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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings

  • Published in Rankings

Heavyweight

1. Alistair Overeem
2. Peter Aerts
3. Semmy Schilt
4. Badr Hari
5. Gokhan Saki
6. Ewerton Teixeira
7. Kyotaro
8. Daniel Ghita
9. Hesdy Gerges
10. Tyrone Spong
11. Jerome Le Banner
12. Nathan Corbett
13. Errol Zimmerman
14. Ashwin Balrak
15. Ruslan Karaev
16. Zabit Samedov
17. Brice Guidon
18. Melvin Manhoef
19. Pavel Zhuravlev
20. Mourad Bouzidi
21. Anderson Silva
22. Rico Verhoeven
23. Mighty Mo
24. Raul Catinas
25. Alexey Ignashov

Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 25 fighters in two different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 77kg limit, and Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit. Our rankings are based on in-ring accomplishments and recent wins and loses. We hope they reflect where these fighters currently stand, although we recognize that all rankings are inherently subjective.

February 2011

Since the January rankings, there has been very little movement in the heavyweight division.  The biggest HW fights were set to take place at the January 30 Ultimate Glory show, but once that was moved back to March, the HW division was essentially put on deep freeze for the time being.

There were, however, three points worth mentioning:

First, our last rankings were just before New Year's Eve, and so did not include Kyotaro's upset loss at the hands of Gegard Mousasi.  With that loss, Kyotaro drops one spot, being passed by Ewerton Teixeira (who holds a 2008 win over Kyotaro).

Second, Alexey Ignashov was in action, defeating Roman Kleibl, another fighter just outside the top 25.  While his performance wasn't great, recent wins over Kleibl and Freddy Kemayo are enough to sneak Ignashov in to the rankings at #25.  Ignashov will have his next big opportunity on July 23 when he challenges #9 Hesdy Gerges for the It's Showtime Heavyeight title.

Finally, the biggest news actually concerns out of the ring events.  While it pains me to do it, I've removed the formerly #4 ranked Remy Bonjasky from the rankings.  It's been well over a year since he last fought, and in that time we've heard that he's retiring soon, then silence.  There's still a chance we'll see him again, but it will likely just be a farewell fight, if it even happens at all.  I know Remy has his detractors, but he's in a rare air of K-1 greats, and it's a shame to see his career fade away in such a lackluster way.

As far as upcoming fights are concerned, we'll have to wait until March for much to happen - that's when we'll get both the Ultimate Glory semi-finals (#5 Gokhan Saki vs. Wendell Roche and #17 Brice Guidon vs. #20 Mourad Bouzidi), and the superb It's Showtime fight between #8 Daniel Ghita and #9 Hesdy Gerges.  Given K-1's troubles, it may be awhile before be get a HW fight to rival Gerges vs. Ghita.  That fight is set for It's Showtime Amsterdam on March 6, which will also feature #22 Rico Verhoeven vs. Jamal Benz on the undercard.

One other fight to note - on February 26 in Australia it will be Thor Hoopman vs. Paul Slowinski.  Although neither man is currently ranked, both are just outside the top 25, and a big win here could propel one of them into the rankings.

The #1 Ranked Alistair OvereemAnd finally, don't forget to keep your eyes on MMA promotion Strikeforce in the coming months.  That's where #1 Alistair Overeem will be found, as he faces Fabricio Werdum in the opening round of their Grand Prix tournament.  This weekend for Strikeforce, K-1 veteran Ray Sefo continues his MMA career against The Reem's big brother Valentijn Overeem, plus K-1 newcomer and MMA veteran Sergei Kharitonov meets Andrei Arlovski in the HW Grand Prix.

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A Look at Mousasi v. Kyotaro

  • Published in K-1

Kyotaro at the Dynamite Press ConferenceIn the recent batch of Dynamite!! 2010 fight announcements was a fight worth a closer look.  Under K-1 rules, it will be K-1 Heavyweight champion Kyotaro v. Dream LHW champion Gegard Mousasi.  This is one of only two kickboxing fights currently scheduled for Dynamite!!, and although Mousasi is primarily an MMA fighter, this is a very intriguing fight.

