|Heavyweight (Per 1/20)|
|6.||Mirko Cro Cop
|Light HW (per 1/20)|
|Middleweight (per 1/20)|
|Welterweight (per 1/20)|
|4.||Marc de Bonte|
|70kg (Per 1/20)|
|2.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 1/20)|
There were a few minor announcements on today's Strikeforce conference call, like only the final of the tournament will be a five round fight. Wait a minute, doesn't that fly in the face of the interviews Scott Coker had been giving about every fight being five rounds and every fight with the title being a title fight? Absolutely.
As it turns out, the title is not on the line at all, the winner of the tournament walks away the Strikeforce 2010 Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion, but not the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion. That means none of Alistair Overeem's fights will be for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship. Honestly, this does not bother me. When it comes down to it, one of my main criticisms of the tournament was the inclusion of the Heavyweight Champion and only his fights being five-round affairs. Many would note some of the "special rules" used in the earlier PRIDE GPs, and I'll be the first to point out that while we got Royce vs. Sakuraba, otherwise the special rules were a waste of time and things probably should have been uniform.
There was some other strange stuff that went down on this conference call (if you've never been on a Strikeforce conference call count yourself as lucky, they are a mess). Some of the other announcements were that there would be a "fourth judge" in case of a draw. This judge? Strikeforce-appointed. I can almost hear the squishing sound of your eyes rolling back into your head, but we'll give it a pass as the chance of a draw is very rare, outside of UFC title fights, apparently. The other announcement was that there will be a five-person committee to decide which reserve fighter to use in the case of a draw. I'm not quite sure why you just wouldn't have two reserve bouts, one for each side of the bracket, and if you reach the finals and neither side has been used, have the winning fighters face off for a 'finals reserve' or something similar.
Can't win them all, folks. The tournament will still be incredible. We still get a tournament featuring Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Josh Barnett, Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum, Brett Rogers, Sergei Kharitonov and Antonio Silva.Add a comment
Some might question the newsworthiness of kickboxing promotion It's Showtime opening up a web store in English, but for the hardcore kickboxing fans out there, it is pretty cool. If you want K-1 gear you have to bug someone who knows someone in Japan or just become an elite kickboxer and get invited to compete in K-1. This way is a lot easier for those of us whose better days have passed them and their dreams of kicking people for a living have been dashed through strings of injuries or pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
If you are a fan of the UFC or Strikeforce you have a lot of options, from official clothing to walkout gear from various companies like TapouT, Affliction, Silver Star or Hitman. But for those of us who prefer to idea of Badr Hari gear to Brock Lesnar gear, this is a great solution. The only catch is if you are like me and live in the continental United States, shipping costs around 22 Euros, which is basically $30. So buy in bulk or do a buy with a friend or two if you are just looking to snatch up an awesome kickboxing t-shirt.
How many other web shops have Anderson "Braddock" Silva, Melvin Manhoef, William Diender, Gago Drago and Badr Hari as models? Find me a web store that bad ass and I'll shop there. So if you are interested, head over to http://itsshowtimeshop.com/en/. Yes, that is a picture of Badr Hari in a shirt that says "Kickboxing Couture." You know you need it.Add a comment
K-1 MAX champion and all around fighting genius Giorgio Petrosyan has two exciting upcoming bouts scheduled.
First up,on January 29, he faces Sudsakorn 13 Coins (formerly Sudsakorn Sor. Klinmee) for Thai Boxe Mania. Despite the event name, this is not a Muay Thai fight, and will be 3 rounds under K-1 rules. Sudsakorn is our #18 ranked fighter at 70kg, and really made a name for himself in the international scene in 2010. He started last year with a decision win over K-1 MAX fighter Chahid Oulad El Hadj in It's Showtime, and followed that up with a tournament win where he defeated Andrei Kulebin in the finals. He's currently set to face Khem Sitsongpeenong in just a few days, and if he can pull off a win there, it will give him great momentum heading into the Petrosyan fight. Other notable fights on the Thai Boxe Mania card: Andrei Kulebin vs. Kaopon Lek, Abdallah Mabel vs. Kostantin Serebrennikov, and Armen Petrosyan vs. Miodrag Olar. Kulebin's fight is Muay Thai rules, the rest are K-1.
