Igor wins his Combat! fight, hungry for more.
Saturday night October 6, 2018, Thunderkick's Igor Lyaschenko (8 - 3, 3 TKO) won his fight at the Combat! Muay Thai 16 competition at the Wyndham hotel in Tulsa, OK against 3 Feathers MMA fighter Justin "The Warrior For Christ" Peppers. We sat down with him to get his thoughts on his thai boxing match.
Q: What was the weight class you were fighting at?
Igor: It was at 145 lb
Q: Do you know anything about the person you were fighting?
Igor: Honestly I didn't know anything up until the fight. I still don't know his record or anything like that. I just knew I was prepared to do what I can, do my best.
Q: What were your goals at the beginning of the fight?
Igor: Just trying to do what I usually do in the gym. Keep my distance, pop in and out, throw a few punches. That was basically my plan.
Q: How did he try to counter your plan?
Igor: Basically the whole time, I felt he was trying to be aggressive, throw a punch or a kick, and then immediately after that, get into clinch so I couldn't counter attack.
Q: So he tried to grab and clinch, while you tried to keep your strike distance...
Igor: Yeah it was really difficult to keep my distance, because he would come in aggressive, maybe throw a punch, then just hug me in tight.
Q: He was trying to go for the clinch game, you were trying to win the strike game. Do you feel like you won the striking game?
Igor: I definitely feel like I got more punches that would come. I think I popped him more, but still not enough. I don't really like how the fight came out to be. I didn't show everything that I could. But I won, so that's what matters.
Q: Was it a unanimous or majority decision?
Igor: It was a majority decision, I believe.
Q: When I was watching the fight, it looked like you had more significant strikes. Especially when the ref restarted you two.
Igor: I think so too. And that's what Thomas was telling me. Clinch clinch, let the ref stop you so you can get your distance back, then you can start attacking. Get back to your normal distance.
Q: You showed good hip strength when you were in clinch. You were able to neutralize and stop every technique he tried. Your clinch defense was good.
Igor: I was trying my best. Mostly because I was frustrated. I don't like clinch personally, so I was trying to turn him and get him off of me so I could pop an elbow or throw a punch and get my distance back.
Q: Muay thai tends to be more of a clinching martial art. The ref was favoring clinchers, allowing people to clinch for a long time, even 30 seconds. So it was more of an extreme for what they allow. Are you going to go back to muay thai fights in the future?
Igor: I think it's a good experience, and I'll take any fight that I get offered. It's experience anyway. A lot of fighters do clinch, so I still need to learn clinch and become better at this. So it's a good experience for me.
Q: It's kind of nice to be able to say that you won, but you were frustrated that it came to points, and that you didn't get the knockout. It shows that you have good heart as a fighter.
Igor: It was maybe not a win that I got a knockout. I feel like we didn't put on a show for the people, that should have been a show. It was kind of a boring fight. That's what I'm not happy about. Win or lose, the fight wasn't what it should be. It should be exciting. It should be truly a war, a battle.
Q: After the fight was over, it looked like he was relieved. That he clinched and made it through the fight. To me it shows you have a reputation you are building in the fight community in Oklahoma.
Igor: I'm trying to get experience, get my name out there. Trying to get better so I can fight better guys, so you can hear about me more. I'm happy that people don't underestimate me. His coach said they had a plan to approach me and my fighting style. Which is why he would throw a punch and immediately try to restrain me. Which tells me that they knew about the way I like to fight to keep my distance, and they were prepared for that.
Q: Justin looked very lean, in shape, strong, chiseled. He was a strong competitor. I think 3 Feathers MMA is in rural southeast Oklahoma, so he made a long trip to fight you.
Igor: I just want to add I have a lot of respect for my opponent. Both he and I fought for God's glory, he is our brother in Christ. It just wasn't the fight I wanted for the fans though.
Q: What are your future plans?
Igor: I'm still trying to fight as often as I can. Maybe once a month, maybe a little more often. We'll see if I can get an MMA fight November at XFN. I've only had two MMA fights before. One was really short notice, to a really experienced guy, a wrestler. I lost that unfortunately. The second one I lost as well. I feel like that was definitely my fault. It's been a while, like two and a half years since my last MMA fight. So I want to go back and try that again and see how I do.
Q: I can see you doing really well at an mma fight. Your hands would be even faster with 4.5 oz gloves. Is there anything you want to say to your fight fans?
Igor: Whoever wants to get a good fight, put on a show, I'm ready to take a fight. If FCF wants me to defend my title, I'm up for that too. Whoever wants to offer me a good fight at my weight class, 145, 155, I'm up for that.
Igor: I'm always grateful for my coach Thomas Longacre, and the way he coaches me in the gym and beside the ring when I fight. And also for awesome teammates who support me in the gym and out of it!