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LiverKick.com Rankings

Heavyweight (Per 4/15)
1. Rico Verhoeven
2. Daniel Ghita
3. Gokhan Saki
4. Tyrone Spong
5. Peter Aerts
6. Errol Zimmerman up
7. Benjamin Adegbuyiup
8. Ismael Londt up
9. Hesdy Gerges up
10. Ben Edwards up

Light HW (per 4/15)
1. Gokhan Saki up
2. Tyrone Spong down
3. Danyo Ilunga
4. Nathan Corbett down
5. Saulo Cavalari

Middleweight (per 4/15)
1. Wayne Barrett
2. Joe Schilling
3. Artem Levin
4. Steven Wakeling
5. Franci Grajs

Welterweight (per 4/15)
1. Nieky Holzken 
2. Joseph Valtellini 
3. Simon Marcus
4. Marc de Bonte
5. Aussie Ouzgni


70kg (Per 4/15)
1. Davit Kiriaup
2. Andy Ristiedown
3. Robin van Roosmalendown
4. Giorgio Petrosyandown
5. Murthel Groenhart
6. Buakaw Banchamek
7. Dzhabar Askerov
8. Ky Hollenbeckup
9. Aikprachaup
10. Enriko Kehlup

65kg (per 1/20)
1. Masaaki Noiri
2. Mosab Amraniup
3. Yuta Kubo down
4. Sagetdao
5. Liam Harrison

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The RISE heavyweight tournament is set to take place in a few hours at JCB Hall in Tokyo and I have decided to break down the GP and rank the fighters by their chances of winning the tournament. With K-1's lack of a heavyweight grand prix this year, RISE has filled the hole, taking two albeit lower tier fighters as K-1 representatives to participate in the tournament in Stefan Leko and Mighty Mo. Other participants include WPMF World Heavyweight champion Fabiano "Cyclone" Aoki, J-Network Heavyweight champion and K-1 fighter Singh "Heart" Jaideep, RISE Heavyweight champion Makoto Uehara, runner-up at the 9th All World Karate Championships Jan Soukup, K-1 veteran Hiromi Amada and RISE Heavyweight title challenger Raoumaru.

1. Fabiano "Cyclone" Aoki: The Brazilian-Japanese fighter has been one of the best heavyweights on the Japanese circuit over the past five years, compiling a 15-1 record since 2007 which included him claiming the RISE, J-Network and WPMF World Heavyweight titles. Aoki has faced fellow GP participant Singh "Heart" Jaideep three times in his career, going 2-1 with the loss coming in a match for the J-Network title and their most recent affair happening just under three years ago. A first round matchup with wild card Jan Soukup could lead to a bad result for Aoki, but with Soukup's lack of experience in the kickboxing world, Aoki should have the edge. Should he win, he has a rather easy path to the finals as Stefan Leko just competed in a tournament last week and Makoto Uehara has a notoriously bad gas tank.

2. Singh "Heart" Jaideep: Most K-1 fans should remember Jaideep for his surprising knockout of Sergei Kharitonov at last year's WGP, but they should also remember him for his dreadful performance against Ewerton Teixeira at the 2009 Final 16. That being said, Jaideep managed to stay close with Teixeira during the fight. At 6'6", Jaideep holds a considerable height advantage over most of his opponents which should help, as his strength is his knees. Along with being 1-2 against Aoki, Jaideep holds a KO win over tournament participant Makoto Uehara. Jaideep gets a decent matchup against the aging Hiromi Amada in the quarterfinals and should he win, he gets the winner of Mighty Mo vs Raoumaru, who could take a good amount of damage in that fight.

3. Stefan Leko: Stefan Leko is not on the same level that he once was, but luckily for him, neither is his competition in this tournament. Leko has just 1 win this year, going 1-6 in his last 7, and is coming off of a knockout loss to Errol Zimmerman just a week ago. Leko has an interesting quarterfinal matchup with RISE heavyweight champion Makoto Uehara. What Uehara lacks in conditioning, he makes up for with power and he would have presented a difficult challenge for anyone to face in the quarterfinals. With Leko's recent woes and coming in beat up from last week's SuperKombat tournament, Leko vs Uehara has upset written all over it. However, there is also a chance that Leko could run the tournament because of the level of competition.