After that, Petrosyan faces former It's Showtime champion Cosmo Alexandre at another Italian event - Oktagon 2011 on March 12. It looks like that fight will be again under K-1 rules, and at 70kg, which puts Cosmo at a distinct disadvantage. Alexandre has spent the last year fighting primarily at 77kg in It's Showtime, and will be dropping a lot of weight to make the 70kg limit. At 72 and 77kgs, Alexandre has found tremendous success lately, winning the It's Showtime belt and 2009 Thailand King's Cup among other notable victories. He's not ranked at 70kg due to his inactivity in that division, though at 77kg he would easily be in the top 5. He's an interesting challenger for Petrosyan, as the two men share a very cerebral, technical approach to the game. He also possesses a great flying knee, which he has used to win fights by opening up cuts. And no matter how good a fighter is, a cut can always end a fight. Petrosyan is the favorite here undoubtedly, but I think Cosmo will challenge him.
I had some questions about these fight due to Petrosyan's broken hand suffered at the K-1 MAX finals, but as we draw closer, new reports are coming out that indicate these fights are in fact going to happen. Assuming they do, these are two fantastic chances to see the pound for pound best kickboxer in the world in action. And unlike some other fights, these are not just Petrosyan being trotted out to face an overmatched opponent - both Sudsakorn and Cosmo provide interesting, and very different challenges to the champ. Of course, Giorgio is so good that he may make these fights look beyond simple, but isn't that part of his charm?Add a comment
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, Shinya Aoki getting knocked out by Yuichiro Nagashima from Dynamite!! will not die, actually, someone has lovingly mocked it up like Street Fighter 2. This isn't the first time we've seen something similar before, and it won't be the last time we see it, either. This comes hot on the heels as reports from Japan revolve around Nagashima's crazy cosplaying fans making Aoki's life a nightmare. We've actually heard that a few days ago Nagashima appeared at Aoki's gym, but we haven't heard if it was for an apology or if Nagashima was just messing around. Yikes. Aoki even has a new, private Twitter account, so the odds are he won't let you read his feed. Sorry. [source]
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One of the best fights of 2009 was the initial meeting between Hiroki Shishido and Bovy Sor. Udomson. Both men were participants in the 2010 Shootboxing S-Cup and look to have their second match this year in Shootboxing. The good news is that the bout will take place sooner rather than later, on Shootboxing's February 19th event. This is just the first of many bouts announced for the Shootboxing Feb. 19 event, so keep visiting LiverKick.com for the latest updates on this event.
Watch the first bout between the two and marvel at the awesome Shootboxing action. If you agree, Tweet @AndrewHDnet and tell him that you want HDnet to start airing Shootboxing events. I mean, c'mon, imagine Schiavello calling a fight like this. [source]
Fame, like many things in life, has its pros and cons. It can be a blessing and a curse; bringing opportunities into ones life that they otherwise would never have had. It's up to that individual to dictate where a lifestyle of fortune takes them. Often times, that task is too heavy for one to bear and tragedy soon follows. No one knows that better than Alexey Ignashov.
Alexey was born in Minsk, Belarus on January 18th, 1978. He developed a passion for combat sports early in life. Muay Thai is where the Belarusian would get his start. Training at Chinuk Gym, The Red Scorpion, as his fans call him, would go on to win two Muay Thai titles in less than a year, defeating future K-1 legend Remy Bonjasky, in the process. It was clear that Ignashov had the talent to compete at an even higher level as he soon moved to K-1 to try his hand at fighting the worlds best kickboxers.
Picking right up where he left off, Alexey was the victor in his first three fights in K-1 and in the process, won the K-1 Belarus 2000 Grand Prix which qualified him for the World Grand Prix in Yokohama. Alexey would lose to Matt Skelton in the quarterfinals but it was apparent that a star was quickly rising on the global kickboxing scene.
Between 2000 - 2004, Alexey would go on to defeat such K-1 luminaries as Peter Aerts, Badr Hari, Semmy Schilt, Mike Bernardo, and Paul Slowinski, among others. Quite an accomplishment for the young Ignashov. With this amount of success comes great acclaim and all that goes with it. Alexey took full advantage.
