Matt Lucas sits down with Jason Andrada to talk training, life and his upcoming fight at Lion Fight 18
The growth of Muay Thai in America has given birth to raising stars. One of those comets is Jason Andrada, a 29 year old Filipino-American, and Las Vegas native.
With an exciting pro record of 5-1 and a contract with Lion Fight Promotions it’s hard not to notice the bantamweight fighter. Andrada’s bombastic personality, reminisce of Rambaa Somdet is shown in his colorful walk in outfits along with his lively conversational skills.
Andrada was visiting Combat Sports Academy in Dublin for a week long training camp in preparation for his upcoming bout against Stan Mancebo when I got to talk to him.
Lucas: When did you start fighting?
Andrada: Sept 2006.
Lucas: You were in Las Vegas?
Andrada: Yeah, I was born and raised there, I’ve never lived anywhere else.
Lucas: Do you work or are you a full time fighter?
Andrada: I teach kid’s Muay Thai along with Adult classes. I also do private training. Before I was a fighter I worked at a Starbucks and Coldstone. I used to be pretty good with my ice cream scooping. We would toss ice cream in the air and catch it in the cone. It was pretty awesome, especially since it was all the ice cream you could eat, as long as you didn’t do it in front of the boss.
Lucas: Where did you start doing Muay Thai?
Andrada: I started at Master Toddy’s, which was open until 2011.
Lucas: Why did you start fighting?
Andrada: I wanted to see if I could fight. I’d never been in a fight before and I wanted to see if I could do it. I guess technically I started when I was 13 or 14 but I was a fat unmotivated kid, now I’m just motivated.
Lucas: What led you into Master Toddy’s and into Muay Thai?
Andrada: I played a lot of the game Fatal Fury, and the character Joe Higashi, a Muay Thai fighter, seemed pretty cool. So I wanted I try Muay Thai. We also lived right by the gym.
Lucas: What’s a normal training day like for you?
Andrada: I wake up around 11 or 12 and get to the gym in the early afternoon. I’ll hit the bag or work with Kru Jong and run. I help teach a kid’s class or I’ll take a break. At five or six o’clock I do more drills, running, and pads or back work. Then at 11 o’clock I’ll go running again. So I do two or three long training sessions.
Lucas: What has this training camp consisted of thus far, is it different from your normal training?
Andrada: I’ve been doing a lot of running, that’s about half the training right there. I’ve done a lot more sparring than my last in Conneticut against Mohammad Lemjerdine.
Lucas: Why are you doing more sparring now compared to last camp?
Andrada: It’s always been a general thing that I like to do, sparring and running. I don’t really like being alone on the bag. I get a lot of padwork now that I’ve been training with Kru Jong at Fight Capital. Master Nop trained me for my first fight but now Kru Jong and I work together nearly everyday. Kru jong is my head trainer. And Kirian is my coach.
Lucas: How did you meet Kru Jong?
Andrada: I met him through a mutual friend in 2011 right before my fight with Anthony Castreon. Kru Jong started doing the Muay Thai program at Skipper Kelp’s gym, Fight Capital. So I moved over there.
Lucas: What’s your training schedule like?
Andrada: The first session will be on the bag, or running. Then the next sessions will be pad work or sparring along with drills.
Lucas: Why did you decide to come out to CSA for the week?
Andrada: I’ve known Kirian Fitzgibbons since 2008 when I was part of the USMF amateur Muay Thai team. I was coming out here when it was still “The Art of War” Fight team in 2008-2009. Kirian got me the fight, that got me the belt, that got me on the USMF team that went to Thailand and fought. The belt fight was with Ryan Ratcliffe.
Lucas: That was a rematch with Ratcliffe?
Andrada: Yeah, in the first fight I was suplexed. He picked me up and dumped me. It was pretty awesome. Once I woke up I was pretty impressed. (Laughs.)
Lucas: Besides that bout have you been knocked out before?
Andrada: Yeah I got kicked in the head.
Lucas: How did it feel?
Andrada: Great. (Laughs.) A good nap.
Lucas: Conversely how many people have you knocked out?
Andrada: I’ve knocked out Ryan Ratcliffe… I broke some guy’s nose in an amateur fight. He had headgear on so it wasn’t a knock out it was a TKO. I’ve knocked someone out with leg kicks, knees to the liver, knock out with an elbow against Mohammad, also I knocked out someone with an overhand right.
Lucas: How does it feel knocking people out? Is it something that you foresee and plan on?
