This weekend saw the GLORY World Series put on their Glory 2 Brussels event in Brussels, Belgium, headlined by Remy Bonjasky vs. Anderson "Braddock" Silva. The return bout of Bonjasky was a big deal, as was Gokhan Saki taking on Mourad Bouzidi and a slew of other big matches. Join Rian Scalia (@rianscalia) and myself (@LiverKickdotcom / @dvewlsh) as we run through the Glory World Series event as well as look at next weekend's K-1 Final 16 and the inherent lack of hype surrounding it.
It was only a matter of time before K-1 finalized their May 27th fight card, and now they've done just that. On top of the MAX line-up which was announced earlier on Friday, additional Superfights were announced late Friday evening via press release. A big question is the inclusion of Mosab Amrani vs. Zeben Diaz and how both men seem like a better fit than a fighter like Gago Drago who has fallen on tough times of late and might not belong in the K-1 World MAX Grand Prix. The big fights are at Heavyweight and are worth marveling at. The additional fights are as follows:
Superfight: Mosab Amrani vs. Zeben Diaz
Heavyweight: Badr Hari vs. Anderson "Braddock" Silva
When Steven Seagal first was shown with Anderson Silva at UFC 117, we all kind of chuckled and said, "hey that is pretty cool." When he walked out with Anderson at UFC 126, it was kind of funny again, but at this point it began to appear odd. Steven Seagal is an Akido instructor and former martial arts action star who now has his own dubious television series about him being a "lawman."
I grew up on Martial Arts and action films, as I feel like most men my age did. Guys like Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme were the reason to get involved in martial arts; to be as bad ass as they were. Of course, years pass, and as they do, the stark reality set upon me that JCVD had serious substance problems and that Steven Seagal was a terrible fraud. Both men fell off the radar a bit, but Seagal's career seemed to hold strong (still sparse, but it didn't fall off completely) while Van Damme's seemed to all-but disappear. Seagal had long been the butt of the joke when it comes to Hollywood circles, but still got work due to his popularity and how ridiculous of a persona he carried around with him.
Enter the modern day, where JCVD is re-building his career his way and even looks to re-enter the world of fighting, while Steven Seagal is on a reality television series and apparently trying to weasel his way into the fighting world as well. This past weekend, Anderson Silva defeated Vitor Belfort with a front high kick, a staple in just about every form of martial art that involves kicking. So, much to my surprise, Anderson Silva claimed that Steven Seagal taught him the kick. It was funny, worth a chuckle. Then, much to my disdain, this interview with Ariel Helwani came out.
Seagal claims to have taught Anderson Silva one of the most basic kicking techniques, a first week kick in Tae Kwan Do, which incidentally, was Anderson Silva's first martial art that he took when he was fourteen. Now, as anyone who has studied striking will note, there are minute differences between techniques in different forms of martial arts, but generally speaking, one form of kick does not differ too greatly from another. This is a very basic technique that Anderson Silva used almost out of context in a MMA fight, and caught everyone by surprise. For Steven Seagal to claim there is some sort of mystical "death" technique, or that he knew some secret to making the kick work better is, well, par for the course with his history.
In that interview, he discusses with Helwani how MMA is both good and bad for traditional martial arts; first it makes the public more aware, and second, it shows behind the curtain into a "secret world" that you weren't meant to see. I think my eyes nearly rolled back in my head. If anything, Mixed Martial Arts has shown the general public that there is a man behind the curtain, that there is no Oz. There are men like Seagal everywhere, who have conned people into believing that with intense, personal training from masters such as himself, you can learn some crazy secret that will help you transcend reality.
The gall he had to claim he taught Anderson Silva a technique that your average six year old can do (of course not with the force or application) was pure Seagal grandstanding. Seagal showed cracks in his story when Helwani asked him how he met Anderson Silva, he was caught on the spot and said that he didn't remember, then you could almost see the gears turning in his head as Helwani is preparing another question and he corrects himself and claims that Anderson Silva sent him a "memo" that he wanted to learn Steven's secret death techniques.
Anderson Silva and his training partners are not fools, nor are they children, if you believe for one second that this happened, you probably need to review some of the history of Steven Seagal. Seagal has lied about nearly everything in the book, from his place of birth, to adultery, to how many wives he has had, to education, work history, the list goes on and on. There have been an endless stream of interviews, op-eds and exposes on him since he became popular, with Spy Magazine discussing how his "CIA background" is a complete sham, and how he actually had mafia ties and attempted to hire hit men to take care of members of the media who "wronged him." If you search Google for "Steven Seagal Fraud" you get endless results. Check this out for some documented history.
