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Shin Breaking Will Never Be an Epidemic

  • Published in Interviews

Anderson

So after the UFC fights last night, I searched my twitter and Facebook walls and notice the usual talk of the action in the cage. As expected, most felt sorry for Anderson Silva who suffered a horrific shin break after his kick was checked in the second round. However the talk seemed to take on a new life, as I studied the trainers and coaches in the sport. It seems like all of them had an opinion on why it happened and how to avoid it. This was in response to their students, who in bunches started asking how it happened and if it could happen to them. As a coach of several UFC level fighters and high level kickboxers, I too got many texts and questions about the shin break. I hope to assure all of you that this is really rare and how it shouldn't effect how you teach techniques.

First of all, the main reason this scares everyone is because of who it happened to. Its just like steroids, who gets caught is what makes us take notice. If this happened to some undercard guy it would have been sad, but no one would have talked about it. Its because it happened to an all time great, who resume wise, showed way more muay thai skill sets than his opponent. If it were to happen to anyone, it should't have been Silva. No one imagines themselves a journeymen, but as a great. So when we see someone great get hurt, it reminds us of our own frailties and inabilities. If it happens to an undercard fighter, than that fighter was just unlucky, if it happens to a legend, than we feel that no one is safe, because these athletes are have dream careers, and no one gets injured in dreams.

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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings: January 2013

  • Published in Rankings

Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 10 fighters in three different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 85kg limit, Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit, and Lightweight, for fighters under 63kg. 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.

Heavyweight

1. Semmy Schilt
2. Daniel Ghita
3. Gokhan Saki
4. Rico Verhoeven up
5. Jamal Ben Saddik up
6. Tyrone Spong
7. Hesdy Gerges
8. Errol Zimmerman down
9. Pavel Zhuravlev up
10. Freddy Kemayo up

Sem SchiltHeavyweight - January 2013

There is a phrase when it comes to Heavyweight Kickboxing and that phrase is "Heavyweights gonna Heavyweight," and that is exactly what we have seen over the past few weeks. There has been a lot of movement in the Heavyweight rankings due in part to the SuperKombat World Grand Prix Finals and then of course the Glory World Series Grand Slam tournament.

#1 Semmy Schilt once again cemented his spot at the very top of the sport by defeating four men in one night to take home yet another tournament crown. As always, our rankings tend to favor the tournament format for rankings as that is the standard for which Heavyweight kickboxing is weighed. That is the easiest way to explain that #2 Daniel Ghita holds steady at the number two spot. Ghita worked through three opponents in one night and lost to Semmy Schilt in the finals in a disputed decision. Surely there are lots of fans of #3 Gokhan Saki upset that Saki is not in the second spot, but the reality is that he did not make it to the finals, but was very close indeed. Saki put up a very good fight against Semmy Schilt and is slated to fight Daniel Ghita in April.

#4 Rico Verhoeven earned his spot over the past year, where his inclusion on the rankings was always based on a win over Hesdy Gerges, who was ranked due to a DQ win over Badr Hari. Verhoeven has without a doubt proven his mettle and was only ousted by Schilt. #5 Jamal Ben Saddik is the guy who really threw a wrench in everyone's plans by making it to the semi-finals. There will be some dispute that he belongs above Rico, but the loss to Jafhar Wilnis does weight heavily on him right now. He still has shot onto the rankings in a heartbeat and should be here to stay.

#6 Tyrone Spong actually opted not to participate in the tournament for whatever reason, so he does not move, but he faces a still unranked Remy Bonjasky soon, which could change things. #7 Hesdy Gerges is in the same boat, except he is fighting for K-1 and no one is clear when his next high level fight will be. The big upset was for #8 Errol Zimmerman who went from being in the top 5 to slipping to the eighth spot after his loss to Jamal Ben Saddik. The next two are courtesy of the SuperKombat WGP where #9 Pavel Zhuravlev made sure that Benjamin Adegbuyi was knocked out of the rankings and secured himself a spot in the top. Then came #10 Freddy Kemayo who won a reserve fight over the formerly ranked Sergei Laschenko who continues his downward spiral.

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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings

  • Published in Rankings

Heavyweight

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

Welcome to the first edition of our 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.  We'll be posting rankings on roughly a quarterly basis, with the inaugural Middleweight rankings out tomorrow.  Before we discuss, I want to stress that all rankings are inherently subjective, and are sure to ruffle a few feathers.  To be clear, our rankings are based on in-ring accomplishments and recent wins and loses, and as such, we hope they reflect where these fighters currently stand.