Partying and alcohol abuse replaced time in the gym for Ignashov, triggering a downward spiral in his career. Alexey would lose four straight fights in 2005, failing to qualify for the prestigious K-1 World Grand Prix in the process. His lack of dedication was apparent. Ignashov was now the victim of fighters that were climbing the ladder of the K-1 world. A stark contrast to where he was just two years earlier.
Though he made it to the semifinals in the K-1 Amsterdam 2006 Grand Prix, Alexey would go on to lose to Turkish superstar, Gokhan Saki. A blow to the psyche of the fragile fighter.
Ignashov would toil in smaller promotions for the next three years. During this time, Alexey transplanted himself to Auckland, New Zealand to train at Balmoral Lee Gar Gym under Lollo Heimuli. It was then that he would become sober and work on returning himself to the prominence he once enjoyed - even though it must have seemed like so long ago that he was there.
After preparing himself to the point where he felt ready to enter the K-1 ring once again, Alexey approached K-1 president, Sadaharu Tanikawa to give him his shot. Tanikawa was hesitant but granted him the chance at one more go around.
Not drawing the easiest of fighters, Ignashov was given a fight with K-1 superstar Badr Hari on April 3rd, 2010 at the K-1 Yokohama Grand Prix. You could tell that Alexey had been out of the spotlight for many years as he looked sluggish and unambitious while Badr Hari took the unanimous decision win.
Some thought that we had seen the last of The Red Scorpion but he found himself in the K-1 Bucharest Grand Prix a month later. Scoring a knockout win over Mindaugas Sakalauskas and a decision win over Freddy Kemayo, it looked like Ignashov was going to finally return to the dominant fighter of old. But it was not to be - Alexey was injured during his fight with Kemayo and could not continue. Another setback.
It's hard to know if Alexey will ever return to being the superstar fighter of his youth. At 32, he is certainly young enough to continue fighting for years to come but it's more than age that determines your success as a fighter - it's winning the mental game. It looks as though Alexey has won the battle over alcohol and the vices of this world. Now, he must win the battle over self-doubt and be willing to stand at the bottom of the mountain and work his way back to the top.
There are certain fighters that transcend the structured world of Martial Arts, and I consider Andrei Arlovski one of them. Arlovski began his career through Belarusian Sambo courses required for Police training. Arlovski showed a clear aptitude for Sambo and continued on, then adding kickboxing to his arsenal. Most of his career has been as a mixed martial artist, but Arlovski has worked in boxing as well and was set to make his K-1 debut in 2010 as a wild card in the Final 16 before an injury sidelined him at the last moment. He takes on Sergei Kharitonov, a fellow MMA fighter who kickboxes as well, having a mildly successful K-1 run. The two men clashing will be a stand up war and as a kickboxing fan, I can say it is one of the fights to watch in the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. Arlovski is of course a former UFC Heavyweight Champion with a highlight reel of knockouts. His Affliction run was pounding out chubby guys before one chubby guy, Fedor Emelianenko hit him so hard that the will to live almost left Arlovski. Arlovski has not seen a victory since that day, losing to Brett Rogers and Antonio Silva in Strikeforce. To say there is a certain level of revenge and redemption that Arlovski can look forward to in this tournament is an understatement.
Watch Arlovski talk during the Strikeforce photo shoot about the tournament, his hopes and dreams and smashing. He has come a long way from; "I have very strong arm, can smash." We still love him for that line, though... Video after the break (it auto-plays, bad Strikeforce).
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The past two years in K-1 MAX have been transformation years for the K-1 MAX division. In 2009 an Italian fighter by the name of Giorgio Petrosyan looked poised to take the whole tournament, Japanese ace Masato decided not to participate in the World MAX tournament and instead announced he would retire by the end of the year. Yuya Yamamoto seemed poised and energized to take that "Masato spot" in K-1 MAX until Giorgio Petrosyan beat the ambition out of him. Andy Souwer and Buakaw Por. Pramuk met again in the semi-finals, with Souwer moving on to the finals where Petrosyan took him to task and handily took his first title.
