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K-1 Japan -65kg Japan Tournament This Week

After a pretty uneventful January and February we're ready to kick things into high gear with a few huge fight cards coming up. The first of which is on March 4th in Japan and it's K-1 Japan's -65kg Japan tournament. The winner moves on to the world stage of their -65kg tournament later this year and my god is this card amazing. The tournament features Masaaki Noiri vs. Minoru Kimura, Terasaki Naoki against HIROYA, Soda Yasuomi against Teruaki Yamazaki and Yuta Kubo against Noman.

The Superfights are absolutely nothing to turn your nose up at, either, as Makoto Uehara takes on Nori in a heavyweight bout, Hirotaka Urabe fights Johanne Wolf and perhaps one of the best fights on paper this year thus far is Kaew Weerasakreck (formerly Fairtex) against Massaro Glunder.

Yep.

65kg Japan Tournament - Quarter Finals

Noiri Masaaki VS Kimura Minoru

Terasaki Naoki VS Hiroya

Soda Yasuomi VS Yamazaki Teruaki

Kubo Yuta VS Noman

Superfights

Kaew Weerasakreck VS Massaro Glunder

Urabe Hirotaka VS Johannes Wolf

Makoto Uehara VS Nori

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Saenchai's Influence Even Bleeds Over into WWE

The influence of Saenchai is almost impossible to ignore at this point. Like we talked about before, he called out UFC megastar Conor McGregor in a fight that has real fight fans salivating at just the thought, and now? Well, the famous Saenchai one-handed cartwheel kick has made its way to professional wrestling. We've seen American muay thai fighters do the move before, but it definitely was within their lexicon. What fighter wouldn't look at Saenchai as a potential hero? 

But in pro wrestling? That's kinda weird, right? The other night WWE's own Shane McMahon tweeted out some training footage from the Wat in New York with Phil Nurse. What exactly did he tweet? Himself doing the "Saenchai Kick."

Shane McMahon is no stranger to to the world of professional fighting and was even attempting to buy into the UFC at one point. Hell, he tried to convince his father to have the WWE build its own MMA promotion, which never came to fruition because Vince didn't see the point in building stars that he couldn't control the destiny for. Shane McMahon is scheduled to appear at this year's Wrestlemania squaring against WWE legend the Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match and, uh, Shane will probably do this kick as well as fall from a really, really high place.

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Saenchai Calling Out Conor McGregor? Sure, Why Not.

Arguing against Saenchai being one of the all-time greats in muay thai is pretty much wasting your time at this point. He's earned his spot and wowed enough audiences worldwide to have earned his spot at the top and now it looks like Saenchai is trying to get paid. The biggest payday in combat sports outside of fighting Floyd Mayweather right now? It's probably fighting UFC's Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor. 

McGregor is the rare pairing of a guy who can talk and captivate audiences on top of a guy with some real knock out power to back up that talk. His next fight is against Nate Diaz, which seems to have MMA fans all hot-and-bothered, but this week Saenchai decided to toss his name into the hat for the McGregor games as well. Saenchai says that he's accomplished plenty in muay thai and is looking for a new challenge.

Dear god, imagine Saenchai annihilating dudes in the UFC?

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Enfusion Live #37 Card Shows One of the Better Early Cards of 2016

Enfusion knows where their bread is buttered, and thusly their cards in the Netherlands tends to have a bigger feel than the rest of their cards. Looking at the card for Enfusion Live #37 is proof of that as we get a one-night 70kg tournament, a heavyweight title fight and a few fights featuring some of the names that they've built into stars. The headline attraction is an Enfusion Heavyweight Championship bout between champion Ismael Lazaar and top ranked heavyweight Jahfarr Wilnis. Wilnis made a name for himself by winning Kunlun Fight's heavyweight tournament last year and then a strong performance in a GLORY contender tournament just cemented his top spot. This will be a huge challenge for Lazaar and is definitely a heavily-anticipated bout.

Enfusion Live #37 Eindhoven, The Netherlands Saturday 27.02.2016

21.00 Local start time (20.00 GMT)

3X3                                                                  -72.5Kg

Serginio Kanters (Surinam) Vs   Yassin Baitar (Morocco)

3X3                                                                  -57Kg Female

Samantha Van Doorn (The Netherlands) Vs Patrizia Gibelli (Poland)

3X3      TOURNAMENT                         -70Kg

Nordin Ben Moh (Morocco) Vs Mohammed Jaraya (Morocco)

3X3      TOURNAMENT                        -70Kg

Tayfun Ozcan (Turkey) Vs Madicke Kamara (France)

3X3                                                            -85Kg    

Ibrahim El Boustati (Morocco) Vs Patrick Van Rees (The Netherlands)

3X3                                                                  -67Kg    

Ilias Bulaid (Morocco) Vs Edson Fortes (Cape Verde)

5X3      ENFUSION WORLD TITLE         Heavyweight

Ismael Lazaar (Morocco) Vs Jahfarr Wilnis (The Netherlands)

3X3      TOURNAMENT FINAL              -70Kg

Winner Fight 3 Vs Winner Fight 4

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SuperKombat Kicks Off 2016 Season in Puerto Rico

SuperKombat pledged to take on the United States in 2016 and in their season opener they aren't exactly in America yet, but getting closer. Their first event of the year will happen on March 26th in Puerto Rico with a main event featuring Daniel Sam vs. Catalin Morosanu. 

