flyweight crown
Lion Fight 61 will feature the crowning of the first-ever women’s North American flyweight champion as two fan favorites go head-to-head. Magalie Alvarez (4-1), representing the United States, will take on Canada’s Regan Gowing (5-1) in a five-round showdown. Both fighters are coming off impressive wins inside the Lion Fight ring. Alvarez, who fights out of San Diego, California, made her organizational debut at LF53 with a unanimous decision victory over Uma Galli and then followed that up at LF57 with a TKO verdict when her kick broke opponent Andy Nguyen’s arm in two places. Gowing, who hails from Bourget, Ontario, debuted at LF60 in Las Vegas and slipped away with a split-decision outcome over home-town opponent Alexis Asher.
More Pro Action Plus Amateur Prelims
The Lion Fight 61 main card opens with a potential show-stealer in a super featherweight clash between two California fighters. Former Lion Fight North American lightweight champion Jordan Harris (5-1) of Palmdale looks to bounce back from his first pro defeat and the loss of his title as he meets promotional newcomer Sean Climaco (5-0), who hails from San Jose. In a prelim encounter, Lion Fight’s two youngest pro competitors will square off Antonio Martinez (1-0) of Flagstaff, Arizona, goes up against Jon Seagle (1-0) of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Martinez won his pro debut at LF60 in Vegas, while Seagle was equally successful at LF54 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And in a showdown of rookie pros, Vegas fan favorite and former amateur champion Cisco Cosio will clash with Julio Rios of Santa Ana, California.
Many of Lion Fight’s top amateurs will also be in action on January 11th:
*Anel Dudo (Denver, CO) vs. Alan Smith (San Diego, CA) – featherweight
*Ashley Smallwood (San Diego, CA) vs. Brenna Thornley (Salt Lake City, UT) – lightweight
*Alen Dudo (Denver, CO) vs. Andrew Grijalva (Visalia, CA) – lightweight
*Matthew Barber (Las Vegas, NV) vs. Kyle Harris (Cedar City, UT) – super lightweight
*Erick Watts (Las Vegas, NV) vs. Emiliano Martinez (Flagstaff, AZ) – light heavyweight
*Luke Todd (Las Vegas, NV) vs. Mario Garcia (Salt Lake City, UT) – super middleweight
*Billy Elekana (Las Vegas, NV) vs. Bobby Bodden (Albuquerque, NM) – cruiserweight
*Anthony Green (Visalia, CA) vs. Jose Aquino (Phoenix, AZ) – welterweight
*Zhenya Chuprina (Las Vegas, NV) vs. Calvin Parrington (Las Vegas, NV) – super welterweight
*Raggie Abrazaldo (Las Vegas, NV) vs. Robert Cota (San Diego, CA) – middleweight
*Winston Chu (Las Vegas, NV) vs. Ryan Whetstone (Las Vegas, NV) – lightweight