Then 2010 was a strange year for the K-1 MAX division. There was no Masato, there would be scheduling issues galore, with the traditional line-up of shows not happening. A few of the Final 16 bouts happened on the -63kgs show, then a few in Europe way later in the year. Yuya Yamamoto fell, and hard, while Yuichiro Nagashima looked like a man-on-fire, determined to take MAX by storm. The one thing Nagashima didn't account for was "Iron" Mike Zambidis having a career revival, putting on a FOTY with Chahid Oulad El Hadj and then KO'ing Nagashima in the 3rd round. Something felt missing for fans, as there was no Masato and Buakaw Por. Pramuk had apparently not been invited back into the MAX tournament, nor had Andy Souwer, the man who made the finals the year before and was in Masato's retirement bout. Zambo's run at the top was stopped by Petrosyan and Yoshihiro Sato's run to the finals was met with stiff competition from Petrosyan, who easily captured his second crown.
This leaves us in an existential quandary over 2011. Here is what is clear; Giorgio Petrosyan will rip through the competition as long as injuries don't hold him back. Yoshihiro Sato will be back and looking to finally take his place as the Japanese ace, but will he choke in the big matches again? Yuya Yamamoto might want to prove that his run in 2009 wasn't a fluke, but the chances of him succeeding are not high. Yuichiro Nagashima ended 2010 by destroying Shinya Aoki at Dynamite!! during the MMA rules portion of their fight, and his cosplaying fans have apparently been giving poor Aoki a tough time and haunting him everywhere he goes, to the degree that his Twitter is gone and he is basically in hiding. Let's not kid around, Nagashima had a breakout year in 2010 and might be able to do better in 2011.
Of course, the man that derailed him last year was ZAMBO, "Iron" Mike Zambidis. Nobody expected Zambo to come to war and make it as far as he did, but he did. That fire that was lit under him will most likely not disappear, expect him to be a force again this year. Artur Kyshenko was upset by Mohammed Khamal in the Final 16, but Kyshenko will be back with a vengeance, and expect the young blood of Khamal to once again come to fight. Then, of course, there is Gago Drago. Drago is one of the most exciting and frustrating fighters in the world, with his recent string of losses and inconsistent performances and the rise of much more exciting and consistent fighters in Europe it is hard to argue he still has a spot in MAX. Mosab Amrani went to war with Mootje on December 18th and would make for an awesome inclusion in the MAX playing field. Artem Levin has been fighting at 75kgs, and if he can drop 5kgs more he could be an absolute beast in the MAX division, especially after taking home the gold at the Sport Accord World Combat games last year at 75kgs. I also fully expect Albert Kraus to be back and ready to fight.
Of course, with all of these favorites, the real question is, can anyone stop Giorgio Petrosyan?Add a comment
Our good friends at HDnet have been working hard to make their website all sorts of new, and a part of that is their blog section, which has brought us some great Michael Schiavello content. Schiavello has been one of those love him or hate him characters in the MMA community. Many of us love the absolute passion he brings to every fight that he calls, loves the way he puts himself right there into the action and makes the fights come to life. Other people enjoy more subdued commentary and want the fights to speak for themselves, to each their own I guess.
Schiavello is known for his now legendary cry of "Good night Irene!" whenever a fight has the pace pushed so hard that you have to reach a spectacular conclusion. Well, for those of us that have wondered the exact origins of the cry, he fills us in. For those who missed the part of their childhoods that involved professional wrestling, it involves Adrian Adonis and Gorilla Monsoon.
For a big man Adonis had an amazing repertoire of techniques including a sleeper hold ﬁnish called “Good Night Irene.” Nothing gave me more pleasure during my days of wrestling fanaticism than seeing Adonis put an opponent in a sleeper and hearing Gorilla Monsoon announce “he slaps on Good Night Irene.”
To this day Iʼm not really sure what caused those words to come out of my mouth while commentating the APS Track and Field Championships as a 16 year old. I would later use the phrase when commentating Victorian Premier League soccer on radio, and eventually made it my ﬁght sports catch-cry when I began commentating Muay Thai and kickboxing as a 21 year old on Fox Sports.
