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Photo of the Day: UFC's Stefan Struve Training With Daniel Ghita

Here is a photo of UFC's Stefan Struve sparring with K-1 and It's Showtime fighter Daniel Ghita. Our friends AFAV are following Struve, documenting his training for his next UFC fight at UFC 130 against Travis Browne. Ghita is also preparing for a fight against Anderson "Braddock" Silva at It's Showtime Lyon on May 14. [source]

Struve/Ghita

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The Return of Badr Hari: A Look at Badr vs. Alistair Overeem, 2009 WGP Semi-Finals

Badr/ReemOver the past week we've taken a look at some of the fights from Badr Hari's 2009, the year after his meltdown in the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals against Remy Bonjasky and his loss to Alistair Overeem at Dynamite!! in K-1 rules. 2009 was Badr Hari's year for redemption, where he looked to avenge past losses and finally capture the K-1 World Grand Prix Title. He was poised to take over the world at this stage.

Entering into the Semi-Finals of the tournament, Badr Hari had already made short work of Ruslan Karaev in the Quarterfinals earlier that night. He was walking into a big rematch for himself, and a bout that a lot was on the line for Badr himself as well as the K-1 world. At the time, Alistair Overeem was billed as a MMA fighter "invading" K-1 for storyline purposes. His interviews were following the same narrative; he was a MMA fighter and he would prove that MMA was stronger than K-1. For Badr Hari, he was embarrassed in 2008 against Overeem after shaming himself by getting disqualified in a fight that he could have still won.

The Badr Hari that entered the ring against Overeem was a determined fighter, with his eyes not on revenge but on winning the K-1 World Grand Prix. The often-emotional "Bad Boy" was composed during this fight, taking on Overeem's great timing and clinch work with aggression and technical combinations. The fight opens up with Overeem's trademark at the time; clinching and sweeping Badr onto his back. A move like that would score him points in Muay Thai competition or be a takedown in MMA, but in K-1 rules it is just an annoyance. He used this technique throughout 2009 to frustrate his opponents and prevent them from getting their rhythm.

Overeem's movement frustrates Hari during the round, as Hari goes head hunting only for Overeem to time them and move out of the way and clinch before Badr finds an opening and lands a few body shots. Overeem continued to clinch while Badr was finishing his combinations with body shots that connected until Overeem made his first big mistake; throwing Badr Hari into the corner. Literally just throwing him into the corner, giving Badr a few moments to regain his composure and pick himself up. Much like we've seen in the past with Badr, if you plant him to the mat, he gets up and looks to take your head off. Overeem threw a left hook that Badr was able to time perfectly and slip a right hook of his own in that landed square on the temple. Overeem stayed on his feet until another quick, short right planted him face first.

Badr smelled blood at this point, and emotions were running high for both men. Overeem knew he was in trouble and Badr Hari wanted to keep good on his promise of knocking him out in under 3 minutes. Badr Hari swarmed at Overeem with rights and lefts, with the odd body shot to throw off Overeem's rhythm and leave an opening. Badr went for a head kick but overshot it, leaving his leg in Overeem's possession for Overeem to plant him on the mat. Hari followed up using the same combination of throwing a series of lefts and rights and finishing with a right body shot and what finally put Overeem out of the tournament was that combination with a left head kick at the end sending Overeem crashing into the corner.

For Badr Hari he had overcome yet another demon of his past, and left him heading into the 2009 K-1 World Grand Prix Finals against Semmy Schilt, the fighter that he had made short work of earlier in the year. Things were finally looking to fall into place for Badr Hari. Catch the video of the fight after the break.

Badr Hari returns on May 14th at It's Showtime Lyon against Gregory Tony after a year layoff. This series we are doing, "The Return of Badr Hari" looks back at the moments that led to Badr Hari's meltdown and time spent in jail, leading to his one year layoff from the world of kickboxing. The next one will cover the Semmy Schilt rematch from the Finals of the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009.

