|Heavyweight (Per 1/20)|
|6.||Mirko Cro Cop
|Light HW (per 1/20)|
|Middleweight (per 1/20)|
|Welterweight (per 1/20)|
|4.||Marc de Bonte|
|70kg (Per 1/20)|
|2.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 1/20)|
Look, I know that only Americans call it Soccer and that everywhere else in the world it is Football. I get it. The...Read more
Japanese hybrid Kickboxing-MMA promotion HEAT held HEAT 20 at Differ Ariake in Tokyo on the 17th.
In the main event, HEAT Middleweight champion Danilo Zanolini defended his title for the second time against K-1 veteran Su Hwan Lee via 2nd round KO at 2:37 into the round. Zanolini, who is probably best known for his KO loss to Yoshihiro Sato in K-1, has made a bit of a name for himself at 70kg in Japan. Along with this win over Lee, he holds wins over Shunsuke Oishi, Yuto Watanabe and Shingo Garyu. The win moves Zanolini to 22-8 (14 KO) and should see him taking a step up in competition against someone like Kenta, Yutaro Yamauchi or even Yasuhiro Kido. For Lee, the loss snaps a 4-fight win-streak and brings him to 19-10 (11 KO) on his career and likely halts a comeback to the world of K-1. Up next for Lee is a rematch with Woo Yong Choi, most known for his one-sided beating at the hands of Pajonsuk in K-1, at The Khan 3 on January 15th.
In the kickboxing co-main event, MA Kick Heavyweight champion Magnum Sakai picked up a 2nd round KO at 28 seconds into the round over SNKA #1 ranked Heavyweight Kuniyoshi. Sakai has fought all over Japan from 70kg up to heavyweight and has fought the likes of Takashi Ohno, Nathan Corbett, Fabiano Cyclone, Kaoklai, Taiei Kin and even former MMA fighter turned boxer Hiromitsu Miura, compiling a 21-10-2 (10 KO) record, though never really breaking out as a great fighter. He could be someone considered to fight Toshio Matsumoto at REBELS.10 for the It’s Showtime 95kg title shot.
In Featherweight action, Thai fighter and HEAT regular Chao “Shimura” Logate defeated RISE #1 ranked Featherweight Ryo Pegasus, forcing a doctor stoppage due to a cut at 2:20 into the 2nd round. The win moves Shimura’s record to an impressive 207-88 (18 KO) and drops Ryo Pegasus to 14-12-1 (4 KO). Pegasus is an interesting fighter as he is more or less a gatekeeper at Featherweight, fighting the likes of Yosuke Morii, Junpei Aotsu, Takaaki Kimura and Turbo, losing to all of them. An interesting fight for him would be against J-Network Featherweight champ Masato Sato for the vacant RISE Featherweight title as Sato sits behind Ryo Pegasus at #2.
Finally, K-1 veteran Tsutomu Takahagi scored a 2nd round KO at 2:48 into the round over Kazuki Ozawa. The win puts Takahagi (8-11-2, 3 KO) back on the winning track after he lost back to back fighst to Hiromi Amada at RISE 80 and Singh “Heart” Jaideep at RISE 83 which cost him a spot in the RISE Heavyweight Tournament. At 28, don’t expect Takahagi to make any waves in the heavyweight division, but he’ll still exist to serve as a gateway into the upper echelon of Japanese heavyweight talent.
Also on the card in MMA action was heavyweight Henry “Sentoryu” Miller who dropped his 5th straight fight to Shunsuke Inoue.Add a comment
Fresh off two wins yesterday over Norbert Balogh and Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee to win the Fight Code Dragons Series tournament, Yury Bessmertny is already reaping the benefits. Aside from winning $80 000, it seems as if winning the Fight Code Dragons tournament has also landed him some fights. This can be attributed to Carlo di Blasi, Fight Code's promoter, who has rewarded Bessmertny in more than one way for winning the tournament.
First off on February 4th in Turin, Italy, Bessmertny will face Gago Drago at the annual Thai Boxe Mania event. Even though Drago probably isn't the best opponent he's faced, he is the most high profile one, stemming from his K-1 days. A win over Drago would definitely garner Bessmertny some more interest from fans. I think it's a pretty favorable match-up for the Belarussian. Roberto Cocco vs. Artur Kyshenko also takes place on this card.
