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Anatomy of an Instant Classic

  • Published in Video

BadrOvereemOn Saturday December 5th, 2009 at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan, one of the pivotal matches in K-1 history occured. A match that will be talked about and referenced for many years to come. Normally, a fight of this magnitude involves long-standing legends of the sport. Fighters such as Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost, Mike Bernardo or the late great Andy Hug. But not this one. This battle would be between a young gun by the name of Badr Hari and an outsider. A fighter known in other areas of the combat sports world that sought to add a K-1 title to his resume. While this fight could have been just another in the long history of kickboxing, it quickly became so much more.

 

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Alistair Overeem Pre-Fight Interview; Strikeforce Heavyweight GP This Weekend

  • Published in Kickboxing

Alistair Overeem is, regardless of K-1's current status, the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, that means he won what is one of the biggest tournaments in combat sports with a long, rich history. It is still unclear if Overeem will be able to fight for K-1 again, or if K-1 will hold another World Grand Prix, but what is clear is that Overeem is involved in another huge tournament this year and that is the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. Overeem faces off against Fabricio Werdum in the Final 8 round this weekend, in a rematch from a few years ago in PRIDE when Overeem was still cutting weight to make Light Heavyweight (PRIDE's Middleweight). Overeem has grown as a fighter since then, with his trainer Martijn de Jong actually saying that Overeem is the most improved fighter that he has ever had the pleasure of working with.

Overeem is already the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion and looks to take the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP crown as well beginning this weekend. Watch him as he talks to MMAFighting's Ariel Helwani about this weekend's big fight, and while it isn't kickboxing, he has the support of us and the kickboxing community. Also note that Overeem says that he has not signed a new contract with Zuffa yet, so he is still free to fight anywhere until that contract is up. [source]

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Alistair Overeem's March to the Top Continues; MMA Fans Show Their True Colors

  • Published in K-1

Alistair Overeem proves to be the shades of grey that we as MMA fans do not often see anymore. In a world where the UFC lays claim to every top fighter in every weight class, very few fighters are seen as holdouts while still on the top of their game. The shine has worn off of Fedor Emelianenko with two back-to-back losses against non-UFC Heavyweights, Nick Diaz has decided to bite the bullet and return to the UFC to square off against UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre. His teammate Gilbert Melendez, Strikeforce’s Lightweight Champion also appears to be on the same path as Diaz, heading to the UFC to prove who is really the best in their respective weight class.

Alistair Overeem is the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, the DREAM Heavyweight Champion and the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Heavyweight Champion, making him one of the most decorated champions in all of the combat sports world, yet many still see him as a relative unknown quantity. To many fans, Alistair Overeem is still untested, with only one fight within the United States against a fringe top ten competitior in Brett Rogers to defend his Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship. Overeem has chosen to compete in other parts of the world, in Europe and Asia while waiting for a dream fight between Fedor Emelianenko before Fedor lost to Werdum. With those plans dashed, Overeem looked for a rematch with Werdum, whom he lost to in PRIDE back in 2006 during the Openweight GP. At the time, Overeem was cutting down to Light Heavyweight and not allowing himself and his naturally large frame to do any muscle-building exercises.

What that tells me is that Overeem is one of the only top fighters in his respective weight classes who has yet to be tested in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and fans refuse to accept that anyone outside of the UFC system can truly be the best. Overeem represents a sense of freedom and unknown, much like a horse out in the wild that has yet to be broken. Overeem has all of the skills, charisma and power to be one of the most legendary MMA Heavyweights to ever exist, he just needs to amass the wins over fighters that are considered to be the best of the division to placate the masses.

Overeem’s status to American fight fans is disputed, as some see him as the best and others see him as overrated and being measured for his merits outside of the familiar MMA world. Overeem has become one of the most spoken-about and disputed fighters of recent memory, which has only helped to build up the legend around him, to build up his aura of invincibility. There is no doubt that Overeem is beatable and has indeed been defeated in the past, sometimes worse than others. If anything this just proves one of the main fallacies of modern MMA fans and pundits alike -- they have a very narrow world view when it comes to greatness and there is a sense of reality missing from it. Everyone is held to the gold standard set by boxing great Rocky Marciano where he retired at 49-0, unscathed by the horror of defeat.

