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LiverKick Rankings December 2016: A New Welterweight King

  • Published in Rankings

The cursed year of 2016 is drawing to a close and this seemed like an opportune time for LiverKick to update its rankings.

The LiverKick rankings date back to 2010 when Fraser Coffeen and myself began ranking fighters across multiple divisions, with the only way to move up the rankings (or being added to them) being defeating a ranked opponent. Therefore, these rankings are based upon who beats who, not talent, potential or anything else. They are also current, meaning that past wins or losses are not taken into account when ranking a fighter.

For the year-end update there was an unusual amount of movement since our previous update at the end of September. The top heavyweights stayed the same and we fixed an odd error on our part where we somehow neglected to rank Roman Kryklia after an early 2016 win. We rectified that situation, which did set some other parts of the division into chaos, but there were also wins and losses that shook things up, such as Jamal Ben Saddik's defeating the top GLORY contender in Ismael Londt and Mladen Brestovac defeating would-be top contender Jahfarr Wilnis. Drops happened accordingly and Andrei Gerasimachuk has been dropped from the rankings after no wins of consequence to the rankings.

Light Heavyweight didn't change that much, but there are three new names in the mix, which is noteworthy. Michael Duut defeated Danyo Ilunga, securing himself a spot in the top five, which sadly drops Ilunga to 6. Roman Kryklia plowed through K-1's European 95kg Championship tournament including wins over Fabio Kwasi. Kwasi earned himself a spot with a win over Mladen Kujundzic while Jorge Loren dropped. Ionut Iftimoaie was dropped as his last win was his retirement fight and his ranking was merely honorary for the spot he earned if he hadn't retired. Andrei Stoica and Luis Tavares drop out due to attrition.

Middleweight sees a robbery rectified and things return to where they were prior to the last update, with Filip Verlinden's loss to el Boustati overturned and literally everyone gets bumped up and Fang Bian returns to his rightful spot on the rankings.

Welterweight saw a huge shake-up with only Murthel Groenhart holding onto his #4 spot and everyone else shifting thanks to Cedric Doumbe's win over long-reigning champion Nieky Holzken. Artur Kyshenko dropped simply because of the reshuffling, not due to any sort of loss. Dmitry Valent defeated Hicham El Goaui to earn a spot in the top ten, while Alexander Stetsurenko picked up a win over him, earning him a spot and everyone else simply shuffled, Mustapha Haida losing his #10 position and Karim Ghajji being bumped.

The biggest shake-up at Lightweight came when Cedric Manhoef defeated Wu Xuesong, which caused some downshifts and Christian Baya's win over Josh Jauncey bumped the young Canadian from the list for the time being. Dylan Salvador lands on the rankings, though, which is long overdue.

Featherweight saw one huge jump in China's very, very good Qiu Jianliang getting his just due in the rankings when he defeated Enfusion's posterboy of Ilias Bulaid. Everyone shifted down from there, including Massaro Glunder and Gabriel Varga was at 10, but was defeated by Robin van Roosmalen. This serves as only one of two categories where the current, reigning GLORY champion does not hold the top spot in a division. If anything, it is indicative of how deep the talent pools are for both Lightweight and Featherweight in Japan and China right now.  

LiverKick Rankings Updated on 12/29/2016

Heavyweight (Per 12/16)

1 Rico Verhoeven
2 Benjamin Adegbuyi
3 Roman Kryklia *
4 Jamal Ben Saddik ^
5 Ismael Londt v
6 Mladen Brestovac *
7 Jahfarr Wilnis v
8 Fabio Kwasi v
9 Guto Inocent v
10 Anderson "Braddock" Silva v

Light

Heavyweight (Per 12/16)

1 Artem Vakhitov
2 Saulo Cavalari
3 Zack Mwekassa 
4 Mourad Bouzidi 
5 Michael Duut *
6 Danyo Ilunga v
7 Roman Kryklia *
8 Fabio Kwasi *
9 Mladen Kujundzic v
10 Jorge Loren v
Middleweight (Per 12/16)

1 Jason Wilnis 
2 Simon Marcus 
3 Artem Levin 
4 Israel Adesenya 
5 Filip Verlinden ^
6 Alex Pereira ^
7 Joe Schilling ^
8 Dustin Jacoby ^
9 Cedric Doumbe ^
10 Fang Bian *
Welterweight (Per 12/16)

1 Cedric Doumbe ^
2 Nieky Holzken v
3 Artur Kyshenko v
4 Murthel Groenhart
5 Alexander Stetsurenko
6 Dmitry Valent *
7 Hicham El Gaoui v
8 Raymond Daniels v
9 Yoann Kongolo v
10 Zoltan Laszak v
Lightweight (Per 12/16)

