Sports

Muay Thai: Former Pride Gym fighter Bisset shines at Hollywood Park

Kootenay native Charles Aaron Bisset continues to dominate in the Muay Thai ring with a victory last week at a Mixed Martial Art event dubbed “Cali 4” at the Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angeles.

The 27-year-old Bissett won a split decision over Manuel “the Sergeant” Morilla, a fighter from Dan Hendersen’s Team Quest, in the undercard at Hollywood’s historic venue.

Bissett was thrown a curve when the fighter he was slated to face pulled out a week prior to the bout, but the fight remained on the card of the Romie Adanza vs Frank Gross main event, with Morilla stepping in.

“I didn’t really know much about him,” said Bissett from L.A. “I had my coaches look into it. I knew he had heavy hands, kind of an unorthodox fighter, very wild, so I wasn’t really able to get in there.”

However,  the former Pride Gym fighter did enough to elude Morilla’s lethal right and left hooks, and maintain pressure with a series of heavy kicks from the outside.

“I almost knocked him out three times, like my head kicks were so spot on,” said Bisset. “He wasn’t a dirty fighter, but he was just very wild because he had a lot of MMA experience and whenever he came in he’d throw a big overhand left hook.”

Bisset was able to elude the looping punches and survive the odd headbutt, growing stronger and more confident as the fight wore on.

“I was really happy with the performance. I knew he was a boxer, like a power puncher. My coach wanted me to kick his arms a lot, to take his power away. If you kick someone’s arms enough you can break their arms, so I just kicked his arms all night and landed a couple of beautiful knees to the face, and some really nice elbows.”

The victory was even more impressive because the fight promoter didn’t tell Bisset he was facing a different opponent until the day before the bout, leaving Bisset and Dutch coach Antoni Hardonk virtually no time to prepare.

“I think I’m growing as a person, like getting a little more mature,” said Bisset. “A few years ago that would have really rocked me, but I stayed composed and it was a great experience.”

The Retalick native balances an active life in Los Angeles. Between Muay Thai bouts, Bisset also teaches Mixed Martial Arts, and is making a go of it as an actor, studying acting, and appearing in a number of commercials and short features.

“If I didn’t have it (fighting), I think I’d go nuts. You need that balance between the two, when one is kind of slow, the other one helps you out, but other times both are jam packed . . .and  it’s kind of hectic.”

Still, Bissett thrives off the busy schedule, and looks forward to his next bout in July.

With the victory over Morilla, Bisset’s record goes to 18-4, and includes a National Muay Thai Canadian title, the North American Muay Thai cruiser weight championship, and the World Kickboxing Association’s cruiser weight title which he won in Medicine Hat last April against British and European champion David Wright.

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