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Alistair Overeem at UFC 141: The Linear Champ is Here

This Friday night at UFC 141 history will be made. Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem provides not only an interesting clash of styles, but an interesting clash of championships and ideologies. Brock Lesnar’s background is of course American wrestling, but he is most well-known for his tenure as a professional wrestler. Lesnar brings an unprecedented amount of personality, intensity and fanfare to his fights compared to other fighters in the UFC. On the other hand, Alistair Overeem represents Dutch Kickboxing and is one of the few holdouts in the world of International MMA who has been considered “the best” without being under a UFC contract.

In a way, for a lot of fans it seems to be a classic case of the pro wrestling dichotomy of “heel” against “face,” or bad guy against good guy. What is funny is, for different fans there seems to be differing opinions as to who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. For many, Brock Lesnar, whose professional careers have been marred by indecision and lack of passion, Lesnar is ironically a symbol of modern MMA. He is a company man and a representative for the modern UFC fighter. Lesnar went to the UFC as soon as he could in his career and has been facing competition that is without a doubt considered the very best in the world. These people view Alistair Overeem as another Fedor Emelianenko figure; a fighter who many fans believe to be one of the best in the world, but chose to compete outside of the UFC for as long as possible, thus he remained unchallenged against UFC’s crop of fighters.

The other side of the fence tends to view Lesnar as the professional wrestler who invaded MMA and has brought along his antics, attitude and pro wrestling fans. Alistair Overeem, on the other hand, is the two-sport champion who has seen success not only in Mixed Martial Arts but within K-1. Alistair Overeem in 2010 won the K-1 World Grand Prix, one of the striking world’s most prestigious tournaments, then went ahead and won the DREAM Heavyweight Champion. All the while, he was the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion. What decorates Overeem even more is when he defeated Fabricio Werdum in Strikeforce this year he won the mythical Linear Heavyweight Championship. The Linear Championship is not sanctioned by anyone or recognized, but for fans it dates back to when UFC first established a Heavyweight Championship. Randy Couture lost this title to Enson Inoue in 1998, and since then the title has been outside of the UFC. Overeem’s first fight in the UFC will bring back that Linear Heavyweight Championship, and the winner of this fight will possibly unite that championship with the current UFC Heavyweight Championship.

The point here is that Overeem has accomplished as much as he possibly could outside of the UFC, and him joining the UFC signifies his willingness to take that next step. For many, Alistair Overeem is a symbol. Overeem existed outside of the societal norm that was the UFC and began stacking up accolades and crushing everyone that was set before him. Alistair Overeem is literally one of the last heroes in the Mixed Martial Arts world who has yet to be tested within the UFC.

Not only will this fight have serious ramifications on the current UFC Heavyweight title picture, but for history it pits the former pro-wrestler-turned-UFC Champion against the man who conquered the world of Kickboxing as well as the non-UFC world of MMA. This fight brings the Linear Heavyweight Championship back to the UFC for the first time since 1998 and also will be the only time in history that the current K-1 World Grand Prix Champion has stepped into a UFC ring.


Golden Glory Launches New YouTube Channel; Golden Glory TV

It is nice to see some movement from the Golden Glory camp and the Kickboxing world in general in this late December. Golden Glory on Christmas day started up a new YouTube channel called GoldenGloryTV, and the first video up promises a lot of awesome stuff coming in January of 2012. This means interviews, promo videos, behind-the-scenes stuff and documentaries will be up on that channel. That means go ahead and subscribe to it (if you have a YT account) and prepare for it to be awesome.


Alistair Overeem Fights Friday at UFC 141, Watch This Preview

Let's be honest, the year is finally beginning to wind down. For Kickboxing fans it has been an up and down year, the lack of the K-1 World Grand Prix is indeed a loss for 2011, but the promise of a re-organized K-1 system in 2012 shows a lot of promise and hope for fans. The MMA world will see something quite unique this Friday as Alistair Overeem, the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, step into the UFC ring as the "reigning" K-1 WGP Champion. Overeem fights Brock Lesnar, the former WWE star and college wrestling standout in a classic clash of styles. This is also the first time since 1998 where the Linear Heavyweight Championship returns to the UFC with Alistair Overeem fighting. That title dates back to the early UFCs and left when Randy Couture lost in Japan. For years Fedor was considered the Linear Heavyweight Champion, but his loss to Werdum changed that in a hurry. Well, Overeem then beat Werdum and captured that title (there is no physical belt if you don't know this already). So eventually, the UFC Heavyweight title will be "whole again." Wow.


Kem Sitsongpeenong and Buakaw Por Pramuk Triumph at Thai Fights

Buakaw Por Pramuk and Kem Sitsongpeenong walked away with comfortable decision wins to claim the Thai Fights Tournament prizes in their respective weight categories. A large crowd had gathered at the King Chulalonkgorn Monument Square hoping to see the Thais triumph and this time all went according to plan as neither Frank Giorgi nor Fabio Pinca was able to pull off the upset.

For foreign people Buakaw has long been seen as the face of Muay Thai and his reputation within Thailand is starting to soar as he appears on more televised fights here. Thai Fights pulled out all the stops for this show with an impressive display of pyrotechnics and some elaborate fighter entrances.

The main event was the final of the 70 kg tournament between Buakaw and Frank Giorgi. There was a certain sense of inevitability about the two times K-1 winner taking home another trophy and his Australian opponent seemed a bit daunted by the task of taking on a local legend on Thai soil.

Buakaw landed a left kick to Giorgi's head very early in the fight which didn't have enough power to drop the Challenger Muay Thai contestant but seemed to shake him up a little. From that point on it was a virtuoso performance from the Thai fighter punctuated with eye catching teeps to the face, hard punches to the body and head and some solid knees.

Knowing that he was well behind on the scorecard Giorgi came out swinging at the start of the third and final round but Buakaw was able to successfully keep him at bay with a series of teeps and sweeps before answering with some shots of his own.

The decision was not a difficult one for the judges who made Buakaw the second Thai fighter to win a Thai Fights tournament. The first had been crowned a few minutes previously when Kem comfortably outpointed Fabio Pinca.

The French fighter was swept in the opening seconds of the first round as Kem established a lead on the scorecards which he never looked like losing. It's possible the gameplan for Pinca was to try and earn a knock out in the final round but by that stage it was easy for the Thai fighter to avoid his punches and counter efficiently enough to preserve his points advantage.

The televised broadcast began with Richie Green fighting for the second time in a week against former WMC Champion Berneung Topkingboxing. The English fighter has enjoyed some success on the Phuket circuit but struggled with the strength and power of a top Thai opponent.

Green was able to use his superior height to land long knees consistently throughout the fight but he was on the receiving end of a non stop barrage of punches and elbows which finally took their toll in the third round forcing him to take a knee.

To his credit he got to his feet and continued to move forward but by this stage Berneung was picking him off almost at will and landing some brutal shots in the the process and Green would have been relieved to hear the bell at the end of the third round.

It was a similar story for Hicham Chaibi who was well beaten by Saiyok Punpanmuang. Chaibi did pose the hard hitting Thai some problems in the first half of the fight but once Saiyok found his rhythm he raced ahead landing multiple kicks to the lead leg and body of his opponent from the southpaw stance.

Last year Fabio Pinca won the inaugural Thai Fights tournament but this time around pride was restored as both the Thai fighters demonstrated emphatically that the top Muay Thai practitioners still hail from the Kingdom of Thailand.


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