This indeed is an impossible standard to live up to for many professional fighters and shows just how narrow of a world view MMA fans have. Many mainstream sports stars could not live up to the impossible standards set by MMA fans, if they were held to those standards they would be written off as quickly as they rose and replaced with someone younger and with a still-untarnished record. The truth is, every legendary athlete has had setbacks and disappointments. There has yet to be a home run king in baseball who has yet to strike out or a basketball player who has never missed a shot. Every major sports team that has been to the top of the mountain has lost or choked when they got to the top at least once.

Part of what makes for a great, legendary athlete is the ability to overcome adversity, to taste defeat and have that only fuel the desire to come back, bigger, stronger, more skilled and better than ever. Talent is apparent, it is visible in sports, you can see talent and you can measure it. Do you knock a college basketball prospect with immense talent for being stuck in a weak conference where they can make the opposition look bad? Do you declare a MLB pitcher who throws a no-hitter against another team as overrated because the other team isn’t the best? No.

This weekend I eagerly await watching Alistair Overeem ply his trade against another incredible fighter in Fabricio Werdum, with the winner being the better man that night, both with bright futures. Talent is apparent in both, with Werdum being an incredible MMA BJJ practitioner who has worked to improve his stand up while Overeem is a decorated submission grappler in his own right and easily the most decorated kickboxer alive right now. Both men will go to war, looking to move on to the next round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. What is sad is that most MMA fans and pundits won’t be seeing this fight for what it is, but will instead see two non-UFC Heavyweights involved in a pointless exercise of tedium that might involve an entertaining fight.

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Photo of the Day: Alistair Overeem Trains with Tyrone Spong

  • Published in Kickboxing

It is just a week away until Tyrone Spong will step into the ring at It's Showtime 58 against the legend Peter Aerts. The bout is slated to be Mr. K-1's retirement in the Benelux region of Europe, originally his full retirement, before Glory stepped in with an offer that he couldn't refuse. As we are all very aware of, Spong is training in Florida alongside the Blackzilian camp, which includes UFC Heavyweight contender and former K-1 World Grand Prix champion Alistair Overeem. This means that Spong and Overeem train together, and for Spong, who better to train with than the man that narrowly defeated him in K-1? The team behind the Reem was there to photograph their training and share it with the world.

Don't forget to go ahead and purchase the PPV for It's Showtime 57 and 58, which means access to the full card!

Spong/Reem

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With Alistair Overeem Out of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP, a K-1 Return is Possible

  • Published in K-1

Some of the downright oddest news I had read in the past few weeks was that Alistair Overeem was no longer in the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP and there were rumors swirling around that he was no longer fighting under the Zuffa banner at all. On Monday Overeem went on the MMA Hour and more or less trashed his new bosses, claiming no one had confirmed him fighting on September 10th with him and revealing that he only had one fight on his contract remaining with Zuffa. The insanity that a fighter involved in a possible three-fight tournament with only two fights remaining on their current contract is disorganized at best. Many had assumed that since Zuffa's purchase of Strikeforce that fighters like Overeem would be immediately locked down into newer contracts, but the truth is that Overeem's management team at Golden Glory has been trying to negotiate with Zuffa to secure the future for Overeem and it appears that things have reached a standstill.

With UFC scooping up Strikeforce talent such as Nick Diaz and possibly Gilbert Melendez it would only make sense to scoop up Heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem as well, but the Heavyweight Grand Prix has made that difficult. Overeem is apparently nursing a broken toe, which he has decided will keep him out of action until at least October, when he feels like he could fight.

In recent interviews Alistair has made mention of a possible boxing match with Vitali Klitschko in Europe, which for the uninitiated is a reigning boxing world champion and former kickboxer himself and would make for a huge payday for Overeem, possibly more than he could make in his MMA career. Overeem has also noted that K-1 will be returning and that he would love to return to kickboxing action and under his current Strikeforce contract he is able to do so. If you add this to the persistent rumors that K-1 has an upcoming event planned for October in China or Japan and there being no Strikeforce events scheduled for October, it appears like Overeem showing up in a K-1 ring is possible.

Out of all the unlikely scenarios one would have imagined just two months ago, it has once again become a possibility.

