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2010 Fight of the Year: Part 9

Fight #9 is a late entry, but a strong contender...

Mosab Amrani v. Mohamed Khamal (It's Showtime at the Sand, December 18)

It's Showtime had an excellent year in 2010, but it wasn't until the final fight on the final show that they put on a true fight for the ages.  Mosab Amrani v. Mohamed Khamal is a testament to the power of quality matchmaking.  These are two young fighters, both eager to move up the ranks, and both coming in determined to win.  They're also extremely evenly matched, which results in a tremendous back and forth bout.  This one reminds me of Chahid v. Zambidis in a lot of ways, as both men throw at a very fast pace, but also use considerably more skill and technique then you see in many of these all action fights.  Khamal is in blue, Amrani in red.

 

If you ask me, Khamal should have picked up the decision win after regulation, but I have no complaints the way things went down.  Fun, fun fight here, and it's not terrible hyperbole when the announced says it may be the best fight It's Showtime has ever produced.  Great way for the company to close out the year and springboard into what could be a blockbuster 2011.

Previously featured:

Tyrone Spong v. Jerome Le Banner

Bovy Sor. Udomson v. Takaaki Umeno

Yuya Yamamoto v. Scott Shaffer

Tetsuya Yamato v. Yuta Kubo

Peter Aerts v. Ewerton Teixeira

Mike Zambidis v. Chahid Oulad El Hadj

Gokhan Saki v. Daniel Ghita

Peter Aerts v.  Semmy Schilt

There will be 10 fights total posted, with the final fight posted later today.  Fights are featured in chronological order moving through the year.  Voting will be open tomorrow to determine the winner.

Read more...

2010 Fight of the Year: Part 8

The last K-1 fight on the list, and we may have saved the best for last...

Peter Aerts v. Semmy Schilt (K-1 World Grand Prix Finals, December 11)

There's been a lot of ink spent on this fight already, but it's the kind of fight that deserves all that attention and more.  This was, in my opinion, the single greatest combat sports story of 2010, and the kind of story that makes you a sports fan.  On one side - the 40 year old Peter Aerts.  Aerts is the most beloved veteran of the sport, but after an unprecedented 17 year run at the top, he finally faltered last year, missing his first ever Grand Prix.  Earlier in 2010, Aerts had talked about the end coming soon, and after his KO loss to Kyotaro, it felt like the writing was on the wall - this could be the end of the road for the great one.  On the other side - the near 7 foot tall Semmy Schilt, the defending and 4 time K-1 Grand Prix champion.  Schilt is as dominant a fighter as K-1 has ever seen, never once being knocked out of the Grand Prix, or any other tournament for that matter.  All signs pointed to Schilt taking down the aged Aerts.

Now that is a moment.

Before moving on, let's take a look at exactly how Aerts pulled this off.  So many men had failed to take Schilt down - how did Aerts succeed?  One key to his victory is Aerts's ability to mix up his attack and constantly keep Schilt guessing.  He knows when to wade in with punches, when to lock Schilt up because he is too far inside, and when to retreat from the big man's strikes.  He reads Schilt masterfully, allowing him to always keep the pressure up and never let Schilt find his own rhythm.  And with that pressure he is able to connect punch after punch accurately on Schilt's chin.  They're not powerful KO shots, but they keep stunning Schilt.  Most importantly, they prevent Schilt from establishing the methodical rhythm he has used to defeat so many opponents.  It's a masterful plan, but one that takes intense concentration, confidence, and stamina to execute.  And that's where Aerts seals the deal - he never lets up, ultimately winning the fight in the final minutes.  When Schilt finally wilts under the Aerts attack, the 40 year old is still there to put the pressure on, claiming his victory with a definitive closing to the fight.  Beautiful, beautiful work that, when combined with the story going in, makes for a truly exceptional fight.

Previously featured:

Tyrone Spong v. Jerome Le Banner

Bovy Sor. Udomson v. Takaaki Umeno

Yuya Yamamoto v. Scott Shaffer

Tetsuya Yamato v. Yuta Kubo

Peter Aerts v. Ewerton Teixeira

Mike Zambidis v. Chahid Oulad El Hadj

Gokhan Saki v. Daniel Ghita

There will be 10 fights total posted, with the final two posted on Wednesday.  Fights are featured in chronological order moving through the year.  Voting will be open Thursday to determine the winner.

Read more...

2010 Fight of the Year: Part 7

Our fight of the year march through the Grand Prix continues today with a pair of bouts from the Heavyweight GP.  Up first...

Gokhan Saki v. Daniel Ghita (K-1 Grand Prix Finals, December 11)

Heading into the GP finals, this was the fight many were most looking forward to.  Post event, it kind of got lost in the hype of a certain other fight that we'll discuss later today, which is a shame as this is a great fight.  What you have here are two of K-1's new guard competing in one of the year's finest technical battles.  In particular, the kicks thrown by both are simply phenomenal - this whole thing could be an instructional video on how to throw kicks effectively in kickboxing.  Ghita and Saki mix it up, attacking the legs, the body, the head, and they do it all with accuracy, set-ups, and beautiful timing.  There's so much skill on display here that you can watch this fight again and again and pick up more.

