Lion Fight Title - Dream Come True For "The Dream Killer"

Posted on August 16 2016

Gaston Bolanos and Team CSA at Lion Fight by Bennie Palmore

Courtesy, photo by Bennie E. Palmore II.

Lion Fight Title Would Be Dream Come True For "The Dream Killer"

Gaston Bolanos sports the nickname “Dream Killer.”

At Lion Fight 31, he intends on making his own dream come to life.

The budding superstar has a crack at the Lion Fight lightweight title on the stacked card which includes three other title bouts going down on Friday, Sept. 2 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, and live on AXS TV Fights.

Bolanos (8-0) has accumulated quite a collection of awards already in young career. In 2015, he claimed Inside MMA’s Bazzie Award as the top Rising Star, and was also named Hispanic Athlete of the Year by Inca Kola.


But the most-coveted honor is still out there.

“I’ve been dreaming of this my whole life, since I was a little kid,” said Bolanos of the Lion Fight title shot. “I was born to do this. God gave me a gift and on September 2nd, I get a chance to make it a reality. I can’t wait.”

Standing in his way, though, is another highly touted sensation in Tum Sityodtong (75-22-3), the winner of Warriors Way’s Four-Man Tournament in Australia to declare the challenger for the Lion Fight crown. There couldn’t be two fighters more evenly matched in terms of talent yet so far apart in personality. Bolanos is soft-spoken and reserved. Sityodtong’s nickname is “Hollywood.” That should explain it all.

Bolanos has made highlight reels around the world with devastating knockouts racked up by his key weapon – the spinning back elbow. Sityodtong is fazed in the least. In fact, he challenged Bolanos to throw it. The Thai said he’ll throw one right back and see whose does more damage.

Gaston Bolanos Spinning Elbow

The Peruvian-born Bolanos, who now makes his home and training camp in Dublin, California, didn’t take the bait as far as diving into a war of words with Sityodtong. That’s not his style. But that’s not to say he won’t partake in an elbow duel once the fight gets underway.

“Tum is a great opponent and the next big test in my career. I have nothing but respect for him and his team,” offered Bolanos. “I think this is going to be the best fight in my career and definitely one that fans will enjoy.

“The spinning back elbow has been a weapon that I’ve been using since my amateur days. I’ve been successful with it before my career with Lion Fight, but as I say all the time, it isn’t the only thing in my arsenal. I’m constantly trying to improve the holes in my game.

“Kieran (Fitzgibbons) is a great coach. We’ve been together for years now and one of my favorite things is that he always keeps me honest with the things I have to improve on. It’s really easy to get caught up on the hype of wins, but if you can see through that and have the right people around you then it always makes it easier to improve your game.”

Making the case for the vast arsenal is a recent training clip that showed Bolanos executing a Superman punch-type maneuver while thrusting himself off the ropes. It is a move that immediately brings to mind the one Anthony Pettis used in his thrilling WEC title fight against Benson Henderson.

“I’ve known the move since before Pettis,” laughed Bolanos. “It’s definitely a slick move. I practice it off the ring ropes all the time when I’m hitting pads with Kieran. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if I add it on.”

Bolanos was with his coach for a recent filming The Ultimate Fighter in Las Vegas where he helped put together training sessions for the team captained by Henry Cejudo. The two-week stint proved to be a valuable learning experience for Bolanos as well.

“It was different to train for my fight against Tum and help coach at the same time. It helped me be more open-minded about some things that I do as a student of martial arts,” he said. “The reality show environment is crazy, always having cameras and mics on you all the time, but you get used to it.

“I think it’d be great to have something similar to that on a Muay Thai version kind of like what ‘The Contender Asia’ was a few years ago. I definitely would love to be a part of something like that. It would also be great exposure for our sport here in the States as well as worldwide.”

The TUF camp was all part of Bolanos’ master plan of constant improvement. He has faced stiffer tests each time he has entered the Lion Fight ring and passed them all including his outing at Lion Fight 29 when he beat Kronphet Phetrachapat, a well-seasoned and notable Thai fighter. Bolanos will again be the lesser experienced competitor against Sityodtong, who will be making his 101st venture into the ring.

Bolanos rapid ascension is due in large part to his eagerness to improve. He expects to be better from one fight to the next. If the same holds true against Sityodtong, Bolanos will depart a champion.

“I’m always trying to get better,” said Bolanos. “That’s my main goal as a martial artist. If this version of me is better than the last version of me that entered the ring, then I am doing my job.

“Judges and people around the world will have their own opinion of what happens in a fight. My job isn’t to score the fight. My job is to train and make sure that I put it all on the line come fight day.”

The history-making Lion Fight 31 lineup features three women’s title fights topped by Holland’s Jorina “Jojo” Baars defending her welterweight crown against undefeated Angela “Riptide” Whitley of Puerto Rico. As well, Antonina Shevchenko defends her newly awarded lightweight title against Italian star Paola Cappucci, and Spain’s Lara “Sekhmet” Fernandez faces England’s Iman “Pretty Killer” Barlow for the super bantamweight belt. The other title fight sees American sensation Gaston “The Dreamkiller” Bolanos square off against Thailand’s Tum “Hollywood” Sityodtong for the Lion Fight super lightweight crown.

Tickets for Lion Fight 31 are on sale now and are available at or by calling 800-200-2882 or by visiting the Foxwoods Box Offices.

Lion Fight 31 will air live on AXS TV Fights with a special start time of 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT. with commentary from renowned duo “The Voice” Michael Schiavello and UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich.

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