"After months of negotiations, we are happy to announce that Superkombat events will be hosted also in the USA. For that, we have selected a strategic partner in our team, Mr. Richy Miranda – Cortese to support our efforts and who will develop the Superkombat concept in the whole American continent.”

“The first USA event will be in Puerto Rico, but we will continue also in other countries from the American continent and now we are thinking about Colombia, Mexico and Dominican Republic. As we did in Europe, we will discover new heroes in America through the Superkombat academy system which will be developed all around the world. The event for March 26 will be called USA vs Rest of the world," said Mr. Irimia.

There will be more information on this event in the coming weeks. [source]

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Kunlun Fight Sets Sights on Europe

China's Kunlun Fight has one of the best kickboxing products around right now, employing some of the very best fighters from around the world as well as top Chinese prospects. Their tournaments have made new champions and brought to light lesser-known talents who have turned out to be some of the very best in the world. The only problem is that much of their product appeals to a wider audience, just that this wider audience has no way of finding these shows.

That seems to be changing with Kunlun's expansion into Europe. A recent report has slated them as working out television deals in Europe with both Eurosport and Canal+ thanks to a working agreement with Amibo TV productions. 

There have also been talks of running events in Europe as well. Neither of those television deals are going to net big money, but they will make the product more accessible to fans outside of China, at least. This comes hot off of the heels of Kunlun announcing its "Superstar Fight" series that will take place monthly in China and be focused on MMA over kickboxing.

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Free Agent Alistair Overeem Could Revitalize Kickboxing's Heavyweight Division

(C) Dan Herbertson

Today Bellator announced the signing of former WEC and UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson. Henderson was a free agent after his UFC contract expired and him moving to Bellator is yet another big deal in the wake of UFC's grasp on the industry starting to wane thanks to Viacom's hefty check book and moves by the UFC like the Reebok deal that made fighting in the UFC a lot less attractive to fighters. There is another free agent out there that has interest from many sides and that free agent also has our interest as well, that is Alistair Overeem. 

Overeem's UFC career has been solid, if not average at 5-3 with big wins over Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir and Junior Dos Santos. But now he finds himself as a free agent and it seemingly comes down to taking a lesser offer from the UFC in hopes of getting a run at the UFC Heavyweight Championship, or to look for greener pastures. 

The question on lots of fans' minds is this; will he end up in Bellator. My question is a bit different; will he kickbox again? 

In a way it seems impossible, right? With all due respect to GLORY, the chances of them paying Overeem what he wants seems slim-to-none at this point and no other big kickboxing organization would really benefit from adding Overeem to their roster at his high price point. That is, if you are looking at things in a traditional, binary way of a promotion having only this or that, or just being MMA or just kickboxing. What if a promotion could offer both?

We've known about Bellator's Scott Coker looking to expand into kickboxing for almost a year now, but the wheels seem to be in motion starting at the April Oktagon event (although Bellator has yet to comment on this yet), with Joe Schilling confirming in his recent Reddit AMA that Bellator was going to venture into kickboxing. All of a sudden Bellator seems not only like a logical destination for a fighter like Alistair Overeem's MMA career, but for the final K-1 World Grand Prix Champion (at least under the FEG banner, I guess, are we counting Cro Cop's win?) to return to kickboxing and shake things up in heavyweight kickboxing. 

A huge part of why heavyweight kickboxing has felt so hollow over the past few years has been not only the dissolution of K-1's legendary heavyweight division, but the retirement or fading away of the stars that made that division so great. Alistair Overeem was the man to win the last real K-1 World Grand Prix while K-1 still had its roster in tact. A big part of why the division hasn't felt as vibrant would have to be that for years the champion would continue fighting in tournaments and when a new champion was crowned there were no lingering doubts because the system was clear. The system was incredibly simple; the champion won a one-night, eight man tournament each year. Period. That's it. 