Next, he'll fight the Italian fighter Fabio Sicilliani in Milan on the Oktagon-Fight Code card that features Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Artur Kyshenko on March 24th. It's definitely a short turn-around from his fight in February, but he's shown he can do that this year when he beat Armen Petrosyan twice in a month's span and then won the Fight Code tournament under a month after. To me these two fights look like Yury Bessmertny will be kicking off 2012 with two straight wins.
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In the realm of Mixed Martial Arts, there are some clear levels, much like Dante Alighieri wrote in his epic La Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy). For Dante, there was a clear progression as he toiled through the afterlife, he was first led through Hell, then he was led through Purgatory before finally having a glimpse at Heaven. If you wanted to compare it to MMA, the smaller, regional promotions are the veritable Hell. Low pay, bad attendance, poorly organized and promoted, but for most fighters, a necessity to move on to the “big leagues.” For many fighters, the biggest achievement is to be accepted into the UFC, to walk amongst the gods themselves beyond the steel gates of the Octagon. For fighters, the UFC is Heaven.
For a promotion like Strikeforce, though, there is a sense of being left-behind, like a middle child. Strikeforce finds itself not a containing the same rigors and lack of pay like the small minor leagues, but does not include the perks and the money that comes with fighting for the UFC. Instead, it is a virtual Purgatory for fighters. Fighters are left to reflect on their careers and see that they aren’t deemed as good enough to be called into the UFC, but are beyond the toiling in the reigional promotions.
Last night proved to be the first bigger Strikeforce event since the Showtime deal was re-negotiated, and something about the show did not come off as planned. On paper, the card was exciting and showed a lot of promise, but in execution it was a mess. If a fighter is competing within a promotion that stands on its own, there is something for them to achieve, but when the promotion is a feeder league with parallel divisions, the whole scope of the game changes. Part of what helped with Strikeforce’s charm was the attitude and identity of the promotion. It felt like a spiritual successor to some of the bigger Japanese events, with a focus on entertainment and promoting the fighters, not just the brand.
Continue Reading about the Harrowing of Strikeforce... Add a comment
Buakaw Por Pramuk and Kem Sitsongpeenong walked away with comfortable decision wins to claim the Thai Fights Tournament prizes in their respective weight categories. A large crowd had gathered at the King Chulalonkgorn Monument Square hoping to see the Thais triumph and this time all went according to plan as neither Frank Giorgi nor Fabio Pinca was able to pull off the upset.
For foreign people Buakaw has long been seen as the face of Muay Thai and his reputation within Thailand is starting to soar as he appears on more televised fights here. Thai Fights pulled out all the stops for this show with an impressive display of pyrotechnics and some elaborate fighter entrances.
The main event was the final of the 70 kg tournament between Buakaw and Frank Giorgi. There was a certain sense of inevitability about the two times K-1 winner taking home another trophy and his Australian opponent seemed a bit daunted by the task of taking on a local legend on Thai soil.Buakaw landed a left kick to Giorgi's head very early in the fight which didn't have enough power to drop the Challenger Muay Thai contestant but seemed to shake him up a little. From that point on it was a virtuoso performance from the Thai fighter punctuated with eye catching teeps to the face, hard punches to the body and head and some solid knees. Knowing that he was well behind on the scorecard Giorgi came out swinging at the start of the third and final round but Buakaw was able to successfully keep him at bay with a series of teeps and sweeps before answering with some shots of his own. The decision was not a difficult one for the judges who made Buakaw the second Thai fighter to win a Thai Fights tournament. The first had been crowned a few minutes previously when Kem comfortably outpointed Fabio Pinca. The French fighter was swept in the opening seconds of the first round as Kem established a lead on the scorecards which he never looked like losing. It's possible the gameplan for Pinca was to try and earn a knock out in the final round but by that stage it was easy for the Thai fighter to avoid his punches and counter efficiently enough to preserve his points advantage. The televised broadcast began with Richie Green fighting for the second time in a week against former WMC Champion Berneung Topkingboxing. The English fighter has enjoyed some success on the Phuket circuit but struggled with the strength and power of a top Thai opponent. Green was able to use his superior height to land long knees consistently throughout the fight but he was on the receiving end of a non stop barrage of punches and elbows which finally took their toll in the third round forcing him to take a knee. To his credit he got to his feet and continued to move forward but by this stage Berneung was picking him off almost at will and landing some brutal shots in the the process and Green would have been relieved to hear the bell at the end of the third round. It was a similar story for Hicham Chaibi who was well beaten by Saiyok Punpanmuang. Chaibi did pose the hard hitting Thai some problems in the first half of the fight but once Saiyok found his rhythm he raced ahead landing multiple kicks to the lead leg and body of his opponent from the southpaw stance.
