Rambaa “M-16” Somdet. Photo courtesy of the Palace Fighting Championship.
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LEMOORE – It’s time to make a little Palace Fighting Championship history… again.
On Thursday, January 22 the PFC will finally crown a World Flyweight Champion, as Thailand’s Rambaa Somdet (6-2) takes on Scottsdale, Ariz.’s Pat Runez (5-0). Somdet, who is a Muay Thai star, earned a decision victory over Las Vegas, Nev.’s Ulysses Gomez (2-1) in the semifinals on November 20, 2008. Meanwhile, Runez (5-0) advanced to the finals with a semifinal win over Hanford, Calif.’s Luis Gonzales (3-1) on the same night.
“We are excited and proud to be the first U.S. based promotion to really establish a 125-pound division and crown a champion,” Palace Fighting Championship President Christian Printup said. “Whether it’s Somdet or Runez, we know that we are going to have one of the top 125-pound fighters in the world representing the PFC as champion.”
It will be a contrast in styles, as Somdet proved he should be recognized as one of the top strikers in the world in his unanimous decision victory over Gomez. Somdet, who is better known to the world as “M16”, dropped Gomez repeatedly in the first round with crisp, clean punching and kept Gomez off balance throughout the fight with his speedy, accurate kicks.
“I’ve seen his fights and some of his highlights on the internet. He’s a very aggressive striker,” Runez said. “He’s faced a lot of grapplers and I think I’m going to give him a new look. I want to bang with him a little. Obviously, I don’t want to kick box with him, but I think that I’m better and stronger than him at every other facet of the game.”
In Runez’ decision victory over Gonzales, he pushed a relentless pace and controlled every position in a run-a-way victory.
“He looked very big and had a good striking the last time I saw him, so I am getting ready to bang with the big guy in a little guy’s division,” Somdet said. “I think this will be a war all the way.”
Runez knows though that he can’t win a slugfest with Somdet.
“I still think that his weakness is the takedown. I feel like I can take him down at will. I know I will be his strongest opponent as far as mat skills,” Runez said. “I thought that Ulysses should have passed more in his fight with Somdet. I know that I will. I’m going to expose him, pass his guard and finish the rounds in side control or mount.”
Gomez was regarded as a lock for the finals by most and is still regarded as one of the top 125-pound fighters in the world.
“It’s going to be a good fight. It will be interesting to see if Pat can neutralize the striking of M16 or if M16 can neutralize Pat’s wrestling,” Gomez said. “I think Pat could beat him, but I want M16 to win. I would put my money on M16. Plus I’d like to fight M16 again, but this time for the belt and for five rounds.”
Somdet will face yet another hungry U.S. opponent in Runez, but remembers the war he had with Gomez in the semifinals.
“Uly was very, very tough and had a lot of guts to come back and fight the way he fought after the first round,” Somdet said. “He is a warrior. A rematch, we will see what happens”