Rewatching it now, I am reminded of Ernesto Hoost v. Peter Aerts from the 1993 Grand Prix - two young fighters with the future standing ahead of them ready to take the next big leap forward.  I suspect this fight will age well with time, and will go down as a classic early encounter between two men who will be major players for some years to come.  Be happy to be here when they first met.

Previously featured:

Tyrone Spong v. Jerome Le Banner

Bovy Sor. Udomson v. Takaaki Umeno

Yuya Yamamoto v. Scott Shaffer

Tetsuya Yamato v. Yuta Kubo

Peter Aerts v. Ewerton Teixeira

Mike Zambidis v. Chahid Oulad El Hadj

There will be 10 fights total posted.  Fights 7 & 8 on Tuesday, and 9 & 10 conclude on Wednesday.  Fights are featured in chronological order moving through the year.  Voting will be open Wednesday night to determine the winner.

Read more...

2010 Fight of the Year: Part 6

Our next entry is the 2nd fight from K-1's big double Final 16 weekend, and is a fight you knew had to be on this list...

"Iron" Mike Zambidis v. Chahid Oulad El Hadj (K-1 MAX Grand Prix Final 16, October 3)

It's rare that we get fights like this - fights where both men throw down with so much passion that the energy just grabs you.  Where neither man wants to give in, and both push each other to the limit.  In the UFC, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar had one of those fights, and it helped save the company.  This one likely won't have that same impact on K-1 MAX, but if things were right with the world, it would.  This is, quite simply, an amazing fight; you can tell from the passion in the commentary, the cheers from the crowd, and hopefully your own feelings while watching.  What makes it even better is that it is a fight between two men who always were able to deliver excitement, but had not found themselves on the winning side lately.  Zambidis's last K-1 appearance was a loss to Hinata, while Chahid had recently recovered from a terrible 2009.  Neither man seemed like they would be a real factor in the Grand Prix, but together they provided the greatest highlight of MAX's year.

Enough words... sit back and enjoy.

 

Previously featured:

Tyrone Spong v. Jerome Le Banner

Bovy Sor. Udomson v. Takaaki Umeno

Yuya Yamamoto v. Scott Shaffer

Tetsuya Yamato v. Yuta Kubo

Peter Aerts v. Ewerton Teixeira

There will be 10 fights total posted.  Fights 7 & 8 on Tuesday, and 9 & 10 conclude on Wednesday.  Fights are featured in chronological order moving through the year.  Voting will be open Wednesday night to determine the winner.

Read more...

2010 Fight of the Year: Part 5

Fight #5 in our fight of the year series is the first of two Final 16 fights, and a bit of an overlooked fight from the year...

Ewerton Teixeira v. Peter Aerts (K-1 Grand Prix Final 16, October 2)

Heading into this fight, both men were in serious need of a win.  Teixeira had ended 2009 on a bad note: a notoriously boring fight with Singh Jaideep, followed by an all time highlight reel KO loss to Alistair Overeem.  He had rebounded with a win at K-1 Oceania, but no one saw that show, so the lasting image most fans had was Ewerton face down, his hair pooled around him.  Aerts too was a recent KO victim, his coming at the hands of Kyotaro.  After missing his first ever GP in 2009, a 2nd missed GP could mean the end of an era for Aerts.  Both men needed the win, and both men came in fighting that way.

This fight may not have the fireworks of the last few we've looked at, but it really is a fabulous technical display between two experts at their craft.  This fight shows a bit of everything - clinch fighting, kicks, punches, defense, aggression... it's all here, and it's all executed flawlessly.  For Aerts, this would be the beginning of what will go down as a legendary Grand Prix run, while Teixeira gained momentum even in his loss and has since defeated Errol Zimmerman.

Previously featured:

Tyrone Spong v. Jerome Le Banner

Bovy Sor. Udomson v. Takaaki Umeno

Yuya Yamamoto v. Scott Shaffer

Tetsuya Yamato v. Yuta Kubo

There will be 10 fights total posted.  Fights 5 & 6 on Monday, 7 & 8 on Tuesday, and 9 & 10 conclude on Wednesday.  Fights are featured in chronological order moving through the year.  Voting will be open Wednesday night to determine the winner.

Read more...

Dynamite Videos All Week

Dynamite!!Under a week until FEG presents Dynamite!! 2010 - the year end super show of the Japanese fight scene.  To get ready, check out the VIDEO OF THE DAY all week as we feature highlights from years past.

Dynamite!! has always, for me, been a show all about the spectacle and joy of Japanese fighting.  It's a chance to kick back, relax, and enjoy some fun fights.  So while a fight like 2008's Kyshenko v. Sato may have been technically great, it doesn't really capture that same crazy Dynamite!! spirit the same way Bob Sapp fighting a comic book character does.

