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Alistair Overeem vs Tyrone Spong 2010

In light of the upcoming UFC event headlined by Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem, I thought it'd be worthwhile to look back on Alistair's K-1 fights. Fan predictions for Dos Santos vs Overeem are predictably varied, and I think rightly so. Some fans are quick to label Overeem as chinny, citing his Pride FC performances; others point out his vastly improved performance at heavyweight, where he has improved stamina, technique, power, and, most importantly, a much more solid mental game.

I think Overeem's main flaw, that he can be hurt -- especially when tired -- is still there, but he's learned to manage it much better with sound defense and safe gameplanning.

Tyrone Spong manages to hurt him in this bout from 2010, convincingly take a round from Overeem. His temporary advantage is due in part to an edge in speed but, man, does he have some sweet hook counters. Overeem, for his part, recovers well, and uses a solid pressure game to grind Spong down for a decision win with a standing eight count in the final round.

Why do I bring up this fight? Because Spong, technically as sound as the elite heavyweights, is not known for power. People doubted whether his frame could handle the one hundred plus kilos he was carrying, and he'd recently lost a decision to Jerome Le Banner without inflicting much damage of note. Yet, he manages to hurt Overeem.

Here's their bout from 2010. Overeem is in red, Spong in blue.


Buakaw Por Pramuk vs Takayuki Kohiruimaki 2004

This fight is part of a series discussing changes in K-1's clinch rules. I'll be posting fights that demonstrate what fights in different eras of the clinch rule had the potential to look like. The next fight will be post-2005, when "one strike in the clinch" was enforced.

In 2004, the clinch was essentially unchanged from Muay Thai. Fighters could throw as many strikes/ knees as they wanted and it was often used to avoid distance fighting by fighters like Takayuni Kohiruimaki and Yoshihiro Sato. Sato, before joining K-1, had a great career in Muay Thai and full rules Japanese Kickboxing in the AJKF where he utilized knees and elbows to great effect. His build looks similar to that of famous knee fighters of old, like Dieselnoi Chor Thansukarn, who was 188 cm, 6' 2", and fought at 63.5 kg, 140 lb.

In Thailand, Buakaw Por Pramuk had climbed the Lumpini rankings at 135 lb lightweight to no.2 before stopping in deference to a stablemate who held the belt. He competed at 140 lb in Thailand before being invited through Ingram Gym connections to fight in K-1 MAX. Because he moved directly from 63.5 kg to the MAX, he regularly weighs in at 69 kg or 70 kg without cutting weight, while other fighters in the MAX cut the usual 5 to 10 kg. Buakaw was only in the promotion for one year before the rules changed.

Takayuki Kohiruimaki, in 2004, was an up and coming prospect in Japanese K-1, having wins over Kozo Takeda, Hayato, and Mike Zambidis, and Masato (This was very early in both their careers, being both of theirs second bout.). Kohiruimaki changed his name to Taishin in 2008 after coming back from a long, injury-related layoff. He currently has not competed since 2009, the year he won his third J-MAX title. Kohi debuted in 1999 in K-1 and used the clinch and knees as a mainstay of his style.

Keep in mind that most K-1 fights of this era did not look like this. In fact, this is one of very few examples where offensive clinching is decisive. The rules merely allowed matches to potentially look this this. This was the semi-final of the 2004 K-1 MAX Final Tournament. Buakaw wears blue gloves in this bout, Kohi wears red.


Watch Murat Direcki vs. Chris Ngimbi From It's Showtime!! 44

Kickboxing is like MMA in a way, where there are results that are disputed by fans when it comes to close fights. This past weekend's It's Showtime!! event flew under the radar due to falling on the same weekend as the K-1 World Grand Prix, but that doesn't mean that it did not have its share of exciting action. It's Showtime's 70kgs championship was on the line as Murat Direcki defending the title against Chris Ngimbi in the main event. It was a close bout, seeing Ngimbi pulling out the decision victory, but many fans, as well as the announce team, feel that Direcki deserved the nod. Who do you feel won the bout? Direcki is in the blue trunks, Ngimbi in the white.



Nicky Hemmers On Dynasty and Pressures

Nicky Hemmers

In Shakespeare's Henry IV part II, the king muses, "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." In saying this, the king is referencing how he himself or any other person who is a leader can be consumed with worries due to a sometimes overwhelming amount of responsibility and tough decisions. A crown, however, is not always tangible, it can be analogous to something such as one's surname. One's name in this life can come with certain expectations for achievement.

Within the kickboxing community, the name Hemmers rings loudly and proudly as one of the most prestigious families to be associated with the sport. Beginning with the patriarch, Cor Hemmers, this legacy for greatness in the sport has been passed down now to his son Nick, who is now creating a legacy of his own .

Beginning his own training at age eleven, Nicky has lived on both sides of the combat sports coin as both as fighter and a trainer. Having fought professionally from age 16 until 2 years ago, now he has now found his niche as a trainer in Breda at Hemmers Gym where he helps to shape and mold the careers of many of the best and brightest of today's kickboxing community. If you want to know who, think Errol Zimmerman, Jamal Ben Saddik, Filip Verlinden, Robin van Roosmalen, Marc de Bonte and countless others who are making their way up the ranks in Glory and other organizations.

Coming from such a prestigious and well known family one would think the pressure to perform and/or make a mark in this world would be immense, and perhaps it is, but Nicky plays his role with style, grace as well as with a touch of humor. In our talk prior to Glory 16 in Denver, he touched upon that very issue, stating that he does feel pressure to perform but also, that he feels he has a down to earth style that allows him to not only explore innovative ways of training fighters but also to seek and accept constructive criticism about performance. He names his father as a key figure and stated that he frequently asks for feedback on his performance.

With a maturity that exceeds his actual years of experience, Nicky also seems to have developed rather keen insight on the multi-dimensional role he plays in the life of a fighter. Having been there himself, Nicky is not afraid to counsel his trainees on the importance of having a back up plan to sustain them once their days in the ring have come to an end. Nicky also expresses a clear understanding of his role in letting a fighter know when enough is enough, stating, "Sure, he can do what he wants, just not under my name."

With many impressive wins at Glory 14, 15 and 16, 2014 promises to be a very big year for Nicky and his team. Admittedly, he has faced adversity and change during the last 18 months but still he smiles, remarking that it has been these changes that continue to help him to grow and make him a better person. As Glory 17 approaches, we can only wish him the best of luck as he and the men from Hemmers Gym continue to make their mark in this often unpredictable world of combat sports.


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