The IGF is a pro wrestling promotion ran out of Japan by former New Japan Pro Wrestling head and MMA pioneer Antonio Inoki. It features his "brand" of pro wrestling, which is a hybrid of real fighting and the theatrics and "booking" (read: scripted nature) of pro wrestling. In the end what it yields is the high drama of pro wrestling with the grit, violence and impact of a real fight. That style goes far back to catch-as-catch-can wrestling and Japan was king of the "shoot-style" with the early UWF, early Pancrase, RINGS, UWF-i and U-Style. Inoki's last show was an eclectic mix, featuring Jerome Le Banner against Kazuyoshi Fujita, Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima against pro wrestling legend Masahiro Chono and Peter Aerts against fallen sumo Shinichi Suzukawa.
Results from last week's question: Who is K-1's greatest of all time?
42% - Peter Aerts
27% - Ernesto Hoost
11% - Semmy Schilt
9% - Andy Hug
7% - Remy Bonjasky
2% - Jerome Le Banner
2% - Ray Sefo
This week: Coming up this Saturday will be the first truly major card of 2011 as It's Showtime kicks off their year. Headlining the event is a great top 10 battle with #8 Daniel Ghita vs. #9 Hesdy Gerges. So, who wins?
This weekend It's Showtime has a huge event coming up, including the "Benelux retirement" of Peter Aerts against internationally-acclaimed Tyrone Spong. The twenty-six year old Spong is possibly looking to make the transition to MMA, but not before settling his debts in the Kickboxing world and making his way to the top. Fighting Peter Aerts in one of his retirement fights is a huge honor for Spong, and would be one of his biggest wins at Heavyweight to date, which he very much needs. Spong has been training in Florida with Rashad Evan's "Blackzilian" camp, including fighters like former K-1 World Grand Prix Champion Alistair Overeem, so he will without a doubt be in good shape and will have had a decent sparring partner, to say the least.
“I came all the way out here 2 Brussels, Belgium to corner @Tyrone_Spong & he got me out here like The Notorious Bum! I'm not trying 2 be high maintenance but could a brutha at least get a bed?! Lol” [source]
Our good friend Jacob, better known as IQ Wrestler in internet circles has gone ahead and made another of his fine highlight reels, this one dedicated to the man, the myth, the legend Peter Aerts, Mr. K-1 himself. Aerts has a fight coming up in December, sadly not for K-1, but in his home away from home in Japan and it is hard not to support him. Go ahead and take a peek at this video and marvel at Mr. K-1.
We have known that GLORY was going to go all-out for GLORY 13 for a while now, but with the impending not-so-retirement of Peter Aerts coming up they are really going heavy on the advertisements. How much so? How about a GIANT ad in the Shibuya Train Station? Yeah, because that is exactly what they did, with it measuring 30 meters long and having some crazy Aerts imagery. You've really got to see the whole thing.
Fight #5 in our fight of the year series is the first of two Final 16 fights, and a bit of an overlooked fight from the year...
Ewerton Teixeira v. Peter Aerts (K-1 Grand Prix Final 16, October 2)
Heading into this fight, both men were in serious need of a win. Teixeira had ended 2009 on a bad note: a notoriously boring fight with Singh Jaideep, followed by an all time highlight reel KO loss to Alistair Overeem. He had rebounded with a win at K-1 Oceania, but no one saw that show, so the lasting image most fans had was Ewerton face down, his hair pooled around him. Aerts too was a recent KO victim, his coming at the hands of Kyotaro. After missing his first ever GP in 2009, a 2nd missed GP could mean the end of an era for Aerts. Both men needed the win, and both men came in fighting that way.
This fight may not have the fireworks of the last few we've looked at, but it really is a fabulous technical display between two experts at their craft. This fight shows a bit of everything - clinch fighting, kicks, punches, defense, aggression... it's all here, and it's all executed flawlessly. For Aerts, this would be the beginning of what will go down as a legendary Grand Prix run, while Teixeira gained momentum even in his loss and has since defeated Errol Zimmerman.
There will be 10 fights total posted. Fights 5 & 6 on Monday, 7 & 8 on Tuesday, and 9 & 10 conclude on Wednesday. Fights are featured in chronological order moving through the year. Voting will be open Wednesday night to determine the winner.