Today's feature: We end with a personal favorite of mine - KID YAMAMOTO v. GENKI SUDO

Sunday:  BOB SAPP v. AKEBONO

Monday: SHINYA AOKI v. MIZUTO HIROTA

Tuesday: GENKI SUDO v. BUTTERBEAN

Wednesday: DON FRYE v. JEROME LE BANNER

Your picks for Dynamite!! highlights?

Read more...

2010 Fight of the Year: Part 4

The next entry in our 2010 Fight of the Year series takes us back to K-1, as they crown a new king...

Tetsuya Yamato v. Yuta Kubo (K-1 63kg Grand Prix Finals, July 5)

For the first half of 2010, K-1 was all about their new 63kg division, and boy did that division deliver.  Their inaugural 63kg Grand Prix was an all around superb tournament, capped off by the best GP final K-1 has seen in recent years as Tetsuya Yamato (in blue) faced Yuta Kubo (red).  Both men had a tough path to the finals, as Yamato defeated early tournament favorite Masahiro Yamamoto, Yuki, and Kizaemon Saiga, while Kubo took out DJ.taiki, Keiji Ozaki, and Yoshimichi Matsumoto (in one of the year's best KOs).  Their final battle was a superb contest, combining fast paced skill with drama and excitement.

Sadly, K-1 has yet to follow up on this fight, as the division has been largely dormant, with Krush instead taking the 63kg lead.  Yamato will be back in action at Dynamite!!

Previously featured:

Tyrone Spong v. Jerome Le Banner

Bovy Sor. Udomson v. Takaaki Umeno

Yuya Yamamoto v. Scott Shaffer

A note on this series - we'll be posting 1 or 2 of the top fights of the year on a daily basis over the coming week.  Fights will be featured in chronological order moving through the year.  Voting will be open next week to determine the winner.

Read more...

Yodsaenklai Fairtex vs Artem Levin 2008

Artem's come a long way since 2008, but in this bout in Sweden, he was just starting to break out internationally. He's a tall, craft fighter who uses the advantages of his build well in the ring. He's got a fair bit of athleticism in his frame, too. He wears the blue gloves in this bout.

Yodsaenklai Fairtex at the time already was one of the most famous Thai nak muays on the planet. Before fighting internationally, he'd had a distinguished career in Thailand, winning a Lumpini title at 115 lb flyweight. He steadily moved up in weight in Thailand, fighting other highly ranked fighters like Sam-A Thor Ratanakiat, Orono Wor Petchpun, and Ponsaneh Sitmonchai, before moving from Petchyindee to Fairtex and fighting internationally at 70 kg, 154 lb.

Before this first match with Artem -- they would rematch at 75 kg, 165 lb, in the 2010 Sport Accord games in Beijing -- Yodsaenklai had met Farid Villaume and John Wayne Parr twice in the ring. The Contender Asia broadcast was drawing to a close and he was close to the height of his international regard, so a win over him would have definitely propelled Artem into the top ranks.

This bout is under K-1 rules. Yodsaenklai wears red gloves.

 

Read more...

2010 Fight of the Year: Part 3

Fight #3 in our series keeps us focused on the smaller Japanese scene:

Yuya Yamamoto v. Scott Shaffer (Krush.6, April 29)

Once again, a very fun fight.  Here, 2009 K-1 MAX Final 4 fighter Yamamoto main events Krush against the largely unknown Shaffer.  But Shaffer gives it a real go, pushing Yuya into the kind of fight where the Japanese fighter thrives, resulting in one of the best finishes of 2010.

 

 

 

I like this one as a sort of more technical version of yesterday's Bovy v. Umeno fight.  At first it looks like Yuya might easily take this, but once Shaffer drops him in the first, then almost finishes him as time runs down, you know this is closer than it appeared.  From there, you get great swings in the momentum, with Yamamoto dropping Shaffer, only to have the American come back strong to end round 2.  At the start of the 3rd it's a very close fight, when Yamamoto just pours it on, absolutely wrecking Shaffer with a brutal finish.

Previously featured:

Tyrone Spong v. Jerome Le Banner

Bovy Sor. Udomson v. Takaaki Umeno

A note on this series - we'll be posting 1 or 2 of the top fights of the year on a daily basis over the coming week.  Fights will be featured in chronological order moving through the year.

Read more...

2010 Fight of the Year: Part 2

Our look at the top fights of 2010 continues here with a slightly more obscure fight:

Bovy Sor. Udomson v. Takaaki Umeno (Shootboxing Ishin 2, April 11)

From Shootboxing, this one kind of flew under the radar, but if you want an action packed brawl, this one is for you.  The Thai fighter Bovy has seen his career fade in recent years, while Shootboxing's Umeno has been on the rise.  Here they met in the middle, turning in a crazy, bloody battle high on excitement.

 

Previously featured:

Tyrone Spong v. Jerome Le Banner

A note on this series - we'll be posting 1 or 2 of the top fights of the year on a daily basis over the coming week.  Fights will be featured in chronological order moving through the year.

Read more...
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