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Liverkick.com Light Heavyweight Rankings: May 2011

Light Heavyweight
1. Artem Levin
2. Yodsanklai Fairtex
3. Cosmo Alexandre
4. L'houcine "Aussie" Ouzgni
5. Nieky Holzken
6. Dmitry Shakuta
7. Vladimir Moravcik
8. Alexander Stretsurenko
9. Sem Braan
10. Khalid Bourdif

Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 10 fighters in three different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 85kg limit, Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit, and Light Heavyweight, for fighters at the 77-84kg 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.

May 2011

We've decided to take a different approach to the rankings, in the past Fraser Coffeen handled them, but as many are aware, Fraser has since had to step down from his responsibilities at LiverKick.com and has since moved on to other ventures. Our Top 10 list a while back moved on to being a top 25 to reflect a uniformity with our then home of SBNation. We've decided to move back to only including the Top 10 and to opt for the inclusion of Light Heavyweight (77kg - 84kg) to reflect the depth of talent in that weight class.

As this serves as our first foray into the Light Heavyweight division, feel free to speak out if you feel anything is out of place, but we did spend a considerable amount of time tweaking these rankings to make sure they were the best possible representation for this weight class. #1 Artem Levin was a no-brainer. In 2010 he won the IFMA European Muay Thai 75kg tournament, won the SportAccord Muay Thai 75kg tournament, became the WBC World Muay Thai Light Heavyweight Champion and won the It's Showtime 77kg MAX Championship. Then in 2011 he moved up to 81kg in the IFMA European Muay Thai tournament and won that as well. He has pretty much beaten a who's-who in the division and is easily reigning at the top.

The clear cut #2 is Yodsanklai, a Muay Thai fighter who also fights world class kickboxers in his down time. While Yods does hop between weight classes sometimes, he mainly fights at 77kg, with only a few kickboxing losses to Viyisile Colossa, John Wayne Parr and Artem Levin. Wins over Viyisile, the UK's Jordan Watson (I know, Fletch, I know) were still within the 70-73kg class, but a win over #3 Cosmo Alexandre propels him into the top of the division.

Cosmo is an interesting case, as he is among one of the top fighters in the world, and was at one time It's Showtime 77kg MAX Champion, until he decided to participate in Thai Fight without alerting It's Showtime as well as rejecting a lower offer for a fight and severed ties with It's Showtime. After a few tough losses he got back on track at Lion Fights in the United States a few weeks ago. #4 L'houcine "Aussie" Ouzgni is a fighter that can be frustrating at times. Aussie is clearly a 77kg fighter; he is tall, lean and powerful, but he still insists at times to drop down to 70kg where he looks a bit rough around the edges. A few losses can't derail forward movement for him, though, as he continues to forge ahead.

#5 Nieky Holzken is in action this weekend, fighting someone from his past home of 70kg in Artur Kyshenko at a catchweight of 74kg (technically within the -77kg division) at the Glory World Series. Since committing to 77kg Holzken has been on a roll, with only one loss to Aussie last year. If you don't know #6 Dmitry Shakuta you will soon enough. Shok is the former It's Showtime 77kg MAX Champion before losing the title to Cosmo, he also holds a rare win over Artem Levin and could at any time make a run at the top again. #7 Vladimir Moravcik has kept himself incredibly busy over the last few years against top competition and is still only walking around with 3 losses, he fights at 73 - 74kg usually, making him too big for 70kg and too small for 77kg, but a perfect fit for It's Showtime's 73kg MAX title.

#8 Alexander Stretsurenko is a fighter whose name you'll see on a lot of the top fighter's records as a (W), but still holds very impressive victories as well as holds his own with the very top fighters in the division. #9 Sem Braan falls into the same category as a fighter who is working his way up and ready to breakout. #10 Khalid Bourdif is a fighter that we honestly do not know a ton about, but every time we've seen him he was incredible impressive and holds some very good victories over big names, he could easily move up a few spots within this year if he remains active.

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LiverKick.com Middleweight Rankings: May 2011

Middleweight
1. Giorgio Petrosyan
2. Andy Souwer
3. Buakaw Por. Pramuk
4. Mike Zambidis
5. Artur Kyshenko
6. Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee
7. Yoshihiro Sato
8. Chris Ngimbi
9. Albert Kraus
10. HINATA

Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 10 fighters in three different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 85kg limit, Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit, and Light Heavyweight, for fighters at the 77-84kg 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.