Andrada: I quit looking for the knock outs. I’m usually surprised when it happens. For instance when I knocked out Mohammad with that elbow I was alarmed that it happened so quick. The fight was really aggressive then the bout completely stopped. The momentum of the fight just ended, it was like going from 100 mph to 0.
Lucas: You had a long amateur career. What was your reasoning behind that?
Andrada: I wanted to make sure I got enough experience to be properly ready to put on a good show as a professional fighter. I didn’t want to step into the ring as a pro just to be tossed around.
Lucas: What are some of the differences for you between professional and amateur fighting?
Andrada: The short range fighting is different as you can throw elbows. I don’t like to do as much inside fighting now that there is the danger of elbows. I’m not nervous about getting cut but I don’t want the bout to end in the first round because of something that I have no control over, like a cut.
Lucas: In the past you’ve displayed some great inside boxing do you think that having elbows in the mix has devalued your fighting style?
Andrada: No. I’ve adjusted. I can use elbows now, which is awesome. You take away one thing, inside fighting, and put in another, elbows. I like to box inside but I don’t do it because of the elbows, but I also like to throw elbows so it equals itself out.
Lucas: Have you been cut before?
Andrada: When I was at Master Toddy’s camp in Thailand one of the trainers was demonstrating something and he didn’t inform me as to what was happening and I was accidentally cut. I had a fight lined up and so the fight was cancelled, not that it mattered as there was flooding and the whole card was shut down.
Lucas: Do you think you’ll make a return to Thailand?
Andrada: I want to go to Holland or Amsterdam first. I also love it here. Coming out here (to CSA in Dublin) to train is just as good though.
Lucas: Why do you want to go to Holland?
Andrada: I like the fast paced style that has come from there more. They use a lot more hands over there.
Lucas: What do you think about as you’re walking out to the ring?
Andrada: I get a lot of nerves and butterflies sometimes. Mainly I worry about putting on a good show. Once I hit the stage those anxieties go away. I love hearing the crowd.
Lucas: Who are some fighters that you’d like to fight in the future?
Andrada: There’s a couple of guys in Australia. In the future when I have more experience I’d love to fight Paulo De Silva, Andy Howson… the guy’s that are in my weight class, there’s maybe 10 or so that are not in Thailand that are famous.
Lucas: What do you know about your opponent for this upcoming Lion Fight, Stan Mancebo?
Andrada: He’s a southpaw that likes to come forward. He’s a tough guy. He’s going to come to fight and throws a lot of left kicks. He has a decent head kick but doesn’t use his hands that much but that could all change.
Lucas: You’ve fought southpaws before? Have you found it difficult?
Andrada: You have to have a solid strategy whether you are fighting an orthodox fighter or a southpaw so it really doesn’t matter to me.
Lucas: Do you have a game plan for this fight?
Andrada: Against brawlers, technicians, tall guys, or short ones I have a general idea of what I am going to do and then I act upon that in the ring.
Lucas: What do you think some of your strengths and weaknesses as a fighter are?
Andrada: I think my cardio; footwork, hands, timing, countering and my determination are strengths while I tend to keep my hands too low. Sometimes I can be a little too sporadic with my attacks and I’m not heavy footed in fights so I will fall back, or stumble back if someone pushes forward too much.
Lucas: Do you have any favorite fighters?
Andrada: I like K1 style fighters like Masato, Andy Sower, and Zambidis. I also l like Rambaa Somdet because he’s crazy.
Lucas: How many fights do you have left on your Lion Fight Promotion contract and will you renew?
Andrada: I will renew for sure and this is my last bout on the contract. It feels good having a regular contract as it’s a secure fight. Lion Fight has done so much for Muay Thai. They’ve brought it to mainstream media and tied things in nicely with the UFC. You’re starting to see LionFight billboards and they’ve become more national with their east coast events as well.
Lucas: Would you like to give a shout-out to any sponsors?
Andrada: OCCink. Prints my shirts for Ridiculous Nation. MuayThaiAddict makes my awesome fight shorts. Fighting United is a chairty orginization I’m starting to work with to help fight hunger. Beach Hut Deli best subs in Vegas! DobezDesignz makes amazing custom jewely and custom knuckle duster rings. Color Reflections hooking up my logo banner. Tempur Fightwear made some fantastic artwork for a few shirts coming out including the walkout shirt for this fight. And thanks to CSA and the A-team which is my extended family. Love those guys!
Make sure to tune into AXS TV to watch the whole Lion Fight 18 card on September 5th!
- Sean "Muay Thai Guy" Fagan owns & operates the largest online Muay Thai community and the #1 training resource for nak muay of all levels.