Under the still-dormant lights of Fremont Street, illuminated with only the waning rays of dusk that peaked through towering hotel and casino buildings, competitors for the Lion Fight 11 event weighed in on the main stage in front of The D Hotel and Casino. Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino and Cosmo Alexandre each made their weight and are now officially ready for the nationally televised muay thai bouts set for Friday, Sept. 20.
It is just the second muay thai fight in the career of Cyborg, while Alexandre will be returning to his roots and looking to add a 41st win to his already illustrious thai boxing career.
Long-time MMA and kickboxing commentator “The Voice” Michael Schiavello was on hand at the weigh-ins and took time to discuss the keys to victory for each of the MMA veterans and their respective opponents.
"Cosmo is a former world champion and former intercontinental champion so for him it is about coming back to muay thai after a bit of an absence form the sport. It's going to take some readjustment. He'll come in a little bit cold against a former champion in Nampon.
"It is going to be getting his footwork right again and getting the distance and the timing right. But it's his natural fighting style so its like riding a bike [and] something you never forget. I'm just hoping he can open up quick and fast in the first round and jump on Nampon."
Schiavello felt Cosmo's opponent, Nampon, who holds a 94-35 record, will have the upper hand if he is allowed to establish a rhythm.
“Nampon is the type of guy that if you let him establish his rhythm, particularly with his back-leg front kick, and he puts you in the clinch—you don't want to be in the third, fourth or fifth round with him."
The Voice saw Cyborg as having more of an uphill battle when it came to readjusting to the muay thai style. She faces 30-year-old Jennifer Columb.
"For Cyborg, she does have some muay thai experience, but she hasn't fought muay thai in a long time. So for her the transition might be more difficult.
"It might be beneficial for her that her opponent switched up on her at the last minute. It's an opponent that comes in on late notice. The opponent hasn't trained as long for Cyborg. But the risks are there.
"Colomb tends to drop her hands, particularly with her hand combinations, and against Cyborg, that's a big mistake. She clocks you over the top with a right hand and her strength gives her the equivalent of a much larger woman hitting you with the same technique."
When asked if Colomb has a chance against Cyborg, Schiavello responded with an emphatic, “definitely.”
“It depends if you have a smart game plan.
"Cyborg's key to success is to get in close and bully her early. Get in close, grab the clinch, wrestle her standing, dump [Colomb] to the canvas and try to get a big punch off.
"But you can negate that if you're smart by moving around the ring, smashing leg kicks, taking out Cyborg's thighs—that will slow down [Cyborg's] punches a lot.
"I'd say don't swing for the jaw line or swing to the head too early on Cyborg. I'd move around her for a round, take her legs out, slow her down and in the second round start to pick her off a little more.”
Colomb herself had strong words of confidence when asked about her opponent. Through an interpreter, Colomb stated, “If Cyborg throws a punch, I will throw a kick. If she throws a kick, I will throw a punch. I will fight muay thai.”
When asked what her game plan was coming into the fight, Colomb simply replied, “domination.”
Lion Fight 11 airs on AXS TV at 10 p.m. EDT.
ZG Harris is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.