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Photo of the Day: SuperKombat Returns

We are very happy to see that 2012 will be yet another year where Romania's SuperKombat continues to bring good fight cards to the world. It would be a lot better if fans across the world had easier access to watching them, but for now if you are in Europe just count your lucky stars that you get the easiest access of all as it will air on Eurosport.

SK

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KENJI vs Mikihito Yamagami Announced for RISE 87

RISE has announced that Bantamweight champion KENJI will be squaring off with recently crowned Shooto Flyweight (114lb) champion Mikihito Yamagami at RISE 87 on March 24th. KENJI (19-4-0, 13 KO) is coming off of a big win over Pajonsuk Por. Pramuk at RISE 86 and is riding a 5-fight win streak. Yamagami (7-2-0, 2 KO 1 SUB) started his MMA career hot, scoring 3 straight wins including a submission win over prospect Junji Ito. However, in his next two fights Yamagami encountered veterans "Atch Anarchy" Atsushi Takeuchi and Takehiro "Tiger" Ishii, who both handed him decision losses. Since, Yamagami has put together 4 straight wins including a win in a rematch against Atsushi Takeuchi and most recently a knockout win over then Shooto Flyweight champion Junji Ikoma at Shooto the Shoot 2011 to earn him the Flyweight title. Yamagami is a very talented fighter, but I feel he stands little chance against KENJI. While MMA fighters have scored huge upsets over highly-touted kickboxers in the past, KENJI is arguably #3 in his weight class in Japan and is in a zone right now, going 9-1 (5 KO) in his last 10 fights with his sole loss coming in the semifinals of the Krush 55kg tournament, a close extension round loss to divisional kingpin Shota Takiya. Not to mention that the best striker Yamagami has faced was Junji Ito and that was back in 2008.

Also announced for the card is a Lightweight bout between J-Network Super Lightweight champion Yusuke Sugawara and MA Kick Super Lightweight champion Mohan Dragon. Sugawara has fought all over in Japan, fighting for J-Network, RISE and Shootboxing and under full muay thai rules. His most recent fight was a win over Tappuron ForceGym at Shootboxing 2012 act.1 last weekend. Mohan Dragon has fought mostly in MA Kick in his career and his most recent fight was a 5th round KO in a close fight against Hidekazu Tanaka in a defense of his MA Kick title. I'd give a slight edge to Sugawara here, though he dropped a decision to MMA fighter Shigeki Osawa last year, so Mohan Dragon definitely has a shot. {jcomments on}

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Kenta vs Yasuhiro Kido for 70kg Title, Masaaki Noiri vs Cedric Peynaud at Krush.17

With Krush.16 only a week away, Krush.17 on March 17th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo is starting to take form.

First, Krush has announced 70kg champion Kenta's first title fight and it is a rematch with K-1 veteran Yasuhiro Kido. The two first met at last year's K-1 MAX 70kg Japan Tournament in the opening round of the tournament and Kido surprised a lot of people, hanging tough with the Krush 70kg through three rounds, but a second round knockdown sealed his fate and gave Kenta a majority decision. Kenta has not fought since the tournament while Kido's lone fight since was a big spinning backfist knockout of Shintaro Matsukura. Kenta (22-8-3, 8 KO) was arguably the hottest fighter entering that tournament as he had just come off of his Krush tournament win where he combined great offensive speed and combinations with great movement, picking apart Hiroki Nakajima and Yutaro Yamauchi on the same night. After a win against Kido, Kenta put on a fight of the year candidate against Yuya Yamamoto which ended in a controversial extension round decision win for Yamamoto. Kido (25-13-1, 11 KO) has had a very up and down career since 2008. He got his first real shot in K-1 in the 2008 Japan MAX Tournament after taking part in a few opening fights in the years prior. Kido went on to win the tournament against what was an admittedly mediocre field and was able to move his way into the Final 8 with a win over Chi Bin Lim. However, Kido was not ready for the next level, losing to Artur Kyshenko in the quarterfinals and getting KO'd by Albert Kraus in a reserve fight. Kido competed in the next year's Japan MAX Tournament, being upset by Hinata in a fight that went to an extension round. However, Hinata was unable to continue and Kido moved on to the semis against Taishin Kohiruimaki who handed Kido his 4th straight loss. A pair of bounceback wins led Kido straight into a 3-fight losing streak, again being upset in the first round of the 2009 Japan MAX Tournament. He scored 4 straight wins in Big Bang before his first fight with Kenta. To be honest, I give Kido a slight edge here. In their first fight he looked like a different fighter from the one who was upset in consecutive fights in 2010 and he seems to have his confidence about him again. Plus, Kenta will be going into this fight after a 6 month layoff.

The other matchup announced for the card is Krush Supernova Tournament champ Masaaki Noiri taking on WKA World Lightweight champ Cedric Peynaud. Much like Krush.12, 13 and 16 , Krush has brought over a foreign fighter to test one of its top fighters. Noiri (11-2-0, 5 KO) is arguably the #2 fighter in Japan at 60-63kg behind Yuta Kubo and is coming off of his Krush Youth Tournament win that saw him decision Hiroya and knock out Koya Urabe in the same night. Noiri's most recent fight was at Genki Desu Ka!!! 2011 where he took on Kengo Sonoda and although he won with ease, Noiri wasn't the dominating fighter that fans had come to expect. However, that fight was less than a month after his Supernova Tournament win, so it could be excused. Peynaud (71-8-2, 45 KO) is a 25 year old French kickboxer who won numerous French and European kickboxing titles before being named WKA World Lightweight champion in December of last year with a win over Artur Magadov. Peynaud also recently took up boxing, but has only amassed a 1-1-2 (0 KO) record. His brother, Mickael Peynaud, challenged Sergio Wielzen for the inaugural It's Showtime 61kg title, but lost a 2 round technical decision.

Also set to participate on the card are 2011 Runner-up of the year Koya Urabe, who made it to the finals of three separate tournaments, losing in each one, and Shintaro Matsukura.

{jcomments on}

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UFC's Pat Barry Heads To Zagreb For Mirko Cro Cop's Preparation

Former K-1 fighter and current UFC fighter Pat Barry is headed to Zagreb, Croatia to help Mirko Cro Cop prepare for his fight on March 10 against Ray Sefo.

Barry and Cro Cop have trained before in the past, and they're good friends. Even when they fought at UFC 115 in 2010, their friendship was apparent when the two embraced in the middle of the octagon. Cro Cop walked away the winner by rear naked choke. There's even a video of them singing together on a road trip.

Barry isn't the most similar fighter to Sefo style-wise, but they're pretty close in height and weight. Cro Cop has brought in sparring partners to Croatia many times in the past, including Fabricio Werdum and Dean Lister.

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