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The Reem Part II, Episode 1: Coming to America

  • Published in Kickboxing

If you enjoyed 'The Reem' -- an online documentary about Alistair Overeem's trials and tribulations, following his career from his Strikeforce title win to Alistair Overeem's big win at the K-1 Heavyweight World Grand Prix. So now, we follow Alistair Overeem from Dynamite!! 2010 and onward. This episode of The Reem starts off on Superbowl Weekend to the Strikeforce Fan Expo and Media Day for the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. As per usual, incredible music choices line the innards of "The Reem." I'm always happy to hear mixes of Guns N' Roses and Ennio Morricone when I'm watching stuff about one of my favorite fighters. [source]

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The Reem Part II, Episode 2: The Tournament Begins

  • Published in Kickboxing

The age of the internet has led to a lot of great things, including being closer than ever to superstar athletes as they globe trot and make a bigger name for themselves. I firmly believe that Alistair Overeem's recent burst of fame has a lot to do with great management and the hype that was built up for him. Overeem's internet documentary The Reem is absolutely first class. We followed Overeem from his Strikeforce title win to his K-1 World GP win and now we follow him through the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. This is the second episode of The Reem. [source]

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2010 LiverKick.com Fans' Kickboxer of the Year: Alistair Overeem

  • Published in News

If you'll remember way back, way back to a few weeks ago, we ran a poll on LiverKick.com to determine who you, the fans believed to be the kickboxer of the year in 2010. There really was not much of a gamble involved in this, as it was going to come down to one of the two K-1 World Grand Prix Champions, either heavyweight or MAX. Even then, it seemed like a no-brainer as to who the fans were going to vote for, due to his popularity in Mixed Martial Arts and now holding three combat sports world championships, affording him a spot in the Guiness Book of World Records.

That's right, Alistair Overeem.

Alistair Overeem ended 2008 by knocking out Badr Hari, which many conceived to be insanity at the time. Overeem was a MMA fighter with a losing kickboxing record from when he was just a kid. We all knew that Alistair Overeem was a good, not great MMA fighter and was best known for making Cro Cop's testicles hurt, a lot. For the rest of 2009 he had dedicated himself to a K-1 career, which incited Western fans who just wanted the absurdity that was the Strikeforce title situation to come to an end. Alistair Overeem was living out a dream in 2009, which was competing with the best kickboxers in the world and holding his own, while fighting MMA fights to keep himself active in between. If anything, people should have taken a step back and looked at the sheer brilliance of what his manager, Bas Boon was doing. Bas Boon was creating the next big international breakout star, something the world of fighting had not seen since the days of PRIDE.

Of course Overeem's dedication to his training, his diet and keeping a sound mind are things he himself has to accomplish, but Bas Boon's role in the whole thing is that of a mastermind. Fans cried out that Overeem was ducking fighters, but Bas Boon was signing the contracts and negotiating for different fights. In a way, it follows the old professional wrestling rules where you build a monster up through public slaughterings of lesser opponents while still placing him in real competition. The real competition in 2009 for Overeem was the K-1 World Grand Prix.  He did better than anyone really expected of him and built up a big enough name for himself to where 2010 he had another shot at K-1 glory.

2010 was the year of "the Reem." 2009 ended with a strategic slaughtering of Kazuyuki Fujita, which Western fans once again complained was not elite competition, but was a solid name who was once a very competitive gatekeeper in the heavyweight division. The Yokohama GP show in April was meant to be sort of a "Feature" show for certain fighters going into the Final 16, and Overeem was one of them, being given an opponent of a tough, but outmatched Dzevad Poturak. Contrary to popular belief, this was very real competition and Overeem proved a lot in a dominant victory. Overeem defended his Strikeforce title, while was enough to calm some of the rabid Western fans (not all, you can never please them all), and then finished out 2010 with a flawless K-1 record, ripping Ben Edwards to shreds at the Final 16, scoring a tough decision over Tyrone Spong in the quarterfinals, stopping an injured Gokhan Saki in the semis and putting an exhausted and injured Peter Aerts down like Old Yeller in the finals.

