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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings: April 2011

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Heavyweight

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

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.

April 2011

Kickboxing continues on in the face of K-1's silence, but the Heavyweight division has definitely felt the blow.  Only a handful of ranked fighters saw action since our last rankings, and the top 25 remains essentially the same.

The biggest mover this month was Brice Guidon, who jumped up two spots to #13 with a win over #18 Mourad Bouzidi.  Guidon will next face #5 Gokhan Saki at the United Glory final round on May 28.

Also moving up were #24 Freddy Kemayo and #25 Dzevad Poturak - both men returned to the rankings after wins in Romania.

The rest of April doesn't hold too much more Heavyweight action.  Next weekend, #12 Nathan Corbett faces Tomasz Nowack at Domination 6 in Australia, and... that's it for the top 25 for April.  Like I said, there's definitely been a Heavyweight slowdown.

That will change in May, as a number of big fights are set to go down.  And none are bigger than #4 Badr Hari making his return against Tony Gregory at It's Showtime Lyon.  Also on that card is #10 Tyrone Spong vs. Igor Mihaljevic and #9 Daniel Ghita vs. #19 Anderson Silva.  Then on May 21, It's Showtime returns with #7 Hesdy Gerges vs. Chris Knowles in Amsterdam.

Also in May is the United Glory finals previously mentioned, headlined by Saki vs. Guidon.  A few other top 25 clashes are on that show including #14 Errol Zimmerman vs. #18 Mourad Bouzidi and #17 Pavel Zhuravlev vs. Igor Jurkovic.

The #1 Ranked Alistair OvereemOne other scheduled fight to take note of: we've known for awhile that the next appearance of #1 Alistair Overeem will be in an MMA cage, likely against Fabricio Werdum in the opening round of the Strikeforce Grand Prix.  That fight is now set for June 18 in Dallas, TX.  Sad to see The Reem likely gone from kickboxing for awhile, but we'll be cheering the K-1 champ on in his quest to dominate the US MMA landscape.

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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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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings

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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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LiverKick.com Middleweight Rankings: Mar 2010

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Middleweight
1. Giorgio Petrosyan
2. Buakaw Por. Pramuk
3. Andy Souwer
4. Artur Kyshenko
5. Yoshihiro Sato
6. Nieky Holzken
7. Mike Zambidis
8. Albert Kraus
9. Murat Direkci
10. Pajonsuk
11. Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee
12. Gago Drago
13. Hinata
14. Saiyok Pumpanmuang
15. Armen Petrosyan
16. Yuichiro Nagashima
17. Chris Ngimbi
18. Muhammed Khamal
19. Yuya Yamamoto
20. Khem Sitsongpeenong
21. John Wayne Parr
22. Leroy Kaestner
23. Dzhabar Askerov
24. Marcus Oberg
25. Chahid Oulad El Hadj

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.

March 2011

The past month has been fast and furious in the Middleweight division, with many of the top 25 fighting, and a lot of rankings implications.  The overriding story is that #1 Giorgio Petrosyan continues to widen the gap between himself and the rest of the field.  The Doctor held onto his top spot with a win over Cosmo Alexandre - a very tough opponent who is only unranked because he regularly fights up a division at 77kg (where he would be in the top 4).

Meanwhile, in a pair of top 5 upsets, former #4 Yoshihiro Sato fell to Giorgio's brother Armen Petrosyan, and former #5 Albert Kraus lost to Batu Khasikov.  Sato and Kraus drop to #5 and #8 respectively.  More impressive were #3 Andy Souwer, #4 Artur Kyshenko, and #7 Mike Zambidis.  All 3 scored big wins over tough opponents, moving themselves back up the ranks.  Lots of other movement as well, including rises for #11 Sudsakorn, #15 Armen Petrosyan, #22 Leroy Kaestner, and #23 Dzhabar Askerov.

As we look to the coming months, we have an absolute abundance of MW action still to come.  As always, It's Showtime seems to lead the pack.  On May 14 they have #1 Giorgio Petrosyan vs. #25 Chahid Oulad El Hadj in what will actually be an intriguing fight in some ways - how will Petrosyan handle the aggression from Chahid?  Should be interesting.  Also on that card, #17 Chris Ngimbi vs. Willy Borrel.  Then on July 23 it's their huge Russian event with #4 Artur Kyshenko vs. L'houcine Ouzgni, and a tournament that features Giorgio Petrosyan, Ngimbi, #3 Andy Souwer, #5 Yoshihiro Sato, #9 Murat Direkci, #12 Gago Drago, and #23 Dzhabar Askerov.  Just take a look at that line-up.  Amazing.  I'm not betting on seeing a MAX Grand Prix this year, and even if there is one, it will be hard pressed to top this show as THE elite Middleweight tournament of 2011.