To find out how a track and field meet plays into a sleeper hold, read the rest of the entry and support every fight fans' best friend, HDnet.
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Last week we talked about the much discussed Strikeforce Heavyweight tournament and why fans of K-1 and kickboxing should have some interest in these events, even if they don't care at all about Fedor Emelianenko. Well, Strikeforce is not the only MMA game in the US to feature notable K-1 veterans, as the UFC has a handful of fights on tap worth a look. At the moment, the UFC has 3 former K-1 heavyweights on contract (a 4th, Antoni Hardonk, quietly retired last summer with little notice), and all 3 have fights scheduled in the coming weeks. Let's take a look at what's next for our former kickboxing names, and take a quick look at their chances:
MIRKO CROCOP vs. Brendan Schaub, UFC 128: Shogun vs. Evans, March 19 - Without a doubt, Mirko CroCop Filipovic remains the gold standard by which to judge any K-1 fighter looking to make the transition to MMA. After leaving K-1 behind in 2003, CroCop was dominant in MMA, terrorizing Pride with his brutal head kicks. But in recent years, that dominance has looked more and more like a thing of the distant past. He's had a lackluster 4-4 run in the UFC, and is coming in off a dull loss to Frank Mir where the former K-1 GP finalist was KO'd by jiu jitsu fighter Mir. There were flashes of the old CroCop in his fight with Pat Barry, but those flashes are increasingly rare. Schaub is a young fighter and relatively new to the UFC, but is currently on a 3 fight win streak. His last win was a career best victory for him, as he defeated Gabriel Gonzaga - the man who famously CroCop'd CroCop in what was the beginning of the end for the Croatian's career. No doubt at all I'll be rooting for CroCop here, but Schaub is young, hungry, and a deceptively tough challenge.
MARK HUNT vs. Chris Tuchscherer, UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch, February 27 - Like CroCop, Mark Hunt traded in K-1 success for a strong run in Pride. And like CroCop, he's recently fallen on hard times in the ring. The 2001 K-1 Grand Prix champion is on a dreadful 7 fight combined losing streak in MMA and K-1, and has not won a fight since retiring Tsuyoshi Kohsaka back in May 2006. Recent fights have seen the once unstoppable Hunt KO'd by Melvin Manhoef and repeatedly submitted, seemingly with ease. This show takes place in Australia, and maybe this will be a good opportunity for Hunt to take part in his final fight, as he just doesn't seem to have the drive any more. His opponent, Chris Tuchscherer is a training partner to Brock Lesnar, and has yet to show much of note in the UFC, but I still find it hard to pick Hunt over him. Despite Hunt's recent troubles, I'm still glad to see him in the UFC, and it's particularly satisfying that with this fight and Overeem vs. Werdum in Strikeforce, MMA fans will see two of the K-1 Grand Prix champions in action next month.
PAT BARRY vs. Joey Beltran, UFC: Fight for the Troops 2, January 22 - The least K-1 experienced fighter of the bunch, Barry is also the youngest and the one with the most potential for a future MMA career. While CroCop and Hunt are winding down their decorated careers, the 31 year old Barry seems to be just getting started. Barry competed in a handful of K-1 events from 2005-2007, with his biggest wins coming against Gary Goodridge and Rickard Nordstrand. A former Ernesto Hoost trainee, Barry has now been in the UFC for just over two years. His last fight was a good match with CroCop, where the young kickboxer seemed a bit star-struck and allowed himself to be awed by Mirko's legend before being choked out. Previous to that fight, he showed good skills against Antoni Hardonk, proving that he is a worthy prospect. He faces the unfortunately nicknamed "Mexicutioner" Joey Beltran, best known for wrecking the much anticipated UFC debut of Rolles Gracie at UFC 109. Beltran is a lot like Barry - another tough young fighter looking to move up, making this a good, even match. In the end I think it will be Barry's stand-up skills that earn him the win, although his 7 month layoff could make him rusty.
Add in Alistair Overeem, Ray Sefo, and Sergei Kharitonov in Strikeforce and that's 6 current or former K-1 fighters competing in major American MMA promotions in the upcoming months. Definitely should be some exciting fights to watch.Add a comment