1 Superbon Banchamek
2 Sitthichai
3 Robin van Roosmalen 
4 Giorgio Petrosyan
5 Marat Grigorian 
6 Cedric Manhoef *
7 Wu Xuesong v
8 Tayfun Ozcan v
9 Dylan Salvador *
10 Anatoly Moiseev v
Featherweight (Per 12/16)

1 Kaew Weerasakreck
2 Qiu Jianliang *
3 Ilias Bulaid v
4 Hidaeki Yamazaki v
5 Masaaki Noiri v
6 Minoru Kimura v
7 WEi Ninghui v
8 Abdellah Ezbiri v
9 Kim Minsoo v
10 Robin van Roosmalen *

Legend:

* - New Addition

^ - Moved Up

v - Moved Down

Rules:

The LiverKick.com rankings are living rankings that have existed in one form or another since 2009. After the initial rankings were tabulated, they moved on from there. If one fighter beats a fighter ranked above them, they take their place. If a new fighter is introduced, that means that said fighter is ranked above whomever he beat, moving everyone else down. 

Fighters can drop or move up in the rankings without losing or winning, depending on the division in general. After 12 months of inactivity, or if a retirement is announced, fighters can be removed from the rankings. These rankings are also at our discretion.

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Cedric Doumbe Puts On the Performance of a Lifetime, Usurping Nieky Holzken

  • Published in Glory

After years on top of the Welterweight division, the king, Nieky Holzken, has been dethroned. His loss came by the hands of the man who has quietly ascended the rankings over the past few years without much hype or fanfare in Cedric Doumbe. Doumbe has been looking incredible in all of his recent fights and going into this fight it was hard to discount him.

What ensued was a masterful performance, the exact fight that had to happen against the once-dominant Nieky Holzken by mixing up his strikes, controlling the ring and sneaking in his dangerous uppercuts after landing serious low kicks. Doumbe found a formula to keep Holzken from hitting his groove and carried it through to a resounding victory.

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GLORY Announces GLORY 39 Featuring Doumbe vs. Kongolo 3 and More

  • Published in Glory

With GLORY 38 rapidly approaching GLORY has announced GLORY 39 Brussels, which takes place on March 25th featuring a headliner between GLORY Welterweight Champion Cedric Doumbe and career-adversary Yoann Kongolo. These two have a lot of history between the two of them, with Kongolo one of the few men to beat Doumbe, never mind twice. Kongolo earned his shot with a recent tournament victory, placing these two on a collision course.

Also featured will be a Featherweight tournament, entrants to be determined. The winner gets a shot at the champion, but if Robin was stripped it's unclear who that will be. Also on the card is Jahfarr Wilnis against Jamal Ben Saddik. One would have to think that someone is in line for a shot at Rico at some point and that somewhere along the line the division will sort itself out, but perhaps not yet. Jamal Ben Saddik beat contender Ismael Londt and Wilnis just lost in a tournament to Mladen Brestovac before Brestovac lost to Adegbuyi.

The SuperFight Series delivers, as always, with Sitthichai looking to defend his Lightweight Championship title against Dylan Salvador. What makes this more interesting? Dylan Salvador has a win over Sitthichai. Marat Grigorian fights Hysni Beqiri, Hesdy Gerges against Chi Lewis-Parry and Karim Benmansour fights Harut Grigorian to round out the card. 

GLORY 39 Brussels

Weltwerweight World Title Headline Bout: Cédric Doumbé vs. Yoann Kongolo

Featherweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Jahfarr Wilnis vs. Jamal Ben Saddik

Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: TBA vs. TBA

Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: TBA vs. TBA

GLORY 39 SuperFight Series

Lightweight World Title Headline Bout: Sittichai vs. Dylan Salvador

Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Marat Grigorian vs. Hysni Beqiri

Heavyweight Bout: Hesdy Gerges vs. Chi Lewis-Parry

Welterweight Bout: Karim Benmansour vs. Harut Grigorian

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LiverKick 2016 Awards: Fighter of the Year - Cedric Doumbe

  • Published in Glory

When it came to selecting who the fighter of the year was for 2016, the choice seemed rather cut-and-dry. While a lot of fighters had good years -- fighters like Superbon, Sitthichai, Rico Verhoeven and others, there was only one man who rose up to prominence in meteoric fashion and did so in a way where many didn't see it coming.

You have to admit -- Nieky Holzken seemed unbeatable for a long, long time at Welterweight. Sure, it seemed like Murthel Groenhart came dangerously close to defeating him before, but Nieky still knew exactly how to pull off the victory. His hands felt unparalleled in the sport and his fight IQ is off the charts. Yet. Yet.

