YOKKAO 49-50: Return to Glory
YOKKAO 49-50 is a historical event for the promotion as the 50th in our official event series and a return to glory after more than a year since our last show. The University of Bolton Stadium once again hosted a sold-out crowd with a night of Muay Thai action as fans poured in from all around the UK. It was a full day of non-stop activity with YOKKAO Kids leading the way in the morning followed by a band of up-and-coming stars battling it out on the YOKKAO Next Generation undercard.
For many of the fighters, YOKKAO 49-50 marked their return to the ring after a long period. The absence from competing fueled their thirst for action with competitors going all-out right off the bell and leaving nothing in the tank for a taste of victory. As always, the biggest winners are the fans who were treated to an evening of elite Muay Thai action.
The main card quickly got off to an explosive start with YOKKAO debutants Yannick Goitom and Tyree Stevens. The two fighters battled it out with all weapons of Muay Thai for a full five rounds with Stevens taking home the win for his first YOKKAO appearance.
Josh Hill and Jack Maguire took it up another notch for one of the closest fights of the night. Hill edged out to clinch the deal via judges’ decision after a hard 5-round bout. Female fighters, Meg Corwell and Rhona Walker also put on a remarkable performance in their promotional debut.
Fight of the Night
Chris Shaw vs Panicos Yusuf
The headlining clash between Chris Shaw vs Panicos Yusuf was all it was made out to be and more. Yusuf left nothing to chance from the get-go, unleashing persistent high kicks and looking for the finish. Shaw retaliated with body shots, engaging the clinch and sneaking in the elbows.
The pace shifted into full gear with Yusuf getting caught and cut with an elbow early in round two. Shaw put on the pressure to overwhelm his opponent through the rest of the round. Despite pushing forward into round three, the book was set in stone with Yusuf’s corner calling for a stoppage. Shaw had his hand held for a well-deserved victory via TKO.
After a brief intermission, the action resumed with Myk Estlick and Matty Holleran taking center stage. Estlick put on a superior performance against Holleran in a heated five-round exchange to seal the deal. Niamh Kinehan proved once more why she is the best female fighter of the promotion with her fifth straight win on YOKKAO after defeating Italian Chiara Vincis.
Fight of the Night
Nathan Bendon vs Brian Totty
Nathan Bendon and Brian Totty followed up with a masterful Muay Thai showcase as the two battled for dominance. The highly-anticipated match exceeded all expectations with both fighters going onstage to prove a point. Bendon delivered one hard hit after another with chopping leg kicks and body punches while Totty played the technical game.
Bendon doubled down in round two, catching his opponent with an elbow and pursued relentlessly for the finish. Tough-as-nails Totty kept up his guard and never-give-up attitude, showing immense heart through the bout and going the distance. At the end of five rounds, the win was awarded to Bendon who proved to be the better man of the night.
YOKKAO 50 Main Event
Jordan Watson vs Francisco Valderrama
YOKKAO 50 main event featured the highly-anticipated return of Jordan Watson to the YOKKAO ring. The Bad Company fighter faced off against a tough and dangerous Francisco Valderrama from Spain for a fight worthy of its headliner status.
Watson outscored with clean kicks in the first two rounds while Valderrama came out blazing with elbow strikes and looking to make a point in his YOKKAO debut. The Spanish fighter scored a left elbow, leaving Watson with a deep cut on the forehead in the third round. Despite sustaining a cut, Watson was the clear winner as he was awarded the victory by way of judges’ decision after five hard rounds.
It was a huge challenge in hosting YOKKAO 49-50 for the promotion team and all competitors. Everyone showed a lot of heart in making the event possible for an outstanding night for fans and a boost for the Muay Thai scene.
Photos from all the main card fights will be posted on our Facebook page over the next few days. Check out the full results from YOKKAO 49-50 below:
** YOKKAO 50 **
England vs Spain 71kg
Jordan Watson won by decision vs Francisco Valderrama
England vs Italy 61kg
Niamh Kinehan won by decision vs Chiara Vincis
England vs England 82.5kg
Lee Williams lost by KO (round 2) vs Scott Stewart
England vs Scotland 63.5kg
Nathan Bendon won by decision vs Brian Totty
England vs England 62kg
Myk Estlick won by decision vs Matty Holleran
** YOKKAO 49 **
Scotland vs Cyprus 63.5kg
Chris Shaw won by TKO (round 3) vs Panicos Yusuf
England vs Scotland 52.5kg
Meg Corwell draw vs Rhona Walker
England vs England 70kg
Josh Hill won by decision vs Jack Maguire
England vs England 53.5kg
Yannick Goitom lost by decision vs Tyree Stevens