The backstory of this fight largely stems from Dynamite!! 2008.  There, Mousasi made his K-1 debut, easily dispatching Japanese veteran Musashi in under one round (check out today's daily fight or click here to watch).  Since then, Musashi has retired, and Kyotaro has picked up the mantle of Japan's top heavyweight, winning the K-1 heavyweight title, and scoring upsets over opponents like Gokhan Saki, Peter Aerts, and Jerome Le Banner.  Given Japan's national pride, the story here is clear - Kyotaro wants to avenge the honor of Musashi and K-1.  As the champion himself stated: "I saw Mousasi KO Musashi 2 years ago and now I want to prove that K-1 fighters are stronger... I want to win back our prestige."  That story alone gives this fight a nice edge.

In ring, the fight should deliver as well.  Mousasi is a very strong all around fighter who can not be discounted here.  Kyotaro is more experienced, but far from invincible, and if Mousasi fights a smart game, he could bring his K-1 record up to 2-0.  Kyotaro will no doubt be looking to pull Mousasi into his game and get the Dream fighter moving forward and attacking.  From there, Mousasi could be exposed to Kyotaro's beautiful counter-punching attack.  That ability to counter-punch has been the demise of fighters with considerably more stand-up experience than Mousasi, and Gegard will need to be well prepared to avoid the same fate.  I think those skills will guide Kyotaro to victory again here, but I certainly don't think it's a lock.

The Dynamite card is now shaping up nicely with 11 confirmed fights and 1 confirmed by everyone but K-1.  Here's the line-up:

 

DREAM Rules:

Andy Ologun v. Furuki Katsuaki

Hideo Tokoro v. Kazuhisa Watanabe

Hayato Mach Sakurai v. Jason High

Kazushi Sakuraba v. Marius Zaromskis

Jerome Le Banner v. Satoshi Ishii

Josh Thomson v. Tatsuya Kawajiri

MINOWAMAN v. Hiroshi Izumi

Kazuyuki Miyata v. Caol Uno

Bibiano Fernandes v. Hiroyuki Takaya

 

K-1 Rules:

Tetsuya Yamato v. Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura

Kyotaro v. Gegard Mousasi

 

Mixed DREAM/K-1 Rules:

Shinya Aoki v. Yuichiro Nagashima

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Krush Fan Fest This Weekend

  • Published in Kickboxing

KrushJapan's Krush organization has been planning a big 2011, with the culmination of four separate tournaments to crown the company's first ever champions.  Like everyone based out of Japan, their plans were greatly delayed by the tragedy there, but now, one month later, Krush is getting ready for their return.

The next Krush show will be the April 30 event, featuring the 55, 60, and 63kg finals.  That show was originally scheduled for March, but pushed back for obvious reasons.  Now, they've announced a fan fest to be held this Saturday in anticipation of the show.  These kind of fan fests are pretty common in Japan, and typically not much to take not of, but this one stands out for a few reasons.

At the fan fest, Krush will announce the first 6 fighters to compete in the 70kg tournament, which will begin on May 29.  Originally I had pegged this to be the weakest of the 4 Krush tournaments, with Yuya Yamamoto likely being the lone big name.  But considering K-1 MAX's lack of shows, it's entirely possible we'll see more ranked names taking part here.  I anticipate Yamamoto and Nashiro are locks, and would love to see Jienotsu and Sato in there as well.

Also taking place at the event will be quite a weird exhibition fight - in some form of tag team competition, it will be Kyotaro and Keiji Ozaki vs. Fire Harada and an opponent who will be announced that day.  Will this be kickboxing?  MMA?  Pro-wrestling?  Who knows, but with Fire Harada in there, it should be fun.  Bizarre, but fun.  And, if you ask me, these are the kind of things you have to love about the Japan combat sports scene - you're just not going to get that sort of thing anywhere else.