Cedric Doumbe's greatness snuck up on a lot of people, but heading into the Holzken fight he was able to get inside of Nieky's head, then in the ring, he was able to avoid Nieky's hands while imposing his will. It felt like the end of an era, the changing of the guard and that Cedric Doumbe's era had arrived. In fact, it's difficult not to appreciate Doumbe for his personality, his skills and his sportsmanship.

He was the very clear 2016 Fighter of the Year.

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

 

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The Importance of December 10th 2016 for Kickboxing

  • Published in Kickboxing

In kickboxing we have always had a connection to this weekend. Yearly, the drama has always been around who will win the K-1 WGP, which usually went down in in Japan around this time every year. Will an all time great add on to their resume or will a deserving star finally get the white belt. This Glory Germany event just so happen to fall on the exact weekend that we would enjoy the K-1 Mega heavyweight tournament. As I explored this day in the sport further, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Hari/Rico along with a few other narratives added to making December 10th 2016 one of the most important days in the history of Kickboxing. Here is my list of six reason the day was more special than you realize. 

6. French kickboxing

When you think of great French Kickboxers, the list is actually short. You first go to Jerome Lebanner. The heavyweight K-1 Star was awesome and he delivered some of the great kickboxing KOs of all time. Cyril Abidi had some K-1 victories and the Samir Mohammed streak also come to mind. Yet Samir was in international waist high and up kickboxing, which wasn't as popular. Many would say Lebanner if asked about French kickboxing and maybe no one else. Outside of him, most don't think kickboxing, they think Muay Thai. Farid Villaume, Kamel Jamel, Dany Bill, and Chokdee star Dida Diafat are a few of the heroes that pop out at us. 

Enter Nasser Kacem. His gym Nasser-K in Lyon has produced some high level Muay Thai fighters. Fabio Pinca, Yohan Lidon, and Karim and Houcine Bennoui to name a few. However, after years of success in the art of 8 limbs, they started to get calls for kickboxing events. K-1, Shootboxing, Enfusion, Glory, the French team was in high demand. Due to bad match ups and working out the rules, there has been some bumps in the road to being successful kickboxers. Dylan Salvador lost to Makihira Keita due to repeateldy catching the low kick and firing and Karim lost to Hirotaka Urabe in Japan due to a cut as example of loses in big time kickboxing promotions that didn't allow their skill to be showcased. Yet December 10th showed that not just Nasser K, but the French may have figured the game out. Fabio Pinca won a clear decision over aggressive Moroccan/Dutch fighter Mosab Amrani, who has the style and volume to get up on kickboxing cards. Fabio was up to the task with effective offense and slick movement to limit the scores. He took a clear decision. Dylan Salvador was a late addition to the card, but he beat tournament favorite Anotoly Moiseev and Hynsi Beqiri to take his first major kickboxing promotion tournament win. It wasn't just the Nasser K team. Female fighter Amel Dehby made it to the Glory women's title match and Cedric Doumbe(more on him later) won the 77kgs Title from long time champ Nieky Holzken. It was truly a great day in kickboxing for France, who has some of the best promoters in the world and they sell out shows on a regular basis. These promoters can develop and showcase the elite stars of France for years to come. 

5. They old guard still has it. 

I knew that Giorgio Petrosyan would be headlining the Bellator/Oktagon Kickboxing card. I knew that Badr Hari was of course fighting on the Glory card. I had no idea that Buakaw was fighting. I watched him fight solid journeyman fighter Andre Kulebin on auto pilot for a kickboxing promotion in Lebanon of all places. He beat Kulebin with very little effort and when Kulebin attempted to turn up the pace, the far superior Buakaw just swept him or caught him with a counter kick, easy work for Buakaw who also has a victory over Dylan Salvador this year. Badr Hari may have injured himself, but before it he showed great poise and clean kickboxing. Giorgio Petrosyan, fighting at home, once again put on a memorable performance by stopping the very talented Jordan Watson. KO pop in both hands (when he doesn't break them), he found his right hook early and closed the show. At one period of time these men were considered the best in their weight classes on the planet and Giorgio may still be the best. All three men are in their 30s.

4. The Women Emerge

Overall it was a failed tournament. There was very few exciting moments or memorable fights. Best female fighter in the world Anissa Mekson was excluded from the tournament and Iman Barlow's Enfusion contract was in conflict with the Glory schedule so she was out too. Add a few injuries and the Glory tournament was not great. But the moment they announced Tiffany van Soest as the winner, her celebration and tears made you forget it all. The crowd was not very moved during her fight, but the moment she began to talk about accomplishing a dream, white belt larger than her torso, the crowd found applause. Adding to this night, Denise Kielholtz avenged a loss that she shouldn't have had to Gloria Peritore. It can be tough to bounce back when he cards wrongfully go the other way, but Denise beat Gloria in her back yard to win the inaugural 125 Bellator kickboxing championship in Florence Italy. Women's kickboxing was almost non existent in televised form. Yet the emergence of female success in the UFC has opened the door for kickboxing to showcase athletes that otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity. It was great seeing both of these ladies wearing titles and I am excited to see what the future holds. 

