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Thai Fight 2011 and Isuzu Tournament Update

For those who missed the introduction article, the winner of the ongoing 67 kg Isuzu Tournament in Thailand gets to represent Thailand in Thai Fight 2011, which kicks off this September. The Isuzu Tournament is about set to move from the groups stage to the semi-finals and finals.

There are two more fights scheduled in the groups: Kem Sitsongpeenong vs Kongjak Sor Tuanthong, and Prakaisaeng Sit-Or vs Thanongdet Petpayatai. Kem is heavily favored to beat Kongjak.

Thepsutin Pumpanmuang and Nopparat Keatkhamtorn have already been eliminated from the tournament. Thepsutin picked up a decision victory over Thanongdet, but was stopped by Prakaisaeng's knees in his next tournament bout. Nopparat went up against Kem was knocked out in the third by punches.

Sudsakorn 13 Coins Gym (out of Sor Klinmee camp) and Dernchonlek Sor Sor Niyom have both qualified to the semi-finals with two wins apiece. Sudsakorn beat Kongjak Sor Tuanthong and Kem Sitsongpeenong for his place. Sudsakorn's advancement did not surprise fans, though his win over Kem was considered a slight upset. Dernchonlek, however, was something of an unknown factor going into the tournament. The youngest fighter in the tournament, at 17 years of age, the combination of his height, style, and the weight advantage afforded by his relative inexperience helped him beat Prakaisaeng and Thanongdet.

Though the tournament portion of Thai Fight 2011 kicks off in September, giving the winner of the Isuzu Tournament plenty of recovery time, there will be three events held separately as part of the Thai Fight series. These events are planned for May, July, and December, and Yodsaenklai Fairtex and Saiyok Pumpanmuang are set to participate.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, The Final Promo Package for It's Showtime on March 6th

I feel like we all got to see an amazing work in progress when AFAV released a video of the footage they took of the It's Showtime stars which was to be used for the final video seen below. AFAV released a video a few weeks ago of all of the footage for this Fighting Stars promo, in a way giving us a look behind the curtain for the number two kickboxing promotion in the world's hype package for what will turn out to be the first major kickboxing show of 2011. There have been many note-worthy shows, but for the current atmosphere, if it isn't K-1 or It's Showtime, it just isn't that huge.

Behind the curtain for this video consisted of a few minutes of guys shadowboxing with cool lighting and some text flying around. Honestly, if you were given a behind the curtain look at LiverKick.com you'd see my kitchen table, my laptop and myself shadowboxing (the wine glasses in the cabinet clang against each other when I high kick or feign a flying knee) with words flying all through my mind with Pink Floyd's "The Wall" playing on a near infinite loop to go with my sometimes intentionally lacking grammar. Writing is like music, once you know the rules and master them you can break them and answer to no one but the inner recesses of your mind.

If this video does not excite you for what is gearing up to be an incredible show, I highly recommend you look up the names of some of these fighters on YouTube, as I'm doubting you've seen them fight before. That is how good this is looking.

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Strikeforce in Japan: Why It'll Work and UFC Won't

(C) Dave Mandel/Sherdog.comThere have been rumors since the announcement of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP that Strikeforce's head honcho Scott Coker had plans on running a leg of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP in Japan, of all places. He wants this tournament to have a "global" feel to it, and running in a new market like Japan seems like a no-brainer.

I really haven't given this much thought, as it seemed like big plans with no follow-through. Especially after Coker had all of this big talk about running Cowboys Stadium in Texas, a feat that a Manny Pacquiao fight sold 50,000+ tickets to. A bit of insanity if you ask many, as UFC has yet to even approach such a large stadium. Japan, on the other hand, seems to be a very real possibility. On Tuesday night I spoke with MMA Torch about the announcement from the UFC in regards to their "Japanese expansion" and Jamie surprised me with a question about Strikeforce running Japan.

Honestly, Strikeforce has a much better chance of running Japan than the UFC does, this year next year or after. The logic behind this is very, very simple, but also very solid. The big thing is that to run in Japan, you have to be ready to make concessions and promote in Japan. UFC's expansion is, well, underwhelming. They have an obscure pay-TV network they run on and will now feature some mobile video services, but none of this is very interesting to fans in Japan. Without live shows, a broadcast television network and some star power the UFC has no real hopes. Their attitude of "all or nothing" will be their achilles heel in Japan.

Strikeforce, though, seem to know what it means to do business in Japan, and according to ESPN.com's Josh Gross, Scott Coker is planning to meet with Real Entertainment to discuss an April 9th event. When I spoke with MMA Torch, I explained that the only real way for Strikeforce to promote in Japan would be to work with another company, and with FEG's future uncertain, the DREAM partner company, Real Entertainment made perfect sense. Real has fighter contracts (most of the DREAM fighters), production staff, television partners, sponsors and a lot more.

If you take into account fighters like Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Josh Barnett, Antonio Silva, Fabricio Werdum and Sergei Kharitonov, all of these fighters have established name value in Japan. For Fedor Emelianenko this would be a grand homecoming for him. For Alistair Overeem this would be the K-1 and DREAM Champion fighting in his home away from home turf. Also consider that Satoshi Ishii could have a Strikeforce contract by then and that Tatsuya Kawajiri just defeated Josh Thomson at Dynamite!!, so a possible bout between Kawajiri and Gilbert Melendez could be big for Japanese fans as well.

Strikeforce also seems to be considering working with Real Entertainment even more, says Gross. Real Entertainment is going to take some of those fighter contracts that they have and with Strikeforce's help, put on a Lightweight tournament, with our without DREAM. It looks like Strikeforce is taking Japan seriously and are willing to "play ball." Now, if it will pan out financially for them, that is another story for another day (or another site, like FightOpinion.com).

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Andrei Arlovski Prepares for Sergei Kharitonov, Kind Of

Andrei Arlovski has always been one of the greats in the world of MMA for a reason, and it didn't really have a lot to do with his fighting ability as much as it did his personality. Andrei Arlovski in the UFC was a breath of fresh air in a world of fighters with shaved or buzzed heads, covered head to toe in tattoos. He came into UFC with wild, crazy hair, a beard, chest hair and a mouthpiece with fangs on it. The fact that his fist could cripple anyone that stands in its path was just the icing on the cake.

Over the years we've been treated to the indignity of seeing him getting repeatedly hit in the jaw and taking a nap or simply being far too timid in the ring. Where was the wild man? Where was the Pitbull? The Strikeforce Heavyweight GP is a chance for Arlovski to prove to the world that he is still for real. He takes on stiff competition from Golden Glory's Sergei Kharitonov and is currently training with Greg Jackson's camp in my adopted home of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sadly for me, I have yet to see Arlovski walking the streets of the Duke City like I have with other fighters. I've seen GSP bumping and grinding with some chunky chicks, Rashad Evans in a pretty sharp suit, Melvin Guillard jogging, Greg Jackson almost side-swiped me on the way to work one morning, rolled his window down and yelled "sorry, bro" while I flipped him off, and I did my laundry next to Keith Jardine in the area of town we lovingly call the "student ghetto."

Go figure, one of the coolest figures in MMA history is around and I have yet to bump into him walking the dog. Jackson's MMA released a video on YouTube earlier today that shows why everybody loves Andrei, he is a legitimately fun guy to be around, and apparently a part of his training is running full speed at a bag, doing a push kick and shouting "This is Sparta!" while Jon Jones giggles.

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