The biggest talking point here is likely the ascension of a new #1.  Alistair Overeem, with only 14 pro kickboxing fights to his credit, rises to the top spot by becoming the 8th man to win the K-1 Grand Prix crown.  Always a subject of controversy, many fans still view him as an outsider to kickboxing, and can't fathom The Reem as the #1 man.  But with wins over Saki, Aerts, Hari, Teixeira and Spong, plus the GP victory, it's hard to place him elsewhere.  Beyond that, there's also the question that if Overeem is not #1 - who is?

Also making a huge move up the ladder is Peter Aerts.  Aerts looked like his time near the top was at an end just a few months ago, but with a history making win over Semmy Schilt, Aerts moves into the #2 spot.  Glad to see the Dutch Lumberjack there one more time.

A few fighters are near the point of being removed from rankings due to inactivity - most notably #4 Remy Bonjasky.  Bonjasky has not fought in over a year, and may have one last fight in him before retirement.  If he doesn't announce another fight soon, it will be hard to keep him ranked.  It's a similar case with the often unreliable #16 Ruslan Karaev, who likewise has not competed since the 2009 GP Finals.  Finally, #15 Ashwin Balrak may be dropped out of the rankings, as his next few years could be spent behind bars after his 2010 cocaine bust.

Looking ahead, there are not a huge number of big heavyweight fights currently announced, which is always the case as the year ends.  A few cards are worth noting though.Alistair Overeem

At Dynamite!! on Dec. 31, #7 Kyotaro will face Gegard Mousasi under K-1 rules.  Also competing on that card are Overeem and #12 Jerome Le Banner, though both fights are under MMA rules.

January 30 marks the 2nd round in the Ultimate Glory world series event.  This round of 4 includes #6 Gokhan Saki v. Wendell Roche, and #18 Brice Guidon v. #21 Mourad Bouzidi, with the winners meeting at the April 21 finals.

Finally, It's Showtime heavyweight champion #10 Hesdy Gerges has a busy time ahead of him.  He faces #9 Daniel Ghita on March 6 in an absolute blockbuster of a fight, and Alexey Ignashov on July 3.  That Gerges v. Ghita bout could be the biggest heavyweight fight of the next 6 months, though it could see some competition from the It's Showtime/K-1 Qualifying Grand Prix event on May 21 - no names yet announced for that show, but expect some big fights.

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Badr Hari Has Baby Mama Drama

  • Published in K-1

Badr

As our astute readers are well aware now, the bad boy himself, Badr Hari, has become a bit of a celebrity of late in the celeb gossip columns in Europe for his affair with Dutch soccer legend Ruud Gullit's wife, Estelle. Many doubted the validity at first, but Estelle herself has come out and discussed it and even spoke about the two being in love. This apparently came as a shock to his former girlfriend, Daphne, as she had just given birth to their child five weeks ago. Up until last week when the news about Badr and Estelle became public, Daphne was very serious about her relationship with Badr and was planning on their family life together, and is now understandably upset.

It is unclear if Badr has spoken to her at all, as there was a statement issued through a representative of his saying he understood that she is upset and promises to help raise their child.

Many fans have been looking for answers when it comes to his recent performance just three weeks ago at K-1 Rising in Madrid. LiverKick had heard through a confidential source close to Hari that he had recently had a child with his girlfriend, but that the relationship was in trouble and plaguing him weeks prior. A gambling man would bet that issues like this dancing around in his head would not help him prepare for a fight or even participate in one. Heres hoping to a resolution to this and for Badr to be able to enter his next fight with a clear mind.

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Strikeforce in Japan: Why It'll Work and UFC Won't

  • Published in Kickboxing

(C) Dave Mandel/Sherdog.comThere have been rumors since the announcement of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP that Strikeforce's head honcho Scott Coker had plans on running a leg of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP in Japan, of all places. He wants this tournament to have a "global" feel to it, and running in a new market like Japan seems like a no-brainer.

I really haven't given this much thought, as it seemed like big plans with no follow-through. Especially after Coker had all of this big talk about running Cowboys Stadium in Texas, a feat that a Manny Pacquiao fight sold 50,000+ tickets to. A bit of insanity if you ask many, as UFC has yet to even approach such a large stadium. Japan, on the other hand, seems to be a very real possibility. On Tuesday night I spoke with MMA Torch about the announcement from the UFC in regards to their "Japanese expansion" and Jamie surprised me with a question about Strikeforce running Japan.