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The fight happened a month ago, but video of Ismael Londt vs. Mourad Bouzidi from October 23 it finally made its way onto Youtube today. Bouzidi was one of Londt's toughest tests to date and Londt demolished him. Since then, Londt went on to beat Pavel Zhuravlev and get knocked out by Sergei Lascenko in the SuperKombat World Grand Prix Final tournament on November 19. This fight includes a few awesome knockdowns so check it out.

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in just a little over two months from now Badr Hari and Gokhan Saki will square off in one of Heavyweight Kickboxing's most anticipated bouts in a long time. There is a lot of hype leading into it, as well as a running narrative that both men are looking to exit the realm of Kickboxing for the world of Heavyweight Boxing. No one is quite sure how long, if at all that will hold for either man, but the threats need to be taken seriously for now. Personally, I feel like the rise of FIKA and other possible outlets for Kickboxing will quickly draw them back in, but you never know when a fighter will stick to their convictions. In the meantime, watch this hype video made for the upcoming It's Showtime 55 showdown between Badr and Gokhan and enjoy the ride.

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There are many gyms throughout the world of combat sports. Some fighters stay at the same gym with the same trainer for their entire careers. Some fighters switch from gym to gym. Some gyms are more than just a gym, displaying a true family-like bond between fighters and coaches. Mike's Gym is more than just a gym.

The bond between trainer and fighter at Mike's Gym is a special one. Fighters like Melvin Manhoef and Badr Hari have rejuvenated their careers under the tutelage of Mike Passenier. Mike has taken fighters from deep struggles and they have risen to prominence with him by their side.

The moments before the fight are intense. Most intense are right before the fighter makes his way to the ring. Mike reminds the fighter of everything they've been through, how they got to their current position and to go out there and leave it all in the ring. In a way, it unleashes the inner beast of a figure like Badr Hari or Melvin Manhoef. Badr went from a skinny Moroccan kid to an absolute monster of a man under Mike Passenier.

Sergei Lascenko and Artur Kyshenko were two fighters who had made their careers fighting out of the Captain Odessa team in Ukraine. Both found themselves at a crossroad in their respectice careers. Two losses in a row for Kyshenko. Three consecutive losses for Lascenko. Artur and Sergei looked towards Mike Passenier to take them under his wing, and the results have been spectacular. Sergei, known in his K-1 stints for being chubby and out of shape, lost weight and went on a five fight winning streak to this date. Kyshenko also won five in a row, dropping his last bout in the intense final third fight of the night at the It's Showtime Fast & Furious 70MAX Tournament.

The scene after Saturday's SuperKombat World Grand Prix final match was one of pure joy. Sergei Lascenko overcame a swarming Ismael Londt to score a huge victory over a year after people had written him off. He was embraced by Mike Passenier in one of the purest moments you'll see in combat sports.  Despite Sergei's lack of English, the bond between him and Mike Passenier needs no speech to show how strong it has become over the past year. The two of them and Artur came together in the ring to celebrate just how far they had come, together.

The bond between coach and fighter is not just exclusive to certain fighters at Mike's Gym. All the fighters share a bond with Mike, from Murthel Groenhart to the retired Joerie Mes. Mike stays firmly behind his fighters through and through, no matter the outcome. The sense of a family community at Mike' Gym is what makes it more than just a gym.

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It's Showtime's 61MAX World Champion Javier Hernandez took to the ring on Saturday in Cordoba, Spain. His opponent was Portuguese fighter Ruben Almeida. Hernandez picked up a three round decision win after not fighting since June when he won the title.

Hernandez was originally supposed to fight on It's Showtime's November 12th card in Tenerife against Sergio Wielzen but was replaced by Carlos Reyes. The number one contender for Hernandez's title is Japanese fighter Masahiro Yamamoto, who earned the spot of number one contender with a win over Kan Itabashi. It doesn't look like Hernandez will be defending his title anytime soon, with only Jan. 28 being scheduled for It's Showtime at the moment. Hernandez rose to prominence from obscurity after defeating Karim Bennoui in one of the best fights of 2011 in June. [source]

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Cosmo Alexandre made his MMA debut a few weeks ago, and it was a tentative and downright terrible affair for all involved. His opponent was able to do enough to pull off the decision victory while Cosmo seemed afraid to let his hands go and open up the takedown. Sometimes in MMA it is just a matter of experience, or getting your sea legs. It doesn't matter how good you are in the gym, it is different in the ring. Cosmo has such a great standing skill set that his grappling was a clear weakness and had him worried, but come this weekend and his second fight, that was something of the past. Watch as Cosmo shows the MMA world what the Kickboxing and Muay Thai worlds already knew.

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