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The Voice Versus Hulk Hogan Teaser Trailer

Our good friend Michael Schiavello has a wonderful interview series on HDnet that features him in a sit-down interview with various names from the world of combat sports. It appears we still might have a ways to go before we can see the Voice Versus Badr Hari, but we can hold out hope, can't we? The latest in the series is the Voice Versus Hulk Hogan. This time it is a bit of an interesting departure from the norm, opting to interview a legendary professional wrestler. Knowing Schiavello, I fully expect a few questions about Antonio Inoki and the Axe Bomber from his time in Japan.

The show debuts May 20th at 10 PM Eastern.

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Howson headlines card with ISKA World champion double header in Leeds

By Daniel Fletcher

Another world championship Muay Thai card will be hosted in Leeds (capital of the north) this weekend at the Leeds Town Hall, when Richard Smith's Bad Company Gym put two of their leading lights in hotly anticipated rematches, in both cases to retain their respective honours. Andy Howson and Jordan Watson share three things in common; they are Leeds lads, fight out of Bad Company gym, and hold ISKA World title belts, one of which will be on the line come Saturday as Howson takes on former foe and friend Dean James. Watson is fresh from a title defence in April, but the fight is not without significance as this rematch from The Contender will determine the #1 ranked super-welterweight, or 70kg MAX fighter in Britain.

In their first meeting, the likeable Howson dropped a decision to the current #1 ranked Bantamweight James on the stacked show at the London Excel, headlined of course by Watson vs. former 2x K-1 MAX champion and Lumpini tournament winner Buakaw Por.Pramuk. Howson feels that he did not perform to his best abilities on that night, and after recovering and going on to win the ISKA world title at bantamweight, he looks to avenge the previous defeat and claim the undisputed #1 rank in Britain.

Howson

Watson for his part lost that night too, though in taking the superstar Buakaw the distance and extending him to the point of doubt come the time for scorecards, he earned a new level of respect on the English, UK and international circuits. He too went on to win ISKA honours, which he has just defended. This fight though, a rematch from the Contender and one that he is favourite to win, would cement him as the best 70MAX Muay Thai boxer in the UK, and that may well be just as important to him.

Watson has been a tipped prospect in British Muay Thai since his teenage years, with the East Leeds youngster winning seven junior titles and quickly rising up the adult ranks as a boy. Since fighting international competition, he has beaten multiple top ranked opponents, had an even bout with one of the true superstars of stand-up fighting in Buakaw, and has won a world title. He's 23, and there's more honours on the horizon for him.

ISKA champ Jordan Watson

Full card (confirmed) as follows:

ISKA 55MAX world title

Andy Howson (Bad Company) v Dean James (Pra Chao Suaa)

Non-title fight - for UK #1 ranking at 70MAX (ISKA super-welterweight)

Jordan Watson (ISKA world champion, Bad Company) v Craig Jose (Fight Faktory) 

Kris Addis (Kao Loi) v Chris Shaw (Scotland)
Kyle Fella (Bad Company) v Robin Downer (Scotland)
Sarah McCarthy (Bad Company) v Maria Pantazi (Greece)
John Dennis (Bad Company) v Michael Wiseman (Caledonian)

5x1.5 Kenzie Roberts (Bad Company) 34kg v Harry Brecken Kao Loi 34kg
5x1.5 Bailey Roberts (Bad Company) 46kg v Joe Craven Calder 49kg
5x2 Andy Bakewell (Waterloo Street) 78kg v Danny Derbyshire Burnley 78kg
5x2 Kate Stables (Bad Company) 52kg v Hayleigh Clarkson Semtex 52kg
5x2 Eddie Long (Bad Company) 78kg v John Walker (Jai Muay Thai) 78kg
5x2 Danny Derbyshire (Burnley) 77kg v Andy Bakewell (Waterloo Street) 76kg
5x2 Karl Stoddart (Jai Muay Thai) 64kg v Mani Singh (Griphouse) 64kg

fight card


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