Honestly, Strikeforce has a much better chance of running Japan than the UFC does, this year next year or after. The logic behind this is very, very simple, but also very solid. The big thing is that to run in Japan, you have to be ready to make concessions and promote in Japan. UFC's expansion is, well, underwhelming. They have an obscure pay-TV network they run on and will now feature some mobile video services, but none of this is very interesting to fans in Japan. Without live shows, a broadcast television network and some star power the UFC has no real hopes. Their attitude of "all or nothing" will be their achilles heel in Japan.

Strikeforce, though, seem to know what it means to do business in Japan, and according to ESPN.com's Josh Gross, Scott Coker is planning to meet with Real Entertainment to discuss an April 9th event. When I spoke with MMA Torch, I explained that the only real way for Strikeforce to promote in Japan would be to work with another company, and with FEG's future uncertain, the DREAM partner company, Real Entertainment made perfect sense. Real has fighter contracts (most of the DREAM fighters), production staff, television partners, sponsors and a lot more.

If you take into account fighters like Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Josh Barnett, Antonio Silva, Fabricio Werdum and Sergei Kharitonov, all of these fighters have established name value in Japan. For Fedor Emelianenko this would be a grand homecoming for him. For Alistair Overeem this would be the K-1 and DREAM Champion fighting in his home away from home turf. Also consider that Satoshi Ishii could have a Strikeforce contract by then and that Tatsuya Kawajiri just defeated Josh Thomson at Dynamite!!, so a possible bout between Kawajiri and Gilbert Melendez could be big for Japanese fans as well.

Strikeforce also seems to be considering working with Real Entertainment even more, says Gross. Real Entertainment is going to take some of those fighter contracts that they have and with Strikeforce's help, put on a Lightweight tournament, with our without DREAM. It looks like Strikeforce is taking Japan seriously and are willing to "play ball." Now, if it will pan out financially for them, that is another story for another day (or another site, like FightOpinion.com).

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

  • Published in Kickboxing

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]

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VIDEO: Robin van Roosmalen Successful in MMA Debut

  • Published in Glory

GLORY Lightweight Champion has been training in Mixed Martial Arts for a while now, that much has been widely reported throughout the MMA blogsphere as when it comes time to talk about an MMA fighter's credentials, saying stuff like "training with a killer kickboxing champion" makes for an interesting story (while actually covering kickboxing does not, apparently). So we've known for a while that van Roosmalen has been training in Florida with sights set on taking the journey that many other kickboxing champions have made by wading into the pool of Mixed Martial Arts.

The result was a positive one for van Roosmalen, although it's fair to note that he did look a bit rough in the grappling department as many high level kickboxers tend to look when they work their way into MMA. Unlike someone like Verhoeven who fights in the less talent-rich heavyweight division and could have a greater deal of success with less refinement, van Roosmalen chose to cut weight down to Featherweight for his MMA debut. Featherweight and Lightweight, the two divisions that he'd be competing in, tend to be more talent rich and full of talent all throughout the world and the grappling of a 6-5 fighter in Anthinodoros Michailidis gave him some serious trouble in the opening round. 

That doesn't mean that there isn't room for improvement, but it's difficult to see such a talented champion like him struggle like that, especially with kickboxing's at times tenuous grasp on convincing hardcore fans that this current crop of fighters is as elite as the previous generation. 

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K-1 Striking vs. MMA Striking: The Tired, Worthless Debate

  • Published in K-1

Kyotaro vs. MousasiI've finally had a chance to sit down and watch Dynamite!! and there is a lot to say reflecting upon the events from that show. There has been a bit of an ongoing debate over the "level" of K-1 strikers and how they compare to MMA strikers. The general fallout from the internet seems to be that the disparity between K-1 kickboxers and MMA fighters is slim, with K-1 fighters being overrated by fans and the talent pool being shallow at this point in time.

Of course, it didn't help that at Dynamite!! we saw Gegard Mousasi take K-1 Heavyweight Champion Kyotaro to the distance and win the fight via decision. Mousasi even scored a few knockdowns, and this comes off the heels of his 2008 victory over Musashi.

The year 2010 was also the year that saw Alistair Overeem, a fighter primarily known for competing in Mixed Martial Arts take home kickboxing's most coveted prize; the K-1 World Grand Prix Championship. Overeem has long been an interesting topic for debate; is he good? Is he just alright? Do his poor Light Heavyweight performances from a few years ago reflect upon him now? What lengths has he gone to improve his performance? If he isn't that good of a striker, what does it say about K-1 competition?

The truth is, kickboxers are being beaten at their own game. Overeem holds wins over Badr Hari, Peter Aerts (twice), Ewerton Teixeira, Dzevad Poturak, Tyrone Spong and Gokhan Saki. That list is impressive and contains some of K-1's best fighters. Mousasi only holds two K-1 victories, over an aging and ready to retire Musashi and a sluggish if not exhausted from competing weeks before Kyotaro, but is still being used as an example of a MMA fighter making K-1 look bad.

