Two Tampa Bay fighters became "ISKA World Champions" in St. Pete on Saturday night Feb. 23, 2013 at the Amateur MMA & Muay Thai Kickboxing Event 17. The fighters Bryce Lawrence and Mark Lipscomb are well known in the Tampa Bay area for their fighting skills.
Bryce Lawrence 21, at 5’11” with a record of 8-2-0 and training under Crafton Wallace (Inferno MMA) fought Florian Ruprecht 26, at 5’6” with a record of 18-6-1 and training under Jan Schneider out of Samurais in Nuremberg, Germany for the ISKA Super Light Weight Muay Thai World Championship Title. Lawrence won the bout by a split decision at the end of the fifth round.
Lawrence had and obvious height advantage over Ruprecht at first glance. During the course of the fight Ruprecht proved that a judgment like this would lead to a serious underestimation of his skill. Ruprecht’s exceptional balance and his ability land punches made it look easy for him despite the height difference. Bryce Lawrence utilized his always impressive kicks to maintain the distance between them as he consistently pushed toward his German competitor.
Mark Lipscomb 29, at 6’ with a record of 12-2-0 and Olando Rivera (Warrior Camp) fought Matthew Leitner 21, at 6’ with a record of 22-6-1 and training under Midal Pasticha out of Germany for the ISKA Light Middle Weight Kickboxing World Championship Title. The fight ended with Lipsomb as the winner when Leitner’s corner literally threw in the white towel at 1:45 seconds into the fourth round. Lipscomb was declared the winner by T.K.O.
Although Lipscomb was declared the winner, he was taken to the hospital by ambulance and leaving with EMT’s (on a stretcher) with what was likely to be confirmed as a broken foot. No word yet on his current condition or how long the fighter may be out. Leitner appeared to be free of injury despite the early stoppage of the fight by his corner.
During these fights the crowd showed its support and encouragement for the fighters and especially during the fight of Mark Lipscomb and Matthew Leitner the crowd had begun to chant “USA”. It is always a nice to see a display of patriotism but a fighter remarked after the fight was over how they don’t see it as country against country but instead as fighter against fighter.
Photographs and video highlights from the World Championship fight are courtesy of the Tampa Bay MMA Examiner Stephanie Melendez who was ringside at the event.