Battle in the Desert 5

Battle in the Desert 5 Photos by Galen Okazaki + Weigh In Pics from Jeff Dojillo!

MTiL’s very own Galen Okazaki was once again our go to guy to capture all of the action at this past weekend’s Lion fight Promotions “Battle in the Desert 5” event! As always Galen snapped away and captured some great shots of all the action that took place inside the Lion Fight ring. Along with Galen’s pics we have also featured a few pics from the events weigh ins that were captured by our good friend, the very talented Jef Dojillo. Some of you may know Jeff, as he is the mind behind the exceptional “Into the Fight” series. Jeff is another one of our talented friends and also captured some great shots of the action at Lion Fight. In the Gallery below you will see Galen’s pics as well as the pics Jeff snapped at the weigh-ins.

If you wish to see the other images Jeff snapped at “Battle in the Desert 5” please make sure you check out his blog at Jeff Dojillo Photography. Enjoy the pics!

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TSC presents “Profiles in American Muay Thai” Vol. 8 – Tiffany VanSoest

By Galen Okazaki

On February 25, 2012, Tiffany VanSoest will climb into the ring at Lion Fight Promotion’s Battle of the Desert 5 at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas. She’ll be looking to improve her professional Muay Thai record to 2-0 as she takes on Vivian Leung who currently owns a 2-0 record.

While fighting is her current vocation, more than anything else Tiffany VanSoest is an athlete and self diagnosed adrenaline junkie. Her athletic career began at the tender age of five when she kicked her first soccer ball. She continued to play soccer for club teams throughout grade school and junior high and for a championship team in high school. While in high school, Tiffany also found time to pole vault. She ended up being a league champion and she set a school record that was only very recently broken. As for soccer, she continued to play for two more years at the college level for a nationally ranked team (Cal State San Marcos). The only reason she stopped playing soccer was so that she could focus on her fight training. Along the way she also played basketball, baseball, golf and she has also been a lifelong surfer.

In light of all of this, how did she become interested in fighting you ask? *Ahem* turtles…as in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Watching the Ninja Turtles as a child, Tiffany knew she had to learn a martial art and was finally able to talk her parents into letting her enroll in a karate class at age eight. So she started to train at the United States Karate Organization in Riverside CA. She enthusiastically took to the sport and within a year she was competing in tournaments. By age 17 she had was a 2nd degree Black Belt (Nidan) and she had won USKA State, National and World titles. While she was highly successful and did well with the point scoring, she found that she really liked the full contact sparring the best. Read More

TSC presents “Profiles in American Muay Thai” Vol. 7 – Jose Palacios

by Galen Okazaki

The first time I saw Jose Palacios fight in person was in March of 2011 when he fought Joey Pagliuso. It was a tough fight that almost went the distance. But with only 15 seconds left in the fight, Jose unleashed a head kick that knocked Joey out cold. A few months later I saw Jose fight in person again at Battle in the Desert 2, when he took on Scotty Leffler. In a blur, he knocked out Scotty with an overhand right 20 seconds into the fight. At this point I really started to take notice of Jose Palacios, how could you not? His next fight with the up and coming Artem Sharoshkin at Stand Up Promotion’s National Muay Thai Championship fight card was highly anticipated. That fight ended up going the distance with Jose winning it by unanimous decision. With three strong wins in a row over well regarded opponents he had improved his professional Muay Thai record to 5-2. Jose had made a career breakthrough and he was on the rise. Next up, was a fight with the re-emergent Kit Cope and his 23-0 pro Muay Thai record at Lion Fight Promotion’s Battle in the Desert 4.


Jose and his coach Rudi Ott

Jose Palacios was born in Managua, Nicaragua. When he was six, his parents left for the United States with his two older brothers, leaving Jose and his younger brother behind. The feeling of abandonment left Jose with a healthy dose of anger as he ended up getting into many fights as a young boy in Managua. After he turned eight, his parents finally sent for Jose and his younger brother. The reunited family settled in the San Francisco bay area. What Jose remembers of his early childhood was that he wanted to be a fighter. In Nicaragua, boxing is a very popular sport and it was the fighting style that Jose always wanted to pursue. Once here, his family was not able to afford to send him to any kind of formal martial training, so he and his friends formed fight clubs and fought in garages, alley ways and other hidden venues. Read More

Simon Marcus Phone Interview with Muay Thai is Life! Marcus talks about his big bout with Joe Schilling at “Battle at the Desert 5” on January 25th!