All throughout this, Overeem's name was kept fresh in everyone's minds. How? Brilliance and marketing. Overeem was in attendance when Fedor Emelianenko was submitted by Fabricio Werdum to challenge the winner, and express his disappointment with Fedor's loss but loved the idea of avenging a previous loss to Werdum later on. Then throughout the year, the viral documentary that followed Alistair Overeem's career, "The Reem" was a hit, making headlines on every website the day a new episode was launched. Marketing, as well as top performances against tough competition made Alistair Overeem a superstar.

In 2011 he looks to defend his K-1 World Grand Prix Championship, his DREAM Heavyweight Championship and enter the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP to defend his title three times in MMA competition. At this point, the line between kickboxer and MMA fighter is blurred, as Alistair Overeem is just The Reem.

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Photo of the Day: Badr Hari and Alistair Overeem Training Together

  • Published in Kickboxing

Apparently a picture can tell a thousand words, which would be the case of this photo of Badr Hari training with Alistair Overeem. Sure, there are photos of them sparring each other in Russia, but what's interesting are the few shots of them grappling together. Badr Hari had sworn that he'd never train with Alistair Overeem while Overeem was with Mike Passenier, then he also had said some disparaging things about MMA in the past. This just proves that Badr Hari is kind of a big softie in the end, which we all knew anyway.

Photo is from Ben Pontier.

Badr

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Alistair Overeem at UFC 141: The Linear Champ is Here

  • Published in K-1

This Friday night at UFC 141 history will be made. Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem provides not only an interesting clash of styles, but an interesting clash of championships and ideologies. Brock Lesnar’s background is of course American wrestling, but he is most well-known for his tenure as a professional wrestler. Lesnar brings an unprecedented amount of personality, intensity and fanfare to his fights compared to other fighters in the UFC. On the other hand, Alistair Overeem represents Dutch Kickboxing and is one of the few holdouts in the world of International MMA who has been considered “the best” without being under a UFC contract.

In a way, for a lot of fans it seems to be a classic case of the pro wrestling dichotomy of “heel” against “face,” or bad guy against good guy. What is funny is, for different fans there seems to be differing opinions as to who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. For many, Brock Lesnar, whose professional careers have been marred by indecision and lack of passion, Lesnar is ironically a symbol of modern MMA. He is a company man and a representative for the modern UFC fighter. Lesnar went to the UFC as soon as he could in his career and has been facing competition that is without a doubt considered the very best in the world. These people view Alistair Overeem as another Fedor Emelianenko figure; a fighter who many fans believe to be one of the best in the world, but chose to compete outside of the UFC for as long as possible, thus he remained unchallenged against UFC’s crop of fighters.

The other side of the fence tends to view Lesnar as the professional wrestler who invaded MMA and has brought along his antics, attitude and pro wrestling fans. Alistair Overeem, on the other hand, is the two-sport champion who has seen success not only in Mixed Martial Arts but within K-1. Alistair Overeem in 2010 won the K-1 World Grand Prix, one of the striking world’s most prestigious tournaments, then went ahead and won the DREAM Heavyweight Champion. All the while, he was the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion. What decorates Overeem even more is when he defeated Fabricio Werdum in Strikeforce this year he won the mythical Linear Heavyweight Championship. The Linear Championship is not sanctioned by anyone or recognized, but for fans it dates back to when UFC first established a Heavyweight Championship. Randy Couture lost this title to Enson Inoue in 1998, and since then the title has been outside of the UFC. Overeem’s first fight in the UFC will bring back that Linear Heavyweight Championship, and the winner of this fight will possibly unite that championship with the current UFC Heavyweight Championship.

The point here is that Overeem has accomplished as much as he possibly could outside of the UFC, and him joining the UFC signifies his willingness to take that next step. For many, Alistair Overeem is a symbol. Overeem existed outside of the societal norm that was the UFC and began stacking up accolades and crushing everyone that was set before him. Alistair Overeem is literally one of the last heroes in the Mixed Martial Arts world who has yet to be tested within the UFC.

Not only will this fight have serious ramifications on the current UFC Heavyweight title picture, but for history it pits the former pro-wrestler-turned-UFC Champion against the man who conquered the world of Kickboxing as well as the non-UFC world of MMA. This fight brings the Linear Heavyweight Championship back to the UFC for the first time since 1998 and also will be the only time in history that the current K-1 World Grand Prix Champion has stepped into a UFC ring.

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