It seems foolish and unfair to label these fighters as either this or that. What really makes a fighter? Alistair Overeem has been training kickboxing since he was a teenager, making his pro debut at age 17 before switching over to MMA. Gegard Mousasi began his career as a boxer and kickboxer, transitioning to MMA and using his judo background combined with his striking prowess to be successful.

As we saw at Dynamite in Satoshi Ishii vs. Jerome Le Banner and Hideo Tokoro vs. Kazuhisa Watanabe, a striker moving into MMA put in grappling situations can be easily lost and frustrated, while a MMA fighter put in a pure striking situation can appear to be competent.

To use Gegard Mouasasi and Alistair Overeem as examples of Mixed Martial Artists "clowning" K-1 kickboxers is crass and an exercise in semantics at best. As I posed before, what really makes a fighter? Do the fact that both fighters' records in MMA are more prolific mean that they are Mixed MArtial Artists, or does the fact that they began as strikers mean that they are strikers that adapted a grappling game for Mixed Martial Arts, found success in MMA and stuck with it?

Both men train at kickboxing gyms with some of the best kickboxers in the world (Mousasi trains with Golden Glory when preparing for fights). The Golden Glory gym is primarily a kickboxing gym, while they train MMA fighters, they will always be known (rightfully so) as one of the best kickboxing gyms in the world. To me, Alistair Overeem's affiliation with Golden Glory just speaks of how serious he is about his striking.

Kickboxing and Muay Thai are arts in and of themselves and are incorporated, at least partially, into Mixed Martial Arts. If someone wants to make this argument maybe the survey field needs to grow; take a fighter who grapples as their primary art, toss them into a ring with Kyotaro or an injured Gokhan Saki or Peter Aerts and see how they fare. Rinse, repeat, because we all know a survey from a shallow test field does not yield exact results.

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Remy Bonjasky Deserves Better

  • Published in News

Bonjasky

Remy Bonjasky deserves better. He deserves better from the fans, he deserves better from his fellow fighters and he deserves better from GLORY.

Last night at GLORY 14 Zagreb we saw Remy Bonjasky’s career end in a fashion that would have made Harmonica from “Once Upon a Time in the West” feel uneasy. Remy Bonjasky’s career has cemented him as one of the all-time greats in Heavyweight Kickboxing, with three K-1 World Grand Prix victories under his belt. That puts him in the same category as fighters like Peter Aerts and Ernesto Hoost and Sem Schilt, as multi-time K-1 World Grand Prix champions who have nothing left to prove to the world. He belongs in the same breath as those fighters, yet it feels like he’s not taken as seriously by many.

Peter Aerts had a huge retirement ceremony at GLORY 13, with lots of fanfare and respect thrown his way, while Remy Bonjasky’s retirement was far more subdued, with Remy standing in the ring after his fight with Cro Cop being assailed by boos from the Zagreb crowd. There was no ceremony, no balloons, no post-fight interview on the broadcast, and there was no confetti, just a chorus of boos both in the arena and around the world from fans of Mirko Cro Cop who felt that Cro Cop was robbed. All of this while a three-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion stood in the ring for the last time with tears in his eyes.

This wouldn’t be the first time in Remy Bonjasky’s career that things wouldn’t go his way, in fact, it would be one of many incidents where things went horribly wrong for the Flying Dutchman. This is the same Remy Bonjasky that Saduharu Tanikawa, Stefan Leko and Badr Hari had dubbed as an “actor” in the ring. In the fight with Leko in 2007 there were multiple low blows delivered to Remy Bonjasky, who then took time to recover, leading to Leko and Tanikawa believing that he was faking his injury in the ring and that he wasn’t good for K-1. Then came 2008 where Badr Hari became frustrated in the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals, pushed Bonjasky over and stomped him on the head, leading to a disqualification in the biggest fight of the year.

Bonjasky would never live that moment down, which sounds ridiculous, Bonjasky had done nothing wrong. He was an actor for taking that DQ win, he was a fraud and he was afraid of Badr Hari. His family received multiple death threats after the incident in K-1 from both fans and alleged friends of Badr Hari. After running into Semmy Schilt in the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 Bonjasky was forced into retirement by a recurring eye injury, a detached retina, that left his vision in question. With limited peripheral vision it would be difficult for Bonjasky to be able to participate in such a tough sport as Kickboxing, making it hard to see strikes coming at him, but he still came back. He still fought with limited vision.