If you haven’t heard all of the back and forth trash talking going on between American Muay Thai buzzsaw Joe Schilling and Canadian “Bad Bwoy” Simon Marcus in the lead up to their much anticipated clash on February 25th in Las Vegas, then I have to wonder what you are even doing calling yourself a Muay Thai fan. These two guys have gone out full force to rile each other up, even going as far as putting their full fight purses on the line in an effort to make this fight even more attractive to the fans. It is a definite winner takes all bout where the victor not only takes the win, the bragging rights, and the respect, but also walks away with all the dough. While some people may not be the biggest fans of trash talking and feel that Muay Thai in the U.S. should emulate the respect and camaraderie shown in Thailand, there are others who see nothing wrong with a little back and forth banter before the fight in order to make things a little more interesting.

In my opinion, both of these guys have kept things relatively civil. And as Simon Marcus will tell you in MTiL’s exclusive phone interview with him about the fight, it’s really all about two stand up guys feeling confident enough in their abilities to lay it all out in the ring. Neither Joe or Simon are taking this fight lightly and they both realize that the next possible step after this very important bout could be a shot at the man with the belt and the title of WBC World Champion, Artem “The Lion” Levin. I would say we should expect to see fireworks on Feb. 25th in Las Vegas but that would be an understatement. When both of these titans collide at Lion Fight Promotions’ “Battle in the Desert 5” expect that those in attendance will gasp so violently in excitement during the bout, that the arena will become a black hole like vacuum that will cause Las Vegas and the entire state of Nevada to collapse unto itself. I for one am so excited for this bout that my heart may not be able to withstand the sheer awesomeness of it. So if on February 26th, you hear that Eric Rivera from Muay Thai is Life is no longer with us, than you can be sure the cause was “death by an overdose of Muay Thai badassery”

Below is our exclusive interview with Simon!

MTiL interviews Joe Schilling about his bout with Simon Marcus – Training Pictures – Battle in the Desert Fight Card!

So much has been said already about Lion Fight Promotions upcoming “Battle in the Desert “5 event on February 25th, that as a newly coined “Muay Thai Journalist”, I have found it difficult to conjure up anything new and exciting to bring to the masses that hasn’t otherwise already been said somewhere on the “internetz”. And just whenIi thought I was fresh out of new ideas, MTiL’s intrepid West Coast director, Galen Okazaki calls me up and tells me that he is heading to The Yard in Los Angeles to snap a couple of training pictures of Joe “Stich’Em Up” Schilling and do a short interview with him. My reaction to such news can best be described by using Charlie “Tiger Blood” Sheen’s now iconic phrase: “Winning!”

So with all that said, below you will find our most recent interview with Joe Schilling as he discusses his upcoming fight with Canada’s Simon Marcus and responds to some of the things Marcus said in his interview with Greg Boasberg at

Needless to say, as our good friend and contributor John Wolcott indicated on our MTiL Facebook Page (Like Us!)that “if you guys aren’t excited about this fight, you might not have a pulse!”. Well said, John, well said.

Echoing, John’s sentiments, this truly is going to be, not only one of the biggest and most anticipated bouts this year, but the entire card of Lion Fight Promotions “Battle in the Desert 5” is going to be, up until now, the year’s best card. And being that we are only in February, that is a good sign of things to come for the U.S. Muay Thai Community in 2012!

Here is the full pro fight card for Battle in the Desert 5:
Joe Schilling vs. Simon Marcus
Chaz Mulkey vs. Gregory Choplin
Coke Chunhawat vs. Matt Embree
Jose Palacios vs. Shane Oblonsky
Vivian Leung vs. Tiffany Van Soest
Scotty Leffler vs. Sheldon Gaines
Anthony Castrejon vs. Francisco Barragan

And now without further ado Mr. Joe Schilling:

Pictures of Joe Schilling training for his upcoming bout with Simon Marcus – Photos by Galen Okazaki