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Get Excited for William Diender vs. Rachid Belaini

March 6th marks the next big It's Showtime event, the first truly large-scale event of the year, so we count down the weeks until the event. One of the bouts on the undercard that holds a lot of interest to fans around the world is William Diender vs. Rachid Belaini. Diender is coming off of a tough 2010 with some steam coming in the way of a victory in January. Diender and Belaini met in 2008, in a bout that Diender was able to take the W in after a 5-round war.

Watch this awesome promo video for the upcoming fight, where Diender calls Rachid a "retard" and shows you with karate chops how he hacked at Rachid's legs. It is pretty awesome. We'll be talking more about this card and of course, when it rolls around make sure to watch it live on Fight.nl for 10 Euros (about 13 bucks USD). [source]

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Weekly Poll Results

Last week's question: How would Anderson "The Spider" Silva do in K-1?

40% - Very good, but not GP champ

24% - Average

20% - Dominant, he would win the GP

16% - He wouldn't do well

This week: Ray Sefo is one of K-1's all time great legends.  He's slowed down his career in recent years, focusing more on being a trainer at MMA camp Xtreme Couture, and developing his MMA game.  Saturday night, he lost an MMA contest to Valentijn Overeem via neck crank.

What do you think should be next for Ray Sefo?

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Lion Fight Promotions Tonight! Headlined by Malaipet

MalaipetThe Strikeforce Heavyweight GP is tonight, featuring Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Silva, Andrei Arlovski vs. Sergei Kharitonov and Sugar Ray Sefo in action against Alistair Overeem's big brother, Valentijn. But, just outside of Las Vegas in Primm, Nevada, Lion Fight Promotions puts on their first show of 2011. If you haven't heard of Lion Fights, they started up last year, the operation is run by Scott Kent and has given muay thai a bigger stage in the US than usually given. Tonight's card features top talents such as Malaipet and Kevin Ross and more.

The professional card breaks down as follows;

Michael Mananquil (San Francisco) vs. Malaipet (Los Angeles)

147 lbs / Welterweight title 5 rounds by 3 minutes / Full Muay Thai Rules

 

Chaz Mulkey (Las Vegas) vs. Douglas Edwards (San Francisco)

160 lbs / no title 5 rounds by 3 minutes / Full Muay Thai Rules

 

Kevin Ross (Las Vegas) vs. Sittisuk Por Sirichai (Thailand)

145 lbs / no title 5 rounds by 3 minutes / Full Muay Thai Rules

 

Remy Bonnel (Miami) vs. Singsir Por Sirichai (Thailand)

155 lbs / no title 5 rounds by 3 minutes / Full Muay Thai Rules

 

Amy Davis (Idaho Falls) vs. Emily Bearden (New York)

114 lbs / no title 5 rounds by 2 minutes / Full Muay Thai Rules

 

Scotty Leffler (Las Vegas) vs. Coke Chunhawat (San Francisco)

140 lbs / no title 5 rounds by 3 minutes

 

Shawn Yarborough (Las Vegas) vs. Brandon Banda (Concord)

175 lbs / no title 5 rounds by 3 minutes

There is also an amateur card on top of the pro card, stay tuned for the results. [source]

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Why You Should Support the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP

Fedor and Silva (C) M-1Tomorrow night marks the kickoff of one of the biggest tournaments in MMA history. That sounds like grandstanding, doesn't it? It sounds over-the-top and like a simple tournament is being made to sound bigger than it actually is. The only problem with that logic is that the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP is one of the biggest tournaments to happen on American soil in MMA, and is the biggest tournament to happen since PRIDE ran its last Grand Prix. Stay with me, because I've received a few complaints from LiverKick.com's faithful readers in regards to the Strikeforce coverage. No, Strikeforce is indeed not kickboxing or muay thai, but it is being covered for a very distinct reason; we care about the global fight scene, a lot.

Zuffa did something incredible when they took over the UFC and helped to rehabilitate the image of Mixed Martial Arts and worked to bring it into prominence in the United States. Along the way, something happened, though. UFC was expanding and growing, but it had nothing to do with Mixed Martial Arts and everything to do with UFC. UFC grew, the sport of Mixed Martial Arts became the afterthought. Every promotion that has popped up since the UFC's initial boom has been left in the dust, purchased by Zuffa or driven out of business. UFC grew, MMA died on the vine. The only promoter who was able to make a real impact and not drive his company into the dirt was Scott Coker with Stikeforce. Strikeforce began as a kickboxing promotion, with Scott serving as the head of K-1 USA beforehand. Scott knew what he was doing with kickboxing and still has strong ties to the industry.

Do you see where I'm headed yet? The global fight industry is what it is, we are seeing a once super power in Japan begin to wither and die, which no one really wants to see happen, outside of the UFC. The UFC is looking to take over the world, and picking over the scraps of the Japanese fight scene makes life a lot easier. The fight scene in the United States is sparse at best, boxing is holding strong for the big names, but for the smaller names the market is showing some serious cracks. Kickboxing and Muay Thai have some strong markets, but they are very much local and can't really compete on the global level.

The Strikeforce Heavyweight GP that begins this weekend has a big fight feel to it, something that even huge UFC events haven't had that past few years. UFC has put on big events, but not since UFC 100 have I personally felt the sort of buzz surrounding a show like this. A non-UFC show getting this kind of attention, praise ad hype is rare and quite honestly, it is up to Strikeforce to take advantage of this and the not only deliver but follow up on this initial show with more strong shows.

Strikeforce's success helps the global fight industry more than most people can imagine, how? UFC is in the business of promoting UFC, the brand. The fighters are almost inconsequential. UFC 100 was not a huge deal for the fighters, sure, Brock Lesnar was on the card and that helped immensely, but it was the allure of UFC's 100th numbered event. Strikeforce is selling shows around the fighters and the fights, which helps raise awareness of the sport itself, not just the promotion.

The over-arching point of this is that someone needs to break UFC's stranglehold on the market, it wasn't EliteXC, K-1 crashed and burned, so for right now the hope is that Strikeforce can at least try. For sports like kickboxing and muay thai to be taken more seriously, it also helps to have Sergei Kharitonov and Alistair Overeem involved in this tournament, with talk of their K-1 participation. Promotions like Strikeforce make viewers more aware of the fight world at large, as they do not have a self-contained empire to protect. Strikeforce will talk about UFC, PRIDE, K-1, It's Showtime, wherever their fighters came from and had success. The Strikeforce Heavyweight GP feels like a global affair. UFC events feature fighters from all over the world, but all of the action is contained within the UFC's own branded world that they built.

So tune in tomorrow night to watch Fedor Emelianenko square off with Antonio Silva, Andrei Arlovski go to war with Sergei Kharitonov. On top of that, there are three reserve bouts for the tournament, including Valentijn Overeem, Alistair's big brother, squaring off with K-1 legend Ray Sefo while prospects Shane Del Rosario and Lavar Johnson compete to see who is a reserve fighter.

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