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LiverKick Rankings December 2016: A New Welterweight King

The cursed year of 2016 is drawing to a close and this seemed like an opportune time for LiverKick to update its rankings.

The LiverKick rankings date back to 2010 when Fraser Coffeen and myself began ranking fighters across multiple divisions, with the only way to move up the rankings (or being added to them) being defeating a ranked opponent. Therefore, these rankings are based upon who beats who, not talent, potential or anything else. They are also current, meaning that past wins or losses are not taken into account when ranking a fighter.

For the year-end update there was an unusual amount of movement since our previous update at the end of September. The top heavyweights stayed the same and we fixed an odd error on our part where we somehow neglected to rank Roman Kryklia after an early 2016 win. We rectified that situation, which did set some other parts of the division into chaos, but there were also wins and losses that shook things up, such as Jamal Ben Saddik's defeating the top GLORY contender in Ismael Londt and Mladen Brestovac defeating would-be top contender Jahfarr Wilnis. Drops happened accordingly and Andrei Gerasimachuk has been dropped from the rankings after no wins of consequence to the rankings.

Light Heavyweight didn't change that much, but there are three new names in the mix, which is noteworthy. Michael Duut defeated Danyo Ilunga, securing himself a spot in the top five, which sadly drops Ilunga to 6. Roman Kryklia plowed through K-1's European 95kg Championship tournament including wins over Fabio Kwasi. Kwasi earned himself a spot with a win over Mladen Kujundzic while Jorge Loren dropped. Ionut Iftimoaie was dropped as his last win was his retirement fight and his ranking was merely honorary for the spot he earned if he hadn't retired. Andrei Stoica and Luis Tavares drop out due to attrition.

Middleweight sees a robbery rectified and things return to where they were prior to the last update, with Filip Verlinden's loss to el Boustati overturned and literally everyone gets bumped up and Fang Bian returns to his rightful spot on the rankings.

Welterweight saw a huge shake-up with only Murthel Groenhart holding onto his #4 spot and everyone else shifting thanks to Cedric Doumbe's win over long-reigning champion Nieky Holzken. Artur Kyshenko dropped simply because of the reshuffling, not due to any sort of loss. Dmitry Valent defeated Hicham El Goaui to earn a spot in the top ten, while Alexander Stetsurenko picked up a win over him, earning him a spot and everyone else simply shuffled, Mustapha Haida losing his #10 position and Karim Ghajji being bumped.

The biggest shake-up at Lightweight came when Cedric Manhoef defeated Wu Xuesong, which caused some downshifts and Christian Baya's win over Josh Jauncey bumped the young Canadian from the list for the time being. Dylan Salvador lands on the rankings, though, which is long overdue.

Featherweight saw one huge jump in China's very, very good Qiu Jianliang getting his just due in the rankings when he defeated Enfusion's posterboy of Ilias Bulaid. Everyone shifted down from there, including Massaro Glunder and Gabriel Varga was at 10, but was defeated by Robin van Roosmalen. This serves as only one of two categories where the current, reigning GLORY champion does not hold the top spot in a division. If anything, it is indicative of how deep the talent pools are for both Lightweight and Featherweight in Japan and China right now.  

LiverKick Rankings Updated on 12/29/2016

Heavyweight (Per 12/16)

1 Rico Verhoeven
2 Benjamin Adegbuyi
3 Roman Kryklia *
4 Jamal Ben Saddik ^
5 Ismael Londt v
6 Mladen Brestovac *
7 Jahfarr Wilnis v
8 Fabio Kwasi v
9 Guto Inocent v
10 Anderson "Braddock" Silva v

Light

Heavyweight (Per 12/16)

1 Artem Vakhitov
2 Saulo Cavalari
3 Zack Mwekassa 
4 Mourad Bouzidi 
5 Michael Duut *
6 Danyo Ilunga v
7 Roman Kryklia *
8 Fabio Kwasi *
9 Mladen Kujundzic v
10 Jorge Loren v
Middleweight (Per 12/16)

1 Jason Wilnis 
2 Simon Marcus 
3 Artem Levin 
4 Israel Adesenya 
5 Filip Verlinden ^
6 Alex Pereira ^
7 Joe Schilling ^
8 Dustin Jacoby ^
9 Cedric Doumbe ^
10 Fang Bian *
Welterweight (Per 12/16)

1 Cedric Doumbe ^
2 Nieky Holzken v
3 Artur Kyshenko v
4 Murthel Groenhart
5 Alexander Stetsurenko
6 Dmitry Valent *
7 Hicham El Gaoui v
8 Raymond Daniels v
9 Yoann Kongolo v
10 Zoltan Laszak v
Lightweight (Per 12/16)

1 Superbon Banchamek
2 Sitthichai
3 Robin van Roosmalen 
4 Giorgio Petrosyan
5 Marat Grigorian 
6 Cedric Manhoef *
7 Wu Xuesong v
8 Tayfun Ozcan v
9 Dylan Salvador *
10 Anatoly Moiseev v
Featherweight (Per 12/16)

1 Kaew Weerasakreck
2 Qiu Jianliang *
3 Ilias Bulaid v
4 Hidaeki Yamazaki v
5 Masaaki Noiri v
6 Minoru Kimura v
7 WEi Ninghui v
8 Abdellah Ezbiri v
9 Kim Minsoo v
10 Robin van Roosmalen *

Legend:

* - New Addition

^ - Moved Up

v - Moved Down

Rules:

The LiverKick.com rankings are living rankings that have existed in one form or another since 2009. After the initial rankings were tabulated, they moved on from there. If one fighter beats a fighter ranked above them, they take their place. If a new fighter is introduced, that means that said fighter is ranked above whomever he beat, moving everyone else down. 

