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A Fighter Gym’s Nun Sophea
A Fighter Gym’s Nun Sophea (left) goes for a guillotine choke on Thai opponent Ratcharat Yimprai during their MMA bout in Phuket on Saturday. JAMES GOYDER

Fighters fall in Phuket cage

Three mixed martial artists from the A Fighter Gym were on the card at the first-ever Full Metal Dojo event in Phuket, but it was another disappointing night for the Cambodian contingent, all of which failed to register wins.

First up was Chan Heng Peng, who has been making waves on the local scene with wins at both the CTN and Bayon TV promotions. However, he was quickly taken down and submitted by American grappling specialist Alex Schild in the second fight of the night at Seduction Discotheque in Patong.

Kun Khmer veteran Seiha Pich took his fight with BJJ purple belt Emilio Urrutia despite having received very little MMA training, meaning that the match-up was effectively a battle between an all-out striker and a seasoned grappler.

As is so often the case in MMA, it was the grappler who prevailed, with Urrutia getting an early takedown and then forcing Seiha to tap out with a triangle choke. To the Cambodian’s credit, however, he did demonstrate that he is not a complete novice on the ground.

There was controversy in the third and final bout featuring a Cambodian fighter when Nun Sophea was disqualified in the second round due to repeated violations of the rules.

First he grabbed the fence, then he elbowed his opponent in the back of the head and, when he starting throwing kicks to the head in a grounded position the referee called off the contest.

It was harsh on Sophea, who was holding his own against Ratcharat Yimprai despite being repeatedly taken down. The Full Metal Dojo rule set – which allows knees to the head of a grounded opponent and soccer kicks but not heel strikes to the head in a grounded position – was easy for a fighter who doesn’t speak English to misinterpret.

The good news for A Fighter is that Full Metal Dojo promoter Jon Nutt said he had every intention of bringing back more Cambodian fighters for his next show, which is tentatively scheduled for August.

“These Cambodian boys come to fight. They are always aggressive and they never quit. I plan to do plenty of ‘Thailand versus Cambodia’ matchups in the future and I will definitely be using more A Fighter guys on my next card,” Nutt said.

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