Loma Lookboonmee: Thailand finally celebrates its first athlete in the UFC

On Thursday, September 19, UFC finally made it official that nine-time Muay Thai champion Loma Lookboonmee has entered as the first Thai in the world’s highest acclaimed mixed martial arts promotion. She’ll make her debut at the upcoming event in Singapore on October 26, UFC Fight Night: Maia vs Askren.

Buriram’s homegrown prodigy Suphisara Konlak – her given name – had over two hundred muay Thai, kick boxing and boxing matches before undertaking training in MMA at Phuket’s Tiger Muay Thai. She first stepped into the dusty squared circle at the ripe old age of eight, and won her first title at 10. Soon, her ability became so well-known that she was forced to match up with boys – her only physical equals as a youngster.

Loma – which means dolphin – got the nickname for her first “away” fight when she was to see the ocean for the first time. Success continued to come in waves and waves, title after title. Theprasit Stadium Champion. Assawindam Stadium Champion. S-1 World Champion.

Naturally, the prodigy was selected for the Thailand Muay Thai National Team. Under these auspices she became a three-time International Federation of Muay Thai gold medalist.

Loma exploded onto the MMA scene in 2018 when she fought her first professional MMA bout in the US all-female league Invicta FC. Her muay Thai was beautifully on display, elbows and knees out in full force, mixed with a commendable MMA defense. She demolished her second opponent in Japan’s legendary Pancrase.

Loma now has a record of 3-1, with her only defeat coming to tough-as-nails Suwanan Boonsorn at Thailand’s own Full Metal Dojo. She rebounded on the international stage in Invicta FC once more, over her most experienced opponent Monique Azevedo.

Kevin Chang, UFC’s Senior VP Apac snuck in another interesting factoid about firsts in the announcement. He said, “We are proud to host a match between two groundbreakers in the sport of MMA, Loma Lookboonmee as the first athlete from Thailand, and Alexandra Albu as the first from Moldova.”

Alexandra now lives and trains out of Russia, where she’s a legit CrossFit and powerlifting champion. UFC has her professional MMA record listed as 7-1. She’s got the edge on Loma in terms of Octagon jitters as she’s already had three fights in UFC, but she’s coming off a loss that stunted her win streak. It’s a set up for an emotional do-or-die clash.

Loma versus Alexandra will also be style-versus-style, muay Thai versus grappling, but nobody can predict what will actually transpire in MMA. As Chang said “Both women have proven that each can take her specific martial arts base and translate it effectively into a dominant MMA style.”

However, grappling fans do hope for predictability in the main event for UFC Fight Night: Maia vs Askren because two legendary grapplers will finally meet. Former title contender Demian Maia takes up the flag for Brazilian jiu jitsu against Olympic wrestler Ben Askren.

Other announced bouts on the card include:

  • Lightweight: Michael Johnson (20-14, USA) vs Stevie Ray (22-9, Scotland)
  • Heavyweight: Ciryl Gané (4-0, France) vs Don’Tale Mayes (7-2, USA)
  • Heavyweight: Sergei Pavlovich (13-1, Russia) vs Maurice Greene (8-3, USA)
  • Lightweight: Beneil Dariush (16-4-1, Iran) vs Frank “The Crank” Camacho (21-7, USA)
  • Strawweight: Yan Xiaonan (10-1-1 NC, China) vs Ashley Yoder (7-4, USA)

 

UFC Fight Night: Maia vs Askren will take place on October 26 at the Singapore Sports Hub. 

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