The sports-world is often a cold and business-like place that treats an athlete as if they are nothing more than a commodity, just ask Lauren 'The Animal' Fogle [3-2]. Having just completed recovery and rehabilitation from a serious knee injury, Fogle now finds herself on the Pink Team. She was not even traded, but forced into this new role by the LFC’s Prez Maxine 'The Boss' Frost [1-2] as compensation for the Holly 'The Lotus' Mei [16-5] trade. She is leaving the Black Team behind and is now coached by Joel Kane. If that wasn’t enough to deal with, LFC 25 pits her against a very dedicated fighter in Andreea 'The Storm' Vladoi [11-4-1], in what will be a “Must-see Fight of the Year”. Vladoi did more than a enough to win the European Championship, but the judges denied her. Will this be an awkward moment for the former teammates, or will they put that aside and lay it all on the line for the fans? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Fogle is a dual-sport lingerie athlete who is on a two fight win streak. Her brawling style reminds me of the late, great Philadelphia boxer ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier. Fogle, also from Philadelphia, is quick to start the action with her relentless and ruthless attacks. She is as aggressive as they come, and even in losing, her ‘Animal’ persona tries its best to leave a mark. Her two bouts against Teri 'Feisty Fists' London [2-2] resulted in high-octane drama that ended abruptly. The first meeting had Fogle ahead in the first round, before a swift change in momentum found her in an armbar that resulted in a controversial tap, handing Fogle a debut loss.
LFC 22 offered Lauren a chance to avenge the loss to London. After what looked like another submission hold by London; Fogle escaped and delivered a devastating guillotine choke that swiftly decided the bout.
Fogal getting her hand raised after avenging a loss to Teri 'Feisty Fists' London [2-2]
In between the London matches, Fogle found herself coupled against a larger fighter in Cali Cat [4-0]. ‘The Animal’ was cautious as she tried to figure out a way to control the action. However, she was not able to dictate the pace as she had done when fighting smaller opponents. There were times when Fogle mounted a serious threat, but the size difference was too much. Once again, Fogle found herself on the losing end of a controversial submission, when she gave a chilling scream caused by an ankle lock. The referee had no choice but to stop the fight.
Fogal trying to escape a leg lock by Cali Cat [4-0]
Fogle made the trip to Slovakia for LFC 24 and wasted no time in out-classing Maya 'Hellfire' Veljkovic [0-1]. This fight was never in doubt, and the high energy Fogle ended it when she used Veljkovic’s own arm to apply a choke, giving her fans a memorable, first round finish.
For Vladoi, losing on European soil must have been difficult for the Romanian born, former Olympic gymnast. Coming off this devastating loss, Vloadoi is motivated and hungrier than ever.
Of her four fights in the LFC, ‘The Storm’ has had three against Jolene ‘The Valkyrie’ Hexx. These two have fought hard against each other, and regardless of the last outcome, they will go down as a trilogy for the ages. Hexx has two wins and a draw against Vladoi. Those facts on paper make it easy to dismiss Vladoi, but after watching all three fights, opinions can get a bit muddled. Who is the better fighter is open to debate, as is any discussion about the rightful ownership of the European Championship Belt.
Andreea attempting an inverted triangle against Jolene 'The Valkyrie' Hexx [17-5-1]
The draw at LFC 21 is a fair outcome for two warriors who were just learning to dislike each other. The second fight tilted towards Hexx; this decision, although not easily made, was the right one. Vladoi appeared gassed at the end, while Hexx conserved her energy well. I don’t think it is fair to take away anything from a newly crowned champion, so I won’t say anything more about the third battle, except to say that Vladoi deserves a rematch for the title, no matter who the champion is.
Vladoi’s only other LFC opponent is Holly ‘The Lotus’ Mei, a fighter that fought for the title, but came up short. Vladoi’s laser focused mindset was on display here. Her aggressiveness paid off, as she submitted Mei via a head choke.
Andreea being interviewed after defeating Holly 'The Lotus' Mei [16-5] at LFC 24
Between Fogle and Vladoi, LFC 25 has the potential for fireworks early and often. Fogle does have a weight advantage, which she usually loves to exploit, but Vladoi’s will to dominate won’t make it easy. Both fighters represent their styles well. Fogle is the consummate Brawler who is always trying to finish. Vladoi, with her background in gymnastics; elevates her Wushu training to a higher art form, with athleticism and creativity. This fight may have to move to the mean streets of Philly or to the Ferentari ghetto of Bucharest, because I don’t see either of them backing down in this “Street Fight”. From a fan’s perspective, it looks like a good move that ‘The Animal’ is now on the Pink Team to cross paths with Vladoi.
LFC 25: Showdown At Sam’s Town takes place on Friday, March 16 in Las Vegas – Tickets available HERE
Hope to see you there!