|Heavyweight (Per 4/15)|
|Light HW (per 4/15)|
|Middleweight (per 4/15)|
|Welterweight (per 4/15)|
|4.||Marc de Bonte|
|70kg (Per 4/15)|
|3.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 1/20)|
Tomorrow in Istanbul, Turkey, GLORY will present GLORY 15 Istanbul. GLORY 15 is slated to feature the GLORY Light H...Read more
Let's face it, Koya Urabe was one of the favorites in the K-1 MAX Japan -63kg tournament, as he should have been. Even after having his leg dismantled in the first round, Urabe marched on through another fight and found himself in the finals. He put up on hell of a fight, the kind you do when in a big one-night tournament against Yuta Kubo. Tanikawa made mention that both of these men will make the WORLD stage, which is quite a turnaround from last year where Urabe won his qualifying bout, but was not selected because he was not "exciting enough."
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The new ProElite is beginning to turn its gears and is looking for an August or September launch to whatever their new vision is. ProElite is the company that was known in the past for its main subsidiary, EliteXC that ran live fights on CBS and Showtime Sports before ProElite filed for bankruptcy. The concept behind ProElite was confusing at best, as they seemed to simply be a public company (first off -- bad idea for a new company) that had capital behind it to go out and purchase smaller organizations to bring them all under one roof.
The main problem with ProElite was that EliteXC was always the only show in town and those in charge of ProElite were not in the mindset of slow, steady growth as much as making an immediate splash on the MMA world and competing with UFC right off the bat. Fans watched as EliteXC did their best to compete with UFC, while at the same time a San Jose kickboxing promotion was putting on their own series of MMA cards that had people talking.
Strikeforce took a much different approach to the Mixed Martial Arts world, as Scott Coker at the helm had a lot of experience with the martial arts world as the former head of K-1’s USA operations before Mike Kogan as well as promoting Strikeforce as a kickboxing promotion in the Northern California region. Coker knew what to expect in Northern California, knew what would bring fans to the arena and how to organize these events.
Strikeforce for a long time was the little engine that could, the promotion that was in the background; they did well but they never stepped on any toes or overreached their boundaries. Dana White even had a grudging respect for Coker and would never talk bad about him. The Strikeforce formula was unique for MMA; the undercards were entirely taken from the local scene, with local up-and-comers who would fight for cheap and even help with the event (ticket sales, set up/tear down of the ring, etc.). The main card was full of fighters who were a little bit more established names but could still not command a king’s ransom to be booked, guys like Joe Riggs, Bobby Southworth, Clay Guida, Tyson Griffin, etc. You might know a lot of these names from the UFC, but their UFC tenure was either over or had yet to begin.
Continue Reading to read about how they built on weak divisions and made stars.Add a comment
Watch the above video and note some of the key words that Tanikawa uses and that he does seem dead set that not only will K-1 continue on, but that K-1 will be fine. While in the past I've felt that those were empty words, I can confirm now that things are indeed looking up. The PUJI deal has actually yielded some capital for K-1 and there are some investors (or possibly even buyers) who are serious about K-1 continuing and becoming a worldwide force. The show in China that Tanikawa mentions is currently airmarked for October and does indeed seem like a reality as opposed to "Japanese Grandstanding" that we hear about.
LiverKick.com has been made aware of who some of the investors are, and confirmed through a number of sources the accuracy of the information, but will continue to keep it under wraps until the deals are finalized on all sides and the exchange of money and power have been made. What we can say is that the companies investing in K-1 are very serious about kickboxing and K-1 and have the money to make sure there are not as many hurdles. It also means that K-1's typical Japan-centric approach will be compromised as it is not a viable business model, nor is it one these new investors would support. K-1 putting on one show is a big deal, as will be paying fighters who are owed money. For all the talk of Japanese television deals, while those will be important for K-1, they will no longer be the driving force of revenue and motivation like they once were if these deals go according to plan.
K-1 is lucky that they made themselves the undeniable brand in kickboxing, mainly by establishing a set of rules that were universally adopted and by running worldwide tournaments on a yearly basis to determine who the best are. Many promotions are able to book some of the top talent from K-1, but it seems like no one can pull in all of the exact names (granted, some like It's Showtime have their own pool of talent and exclude some headscratchers of names like Teixeira and Jaideep) and pit them against each other successfully.
A K-1 looking to take a global scale seriously is a K-1 that will have multiple revenue streams and actually build up its name internationally, with a focus on Japan as a homebase but not its only base there is a greater chance for the company to succeed and prosper. Expect big things to come from K-1 if things go according to plan.Add a comment
Thai Fight Extreme's Tokyo event on August 7 is set and It's Showtime 73MAX World Champion Yohan Lidon will take on MMA veteran Akihiro Gono at -75kg.
After many years fighting MMA, Gono recently switched his focus to pure striking this year. Gono started off his kickboxing career, jumping straight into the deep end, dropping a decision to Yuya Yamamoto. Gono then went straight into Thai rules, winning a 4 man tournament to qualify as the Japanese representative in the -70kg Thai Fight final tournament later this year. Once again, Gono will go straight into the deep end again when he takes on a high level fighter in Yohan Lidon.
