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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.

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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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Nieky Holzken Returns To Action On Sunday

With the absence of any major promotions hosting events this month, fighters want to stay active and will take fights on smaller shows against lesser known opponents.

Nieky Holzken is doing that on Sunday, February 12 in Eindhoven, Netherlands. He'll fight Karapet Karapetyan and Holzken's WFCA -76.2kg World Title will be on the line. Holzken was originally supposed to face Grega Smole.

Golden Glory Helmond, where Holzken frequently trains at usually hosts an annual event. Holzken has fought at the annual Golden Glory Helmond events for the past few years, picking up two wins in two fights. He last fought on December 23 in Suriname, where he stopped Cyrus Washington.

Other notable names are on the card also. The long time veteran Marco Pique fights the younger It's Showtime veteran Mohammed Medhar. Light heavyweight-turned-heavyweight Ali Cenik takes on the experienced journeyman, Rodney Glunder. Full fight card below.

WFCA K-1 Rules World Super Middleweight (-76.20 kg) title
Nieky Holzken vs Karapet Karapetyan

Marco Pique VS Mo Medhar
Tayfun Ozcan VS Ait Said
Moreno Janssen VS Redouan Koubini
Maria Verheijen VS Rachida Bouhout
Robbie Hageman VS William Diender
Jaimy Duimelinck VS Fouad Tahiri
Antonie v Lierop VS TBA
Sergio Pique VS Asseil Lareche
Jemyma Betrian VS Mariela Krose
Jacky Dings VS Hannes Schneider
Nathan van 't Hoft VS Dennis Stolzenbach
Rodney Glunder VS Ali Cenik

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Breaking Down The 85kg Division In Kickboxing

With the recent announcement of Golden Glory's three tournaments this year, many were excited at the prospect of well known, top fighters at 70kg and Heavyweight fighting each other in a tournament format. What also has many fans excited and at the same time, uncertain is the addition of a tournament at 85kg, a largely "unexplored" weight class on the bigger stages of the sport.

The truth about the 85kg division is that it is largely unestablished and unrecognized to many. The well known fighters at this weight are few and far between. Sahak Parparyan, the It's Showtime World Champion at the weight is one of the most well known fighters at the weight, and even he is not known by many, specifically the casual audience thathas only watched K-1 for the most part. The most 85kg fighter by far is Melvin Manhoef - and he's not really even an 85kg fighter. Although he can make the weight, and has fought lower for MMA, Manhoef has only fought once at 85kg in kickboxing when he won the It's Showtime World Title against Denes Racz in August of 2009. Manhoef never defended the belt once and was stripped. The likelihood of Manhoef committing to 85kg is slim, especially being under It's Showtime management so the burden looks like it'll have to rest on Sahak for the time being. Click "Read More" to read a further breakdown of the 85kg division.

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