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New Year's Eve Roundup: Akebono vs. Sapp Rematch, KID/Masato Off and More

For the first time in a while it feels like there is a lot of movement in Japan when it comes to New Year's Eve. Inoki will be holding his annual Inoki Bom Ba Ye event, Nobuyuki Sakikabara has returned with RIZIN FF and there has been talk of TBS's Kyokugen airing a special exhibition bout between KID Yamamoto and MASATO.

The KID Yamamoto vs. Masato bout was lining up to be a bit of a strange one. Kyokugen is not a fight show, in fact, it's just a New Year's Eve variety show, but TBS, remembering the crazy ratings that they got from KID vs. Masato before, were dedicated to trying to rekindle some sort of spark with a rematch of sorts. Of sorts. The bout was originally planned to be an exhibition bout between the two men, most likely happening in a television studio and not in an arena. Oh yeah, and it was scheduled to be one round. There was never going to be a real fight because Yamamoto is under contract to the UFC. But none of that matters now as it looks like the fight is in danger due to KID Yamamoto's chest tattoo. Over the past few years Yamamoto has gone deeper into the realm of tattoos and now has a giant bird and snake on his torso and this is a big deal in Japan. I'm not sure that I get it, either, just make him wear a rash guard. For what it's worth the fight is still listed on TBS's official site.

IGF Inoki Bom Ba Ye will the the standard issue Inoki event that mixes MMA fights with professional wrestling and hopefully he bring in some bigger name kickboxers for pro wrestling like he has in the past. Not that the wrestling is ever good, just that it's a pretty cool spectacle is all. There are currently only two matches on the card thus far, one of which is a pro wrestling match, the other is Shinya Aoki against former K-1 kickboxer Montonha Silva. 

As for RIZIN, man, who even knows. There is so much going on with RIZIN right now and most of it is just crazy. Fedor Emelianenko was originally to fight Jaideep Singh and then we heard that they changed that because fans were upset, then we heard that Jaideep was out of shape anyway, so he couldn't fight. Then it was Tsuyoshi Kosakha, but now TK is fighting someone else instead. 

On the 29th RIZIN will hold an event that supposedly is Sakuraba's retirement (yeah, right). Sakuraba is scheduled to face Shinya Aoki. Tsuyoki Kosakha is scheduled to fight James "The Colossus" Thompson, AJ Matthews against Anatoly Tokov and Yuki Motoya vs. Nam Jin Jo.

The 31st is the big one, though. That is the event that is featuring Fedor Emelianenko against a mysterious question mark, Estonian sumo wrestler Kaido Hoovelson will step into the ring against another set of question marks as well, hoping to usher in a new era of sumo superstardom not seen since Akebono. BJJ dynamo Gabi Garcia makes her MMA debut against professional wrestler Lei'd Tapa and RENA from Shootboxing is scheduled to fight Jleana Valentino.

Just announced today was the rematch to end all rematches in Bob Sapp vs. Akebono. Originally they met at K-1 PREMIUM 2003 Dynamite!! in a bout that saw Sapp take the win during his rise to prominence in Japan. Now, many years later, both men will meet again. This time not in K-1 rules, but instead MMA rules. Yikes.


Oktagon Co-Promoting with Bellator in 2016

Italian promoter and manager Carlo di Blasi has been a very busy man of late. If you were to look at his plate right now you'd see the recent K-1 Global World Amateurs, GLORY 25 and Venum Victory World Series events. He had a hand in all of those (and the upcoming Venum Victory World Series event as well) and he has shown no signs of stopping yet. The April Oktagon event has been a staple for Italian fans for a while now and this upcoming year will be no different. On April 16th in Torino we'll see the next Oktagon event, for which we can probably expect a big Giorgio Petrosyan fight, but the big news today was that Bellator announced that they will be co-promoting that event with Oktagon.

The card will be a split one, half Bellator, half Oktagon kickboxing, but from what it looks like only the Bellator MMA part will be airing on Spike TV, which is kind of a bummer. Still, di Blasi is hard at work again and this is truly an interesting partnership to look out for in the future.


Venum Victory World Series News: Maria Lobo to Challenge Anissa Peksen

On Saturday, November 28 in Paris at the Levallois Perret Arena the 28 year old Portuguese Maria Lobo will challenge the champion, Anissa Peksen, at the tournament finals for Venum Victory World Series. 

