|Heavyweight (Per 10/13)|
|1.||Semmy Schilt (?)|
|7.||Mirko Cro Cop|
|Light HW (per 10/13)|
|Middleweight (per 11/25)|
|Welterweight (per 10/13)|
|70kg (Per 11/25)|
|2.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 10/6)|
I've finally had a chance to sit down and watch Dynamite!! and there is a lot to say reflecting upon the events from that show. There has been a bit of an ongoing debate over the "level" of K-1 strikers and how they compare to MMA strikers. The general fallout from the internet seems to be that the disparity between K-1 kickboxers and MMA fighters is slim, with K-1 fighters being overrated by fans and the talent pool being shallow at this point in time.
Of course, it didn't help that at Dynamite!! we saw Gegard Mousasi take K-1 Heavyweight Champion Kyotaro to the distance and win the fight via decision. Mousasi even scored a few knockdowns, and this comes off the heels of his 2008 victory over Musashi.
The year 2010 was also the year that saw Alistair Overeem, a fighter primarily known for competing in Mixed Martial Arts take home kickboxing's most coveted prize; the K-1 World Grand Prix Championship. Overeem has long been an interesting topic for debate; is he good? Is he just alright? Do his poor Light Heavyweight performances from a few years ago reflect upon him now? What lengths has he gone to improve his performance? If he isn't that good of a striker, what does it say about K-1 competition?
The truth is, kickboxers are being beaten at their own game. Overeem holds wins over Badr Hari, Peter Aerts (twice), Ewerton Teixeira, Dzevad Poturak, Tyrone Spong and Gokhan Saki. That list is impressive and contains some of K-1's best fighters. Mousasi only holds two K-1 victories, over an aging and ready to retire Musashi and a sluggish if not exhausted from competing weeks before Kyotaro, but is still being used as an example of a MMA fighter making K-1 look bad.
It seems foolish and unfair to label these fighters as either this or that. What really makes a fighter? Alistair Overeem has been training kickboxing since he was a teenager, making his pro debut at age 17 before switching over to MMA. Gegard Mousasi began his career as a boxer and kickboxer, transitioning to MMA and using his judo background combined with his striking prowess to be successful.
As we saw at Dynamite in Satoshi Ishii vs. Jerome Le Banner and Hideo Tokoro vs. Kazuhisa Watanabe, a striker moving into MMA put in grappling situations can be easily lost and frustrated, while a MMA fighter put in a pure striking situation can appear to be competent.
To use Gegard Mouasasi and Alistair Overeem as examples of Mixed Martial Artists "clowning" K-1 kickboxers is crass and an exercise in semantics at best. As I posed before, what really makes a fighter? Do the fact that both fighters' records in MMA are more prolific mean that they are Mixed MArtial Artists, or does the fact that they began as strikers mean that they are strikers that adapted a grappling game for Mixed Martial Arts, found success in MMA and stuck with it?
Both men train at kickboxing gyms with some of the best kickboxers in the world (Mousasi trains with Golden Glory when preparing for fights). The Golden Glory gym is primarily a kickboxing gym, while they train MMA fighters, they will always be known (rightfully so) as one of the best kickboxing gyms in the world. To me, Alistair Overeem's affiliation with Golden Glory just speaks of how serious he is about his striking.
Kickboxing and Muay Thai are arts in and of themselves and are incorporated, at least partially, into Mixed Martial Arts. If someone wants to make this argument maybe the survey field needs to grow; take a fighter who grapples as their primary art, toss them into a ring with Kyotaro or an injured Gokhan Saki or Peter Aerts and see how they fare. Rinse, repeat, because we all know a survey from a shallow test field does not yield exact results.Add a comment
I've returned from my mini-pilgrimage (read: girlfriend and myself) to the Pacific Northwest to rock out and have been catching up on the overload of fight news from the past few days, and let me tell you, a lot happened. Thankfully, you've been reading LiverKick.com and your needs are fulfilled for SRC and FEG stuff. So, much to my dismay, before I've even had a chance to watch Dynamite!! from the comfort of my DVR, the word seems to be that while the show was incredible as always, the Japanese press were not so happy with it. As always, the Japanese care about things that not many else do when it comes to their national programming.
