Over the past week we've taken a look at some of the fights from Badr Hari's 2009, the year after his meltdown in the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals against Remy Bonjasky and his loss to Alistair Overeem at Dynamite!! in K-1 rules. 2009 was Badr Hari's year for redemption, where he looked to avenge past losses and finally capture the K-1 World Grand Prix Title. He was poised to take over the world at this stage.
Entering into the Semi-Finals of the tournament, Badr Hari had already made short work of Ruslan Karaev in the Quarterfinals earlier that night. He was walking into a big rematch for himself, and a bout that a lot was on the line for Badr himself as well as the K-1 world. At the time, Alistair Overeem was billed as a MMA fighter "invading" K-1 for storyline purposes. His interviews were following the same narrative; he was a MMA fighter and he would prove that MMA was stronger than K-1. For Badr Hari, he was embarrassed in 2008 against Overeem after shaming himself by getting disqualified in a fight that he could have still won.
The Badr Hari that entered the ring against Overeem was a determined fighter, with his eyes not on revenge but on winning the K-1 World Grand Prix. The often-emotional "Bad Boy" was composed during this fight, taking on Overeem's great timing and clinch work with aggression and technical combinations. The fight opens up with Overeem's trademark at the time; clinching and sweeping Badr onto his back. A move like that would score him points in Muay Thai competition or be a takedown in MMA, but in K-1 rules it is just an annoyance. He used this technique throughout 2009 to frustrate his opponents and prevent them from getting their rhythm.
Overeem's movement frustrates Hari during the round, as Hari goes head hunting only for Overeem to time them and move out of the way and clinch before Badr finds an opening and lands a few body shots. Overeem continued to clinch while Badr was finishing his combinations with body shots that connected until Overeem made his first big mistake; throwing Badr Hari into the corner. Literally just throwing him into the corner, giving Badr a few moments to regain his composure and pick himself up. Much like we've seen in the past with Badr, if you plant him to the mat, he gets up and looks to take your head off. Overeem threw a left hook that Badr was able to time perfectly and slip a right hook of his own in that landed square on the temple. Overeem stayed on his feet until another quick, short right planted him face first.
Badr smelled blood at this point, and emotions were running high for both men. Overeem knew he was in trouble and Badr Hari wanted to keep good on his promise of knocking him out in under 3 minutes. Badr Hari swarmed at Overeem with rights and lefts, with the odd body shot to throw off Overeem's rhythm and leave an opening. Badr went for a head kick but overshot it, leaving his leg in Overeem's possession for Overeem to plant him on the mat. Hari followed up using the same combination of throwing a series of lefts and rights and finishing with a right body shot and what finally put Overeem out of the tournament was that combination with a left head kick at the end sending Overeem crashing into the corner.
For Badr Hari he had overcome yet another demon of his past, and left him heading into the 2009 K-1 World Grand Prix Finals against Semmy Schilt, the fighter that he had made short work of earlier in the year. Things were finally looking to fall into place for Badr Hari. Catch the video of the fight after the break.
Badr Hari returns on May 14th at It's Showtime Lyon against Gregory Tony after a year layoff. This series we are doing, "The Return of Badr Hari" looks back at the moments that led to Badr Hari's meltdown and time spent in jail, leading to his one year layoff from the world of kickboxing. The next one will cover the Semmy Schilt rematch from the Finals of the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009.
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His first novel, the Godslayer, is available now.