The K-1 MAX Japan -63kg tournament is rapidly approaching, and luckily for all of us, we'll be able to watch it live streamed on the internet. As the talk about the top prospects starts to heat up online, the debate is to which fighter will come out victorious in the tournament. The Final 8 will meet each other and one man will be crowned the champion, and out of the field there is a lot of competition. KRUSH Champion Ryuji Kajiwara takes on youth sensation Masaaki Noiri, last year's finalist Yuta Kubo takes on Kizaemon Saiga, Koya Urabe takes on YUKI and HIROYA takes on last year's champion Tetsuya Yamato.
So the field in the Final 8 is stiff enough as it is, with all 8 men having their own impressive histories. But each fight will tell its own story, so we take a look at the possible outcomes of the Final 8 fights.
Ryuji Kajiawa vs. Masaaki Noiri: Noiri is young, like half as young as Kajiwara. Kajiwara's victory in the KRUSH -63kg tournament came as a shock to everyone, as he was able to usurp Koya Urabe to take the title. Noiri on the other hand is one of the brightest prospects to come out of the the K-1 Koshien system, who after his run in that tournament went on a rampage in the kickboxing world. Noiri is still lacking a little bit of polish that could make him the tournament champion, while Kajiwara has been around for years and has the skill and discipline to take the fight to Noiri.
Yuta Kubo vs. Kizaemon Saiga: Saiga is a frustrating fighter, as frustrating of a fighter as a pretty boy can be. Saiga has a few impressive wins to his credit, but after receiving a lot of attention his focus seemed to be shattered and a string of losses and disappointments ensued. Yuta Kubo on the other hand is young and has made it far in two major tournaments now. Kubo put on some of the most exciting kickboxing fights of 2010 and to his credit is powerful and pretty technical. I think it is clear that Kubo takes the wind out of Saiga's sails.
Koya Urabe vs. YUKI: YUKI is a solid fighter, with some really solid power and moderate skill, but in the realm of this fight against the fighter who has to be one of the absolute favorites, Koya Urabe should take this fight in his sleep.
HIROYA vs. Tetsuya Yamato: HIROYA is the first KOSHIEN Champion from 2008 and is known as K-1's golden boy for many reasons, he has taken a few decisions that many have credited as "gifts" in K-1 events and has put on some moderate displays of technique as well as look absolutely terrible. He was chosen to be the successor to Masato but it is clear that for him to live up to such high standards he would need years more of refinement or K-1 to pull as many strings as they could to raise him above the field. Yamato was the man who took the -63kg tournament last year in a surprise run, who has had little luck with Muay Thai fighters and can show flashes of brilliance as well as flashes of absolute disappointment. I think he wants to prove himself here and will be ready to fight with HIROYA and become the two-time champion.