3. Cedric Doumbe 

I predicted that Cedric Doumbe would beat Yoann Kongolo in his Glory debut. I thought he had the tools and the charisma to be a future star in the sport. He came up short that night, but did not let it stop him. He won 14 of 15 fights in the last year and a half and the one loss was a robbery to Fang Bian. In that list includes a win over Murthel Groenhart, who fought with emotion and looked for the KO, while Cedric intelligently played the points game. Cedric looked to antagonize again, witty tea shirts and trash talk lead up to this bout. Nieky Holzken walked him down and looked for power punching opportunities. Doumbe again played smart, combinations to kicks and movement gave him a clear decision and made him the Glory Welterweight Champion. Holzken wasn't just champion, he was the Glory brand's most celebrated star and he has also produced the most memorable results in the past three years. Cedric beat the biggest somebody in the sport. Cedric has all the tools and he is an active champ, fighting for Glory or whoever. His natural charisma and ability to sell himself means that kickboxing once again has a young star to carry it into the future. Cedric is only 24 years old

2. The Long Card

Glory has stayed with a TV model of 4 or 5 fights on the undercard, and 5 fights on the televised US card. Yet in the history of kickboxing, co-promoting has created some mega cards. I watched Errol Zimmerman win the K-1 European GP and was blessed to see that Its Showtime attached a card that had Holzken vs Mes, Giorgio Petrosyan and much more on that day in Amsterdam. This Glory card had 14 fights and two tournaments in it. I do not think that they are ready to commit to a PPV model, but I do think they will add to their ticket sales if they are giving such a wealth of product for the price. 

1. Hari vs Rico

Lets exclude how it finished. Glory has been unlucky with several of their final fights. Injuries, bad stoppages, and even having an athlete quit in frustration with ref interference. Now that that has been acknowledged, lets move on to the great. Glory 36 put together a great card that ended with an injury victory for Rico Verhoeven over Badr Hari. Until the injury, it was what we hoped for and then some. The preflight in itself was almost worth the PPV.  Badr Hari, coming to the ring with his mob and personal Dutch rap song blaring, created a buzz and tension that literally had my heart racing. I knew I was about to watch something special. Adding to the moment, Badr gets into the ring, and whether it was mental game or fan fair, a crowd of people approached the ropes and yelled just outside the ring. Security had to calm the supporters down, while several cornermen attempted to help by directing the audience back to their seat. The announcer made several attempts to pacify the crowd before the fight started. It was of no good. The crowd was crazy until the end and even started a few fights of their own. This was all before the fight. The kickboxing action was fast and technical, making a great fight by both guys until the injury stopped it. 

I have never experienced buzz for a fight like this. It was the best kickboxer against the biggest star in the sport. Badr, who many in the US do not even know, proved that he is still a big deal in Europe and his followers will travel to support him with their voices and their fists if it comes down to it. The usually K-1 Buzz was special, but we haven't had one in years. Since Glory has had title fights instead of tournaments, the buzz was more about the consistency of the fight cards than the fights. Last year bringing major kickboxing back to Amsterdam was the big win. This year it was putting together the "I'll believe it when I see it" fight. Injury aside, it was a fantastic moment for the sport and it brought back the special feeling we are use to having in this sport, on this weekend. 

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Cedric Doumbe vs. Nieky Holzken II Headlines GLORY 42

  • Published in Glory

On Saturday, June 10th GLORY returns to Paris with GLORY 42 Paris headlined by GLORY Welterweight Champion Cedric Doumbe defending against former champion Nieky Holzken. Holzken, who at a time looked unstoppable, fell to Doumbe at GLORY: Collision in December and the social media exchanges have been heated ever since. Only two other fights are announced, including Jimmy Vienot against Casey Greene and Yoann Kongolo against Antoine Pinto.

GLORY 42 Paris

Welterweight Title Headline Bout: Cédric Doumbé vs. Nieky Holzken

Lightweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Lightweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: TBA vs. TBA

Lightweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: TBA vs. TBA

GLORY 42 SuperFight Series

Welterweight Headline Bout: Yoann Kongolo vs. Antoine Pinto

Welterweight Bout: Jimmy Vienot vs. Casey Greene

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