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The 2011 LiverKick.com Awards

2011 has yet to end, yet in the grand internet tradition, LiverKick.com is bringing you our year-end awards. Due to the fact that 2011 is quickly winding down and that there are no big Kickboxing bouts scheduled for the rest of the year, it is safe to say that we have seen the best and the worst of 2011, and the time has come to choose the big winners as we all see fit. In a year without a lot going on from K-1 it meant that the smaller weight classes and promotions of the world were given a chance to step up to the big leagues and make an impression, and impress they did.

We saw a lot of great action from promotions like It's Showtime, SuperKombat, Ultimate Glory, KRUSH, Fight Code and many more, when usually in years past anything that happened inside of K-1 took precedence and stole the attention away from the smaller leagues. In 2012 we will be seeing more from FIKA, the "rebirth" of K-1, so it will be interesting to see how the dynamics of this year blend in with a World Cup of Kickboxing. We have narrowed everything down to two categories with five of the absolute best choices in each. Due to a lack of overlap on a global scale as we usually see, it is incredibly difficult to choose a "Fighter of the Year," so we have decided to go with Fight of the Year and KO of the Year. If you look to your left (on the site), you will see the two polls laid out for your discretion. Choose wisely (Note: Late-Dec. 2010 included in "2011").

LiverKick.com 2011 Fight of the Year: LiverKick.com 2011 KO of the Year:
Yodsaenklai vs. Artur Kyshenko (Rumble of the Kings)
Masaaki Noiri vs. Koya Urabe (KRUSH.14)
Karim Bennoui vs. Javier Hernandez (It's Showtime Madrid) Mark Miller vs. Nikolaj Falin (Glory WS Finals)
Yuya Yamamoto vs. Kenta (K-1 MAX Japan 70kg Finals) Errol Zimmerman vs. Roman Kleibl (SuperKombat Fight Club)
Hesdy Gerges vs. Daniel Ghita (It's Showtime Sporthallen Zuid) Anderson Braddock Silva vs. Freddy Kemayo (Fightclub: It's Showtime 2010)
Andy Souwer vs. Harut Grigorian (It's Showtime Fast & Furious)  . Robin Van Roosmalen vs. Kyshenko (It's Showtime: Fast & Furious)
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Overeem a Favorite on UFC 141

UFC 141 kicks off on Friday, December 30th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  In a fight that will setup the #1 contender for Junior Dos Santos's heavyweight title, Brock Lesnar takes on Alistair Overeem in the main event of the evening.  Several online sites, including Ladbrokes Poker, have released odds on this fight for those looking to place a few wagers on the fights.

Lesnar is coming into this fight as a huge underdog.  Overeem has two inches in height and nearly seven times the fight experience of his opponent.  Overeem is almost a more well rounded fighter.  Bookmakers are taking this into consideration as all of them betting on Overeem.  Bodog currently has the best odds out of the three coat -190 for Overeem and +155 for Lesnar.  

The only other fight to receive any line action on the card is the light heavyweight battle between 26-5 Valdimir Matyushenko and 12-1 Alexander Gustaffson.  Gustaffson has 5 inches on his opponent and is much stronger in his submission game.  While not as experienced a fighter as Matyushenko, odds makers are giving Gustaffson the advantage.  Online poker room Ladbrokes Poker has him at 1/3 to win with Matyushenko at 12/5.  Gustaffson is -290 on BetOnline vs Matyushenko at +245.  

While the lines may not have much action on the other fights, the undercard on this one has some solid match-ups.  Lightweights Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone battle in an attempt to jockey for position to face Frankie Edgar for his lightweight title.  Johnny Hendricks puts his 11-1 record on the line against 26-3-1 JonFitch.  Nam Phan broke a three loss losing streak in October and looks to improve his 17-10 record against undefeated Jimy Hettes.

On December 30th, Junior Dos Santos will find out whether he will defend his title against Brock Lesnar or if Alistair Overeem will get his shot at heavyweight gold.  Don't miss this one. It should be a helluva night of fights.

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"K-1 Final Fight" in Zagreb, Croatia on March 10

Right after Mirko Cro Cop announcing he'd fight on March 10 in Croatia, I did a bit of digging and found some information on the event. The show will be called "K-1 Final Fight" and it'll be in the Zagreb Arena, a state of the art facility that can hold up to 24 000 people. The name is similar to the "K-1 Final Fight Star Wars" event that was held in Zagreb in 2003. The event will be organized by "Fight Channel," a channel dedicated to combat sports in Croatia and surrounding countries.

It seems as if the event is a K-1 associated event much like the K-1 KOK, ColliZion and other regional K-1 events that are organized by local promotions. These associated events have been used in the past for qualifying tournaments and I wouldn't be surprised if this card had a national tournament for the FIKA format.

There have been a lot of rumors swirling around pertaining to fights on the card, but nothing in confirmed. Mirko Cro Cop is confirmed by himself to be on the card and Dzevad Poturak also said he'll be on the card. Poturak went on record saying that he would be fighting Jerome Le Banner and that Cro Cop would be fighting Errol Zimmerman, but Cro Cop's manager, Orsata Zovka, denied these rumors (translated, from Croatian site index.hr):

"I do not even know how to comment. This is yet another unverified assumptions. These are big names in the K-1 scene and away from the fact that they are not welcome at the K-1 Final Fight. But with them, nothing is agreed and the name Cro Copovog final opponent is still unknown. The same thing is Poturkom, its possible performance and his potential opponent. As soon as we have concrete information, we will convene a press conference and all of the public present. So it works in this business, "says Zovko.

Other rumored match-ups include Daniel Ghita vs. Rico Verhoeven, Erhan Deniz vs. Adnan Redzovic and Mourad Bouzidi vs. Ruslan Karaev. Again, these are just rumors, nothing is official.

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Mirko Cro Cop Returning To Kickboxing, Says K-1 in March

Many fans today know Mirko Cro Cop from his storied MMA career, where he was one of the best strikers in the sport for a long time. Mirko has declined since winning the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix in 2006, and a number of reasons could be cited as to why. He is now out of the UFC for the second time, after dropping three in a row, getting stopped with strikes in all three.

In a recent video interview, Mirko said that he is returning to kickboxing, specifically saying that he'd be fighting on March 10 in Zagreb, Croatia. No opponent is set yet, but a name that's been floating around is Dzevad Poturak. It's tough to imagine Mirko winning in kickboxing after getting knocked out three times in a row in MMA, but he said, "It's much easier to prepare for a K-1 bout...You don't have much grappling and fighting on the mat. It's much easier."

Cro Cop also details the injury to his right arm and how he is rushing back against his doctor's advice. He said that he is essentially right now with one arm and two legs. I don't think it's a good idea for Cro Cop to be rushing back from an injury, especially at this stage in his career. Nevertheless, everytime we think Cro Cop is done, he comes back and fights again, whether he should or shouldn't.

What's also significant about this is that Cro Cop says he will be fighting for K-1. With K-1's FIKA format supposedly staging national tournaments until April, this fits the mold as it's in Croatia. I still wouldn't get 100% behind this as official though. Cro Cop is also talking of K-1 as a sport, and that's common in Europe so he could just be fighting in a kickboxing show using K-1 rules. We don't know yet and we'll just have to wait until K-1/FIKA make their announcement soon.

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