For years he had discussed wanting to have a retirement fight, one last fight to go out on, but with Kickboxing in the state that it was, no one was willing to give Bonjasky a big payday for his retirement, as they felt his retirement was simply not worth the attention or the budget, that fans wouldn’t care. Things started to turn around when GLORY started booking events and that they wanted the Flying Gentleman to help bolster their Heavyweight division, seeing the addition of Bonjasky as instant-credibility. Things were alright for Bonjasky in the beginning, but it was clear that things had changed in those years off.

After last night’s win over Mirko Cro Cop Remy Bonjasky will walk away from GLORY with a record of 3-3, his storied career ending with a whimper, not a bang. Regardless of who you thought won between Cro Cop and Bonjasky, isn’t it safe to say that it is unfair to Bonjasky to boo him out of the arena for his last fight? This was known to be Bonjasky’s retirement fight for a while, why was it kept under wraps like that? Where was the big ceremony for Bonjasky? Why did he have to fight Mirko in his last fight in Mirko’s home town?

Remy Bonjasky has worked hard to earn the respect of the Kickboxing world, but it seems like it never came, even in his last fight. I hope that the years remember Remy Bonjasky for what he was; a dynamic fighter with great defenses, better kicks and the ability to feel a fighter out and to catch them off guard with a flying knee or kick from out of nowhere. He was one of the few men who would not only win the K-1 World Grand Prix once, but to win it multiple times and he has wins over some of the toughest Heavyweight Kickboxers to ever walk this earth. Last night felt like the Cro Cop show when it didn’t need to be just about Cro Cop.

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The Voice Versus Wanderlei Silva; A Look at the Axe Murderer

  • Published in Kickboxing

(C) SusumuThere are very few MMA fighters that I consider an all-time favorite of mine, as I tend to prefer the exciting, intelligent striker who can handle himself on the ground. There are a lot of good strikers who have made the move to MMA, but a lot tend to play it safe or have no real ground game to speak of, but then there is Wanderlei Silva. Wanderlei did not make a huge impression on me at first in his UFC fights, he was pretty good at the time, but the Tito Ortiz fight was enough to make me forget about him for a while.

So you can only imagine how I felt in 2001, yeah over a year later, when I saw him again in PRIDE and saw the absolutely path of carnage and destruction that lay in his path; I was hooked. The wrist roll, the stare of a madman, the crazy, brawling Chute Boxe Muay Thai and the ability to defend himself on the ground and work his way back to his feet to continue to symphony of violence. From 2000 until 2005 Wanderlei Silva was an absolute machine. If there ever was a fighter that I could get behind it was Wanderlei Silva.

As I'm sure you can imagine, since he moved over to a much more local fight scene in the United States, it has been a lot more difficult to be a Wanderlei Silva fan. Since his return to the UFC Wanderlei has a 2 - 3 record with only one knockout under his belt and doesn't seem to be moving as fast or hitting as hard. Lot's of people will say that Wanderlei was simply not that great, as he is a mere 34 years old right now, but to that I argue the man started his fighting career training at age 13 and was fighting within the next year of his life and has not slowed down since. He peaked before moving to the UFC and you have to be comfortable with that.

Enter the Voice Versus Wanderlei Silva. The latest in HDnet's interview series with Michael Schiavello. Unlike Fighting Words with Mike Straka, which tends to err on the side of serious journalism, the Voice Versus is a more friendly sit-down interview style that feels like a conversation between old friends. It doesn't matter if Schiavello has only met each fighter in passing or is good friends with him, his demeanor, tone and candor makes it so fighters can feel at home with him, as does his knowledge of each fighter's history and of tall tales. There is nothing different when it comes to the Wanderlei Silva episode as he discusses coming up in Brazil, the origins of his name, that Jiu-Jitsu photo of him being lovingly embraced by Shogun Rua and Wanderlei customizing Schiavello's head with a Team WS tattoo.

What really comes through loud and clear is how nice of a guy Wanderlei is, he talks about how he has to build up a rage inside of him when he fights and how the adrenaline changes him, but the man himself is gentle, quiet and very funny. Seeing "the Axe Murderer" in a setting like this is refreshing, as you get to see just how much he enjoys laughing and telling stories about the legendary Chute Boxe gym and how he considers most of the fighters he has faced and knocked out our been knocked out by as good friends now. Did you know that Kazushi Sakuraba calls Wanderlei up at 2am to discuss fights? Because he does. We also see that Wand has no desire to do kickboxing post-UFC, as he understands they are entirely different sports and he is not prepared to fight high level strikers.

So do yourself a favor and tune in on Friday Night at 8pm Eastern for the Voice Versus Wanderlei Silva on HDnet.

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