Fighters can drop or move up in the rankings without losing or winning, depending on the division in general. After 12 months of inactivity, or if a retirement is announced, fighters can be removed from the rankings. These rankings are also at our discretion.

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Tenshin Nasukawa Makes RIZIN MMA Debut And Cements Superstar Status

Eighteen-year-old Japanese kickboxing sensation Tenshin Nasukawa made his MMA debut tonight at RIZIN MMA in Japan, proving himself not only to be a force to be reckoned with in muay thai and kickboxing, but in MMA as well. HEading into the fight there were the usual fears that the kickboxing community has when a star kickboxer decides to try their hand at MMA. You'd need to look no further than the bout that preceded Tenshin's, where Andy Souwer was submitted via armbar in the first round to Kazuyuki Miyata. To say that Japanese matchmakers are ruthless in looking for entertainment is an understatement; they thrive on pairing grapplers against strikers in hopes of a highlight reel knockout or submission.

And Tenshin was almost submitted by Nakita Sapun.

All of that happened because Tenshin was unafraid to go to the ground with an actual MMA fighter. Sapun is not much of a grappler, but does have more experience in the MMA ring than Tenshin does, obviously.

Yet, still, Tenshin felt comfortable taking the fight to the ground while everyone expected it to be a stand-up battle. After surviving that sick armbar, most kickboxers would back off, wait for their opponent to get up and fight their own fight. Tenshin didn't do that. Oh no. Instead, he waited and pounced when he saw his opening, winning via TKO.

Then, in something that is very much uniquely Japanese (and why is it?), he grabbed the microphone and appealed for another fight in two nights at RIZIN's next event, claiming that he'd want to fill in for the injured Krazy Horse against Minoru Kimura. Imagine that, a KNOCK OUT and K-1 showdown in MMA rules. My god. The kid who almost had his arm busted wanted more. There wasn't some sap in a suit jamming a mic in his face asking him what he wanted, or to walk him through the finish, he just expressed himself and was aloud to make himself a bigger star. Nobuhiko Takada claimed if the doctors would clear him he could fight.

His debut knockout victory already made him a viral star, but now at one of the biggest Japanese fighting events of the year he proved himself gutsy, talented and fearless with an incredibly bright future ahead of him. We've been searching high-and-low for the next big Japanese kickboxing star to help spark a resurgence of the sport in Japan and it feels like Tenshin could be that fighter. 

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Kunlun Fight 56 Featuring 70kg Tournament and Buakaw

On January 1st Kunlun Fight will conclude their 70kg tournament with the finals in Sanya, Hainan, China. The tournament, featuring Superbon Banchamek, Davit Kiria, Cedric Manhoef and Jomthong Chuwattana should deliver fireworks, as should Buakaw Banchamek making yet another Kunlun appearance against Tian Xian. As always, Kunlun Fight jams their cards full of names and just about every show has an impact on the world rankings.

70kg Artem Pashporin vs. Arhit

60kg Denis Puric vs. Wang Wenfeng

67kg Melsik Baghdasaryan vs. Gu Hui

75kg Perviz Abdullayev vs. Law Chosing

65kg Kim Minsu vs. Wei Ninghui

120kg Andrey Gerasimchuk vs. Felipe Micheletti

70kg Tournament Reserve: Dzianis Zuev vs. Mohamed Mezouari

70kg Andrei Kulebin vs. Wu Xuesong

70kg Tian Xin vs. Buakaw Banchamek

70kg Tournament: Superbon Banchamek vs. Cedric Manhoef

70kg Tournament: Davit Kiria vs. Jomthong Chuwattana

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Lion Fight 34 Featuring Two World Title Fights

Lion Fight is looking to make 2017 special by kicking things off with Lion Fight 34 in Las Vegas. The event is set to take place from the Tropicana right on the Las Vegas strip and will feature two big world title fights. The main event sees Regian Eersel looking to defend his Lion Fight Super Middleweight Championship against Sammy Sana, while the co-main event sees Iman Barlow defending the Lion Fight Women's Super Bantamweight Championship against Meryum uslu.

Regian “The Immortal” Eersel(C) vs. Samy Sana – Lion Fight Super Middleweight Title

Iman “Pretty Killer” Barlow(C) vs. Meryum “Mergen” Uslu – Lion Fight Women’s Super Bantamweight Title

Anthony “The Assassin” Njokuani vs. Chris “The Butcher” Harrington – Super Middleweight

Kronphet Phetrachapat vs. Kevin Burmester – Welterweight

Gabriel “El Nino” Mazzetti vs. Nick “Golden Boy” Chasteen – Middleweight

Diego Llamas vs. River Daz – Welterweight

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