Just because certain people claim to have more knowledge does not mean that they are correct. Understand that basic kinetics dictates that every technique in martial arts is done a certain way, and has been over years, because it is effective. If there was a way to enhance that technique, it would be canonical. Steven Seagal is an aging, overweight actor and stunt man who has nothing real to teach to accomplished martial artists. My question for you is are you buying or selling, and my question for Seagal and Anderson's camp is how much is Seagal paying you? Seriously, he has to be paying them something, right? Because if I were an accomplished martial artist and world champion, I know the last thing I'd need is an over-the-hill actor to tell me how I should fight, especially when said actor has no history fighting himself, unless I was doing so as a big joke or he was paying me to be his friend.
So after the UFC fights last night, I searched my twitter and Facebook walls and notice the usual talk of the action in the cage. As expected, most felt sorry for Anderson Silva who suffered a horrific shin break after his kick was checked in the second round. However the talk seemed to take on a new life, as I studied the trainers and coaches in the sport. It seems like all of them had an opinion on why it happened and how to avoid it. This was in response to their students, who in bunches started asking how it happened and if it could happen to them. As a coach of several UFC level fighters and high level kickboxers, I too got many texts and questions about the shin break. I hope to assure all of you that this is really rare and how it shouldn't effect how you teach techniques.
First of all, the main reason this scares everyone is because of who it happened to. Its just like steroids, who gets caught is what makes us take notice. If this happened to some undercard guy it would have been sad, but no one would have talked about it. Its because it happened to an all time great, who resume wise, showed way more muay thai skill sets than his opponent. If it were to happen to anyone, it should't have been Silva. No one imagines themselves a journeymen, but as a great. So when we see someone great get hurt, it reminds us of our own frailties and inabilities. If it happens to an undercard fighter, than that fighter was just unlucky, if it happens to a legend, than we feel that no one is safe, because these athletes are have dream careers, and no one gets injured in dreams.
On Friday, September 9th in Trenton, New Jersey GLORY returns to action with GLORY 33. GLORY 33 is set to feature two huge world title bouts, first on the GLORY SuperFight Series Jason Wilnis will get his title shot against champion Simon Marcus in the main event, then on the main card GLORY Heavyweight Champion Rico Verhoeven defends against Anderson "Braddock" Silva.
Silva is coming off of a KO victory at GLORY 32 against Gordon Haupt, while Jason Wilnis is coming off of a win over Joe Schilling.
The GLORY Women's Bantamweight Tournament continues as well with one of the more interesting bouts of the tournament in Zoila Frausto vs. Daniela Graf.
Lots of professional MMA fighters have gotten the itch to bring over high level Kickboxers into their camps over the past year. Well, it appears that Jerome Le Banner is finally getting the call and is in the United States. He keeps good company. JLB has apparently been training at KINGS MMA now with Rafael Cordiero. It feels like Chute Boxe all over again, go figure. Maybe Jerome Le Banner is training for a fight in December at GENKI DESUKA!, even. We went ahead and asked him as soon as the show was announced, and he said that he is definitely onboard if they want him.
Over at Dutch forum Mixfight.nl there is news of a new card featuring some high-end fights. No name or organization known, but the show takes place June 18 in Rotterdam. In the main event, it will be the #5 ranked Gokhan Saki vs. Sergei Lascenko. Saki's last fight was his United Glory semi-final victory over Wendell Roche, and before the Lascenko fight, he'll also face Brice Guidon in the UG finals May 21. Good to see The Rebel staying so active despite the overall lack of options for Heavyweight fighters at the moment.
This marks Lascenko's first high profile opponent since losing to Freddy Kemayo at last year's K-1 Europe GP. One of the potential break-out K-1 Heavyweights of 2009, Lascenko has seen his career stall out somewhat over the past year. Since the Kemayo loss, he's gone 1-2, and is coming off a win over Vasile Popovici. One interesting aspect to this fight is that Lascenko has recently been in the news a bit as he has made the transition to Mike's Gym, where he has been working as the sparring partner to Badr Hari. Hari vs. Saki is a fight that has come up more than once recently, and is one I wouldn't be surprised to see sooner than later. Seeing his training partner face off against Saki will certainly be informative for Hari and the team at Mike's Gym.