Yohan Lidon recently won the It's Showtime 73MAX World Title, topping Marat Grigorian in a tough 5 round bout. Lidon returned to action just a month later, getting a 5 round devision over Kongjak Sor Tuantong, a fighter who had previously stopped Lidon in Thailand. Lidon is riding a 3 fight win streak and Gono will be a notable step down in competition.
Lidon really shouldn't have much trouble here, as Gono is quite inexperienced and hasn't fought anywhere near the competition of Lidon.Add a comment
At Saturday's K-1 MAX -63kg 2011 Japan GP, the biggest non-tournament news coming out of the event was the announcement of six of the eight competitors in this year's MAX -70kg Japan Tournament. The Japan tournament is often the highest profile of the qualifying tournaments for the MAX Final 16 and has launched the K-1 careers of many Japanese kickboxers. Notable past winners include Masato, Taishin Kohiruimaki, Yoshihiro Sato, Yoshihiro Kido and last year's tournament champion Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima.
Last year's tournament rivaled the excitement of the 2010 K-1 -63kg Tournament, providing upsets, spectacular knockouts and a FOTY candidate finals in which Nagashima and Hiroki Nagashima slugged it out until Nagashima rattled Nakajima with a right hand that ultimately ended his night.
The announced participants of this year's tournament are 2010 Japan GP Champion Yuichiro Nagashima, 2010 Runner-up Hiroki Nakajima, 2009 Japan GP Finalist and 2009 World MAX Final 4 competitor Yuya Yamamoto, 2008 Japan GP Champion Yasuhiro Kido and tournament newcomers Shintaro Matsukura and Go Yokoyama. The two open slots will likely go to tournament mainstays Tatsuji and Ryuji are up for grabs and no word has been put out by K-1 regarding the final two slots.
Nagashima is likely to be pushed as the face and favorite of this tournament because of last year's win as well as his appearance in the Final 8 and his upset victory over Shinya Aoki in their exhibition at Dynamite!! 2010. Nagashima hasn't fought since the exhibition against Aoki, making his pro-wrestling debut in the meantime. Looking for a repeat, Nagashima will have to use his heavy hands to blast his way through the tournament yet again.
Nakajima was hand-picked as Masato's successor by the man himself, but has yet to show the level of promise that many have expected. Since his loss in the tournament finals, Nakajima has been outclassed by Albert Kraus at the Final 16 and Buakaw Por. Pramuk at Sengoku Soul of Fight. Nakajima comes in off of a KO victory over YOSHI in the quarterfinals of the Krush 70kg GP. Another trip to the finals wouldn't be unlikely, but with such high expectations, a tournament win is what he really needs.
Kido and Yamamoto are more or less in the same position. Both have been pegged as upcoming talents in the division yet have fallen on hard times recently. After a win at the 2008 Japan Tourmament, Kido knocked out Chi Bin Lim in the Final 16 only to go on a 4 fight losing streak. After two reserve fight wins in the 2009 Final 16 and Final 8 events, Kido was planted by a Yoshirio Sato right hook in a Finals reserve fight and has since dropped decisions to the unheralded Ryuji and Vahid Rosyani. Yamamoto managed to make it to the Finals of the World Tournament in 2004 after an impressive upset over Gago Drago in the Final 8, only to fall to eventual tournament winner and 70kg kingpin Giorgio Petrosyan. Since the loss, Yamamoto has gone 3-3, with upset losses against Hinata and fellow participant Shintaro Matsukura. A Japan Tournament victory may be the thing to re-ignite the careers of both fighters.
Matsukura and Go Yokoyama are relative unknowns, with Matsukura likely being invited to the tournament because of his upset win over Yuya Yamamoto in an entertaining fight in the Krush 70kg Tournament. Yokoyama has fought in K-1 before, losing via 3rd round TKO to Jae Gil Noh at the 2009 MAX Final 8 event. Matsukura brings decent power and combination punching combined with a good chin and great resiliency while Yokoyama brings a flashy karate style in the vein of Keiji Ozaki and Kizaemon Saiga. Honestly, I don't like the chances of either fighter, as Matsukura was being bullied by Yamamoto until a knockdown in the 3rd which won him the fight and Yokoyama often favors dropping his hands when he throws his kicks which got him KO'd against Noh and will most certainly get him KO'd against the likes of Nagashima, Nakajima, Kido and Yamamoto.
The biggest question about the tournament, however, does not involve any of the fighters, but when the tournament will take place. The Japan Tournament often takes place in February or March, but with K-1's financial troubles, they were unable to do so. With It's Showtime's Fast & Furious tournament taking place on September 24th, timing for K-1 will be crucial as many of the world's top fighters are locked up in that tournament. Sooner, rather than later would probably be wise for the tournament if K-1 wishes to have its MAX GP with top fighters in 2011.Add a comment