Various other upcoming fights: April 23 #3 Andy Souwer returns to Shootboxing - opponent TBA; #21 John Wayne Parr's 2011 farewell series starts on May 28 against #7 Mike Zambidis, and continues on July 30 against Vusi Colossa; April 2 #11 Sudsakorn takes part in a European tournament at Explosion Fight Night 3; and on April 30 (newly rescheduled from March 19), #19 Yuya Yamamoto should face Pride veteran Akihiro Gono at Krush.  And expect news on the Krush 70kg tournament to come at some point as well.

We've spent a lot of the past few months discussing the difficulties K-1 and kickboxing has been going through - but if you take#1 Giorgio Petrosyan a look at what we've seen in the past few weeks in this division, as well as what we have coming up, and you are not excited about these fights, then I don't know what we can do for you.  For me, that July 23 It's Showtime show in particular can't come soon enough.

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LiverKick.com Middleweight Rankings

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Middleweight
1. Giorgio Petrosyan
2. Buakaw Por. Pramuk
3. Andy Souwer
4. Albert Kraus
5. Yoshihiro Sato
6. Nieky Holzken
7. Artur Kyshenko
8. Murat Dirkeci
9. Gago Drago
10. Pajonsuk
11. Mike Zambidis
12. Hinata
13. Chris Ngimbi
14. Yuichiro Nagashima
15. Mohamed Khamal
16. Yuya Yamamoto
17. Hiroki Nakajima
18. Khem Sitsongpeenong
19. Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee
20. John Wayne Parr
21. Chahid Oulad El Hadj
22. Leroy Kaestner
23. Marcus Oberg
24. Armen Petrosyan
25. Chi Bin Lim

Welcome to part two of our inaugural 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.  Just as yesterday, 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.

It's been a tough year for the Middleweight division.  Where the K-1 MAX Grand Prix once stood as the clear pinnacle of accomplishment for a 70kg fighter, this year's GP was somewhat watered down by the loses of Souwer and Buakaw.  In the end, only 5 of the top 10 fighters were even entered in the GP.

Hopefully we can all agree that depleted line-up or not, K-1 MAX champion Giorgio Petrosyan remains the #1 man at MW.  The man is simply amazing, with only one loss to his name, and a massive undefeated streak stretching nearly 4 years.  That said, Petrosyan wasn't truly pushed this year.  The man to challenge him is probably #2 Buakaw Por. Pramuk, the newly crowned Shootboxing S-Cup champion.  These two men met in 2007 and fought to a draw - a rematch absolutely must happen.  Let's hope It's Showtime puts it together.

The warring crowns of Buakaw and Petrosyan speak to the difficulties currently facing this division.  With MAX having a rough 2010, the 70kg division has become quite fractured.  A number of fighters are competing almost exclusively in Japan, or Europe, or for select companies, with no central event bringing them together.  As a result, rankings have become increasingly difficult, with many of the top fighters not having met in recent years.

One other tricky point in these rankings is the split between Muay Thai and kickboxing.  Muay Thai inspires a great passion in their fans, which inevitably results in some heated discussions over these rankings.  I find including Muay Thai to be a tricky proposition.  On the one hand, since so many of these fighters regularly compete in both, it seems foolish to discredit a result just because it was under Muay Thai rules.  If Buakaw defeats Petrosyan in a Muay Thai contest, should Buakaw be #1?  I would think so.  But a lot of the Muay Thai scene is concentrated in Thailand, making it difficult to rank on an international level.  My philosophy is this: in these rankings I am focusing on kickboxing and including fighters who compete on at least a semi-regular basis in the international kickboxing scene.  I factor in wins and loses in Muay Thai just as I would wins and loses in other kickboxing events.  Disagree with that plan?  I absolutely welcome any feedback in the comments.

Moving on, there are some good fights coming up involving big MW names.  On New Year's Eve #2 Buakaw faces #17 Hiroki Nakajima for SRC, while #14 Yuichiro Nagashima meets Shinya Aoki at Dynamite.

Switching into the new year, Giorgio Petrosyan is currently set to defend his #1 spot twice inGiorgio Petrosyan upcoming fights - first against #19 Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee on January 29, then against 77kg fighter Cosmo Alexandre in March, though his hand injury could easily force him out of those fights.

Finally, It's Showtime has some big plans set.  Their March 6 shows features two superb fights in #3 Andy Souwer v. L'houcine Ouzgni and #7 Artur Kyshenko v. #9 Gago Drago.  And their July 3 show features Kyshenko v. Ouzgni plus a stacked 8 man tournament which could rival the K-1 MAX Grand Prix in determining the #1 man at MW.  The current line-up for that tournament includes #1 Petrosyan, #3 Souwer, #5 Yoshihiro Sato, #8 Murat Direkci, #9 Drago, and #13 Chris Ngimbi.

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