His skills are unquestionable and he’s proven that he’s got the resolve to match. Now, it will be up to 26-year-old Scott Lighty to assert himself with some of the world’s most dangerous strikers when he makes his debut in the main draw of a K-1 Grand Prix tournament at Las Vegas, Nevada’s Mirage Hotel and Casino on Saturday, August 13th.
“There’s gonna be a rude awakening in Vegas,” said the confident Lighty, a winner of both K-1 tournament reserve bouts in which he has taken part. On both occasions, Lighty’s success landed him in the semifinal round of the cards’ single-elimination main event after an original member of the draw was unable to continue due to injury sustained in a previous tournament bout. “I think I’ve paid my dues. This is something I’ve been looking forward to ever since I started doing this seven years ago, so it’s an honor.”
The quarterfinal round of the “Mayhem At The Mirage” tournament pits Lighty opposite 29-year-old Japanese Karate stylist, Tatsufumi Tomihira. Touted as his country’s top martial arts fighting prospect, the 6 foot 1 inch, 200 pound Tomihira has also been dubbed “Mr. Yellow Card” for his routine, blatant misconduct in the squared circle. “He looks good and he’s fast, but he’s beatable,” said Lighty. “His wildness doesn’t mean a thing. The same thing’s gonna happen no matter what. We’re gonna get in there and fight and I’m going for the knockout.”
Lighty’s success amongst the ranks of the promotion’s reserve roster began during his K-1 debut last August when he scored a second round stoppage of fellow Muay Thai stylist, Frank Cota, during the “Battle at Bellagio III” card in Las Vegas. On April 30th, he returned to Sin City and secured a three-round, unanimous decision over a previously undefeated Patrick Barry.
Unfortunately for the California-bred talent, his reserve bout triumphs did not carry over to tournament play. After his win over Cota sent him into single-elimination action, it was eventual “Battle at Bellagio III” tournament winner, “Mighty Mo” Siligia, who brought about Lighty’s downfall with a vicious overhand right. On April 30th, it was “Big Daddy” Gary Goodridge who pelted him with repeated leg kicks and dropped Lighty twice in the opening round of their meeting, bringing about a referee stoppage due to K-1′s two-knockdown rule that mandates a bout be stopped if a fighter suffers two knockdowns in a single round. Lighty is confident that things will play out differently on August 13th.
“I just need to be more focused and a little more careful,” he explained. “(Last time), I took a lot of leg kicks. But, this time I’m going in a lot smarter and I’m going to be a little more patient and pick my shots.”
Lighty certainly has the appropriate kind of training under his belt. A former student of San Francisco’s Fairtex Combat Sports Camp, he has found a home at The Pit, the gym that also serves as training ground to mixed martial arts champion, Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell.
The August 13th single-elimination affair will also mark the return of three-time K-1 tournament champion, Michael McDonald. A pair of featured Superfights during the card will see Siligia square off with former world boxing champion, Francois “The White Buffalo” Botha, and K-1 Max (154 pound limit) contender and world Muay Thai champion, Duane “Bang” Ludwig, take on three-time French Muay Thai champion, Remy Bonnel, respectively.
Tickets for K-1 “Mayhem At The Mirage” are on sale on K-1 North America’s official website, www.k-1usa.net, and are priced at $300, $200, $100, and $50, respectively.
K-1 is a martial arts fighting sport that derives its name from its inclusion of a wide array of combat disciplines, including Karate, Kung-Fu, and Kickboxing (“K”), and its intent to determine one champion in one ring (“1″). After being staged for the first time in Japan in 1993 under the direction of founder Master Kazuyoshi Ishii, it later evolved into the country’s most popular sport and achieved
popular culture status there as its athletes turned into