Last year I had the pleasure of shooting a great night of Muay Thai in Las Vegas when WCK hosted a USA vs China night. When I heard it was happening again this year I had to try and get photo access again.
If you are not familiar with Muay Thai, it’s a combat sport from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. It uses fists, elbows, knees, shins, and feet in a ring similar to boxing or kickboxing. If you have watched any MMA, then you may be familiar with some of the techniques, because many of the fighters come from Muay Thai backgrounds. The difference however is that there is no “ground game” here. It’s not stop on the feet action, think “Shins to Chins” or “Knees to Nose”.
This year it was Team WCK, representing the US, against Team WuLinFeng, representing China. On Team WCK were two fighters from the dojo I train at, and I really wanted to shoot their fights. So, Saturday I went to the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for some amazing bouts. The first three fights were amateur bouts, and it kicked off with USKO Riverside’s Jason Caldwell. Jason (center in the photo above) is one strong fighter, and he pulled out a win. The third fight was with another fighter I know, Moreno Valley’s David “Dynamite” Pacheco. Unfortunately, it wasn’t David’s night, but as you can see in the photo below, he got a few kicks in against Sun Weichao anyway.
Kicking off the pro bouts was San Bernardino’s Adam Rothweiler and Jake Ramsey. This fight was one of the best of the night! Adam took the win, but Ramsey never gave up. That dude does not know the word quit! That’s Adam on the left below, and a close-up of Ramsey near the end of the fight after that.
One of the things I love about Muay Thai is the sportsmanship. After every bout the fighters congratulate each other, and usually they even thank the other guy’s cornermen. It’s a level of respect I wish existed a bit more in MMA. Below is Adam after the fight with Jake. Yeah, it was a bit messy.
Along with the night of Muay Thai, there was a great Women’s Featherweight MMA fight between Justine Kish and Tang Jin. In fact the first shot of this post is of these two. These girls are serious, and trust me… women’s MMA is here to stay.
One of my favorite fights was between Cyrus Washington – a guy that has fought in China a few times – and Yi Long. Long is one of the fastest fighters you’ll see. I mean this guy was scary fast.
He swept Cyrus a few times, below being one example.
One of the things I like about this world of martial arts is the evenness of the fights. Yeah, only one person can win, but both can fight. Cyrus got his fair share of strikes in too.
One issue though with most martial arts style fighting is accidental hits. If you watch MMA at all you’ve seen accidental fingers in the eye. In Muay Thai, sometimes a kick to the leg can turn bad when the target simply turns the wrong way. That happened twice to Cyrus, and it there is no way to describe that pain to a woman. Nope, no way.
If you like MMA, boxing, or any kind of fight sports, then I suggest you check out Muay Thai. There are a lot of fights around So Cal, often at the Inland casinos. I usually shoot the WCK fights, because I know some of the fighters, but the main thing is you need to experience Muay Thai live at least once.