GLORY has held tournaments since then, and K-1 held a World Grand Prix in 2012 that Mirko Cro Cop won, but all of these tournaments felt like they were missing something. In that period of time Rico Verhoeven has risen up to the very top of the food chain, but finding someone to challenge him has been a chore for GLORY. On top of that, some fans still don't accept him as the "real" champion for god know's what reason. I'd argue that a big part of that feeling is that the chain was broken and the champion didn't go on to fight in another tournament. There was no passing of the torch, so to speak. 

If Bellator is truly going to have their own kickboxing promotion this year who better to help build that promotion around than Alistair Overeem, former K-1 World Grand Prix Champion? And yes, he could do that while still fighting in MMA for them as well. Overeem's star power is undeniable at this point and while promotional logistics would make a potential clash between Overeem and Verhoeven difficult, never say never. 

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Opponent Announced for Robin van Roosmalen's MMA Debut and More at FFC 22

Robin van Roosmalen will be making his MMA debut at FFC 22 in Athens on February 19th, that much we knew, but his opponent was unknown still. Now we know that he'll be fighting 6-5 Greek fighter Theo Michailidis, currently fighting out of the UK at -66kg. This should be an interesting challenge for van Roosmalen as it'll involve weight cutting as well as fighting an opponent who is experienced in MMA, although not seemingly a world beater. 

Another fight to look forward to is at -95kg in kickboxing between Pavel Zhuravlev and Brian Douwes. Douwes has proven himself many times over after a few mediocre showings in It's Showtime early on in his career and this fight is a pretty big deal at -95kg.

FFC 22  Athens

19/2/2015, 8PM

 

MMA:

Robin Van Roosmalen (NED) vs. Theo Michailidis (GRE), -66kg

Darko Stošić (SER) vs. Emil Zahariev (BUL), HW

Pavel Doroftei (MOL) vs. TBA, -84kg

David Vasić (CRO) vs. Zauri Maisuradze (GE), -84kg

Alexander Papadimitriou (GRE) vs. Vladislav Genov (BUL), -70kg

TBA vs. TBA

KB:

Pavel Zhuravlev (UKR) vs. Brian Douwes (NED), -95kg

Samo Petje (SLO) vs. Meletis Kakaoubavas (GRE), -70kg

Antonio Plazibat (CRO) vs. Sergei Masloboev (LT), -95kg

Tomislav Čikotić (CRO) vs. Marius Munteanu (ROM), HW

Marko Adamović (SER) vs. Florian Marku (ALB), -70kg

JAsmin Bajrović (CRO) vs. Dimitris Chiotis (GRE), -77kg

 

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Full Card for Jan. 23 Wu Lin Feng Card Featuring Petrosyan and More

China, man, are they starting to get a vice grip on kickboxing or what? Wu Lin Feng's upcoming show on January 23rd is proof enough that they are doing some big things. That 67kg tournament is truly interesting, with names like Andrei Kubelin, Xie Lei, UMA and Nathan Robson. On top of that the legendary Yi Long is competing against Eyedisa Alamdarnezam and Pakorn is fighting Wei Rui.

The man that knocked out Simon Marcus, Fang Bian, is in action as well, taking on France's Cedric Doumbe. The big fight for most of us is Giorgio Petrosyan's first bout of the year against Jiao Fukai in what is looking to be an incredibly busy year for the Doctor early on.

Card is courtesy of our friends at Kiksie.

Wu Lin Feng

January 23, 2016

Shanghai, China

Broadcast on Henan TV

Tournament Quarterfinal #1 - 67kg

Qiu Jiangliang (China) vs. Nathan Robson (Australia)

Tournament Quarterfinal #2 - 67kg

Lu Jianbo (China) vs. Melsik Bagdasaryan (USA)

Tournament Quarterfinal #3 - 67kg

Xie Lei (China) vs. UMA (Japan)

Tournament Quarterfinal #4 - 67kg

Feng Jie (China) vs. Andrei Kulebin (Belarus)

65kg

Deng Zeqi (China) vs. Jomthong Chuwattana (Thailand)

67kg

Yang Zhuo (China) vs. Craig Dickson (United Kingdom)

73kg

Yi Long (China) vs. Seyedisa Alamdarnezam (Iran)

63kg

Wei Rui (China) vs. Pakorn PKSaenchaimuaythaigym (Thailand)

Tournament Semifinal #1 - 67kg

Quarterfinal #1 Winner vs. Quarterfinal #2 Winner

Tournament Semifinal #2 - 67kg

Quarterfinal #3 Winner  vs. Quarterfinal #4 Winner

81kg

Wang Honxiang (China) vs. TBA

71kg

Jiao Fukai (China) vs. Giorgio Petrosyan (Italy)

80kg

Fang Bian (China) vs. Cedric Doumbe (France)

Tournament Final - 67kg

Semifinal #1 Winner vs. Semifinal #2 Winner

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