Japanese headlines coming out of Dynamite!!? They are scary. Essentially, the headlines all revolve around Satoshi Ishii and his poor performance. Ishii was booed at Dynamite!! The hype around Dynamite!!? Gone. SportsNavi, a popular news outlet run by Yahoo! has headlines about UFC 125, with the feature story about Clay Guida choking out Takanori Gomi and how Nagashima's KO of Aoki made him MVP. NikkanSports is similar. All of the more fight-oriented websites were obeying the unwritten rules of don't trash in public, the mainstream media? No such luck. Headlines about the boos that Ishii received were deafening. Ishii the ace of Japan is all-but-dead. The goofy interviews, the terrible performance, the inability to make press conferences and so forth have done him no favors. He needed a dominant win and a solid post-fight interview, ala Sakuraba and Minowaman. Of course, he did not deliver.
The Japanese ratings were out a few days ago, and TBS pulled in an average of 8.8% (9.8 and 7.8 for each hour). Last year had a peak of 16.7% and an average of 13%, over 3 points higher overall. The help of Ishii and Inoki were simply not enough for the fledgling Dynamite!!. It is just proof that Japan needs new star power. Zach Arnold takes his usual, exhaustive look at the implications of it all. If you care about Japanese MMA and kickboxing, I feel like Zach is a must-read when he writes about it. The point Zach makes is a strong argument as to why Ishii is a giant failure, basically, and he breaks down FEG's situation.
FEG announced that by the end of January they would announce their future plans for the year, which includes restructuring the company from the inside out (much-needed) and to incorporate funding from Chinese and American investors. For those expecting gloom and doom, expect this funding to last for a while. From all that I've heard and discussed with insiders, FEG will be healthy for at least 2011. Their television deals are possibly in limbo again, though. With the poor ratings on TBS, TBS might cut loose the FEG shows they carry (K-1 MAX, DREAM and Dynamite!!). Understand that these shows are the brainchild of TBS to assault other strong network programming, and don't think they like losing. It has nothing to do with fighting, MMA, kickboxing, etc., everything to do with star power and roping in fans. Sapp's fight being barred from TV didn't help matters, as he is a yearly staple and ratings draw, nor did the younger Ologun brother only fighting. Ishii's aura is gone and no Masato means TBS cannot be happy right now. For those concerned, K-1's heavyweight shows are affiliated with Fuji TV, who is happy with K-1's programming.
What this means for DREAM, though, is unsure. Fuji TV has a strong relationship with Kazuyoshi Ishii (K-1 founder and tax evader), so don't be shocked if FEG's relationship with Fuji TV increases over the next year. I also expect a really strong push internationally, as K-1 has always built strong foreign stars and Alistair Overeem is a huge, hot prospect right now and could help propel DREAM and K-1 into the stratosphere in the USA over the next year.Add a comment
Voting is now open for the 2010 LiverKick.com Fight of the Year. Cast your vote in the Weekly Poles section in the left hand column. As a reminder, here are links to videos and write-ups on the 10 nominees:
Pictured: 2009 Fight of the Year Masato v. Andy SouwerAdd a comment
Aoki vs Jienotsu was a strange fight to begin with. The fighters come from different disciples, Aoki an MMA champion, and Jienotsu a K-1 MAX Japan champion. Putting them into the ring together was "gimmick fight," as a commentator notes. Both fighters would likely run in the round with their opponent's ruleset, as the rules dictated an automatic draw in the event of a decision. This... was half correct.Add a comment
Matchmaking for this Alistair Overeem, on this year's New Year's Eve DYNAMITE!! show, was far from certain going into the last few weeks before the event. There were reports of yea and nay on the possibility of Overeem facing Todd Duffee. It was a chaotic process, to say the least, with Duffee being finalized as the opponent on December 24th, a mere week before DYNAMITE!! Names like Bobby Lashley, Andrei Arlovski, and Semmy Schilt were thrown around beforehand as possible opponents.
Todd Duffee took the fight on short notice when it seemed uncertain whether Overeem would even fight. Most fans didn't give Duffee a chance going into the fight, seeing as Overeem was fresh off a huge tournament victory in the 2010 K-1 WGP and Duffee had just been cut from the UFC, but Duffee was a relatively sound opponent compared to names like Kazuyuki Fujita and James Thompson whom Overeem had just faced in MMA. More importantly, he was game during a shortage of opponents for The Reem.
Here is their bout from the New Year's Eve show in Saitama, Japan:
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