The other highlight of the card is an 8 man K-1 rules tournament. Participants include the #20 ranked Anderson "Braddock" Silva, Wendell Roche, Utley Mariana, Dennis Stolzenbach, Tommy van Wijngaarden, Philip van der Linde, Nicolai Vallin, and one more fighter TBD. I'd call Silva the favorite here, with Roche 2nd.
Rounding out the card are two MMA fights: Djamil Chan vs. Thomas Wichmann, and Tugrul Okay vs. Eric Paulo.
Last night at UFC 126 we were all given the chance to see a great, legendary knockout by UFC Middleweight ChampionAnderson "The Spider" Silva. Anderson was able to get some distance on Vitor Belfort after a flurry and scramble and absolutely finish Vitor off with a front kick that will go down in history as one of the most out of nowhere knockouts in MMA history. Joe Rogan went on to say that he has never seen a front kick KO in any sport, and I humbly tossed my hat into the ring immediately on Twitter pointing out that K-1 MAX 2005 Japan Champion, Taishin Kohiruimaki (also known as Takayuki Kohiruimaki) is the exception to that rule.
While I'm sure that Joe Rogan knows that, as Rogan is a diehard fan of K-1, and part of his job as a UFC commentator is to sell the brand and the action happening in the ring, watch one of the other incredible front kick KOs in the history of combat sports as Taishin Kohiruimaki faces Akeomi Nitta in the MAX Japan 2005 finals. Much like with last night's kick by Anderson, this kick comes out of nowhere, and usually the front high kick is not known as a murderous blow, but I remember watching this in 2005 and jumping out of my chair, so excited to see such an amazing KO.
Tonight at K-1 Global's coming out party there was a lot of hype surrounding the return of Badr Hari to a K-1 ring. Badr Hari made his departure from Kickboxing in January against Gokhan Saki, so we thought, but then signed with K-1 as soon as things were in order for them and stepped into the ring against a surprisingly game Anderson "Braddock" Silva tonight. No one gave Braddock Silva much of a chance, as Braddock's career has been spotty to say the least, while Badr's career is that of a supernova that has burned incredibly brightly. Hari only has losses to some of the biggest and best names in the Kickboxing world, while Braddock holds a number of frustrating losses. Braddock was going into this fight looking for a win, coming off of a tough loss to the much smaller Catalin Morosanu in SuperKombat.
Everything was primed for Badr Hari to rip Braddock's head off, you could feel it in the air. The fans expected it, the media expected it, the fighters expected it, everyone was ready for Badr Hari to have an easy fight. In round one, Badr Hari was Badr Hari; aggressive, throwing power shots and fighting with emotion. There were differences, though. The super ripped physique from his 2011 bout with Tony Gregory and his fight in January against Gokhan Saki was nowhere to be seen. Instead, a lot of his muscle mass was simply not there and he looked a little soft around the mid section. That isn't to say that is a bad thing, as we've seen with fighters like Sem Schilt, physique doesn't mean much when you can fight like no one else can. The round saw Badr drop Braddock after a brutal flurry of hooks that saw a right connect to the side of Braddock's head and sent him crashing to the met. It felt like a forgone conclusion, even if Badr wasn't in perfect shape, he was Badr.
Then Braddock got up, and Badr started to go nuts on him, but Braddock was covering up. Braddock held out for the rest of the round, and Hari didn't look like he wanted to stop after the bell rang, but something clicked and he stopped himself from going crazy like we've seen him do before. Then round two happened, and Braddock seemed to be in control. Badr was gassing out, looking tired and like he had punched himself out. Braddock was actually controlling the action and landing some big shots, to the point where everyone felt comfortable after the second round to say that Anderson "Braddock" Silva, the sacrificial lamb was in control of the fight.
The third round is up for debate, but Badr was still slower and a lot less aggressive than we've seen him in years, while Braddock was connecting with some solid shots and weathering any storm from Badr Hari. Whether or not Badr Hari won the round and deserved the decision victory doesn't matter, I would have liked to see the fight go to an extension round and felt that Braddock might be able to win the fight. What is important is that Anderson "Braddock" Silva, a man that we usually write off, looked fantastic against top competition, while Badr Hari looked like he didn't belong in the ring.
Badr Hari walks away with the win, but there are a lot of questions surrounding him right now and where he is at, both mentally and physically, while Anderson Silva walked into a fight as a heavy underdog and walked away with lots of fans respecting him and wanting to see more of him.
