You go on vacation for just a few measly days, then some Delta pilot thinks he is pulling fancy moves, which delays you half an hour and makes you miss your connecting flight. He then jokes about it with you in the Salt Lake City airport before giving you a voucher for 6 dollars worth of food and a crappy hotel room, you forget that Andy Souwer vs. L'houchine "Aussie" Ouzgni is literally days away. Thankfully for me, and thankfully for you, AFAV, a pretty great video production team, brings you close to the action as both men prepare for their bout.
We've posted the first video in the series, which was Andy Souwer discussing the upcoming bout and then getting an inside look at his training. In the second episode, we catch up with Aussie.
We aren't done yet. In the third episode, they move back to Andy Souwer's camp, where he discusses cutting weight, his fallout with K-1 and a possible move to MMA. After the break the next two episodes.
Results from last week's question: Who is K-1's greatest of all time?
42% - Peter Aerts
27% - Ernesto Hoost
11% - Semmy Schilt
9% - Andy Hug
7% - Remy Bonjasky
2% - Jerome Le Banner
2% - Ray Sefo
This week: Coming up this Saturday will be the first truly major card of 2011 as It's Showtime kicks off their year. Headlining the event is a great top 10 battle with #8 Daniel Ghita vs. #9 Hesdy Gerges. So, who wins?
Results are in from this weekend, and there were three kickboxing events of interest.
Top 10 Middlewweight Nieky Holzken (ranked #6) was in action this weekend, headlining a Golden Glory event in Eindhoven and challenging Thilo Schneider for the WFCA World Title. The intense Holzken brought the fight to Schneider early, using a wide range of techniques to overwhelm his opponent and score the 2nd round TKO win. A bit of an ugly moment in the 2nd round here after Holzken dropped Schneider with a punch. As Schneider was down on one knee in the corner, the referee was slow to step in and Holzken blasted his clearly downed opponent with a brutal punch that rocked the completely exposed Schneider. Poor reffing there for sure, but also not the most sportsmanlike move from Holzken. After the fight Faldir Chahbari entered the ring and challenged Holzken. Those two put on one of the best fights in 2009 with Holzken pulling off a close decision win, and I would have no problem seeing them square off again.
In Australia, the big event was Knees of Fury 32, headlined by Paul Slowinski vs. Thor Hoopman. Slowinski (pictured) was able to get his revenge on Hoopman for a 2009 loss, as the long-time K-1 veteran scored a 1st round KO victory over his younger opponent. The difference in the fight seemed to be Slowinski's power, which proved too much for the smaller Hoopman. At one point, Slowinski was able to simply pick Hoopman up and slam him to the mat in a throw that was low on technique, but high on strength. As the round progressed, Slowinski increased his pressure, landing multiple punch combos that dropped Hoopman before the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. Great win for Slowinski, who was talking about retiring two years ago, but is now 8-2 in the last year and getting ready for a May showdown with Daniel Ghita in what will be Slowinski's biggest international fight since the 2008 K-1 GP Finals. Hoopman remains a young talent to watch, but this is a definite setback for him, and he will need to figure out how to deal with bigger, stronger opponents if he hopes to remain at Heavyweight. Elsewhere on the card Wes Capper stopped Kym Johnson in 1 round, Flip Street defeated Myles Simpson by TKO after round 2, Sarah O'Connell decisioned Tenille May, Charlie Chau KO'd Hiki Hanui in the 1st via leg kicks, and Cameron Murcott stopped Steve Behan, again in the 1st.
Finally, over in Japan was R.I.S.E. 74 with a pair of title fights as the main attraction. In the main event, Kosuke Komiyama took a 5 round split decision win over Kan Itabashi to become the new R.I.S.E. 60 kg champion, while Koji Yoshimoto and Yusuke Sugawara battled to a Draw in a 63kg title fight. Yoshimoto remains the champion after the draw decision. The other notable fight was Dyki vs. Hiroki Maeda, where Dyki scored the decision win. The event also included a retirement ceremony for K-1 MAX veteran Tatsuji.
There are some notable stories getting attention in the wake of last night's UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch, but for K-1 fans, there's only one that matters: the return of KO artist Mark Hunt. Hunt faced Chris Tuchscherer in a prelim fight designed to appeal to the live hometown crowd, and for the first time in a long time, Hunt truly delivered. The K-1 veteran opened up a horrendous cut in round 1 before stopping Tuchscherer with a vicious uppercut KO in the 2nd - and then simply walking away from his opponent's sprawled out body looking like a total badass. The stoppage earned him the award for Knockout of the Night.
The fight was a great redemption for Hunt. The past few years have been very rocky for the New Zealand native. Between MMA and K-1 Hunt came into the fight on a combined 7 fight losing streak that dated all the way back to mid-2006, nearly 5 years ago. Tuchscherer brought in a 1-2 record in the UFC, but both loses came against tough opponents in Gabriel Gonzaga and Brendan Schaub, and many favored him to defeat the fading Hunt here. Hunt managed to keep the fight standing for most of the first round, showing off the heavy hands and solid striking skills that once made him K-1 Grand Prix champion. After a nasty left hook opened up a huge cut over Tuchscherer's eye, the doctors took a look and surprisingly allowed the fight to continue. Tuchscherer came back from the break reenergized, managing to take Hunt down and attempt to secure a kimura. The ground game has been Hunt's kryptonite for some time, with 5 of his last 6 MMA loses coming via some form of arm lock, but this time it was not to be, as Hunt rode out the round. In round two they were back to striking before Hunt landed a tight uppercut perfectly on Tuchscherer's jaw. As his opponent flopped to the mat, Hunt knew the fight was done, walking away casually with his fist raised in victory before the referee even stepped in.
It's hard to say where Hunt goes from here. It was a good win for sure, but I don't think he really fits in the greater UFC HW picture. Perhaps one more fight with his old K-1/PRIDE opponent Mirko CroCop? The two men are 1-1 and a rubber match would be appropriate given each man's current career. I could also see him paired with UFC's other ex-K-1 Heavyweight, Pat Barry.
For now though, those of us who have watched Mark Hunt win the 2001 K-1 Grand Prix, duke it out with Ray Sefo, and go to war with Jerome Le Banner, can add another exciting moment to our memories. Cheers to you champ.