May 2011

We've decided to take a different approach to the rankings, in the past Fraser Coffeen handled them, but as many are aware, Fraser has since had to step down from his responsibilities at LiverKick.com and has since moved on to other ventures. Our Top 10 list a while back moved on to being a top 25 to reflect a uniformity with our then home of SBNation. We've decided to move back to only including the Top 10 and to opt for the inclusion of Light Heavyweight (77kg - 84kg) to reflect the depth of talent in that weight class.

PetroThat means there were some very pronounced changes to the 70-72.5kg rankings. Part of the move to adding a 77kg ranking is certain fighters, Nieky Holzken in particular, will be absent from the 70kg rankings, and others will be moving up to reflect the changes. Of course no one will usurp #1 Giorgio Petrosyan, as he has earned his spot as the top Middleweight in the world. He'll have to prove his mettle once again in his third big tournament this year with It's Showtime running a huge 70kg tournament later this year. Petrosyan's next challenge is #10 HINATA. HINATA has been fighting for REBELS in Japan, who has just announced will become a part of It's Showtime Japan, and the first bout to promote the name will be Petro vs. HINATA.

The #2 spot was a lot tougher to choose, as #3 Buakaw Por Pramuk does hold his victory in the 2010 S-Cup, but he also has no major kickboxing bouts on his plate as of right now. He has re-focused on Muay Thai, mainly in the Thai Fight promotion. #2 Andy Souwer has stayed active in the thick of the action, and while there are some head-scratchers of losses on his record, he has solid wins over top competition in 70kg as well as over fighters from the 77kg division. #4 Mike Zambidis has had an incredible career resurgence of late. Last year he made it to the Finals of the K-1 World MAX tournament and has continued in his winning ways this year, including a 4-man tournament recently.

The #5, #6 and #7 spots were a lot more difficult to decide, as Artur Kyshenko, Sudsakorn and Yoshihiro Sato have all had their ups and downs within the division. Kyshenko is clearly the front-runner out of the three fighters, with Sudsakorn making a very calculated and successful approach on the international scene over the past few years. Sato has had a few tough losses, including one to Andy Souwer that keep him in the top 10 but make it a lot easier for him to slip.

#8 Chris Ngimbi will be a part of It's Showtime's upcoming tournament and many are outwardly calling for Ngimbi to fight Giorgio Petrosyan, just to see the It's Showtime 70kg MAX title around the waist of an undisputed champion. Ngimbi has successfully defended his title in an incredible fashion at It's Showtime Lyon with a flying knee KO on Willy Borrel. Many feel that Petrosyan is clearly the top fighter and to have a fighter like Ngimbi holding the title makes little sense, but Ngimbi has the skills, passion and power to make a run at the top, and all will be decided later this year in It's Showtime's tournament.

Both #9 Albert Kraus and #10 HINATA are top level fighters who have had some struggles of late, losing to some lower-ranked competition while holding their own against top competition. Both men are far from done and continue to prove in every fight that the 70kg division is a deep division with a lot of talent. HINATA challenges Petrosyan over the summer. Kraus should, without a doubt be a lot higher in the rankings, as his only losses over the past two years come by the way of Giorgio Petrosyan for top competition, then comes the head scratcher. His loss to Bhatu Khasikov hurts him immensely. Bhatu is still young and a relative unknown, plus the judging in the fight seemed less-than-fair. Regardless, it is a mark of shame on Kraus's record for the time being, which can be avenged with wins over some top 5 competition.

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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings: May 2011

Heavyweight

1. Semmy Schilt
2. Badr Hari
3. Peter Aerts
4. Gokhan Saki
5. Hesdy Gerges
6. Daniel Ghita
7. Tyrone Spong
8. Kyotaro
9. Ewerton Teixeira
10. Jerome Le Banner

Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 10 fighters in three different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 85kg limit, Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit, and Light Heavyweight, for fighters at the 77-84kg 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.

May 2011

We've decided to take a different approach to the rankings, in the past Fraser Coffeen handled them, but as many are aware, Fraser has since had to step down from his responsibilities at LiverKick.com and has since moved on to other ventures. Our Top 10 list a while back moved on to being a top 25 to reflect a uniformity with our then home of SBNation. We've decided to move back to only including the Top 10 and to opt for the inclusion of Light Heavyweight (77kg - 84kg) to reflect the depth of talent in that weight class.

