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LiverKick.com Rankings


Heavyweight (Per 4/15)
1. Rico Verhoeven
2. Daniel Ghita
3. Gokhan Saki
4. Tyrone Spong
5. Peter Aerts
6. Errol Zimmerman up
7. Benjamin Adegbuyiup
8. Ismael Londt up
9. Hesdy Gerges up
10. Ben Edwards up

Light HW (per 4/15)
1. Gokhan Saki up
2. Tyrone Spong down
3. Danyo Ilunga
4. Nathan Corbett down
5. Saulo Cavalari

Middleweight (per 4/15)
1. Wayne Barrett
2. Joe Schilling
3. Artem Levin
4. Steven Wakeling
5. Franci Grajs

Welterweight (per 4/15)
1. Nieky Holzken 
2. Joseph Valtellini 
3. Simon Marcus
4. Marc de Bonte
5. Aussie Ouzgni

 

70kg (Per 4/15)
1. Davit Kiriaup
2. Andy Ristiedown
3. Robin van Roosmalendown
4. Giorgio Petrosyandown
5. Murthel Groenhart
6. Buakaw Banchamek
7. Dzhabar Askerov
8. Ky Hollenbeckup
9. Aikprachaup
10. Enriko Kehlup

65kg (per 1/20)
1. Masaaki Noiri
2. Mosab Amraniup
3. Yuta Kubo down
4. Sagetdao
5. Liam Harrison

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Oktagon 2010This past weekend, Giorgio Petrosyan once again asserted his dominance over the Middleweight ranks with a victory over Sudsakorn.  With that fight done, The Doctor now looks ahead to his next fight - a March 12 clash with Cosmo Alexandre.

Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Cosmo Alexandre will headline Oktagon 2011, a kickboxing and Muay Thai event taking place in Milan.  The fight will be 3 x 3 rounds, K-1 rules, at 70kg.  We've discussed this fight before, but it should be another good challenge for the champ.  Alexandre has been hot for the past 2 years, with big wins in It's Showtime and other international promotions.  He's a smart fighter with a deadly flying knee that he could use to great advantage here.  The difficulty he may face is the weight cut - Alexandre has been fighting almost exclusively at 77kg recently, and a drop all the way down to 70 could be tough.  He'll have to come in with a perfect game plan, and execute that game plan flawlessly if he wants to earn the win here.  For fans who appreciate the technical side of kickboxing, this one could be a classic.

The full card for the Oktagon show has now been released, and unlike many smaller shows, this one features more of note than just a main event.  In the past, Oktagon has worked in collaboration with It's Showtime, putting on last year's It's Showtime Milan show that featured Petrosyan vs. Khem, plus 2009's first meeting between Petrosyan and Andy Souwer.  They're running this year's event on their own, and have put together another stacked card.

In the semi-main event, Giorgio's brother Armen Petrosyan faces Yoshihiro Sato under K-1 rules.  Like Giorgio, Armen was also victorious this Saturday, defeating Miodrag Olar.  Sato will be a step up for Armen, but the lesser known Petrosyan is a tough fighter himself, ranking at #25 in the LiverKick.com rankings.  Considering that Sato recently lost to Giorgio and is likely looking for a rematch, this could be an interesting contest, giving Giorgio another opportunity to closely scout Sato, while Sato has a chance to make adjustments based on the Giorgio fight.  Again, this will be a technical fight that should deliver.

Also on the card:

Andre Kulebin vs. Fabio Pinca - Pinca has been around for a few years, but has increased his profile lately, with bigger fights and a victory in the 2010 Isuzu Thai Fight tournament.  He also holds a 2008 win over Sudsakorn.  Kulebin is a highly respected veteran who last year was in the WKN Big 8 tournament where he made in to the finals, losing to Sudsakorn.  This is a Muay Thai fight, 5 x 3 rounds, 65kg.  Another one that could potentially steal the show here.

Khalid Bourdif vs. Marcus Oberg - Bourdif has been making waves in It's Showtime lately, establishing himself as a top contender at 77kg.  He drops down to 70kg here to face K-1 MAX veteran Marcus Oberg under K-1 rules.  Oberg is ranked at #24 in our rankings, and although he is coming in off a loss to Kyshenko, he always provides a tough challenge.

Dzhabar Askerov vs. Chris van Venrooij - Askerov is a popular K-1 MAX veteran who had a rough run in 2009 but has since come back and is 7-1 in his last 8.  Van Venrooj is an oft overlooked, but solid fighter.  This is a rematch from 2008, where Askerov took a split decision.

Rounding out the card: Xu Yan vs. Adem Bozkurt; and Daniel Sam, Chingis Alasov, Phillipe Salmon, and a Japanese fighter identified only as "Morija" (?) will all face opponents yet to be named.

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Nick DiazNick Diaz is a polarizing character in the MMA world, he is brash, disrespectful and he is very talented. Tonight he successfully defended his Strikeforce Welterweight Championship against Chute Boxe's Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos. Mr. Cyborg was coming into this fight off of a two-fight win streak, with a win over Marius Zaromskis in Strikeforce and Paul Daley's uncertain future setting this fight up for him. Mrs. Cyborg was in the audience to support her husband and the storyline going into this fight was Cyborg had really turned his career around and improved vastly.

The first round was an incredible brawl, with Cyborg's technique dominating early in the round. Cyborg worked a brilliant game plan early on, working the leg kicks and following up with some crisp punches. With Diaz reeling most of the early parts of the round, a right hand from Diaz and a flurry was able to change the atmosphere of the fight. It turned into an all-out brawl afterwards and Cyborg looked as if he was slowing down.

The second round saw neither man looking to give an inch. Cyborg's game plan began to fall apart as he simply started looking to take Diaz's head off. As soon as he stopped working the leg kick the fight began to slip from his grasp. Diaz was starting to take advantage of this and was hurting Cyborg standing up, forcing Cyborg to take Diaz down. This proved to be a mistake, though, as Diaz slipped on an armbar to secure the win.

The night also saw Robbie Lawler put up a good fight against Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza until it went to the ground, with Jacare choking Lawler out, disproving the "Beard Theory." Herschel Walker remains undefeated against hand-picked opponents in Strikeforce, which they'll note over and over again. Roger Gracie showed a well-rounded game, but finished with his grappling against Trevor Prangley.

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Petrosyan SudsakornIn what was one of this weekend's biggest fights, Torino, Italy's Thai Boxe Mania 2011 has come and gone, and Giorgio Petrosyan, injured hand and all has come out on top, once again. His opponent was Thai standout Sudsakorn Sor. Klinmee in what was a close battle between essentially two injured fighters. Sudsakorn had fought just two weeks ago, and Giorgio Petrosyan still has an injured right hand.

It was a close battle between both men, but Petrosyan had the upper hand throughout the fight and was able to pull off the decision victory. A hat tip should go out to Suds, who put up a great fight and hopefully both men can meet under better conditions in the future. After the bout, Petro confirmed that he hand was indeed injured and that his next opponent was Cosmo Alexandre at Oktagon 2011 in Milan.

Armen Petrosyan was also victorious over Miodrag Olar via decision, moving onward to Yoshihiro Sato, proving that 2011 will be big for the Petrosyan brothers. Also in action, Abdallah Mabel stopping Vladamir Shulyak late in the third.

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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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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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(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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