Finally, one more exhibition fight was announced between Naoki Ishikawa and Kensaku Maeda.  While Maeda's name may be unfamiliar, anyone who has watched much Japanese kickboxing in the last year will surely recognize him.  Maeda is the head of Team Dragon, and is the man always in the corner of Kyotaro, the Urabes, and the rest of the Dragon fighters.  Maeda has been retired from competition since 2002, but was a decorated fighter back in his day.  The exhibition will be just one 3 minute round.  Cool to hear that Maeda is getting back in there, although I wouldn't bet on getting to see any footage of the fight.

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Four Fights Added to Dynamite!!

  • Published in K-1

With Dynamite!! 2010 just a few weeks away, FEG has slowly been trickling out news for the fans and media. As always, things are handled in a hush-hush manner by FEG, but fight camps sometimes spill the goods before they do. FEG held a press conference on Friday to announce a few of the feature bouts for the upcoming card.

After featuring only one kickboxing bout last year (Masato vs. Andy Souwer), they have added a second K-1 rules bout to the card, in the form of K-1 Heavyweight Champion Kyotaro facing off with Gegard Mousasi. Mousasi has not fought in a kickboxing fight since December 2008 at Dynamite!! 2008 where he made short work of the now retired Musashi. Mousasi is the current DREAM Light Heavyweight Champion and has held the promotion's Middleweight Championship as well as Strikeforce's Light Heavyweight Championship. Kyotaro poses a unique challenge for the Dutch kickboxer, as Kyotaro has speed, power and precision on his side.

The colorful Kazuhisa Watanabe will return to MMA action squaring off against Hideo Tokoro, with both men looking to add another much-needed win on their records. Another fight that was long-rumored is now confirmed, as Jason "KC Bandit" High returns to DREAM for the first time since DREAM.10 to face off with Hayato "Mach" Sakurai. Sakurai's back is against the wall against the younger High and High is looking to work his way back into the major leagues after a disappointing UFC debut this year.

Everyone's favorite Super HULK Champion, Ikuhisa Minowa, known as Minowaman, makes his return to the DREAM ring for the first time since his loss to Olympic Judoka Satoshi Ishii at DREAM.16. Minowa's last fight at DEEP 50 saw him get back into the win column with an armbar on Chang Hee Kim, providin some momentum against another Olympic Judoka, Hiroshi Izumi. Izumi is a Olympic Silver medalist from Athens in 2004 and fights for the first time away from the SRC banner.

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Kyotaro Ready for Second Boxing Bout

  • Published in K-1

Kyotaro

It has to be tough to be a Japanese heavyweight kickboxer and not have the ability to fight for the hometown K-1. For the smaller fighters, KRUSH, RISE and a few other promotions run big tournaments that keep them busy year round, but for poor Kyotaro, his options seemed to be limited. So limited, in fact, that he decided to try his hand at professional boxing, where he would have more opportunity than on the non-existant K-1 circuit. After making his debut in December, it appears that Kyotaro will once again step into the boxing ring.

According to Nightmare of Battle, Kyotaro is set to do battle with Jae-Chain Kim, a Korean Heavyweight who is currently ranked ninth by the OPBF. The two will meet on March 6th at the legendary Korakuen Hall. [source]

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Mousasi Upsets Kyotaro

  • Published in K-1

In one of the 2 K-1 rules fights at Dynamite!! 2010, Dream fighter Gegard Mousasi improved his K-1 record to a perfect 2-0 with an upset win over Kyotaro.  The K-1 Heavyweight champion came into the fight looking to avenge fellow K-1 fighter Musashi's loss to Gegard in 2008, but instead found himself added to Mousasi's mantle.

The first round was close, with both Kyotaro effectively using his superior skills to keep Mousasi at bay.  But in the 2nd, Kyotaro slowed down and Mousasi caught him, scoring a knockdown that had Kyotaro doing the proverbial chicken dance.  It looked like Mousasi would stop him in the 2nd, but Kyotaro survived until the final bell.  The decision was academic, as Mousasi easily claimed the victory on the judges' scorecards.

An unfortunate ending to an otherwise superb year for Kyotaro.

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