Mario Lobo from Lisbon, Portugal fights out of Team Dynamite and is coached by Dina Pedro has been a world champion under the Muay Thai WMF banner in 2013 and 2014 and has won world championships under K-1 rules as well. Throughout her 24-fight career she boasts 17 victories, 6 losses and only one draw thus far.

Previously she has fought in other large organizations such as Kunlun Fight and WLF in China, as well as Real Fighter. Her background is primarily in muay thai but she adapted her style towards kickboxing rules in an aggressive manner, making her a force to be reckoned with under any set of rules. This world title fight at Venum Victory World Series in Paris should deliver on action while fans around the world watch this closely-contested battle to see which of the two world class fighters walks out victorious.


Card for W5 Grand Prix in Vienna XXXI

W5 is set to hold their year-end event on December 5th in Vienna, Austria featuring a great lineup. The card features a one-night tournament at 70kg featuring Cosmo Alexandre vs. Artem Pashporin as well as Chris Ngimbi vs. Evgeniy Kurovskoy. There are two titles on the line as the -67kg European Championship is on the line between Sasa Jovanovic and Rasul Kachakaev, then the -72.gkg Intercontinental Championship is on the line between Foad Sageghi and Massaro Glunder.

Don't miss it.

Alexander Kotov vs. Zekria Rezai 

Adil Osmani vs. Giorgi Bazanov 

Karin Mabrouk vs. Henry Banner 

Hekuran Avdylai  vs. Patryk Sztorc 

Vladislav Tuinov vs. Besnik Limani 

Tournament: Cosmo Alexandre vs. Artem Pashporin 

Tournament: Chris Ngimbi vs. Evgeniy Kurovskoy 

Tournament Finals: X vs. X

W5 -67kg European Championship: Sasa Jovanovic vs. Rasul Kachakaev 

W5 -72.5kg European Championship: Foad Sadeghi vs. Massaro Glunder 


Kunlun Books Sitthichai vs. Yodsanklai for December

Fans of Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong know that not only has Sitthichai been competing in the GLORY ring, but he's also been competing in China's premier kickboxing league in Kunlun. Under the Kunlun banner Sitthichai has wins over both Murthel Groenhart and Andy Souwer. While his last fight may have been disappointing against Robin van Roosmalen, his next fight is nothing short of a dream match for fans of kickboxing and muay thai.

That fight is against Yodsanklai Fairtex. 

While the big fight that everyone has wanted may be Buakaw Banchamek vs. Yodsanklai Fairtex, Buakaw's management and those in control of his career seem to be doing everything in their power to ensure that fight won't happen. At this point that is just a reality that fans will have to face. But Yodsanklai vs. Sitthichai? That's a big fight and one that fans should be over-the-moon about. 

Here's what the entire card looks like this far, from Kiksie.

Tournament Semifinal #1 - 80kg

Artur Kyshenko (Ukraine) vs. Dmitry Valent (Belarus)

Tournament Semifinal #2 - 80kg

Bai Jinbin (China) vs. Arthit Hanchana (Thailand)

Middleweight World Championship Tournament Quarterfinal #1 – 70kg

Kong Lingfeng (China) vs. Victor Nagbe (Australia)

Middleweight World Championship Tournament Quarterfinal #2 – 70kg

Zhang Chunyu (China) vs. Superbon Banchamek (Thailand)

Middleweight World Championship Tournament Quarterfinal #3 – 70kg

Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (Thailand) vs. Yodsanklai Fairtex (Thailand)

Middleweight World Championship Tournament Quarterfinal #4 – 70kg

Davit Kiria (Georgia) vs. Enriko Gogokhia (Ukraine)


Badr Hari Announces Retirement

If today wasn't crazy enough, right? 

Badr Hari posted on social media yesterday that he was going to shock the world today and after losing a long legal battle in the Netherlands last week it appears that Badr Hari is ready to hang up the gloves after one last fight. Hari's announced retirement comes in the face of an increasingly difficult market for freelance fighters like Hari. To get the money that he's been asking for he's been forced to fight on the fringes in bigger shows organized primarily with him as the sole focus, but that has come at a cost of public image. Badr Hari's only truly relevant opponent in the past few years has been Ismael Londt, with Londt dropping Hari once before Hari recovered and knocked him out. 