Former #1 Alistair Overeem has been removed from the rankings after some intense discussion, we've come to the conclusion that as long as he is contracted with Zuffa the chances of Overeem fighting in another organization as a kickboxer has decreased to about zero. We are sad to see a talent such as his be confined to only Mixed Martial Arts but will continue to cheer him on.

This means that there was a lot of reshuffling to the weight classes for them to make sense, as with K-1's silence and a sincere doubt that there will be a K-1 World Heavyweight Grand Prix this year, we take a more global look at the weight classes and rankings for them. It is without dispute that the most accomplished kickboxer at Heavyweight/Super Heavyweight, and the man to beat is Semmy Schilt. Schilt does hold a WGP loss to Peter Aerts in 2011 and a loss to Badr Hari in 2010, but outside of that his record is pristine.

After a year of inaction, Badr Hari returned to the ring against a less-than-game Gregory Tony. Tony's performance might have been shameful, but Hari was in good shape, kept his cool and there is a promise of a bout with Tyrone Spong or Daniel Ghita on the horizon for It's Showtime in the Fall. For his recent accomplishments, though, without a doubt Badr Hari is one of the men to beat and secures his spot at #2. Mr. K1, Peter Aerts shocked the world taking it to Sem Schilt in December, making the Finals of the Heavyweight GP. Aerts had stated before the Grand Prix that it would be his last and he is contemplating retirement, so under those circumstances and for his recent accomplishments, the #3 slot is a great fit for him.

#4 Gokhan Saki is in action at the end of this month in the finals of the Glory World Series Heavyweight Tournament, where he'll take on Brice Guidon. While the tournament was not the toughest road for Saki, a win in it would further cement his spot in the top 5. We hope to see him against other top 5 competition soon. #5 Hesdy Gerges has once again been released from police custody and will be in action this weekend at It's Showtime. His bout with #6 Daniel Ghita was the biggest Heavyweight fight of the year so far and his win cemented his spot above Ghita. #7 Tyrone Spong is where things get messy, Spong holds a victory over #8 Kyotaro last year, who himself is largely inactive without K-1, but has a loss to #10 Jerome Le Banner. Le Banner of course has his forfeit loss to Kyotaro but little else outside of the Spong win recently. #9 Ewerton Teixeira is another fighter who only fights for K-1 so is in a state of limbo for the time being.

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LiverKick.com Middleweight Rankings: April 2011

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. Mohammed Khamal
19. Khem Sitsongpeenong
20. Yuya Yamamoto
21. John Wayne Parr
22. Leroy Kaestner
23. Dzhabar Askerov
24. Marcus Oberg
25. Robin van Roosmalen

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

Unlike the Heavyweight division, the Middleweights continue to see a lot of action - there just wasn't much of it since our last rankings.  Khem Sitsongpeenong snuck up a spot with a win in Thailand, while Robin van Roosmalen made it into the rankings at #25, but that's it for changes.  No worries, as there's some excellent matchmaking around the corner.

April's big MW fight will come on the 23rd at Shootboxing as #3 Andy Souwer faces #5 Yoshihiro Sato.  Any clash between two top 5 fighters is worth taking note of, and this will be a good one.

Also in April, #19 Khem Sitsongpeenong vs. Prakaisaeng in the Isuzu Thai Fight qualifying tournament semi-final, and #20 Yuya Yamamoto vs. MMA's Akihiro Gono in Krush.  Hopefully we'll also get some news on the delayed Krush 70kg tournament as well, as it will be interesting to see who makes their way into that field given the lack of K-1 MAX options at the moment.

Looking ahead, we will be gifted with a glut of major Middleweight fights in May.  Some of the May highlights include #1 Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Chahid Oulad El Hadj, #4 Artur Kyshenko vs. #6 Nieky Holzken, #7 Mike Zambidis vs. #21 John Wayne Parr, #17 Chris Ngimbi's first It's Showtime title defense, #18 Mohammed Khamal vs. #25 Robin van Roosmalen, plus #2 Buakaw, #11 Sudsakorn, and #14 Saiyok all in action at the France Thai Fight show.  That's a lot of big fights, so start clearing your schedule.

One fiGiorgio Petrosyannal note - the big 70kg event remains the It's Showtime July 23 tournament with #1 Giorgio Petrosyan, #3 Andy Souwer, #5 Yoshihiro Sato, #9 Murat Direkci, #12 Gago Drago, #17 Chris Ngimbi and #23 Dzhabar Askerov.  Winner of that will easily claim the #1 spot - the only question is, can anyone take the crown away from the Doctor?

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