Here at LiverKick.com we may like to keep our focus on the world of kickboxing and Muay Thai, but there’s no denying that this weekend’s big fight takes place in MMA where Anderson Silva meets Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. And while some MMA fights may not hold much interest for kickboxing fans, this is a stand up battle that intrigues me. Silva and Belfort are two superb stand-up talents, and their championship showdown on Saturday should pique the interest of kickboxing fans everywhere.
In the past weeks, there have been mountains of analysis on this fight, but we wanted to take a look at it from a slightly different angle. Today and tomorrow, we’ll take a look at how each man has fared in exclusively stand-up competition – Silva in Muay Thai and boxing matches, and Belfort in boxing.
Now, before we dive in, let me just say that the style of striking used in boxing or Muay Thai competition is going to need to be adjusted when making the transition to Mixed Martial Arts. There are so many things you have to concern yourself with in MMA that employing what would be perfect technique in a boxing match can lead to your quick defeat under MMA rules. When you use purely Muay Thai criteria to criticize a MMA fighter’s striking ability, you often fail to recognize that these are similar, but different sports. So this is not intended as a way to comprehensively assess each man’s MMA striking – many MMA pundits have handled that. Instead, this is an alternative way to look at one of the most kickboxing focused MMA championship fights we are likely to see this year.
Today, we kick things off with a look at the Muay Thai and professional boxing career of the dominant, brilliant UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Even if you are an MMA fan who knows little about full Muay Thai, it should come as no surprise that Silva has competed under these rules. He still uses a variety of Muay Thai techniques in his UFC career – the most notable being the Muay Thai clinch (or Plum Clinch as it is somewhat controversially known in MMA circles), which he used most effectively in his two destructions of Rich Franklin. He also has some nasty Muay Thai styled elbows in his arsenal, one of which he used to great success against Tony Fryklund:
Unfortunately, the world of Muay Thai competition is hard to fully document, so while Silva has definitely trained Muay Thai extensively, it’s hard to know exactly how many professional fights he has competed in under these rules. Only one exists on the web, this fight against Tadeu Sammartino. No clue when this is from, but judging Silva’s build I would guess somewhere around 2004-ish.
What strikes me in this fight is that although Silva is often cited as having a strong Muay Thai background, he fights here like a K-1 rules style kickboxer instead of a traditional Muay Thai fighter. He’s very active on his feet, bouncing around and using a lot of side to side movement. This is a sharp contrast to the more Muay Thai style of planting your feet and checking strikes instead of evading (for a great analysis on this difference check out this discussion on Silva at My Muay Thai).
He also relies heavily on his hands, which are the lowest scoring strike in traditional Muay Thai. Silva does use kicks, but he doesn’t always swivel his hips to throw them with full power, instead using them largely to get his opponent off balance in order to set up the punches. And like many of his MMA fights, it’s the punches that do the real damage, including a quick punch he uses to land the first knockdown here that is very reminiscent of the Forrest Griffin KO.
Finally, while Silva is praised for his knees in the clinch, you see here that he primarily uses those knees when he has the clinch around the back of his opponent’s head. On a few occasions, the two men have a body clinch, however we do not see the exchange of knees to the body so often used in Muay Thai. He has taken the aspects of Muay Thai that work for him, but is far from a traditional MT fighter.
With Silva’s use of punches, and his very vocal appreciation for Roy Jones Jr., it’s no shock he has tried his hand at professional boxing. The Spider is 1-1 as a pro boxer. His first fight was a loss way back in 1998, two years before his MMA debut. He faced Osmar Luiz Teixeira, 11-2 at the time. Silva was stopped in the 2nd; I don’t believe footage of this fight exists. His more well known 2nd bout took place in 2005, less than a year before his UFC debut. Here, he faced Julio Cesar De Jesus, a Brazilian fighter who has never fought before or since.
Once again, we see Silva’s very active footwork on display here. As in the previous bout, Silva is constantly on the move, coming in and out of range throughout the fight. For boxing, this is a common style, and Silva uses it well. What impresses me with his movement is his knowledge of when to move and when to plant his feet in order to land power shots.
One aspect of his game that this fight really points out is Silva’s defense. In this fight, as in many others, Silva relies on a combination of speed and a tough chin as his primary defense. He doesn’t use his hands much to block punches, and gets tagged with a few good shots here as a result – the most notable being in the first round after Silva decides to try a little showboating. He has a tough chin, so he wades right through those shots, but they do land. This could be a concern on Saturday, as Vitor Belfort is a fighter who only needs the smallest of openings to finish a fight – just ask Wanderlei Silva or Rich Franklin what happens when you let Vitor land one good punch.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for a look at the boxing career of Vitor Belfort.