Last year Fabio Pinca won the inaugural Thai Fights tournament but this time around pride was restored as both the Thai fighters demonstrated emphatically that the top Muay Thai practitioners still hail from the Kingdom of Thailand. Add a comment
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, New Japan Kickboxing Association(Shin Nihon Kickboxing Association) held Soul in the Ring IX headlined by Rajadamnern Stadium Super Lightweight champion Hiroki Ishii in his first fight since winning the title. Also on the card were K-1 veteran Yoshimichi Matsumoto, SNKA Flyweight champ Mitsuki Ebata, SNKA Heavyweight champ Toshio Matsumoto and SNKA Lightweight champ Tatsuya Ishii.
In the main event, Hiroki Ishii took on Thai fighter Phahurat Sukpaya(?), scoring a 5th round body shot KO at 1:25 into the round. The win is the 5th in a row for Ishii and moves him to 54-12-12 (26 KO). His first scheduled defense of his Rajadamnern Stadium title was announced after his fight to take place on March 11th at Korakuen Hall, though no opponent has been announced.
In a superfight, SNKA Heavyweight champion Toshio Matsumoto scored a 4th straight knockout win with a 2nd round KO of Rakhataya Pumpanmuang(?) at 1:30 into the round. The win moves the Shin Nihon champ to 8-1 at heavyweight with all 8 wins coming by KO. Up until 2008, Matsumoto was a 70kg fighter and had 2 fights in K-1, both losses to Duane "Bang" Ludwig and TOMO. His lone loss at heavyweight was to former K-1 fighter Hiromi Amada, so that sort of gives you an idea of where he stands. I believe he announced that he would be in a number 1 contender's bout for the It's Showtime 95kg title at REBELS.10 on January 22nd. Considering the lack of depth at heavyweight in Japan, Danyo Ilunga should run through whoever emerges as his challenger.
In yet another Japan vs Thailand superfight, SNKA Flyweight champion Mitsuki Ebata defeated Thai fighter Tahanek ParadonGym(?) by 2nd round KO at 2:50 into the round. The 20 year old Ebata is now 14-1-1 (9 KO) in his pro career, though he also dropped a decision to 2010 K-1 Koshien Finalist Hiroki Akimoto under the Koshien banner. His sole loss came to former AJKF and WBC Japan Bantamweight champion and former WPMF Japan Super Bantamweight champion Arashi Fujiwara at Sengoku: Soul of Fight. He and his twin brother Rui Ebata have a very bright future going forward and could join fellow young fighter Genji Umeno as Japanese fighters who excel in Thaiboxing.
In a non-title fight, 2010 K-1 -63kg Tournament semifinalist Yoshimichi Matsumoto snapped a 3-fight losing streak with a 2nd round flying knee KO of SNKA Lightweight champion Tatsuya Ishii at 2:58 into the round. The two fought once before in May of 2009 with Ishii taking a majority decision. Matsumoto won the SNKA Lightweight title before vacating it to compete in the 2010 K-1 -63kg Tournament which was his coming out party as he upset AJKF legend Haruaki Otsuki in the qualifying round and scoring a KO over Daisuke Uematsu in the quarterfinals before eating a huge high kick against Yuta Kubo that ended his night. After that fight, he got knocked out in the first round by Makoto Nishiyama and dropped a rematch to Katsuji by decision. The win is a huge bounce back for Matsumoto who moves to 15-5 (7 KO) on his career and should have an angle for a 3rd fight with Ishii for the title.
Finally, #3 ranked Masayuki Uchida defeated #1 ranked Katsuya Setoguchi by majority decision on scores of 48-48, 49-47 and 49-48 to claim the vacant SNKA Featherweight title.Add a comment