Look, there are a lot of people out there who make fine highlight reels in the realm of combat sports, people who do their best to put together cohesive and exciting highlight packages of their favorite fighters, promotions, sports or anything else they can think of. There reaches a certain point where you want more, and I think that StillWill -- Will Prescott -- currently does the best work. Not only the best, but the work with the most impact. There is no comparison, art is art and everything else is everything else. Will's videos started out like everything else, but over the past year they have evolved into much more and provide emotional impact and go places you don't think they would go. That being said, watch his latest K-1 video and try not to make a fool of yourself, pick up your jaw and wipe your mouth.
The last K-1 fight on the list, and we may have saved the best for last...
Peter Aerts v. Semmy Schilt (K-1 World Grand Prix Finals, December 11)
There's been a lot of ink spent on this fight already, but it's the kind of fight that deserves all that attention and more. This was, in my opinion, the single greatest combat sports story of 2010, and the kind of story that makes you a sports fan. On one side - the 40 year old Peter Aerts. Aerts is the most beloved veteran of the sport, but after an unprecedented 17 year run at the top, he finally faltered last year, missing his first ever Grand Prix. Earlier in 2010, Aerts had talked about the end coming soon, and after his KO loss to Kyotaro, it felt like the writing was on the wall - this could be the end of the road for the great one. On the other side - the near 7 foot tall Semmy Schilt, the defending and 4 time K-1 Grand Prix champion. Schilt is as dominant a fighter as K-1 has ever seen, never once being knocked out of the Grand Prix, or any other tournament for that matter. All signs pointed to Schilt taking down the aged Aerts.
Now that is a moment.
Before moving on, let's take a look at exactly how Aerts pulled this off. So many men had failed to take Schilt down - how did Aerts succeed? One key to his victory is Aerts's ability to mix up his attack and constantly keep Schilt guessing. He knows when to wade in with punches, when to lock Schilt up because he is too far inside, and when to retreat from the big man's strikes. He reads Schilt masterfully, allowing him to always keep the pressure up and never let Schilt find his own rhythm. And with that pressure he is able to connect punch after punch accurately on Schilt's chin. They're not powerful KO shots, but they keep stunning Schilt. Most importantly, they prevent Schilt from establishing the methodical rhythm he has used to defeat so many opponents. It's a masterful plan, but one that takes intense concentration, confidence, and stamina to execute. And that's where Aerts seals the deal - he never lets up, ultimately winning the fight in the final minutes. When Schilt finally wilts under the Aerts attack, the 40 year old is still there to put the pressure on, claiming his victory with a definitive closing to the fight. Beautiful, beautiful work that, when combined with the story going in, makes for a truly exceptional fight.
Now that is some quick turnaround. Last night at about 1:30am I received a press release announcing Global FC 3, then just hours later they announced their full line-up for their tournament. It turns out that Peter Aerts is not participating in the tournament, instead he will be featured on the card, as will American Dewey Cooper. So the question arises of who is in this tournament?
Right now the names are Badr Hari, Peter Graham, Arnold Oborotov and Stefan Leko. Definitely an eclectic mix here, with Peter Graham fighting MMA of late in Bellator, Oborotov has been relatively quiet after getting his hype train derailed by Jarrell Miller and Andrei Stoica and Stefan Leko is, well, Stefan Leko. Leko's career has had a few interesting twists and turns, but it is safe to say that Stefan Leko's time at the top has come and gone.
The big story for many on the upcoming Global FC event is that Badr Hari will be fighting, but an interesting bit of information came out last week, with that being that Peter Aerts was set to fight Dewey Cooper on the event. I'll make this clear; I'm a huge Peter Aerts fan, always have been, always will be, and I want Peter Aerts to retire. I want Peter Aerts to enjoy his family, spend time with his children, run his gym, to live a long, healthy life.
That being said, a fight against Dewey Cooper seems about right for the time being. Dewey Cooper is an American fighter who has had a good deal of success here in the United States and abroad, but never was able to break through into that top echelon of fighters. Dewey Cooper is a fighter that can absolutely give Peter Aerts trouble, but is not a guy that I'm concerned about giving Aerts any sort of crazy concussion or really hurting Aerts. That isn't to say that Cooper can't win, because he could and he might, this is a pretty even fight. But, you know, Cooper is not Jamal Ben Saddik.