Facing more jail time and a difficulty finding fights this seems like the right move for the Moroccan, who claims that he wants to have one last fight this year and for it to take place in his home country of Morocco. Hari said today that he would like to retire to spend more time with his young daughter. [source]


New Year's Eve Just Got Real: Masato vs. KID Yamamoto Rematch

Rizin FF on New Year's Eve has had the eyes of the MMA world since they first announced their event, being headlined by Fedor Emelianenko on New Year's Eve. While that is, indeed, a huge deal, what was announced today has a direct impact on the Japanese audiences by putting together one of the biggest fights that you could put together in Japan. That fight is KID Yamamoto vs. Masato in a 5 round kickboxing fight under the banner of KYOKUGEN on TBS.

One night only.

KID Yamamoto, who is currently under contract to Zuffa/UFC, will be allowed to participate in this event under some strange act of god, while Masato has agreed to return to the ring one last time against KID Yamamoto, whom he defeated in 2004 at Dynamite!! in a three-round kickboxing bout. Let's just hope there isn't a crazy low blow this time. [source]


Enfusion Live 33 Card for November 7th

This card, like always, will be streaming on, but on a slight delay of November 10th.

Enfusion Live #33 Martigny, Switzerland 7.11.2015

Local start time 22.30 (21.30GMT) 

1. 3X3     -61Kg 

Janique Avanthay (Switzerland) Vs Amandine Falck (France)

2. 3X3     -75Kg

Shkodan Veseli (Albania) Vs Adelino Boa Morte (Portugal)

3. 3X3     -85Kg

Ulrik Bokeme (Congo) Vs Cheick Sibide (France) 

4. 3X3     -72.5Kg

Pedro Barros (Switzerland) Vs Andriy Unhuryan (Russia)

5. 3X3     -70Kg

Christophe Pruvost (Switzerland) Vs Jonay Risco (Spain)

6. 5X3     -75Kg

Rafael llodra (France)  Vs  Diogo Calado (Portugal)

Enfusion World Title -75Kg


Card Set For SuperKombat World Grand Prix Final

On Saturday, November 7th SuperKombat returns with the SuperKombat World Grand Prix Final event, which will be taking place in Romania. The tournament for the evening is a heavyweight one featuring a few fine up-and-comers in the heavyweight division, including the much-hyped Roman Kriklya.  The big bout of the evening will be Andrei Stoica defending his SuperKombat Super Cruiserweight title against Loren Jorge in what is being billed as a grudge match.

This will not be the final SuperKombat show of the year, though, as they will be holding another event on December 12th in Turin, Italy. The event will take place inside of a cage with fights from both Catalin Morosanu and Raul Catinas on the lineup. 

SUPERKOMBAT NEW HEROES (18:30 CET, live on Fight Box)

1. Super Fight - Middleweight bout (-71 kg)

Nikola Cimesa (Serbia) vs Robert Stoica (Romania)

2. Super Fight - Cruiserweight bout (-92 kg)

Sebastian Cozmânca (Romania) vs Cosmin Ionescu (Romania)

3. Super Fight - Light Heavyweight Plus bout (-81 kg)

Dumitru Topai (Romania) vs Alexandru Nedelcu (Romania)

4. Super Fight - Light Heavyweight bout (-81 kg)

Dimitris Chiotis (Greece) vs Ionut Stanciu (Romania)

5. Super Fight - Lightweight bout (-63,5 kg)

TBA vs Cristi Spetcu (Romania)

6. Super Fight - Middleweight bout (-71 kg)

Rafal Dudek (Poland) vs Cristi Milea (Romania)


1. Heavyweight tournament - Semifinal 1 - Heavyweight bout (+96 kg)

Roman Kriklya (Ukraine) vs Ivan Pavle (Slovakia)

2.Heavyweight tournament - Semifinal 2 - Heavyweight bout (+96 kg)

Tarik Khbabez (Morocco) vs Nicolas Wamba (France)

3. Super Fight - Light Heavyweight bout (-81 kg)

Marios Blanas (Greece) vs Bogdan Nastase (Romania)

4. Super Fight - Middleweight bout (-71 kg)

Mika Tahitu (Netherlands) vs Claudiu Badoi (Romania)

5. Super Fight - Light Heavyweight Plus bout (-86 kg)

Noureddine Echiguer (Morocco) vs Alexandru Negrea (Romania)

6. Heavyweight tournament - Final - Heavyweight bout (+96 kg)

Winner of Semifinal 1 vs Winner of Semifinal 2

7. Superkombat world title - Super Cruiserweight bout (-95 kg)

Jorge Loren (Spain) vs Andrei Stoica (Romania)

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