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Former K-1 Champion Mark Hunt Gets a Crack at UFC Gold

  • Published in Kickboxing

On November 15th at UFC 180 in Mexico the unthinkable will happen; 40 year old Mark Hunt will have a shot to become UFC [Interim] Heavyweight Champion. The injury-prone Champion, Cain Velasquez, has been forced to pull out of his scheduled title defense against Fabricio Werdum and who else would step forward on a few weeks notice for the shot of his life? Of course Mark Hunt would jump at the chance to be called UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Mark Hunt got his spot with the UFC via a technicality thanks to his contract with PRIDE FC, the UFC opting to honor said contract and give Hunt a shot at the UFC. At the time there were no real hopes to Hunt impressing anyone. Hunt was 36 and he stepped into the ring with Sean McCorkle coming off of a five fight losing streak. McCorkle would make six. Hunt swore that he'd do better and Dana White gave him another shot. What followed was a crazy four-fight winning streak that was finally derailed by former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos. Many would claim that JDS won via knockout, but it always just seemed that Hunt was just exhausted and the kick just put him onto the mat, where he was just too wiped out to stand up.

His next fight was against perennial title contender and one of the men who beat the unbeatable Fedor Emelianenko in Bigfoot Silva. It was a bloodbath of a fight, one of the most beautiful things that a fan could witness, ending in a rare majority draw after five rounds of action. Afterwards Bigfoot Silva tested positive for banned substances, which didn't come as much of a surprise. Hunt's next fight was in Japan against Roy Nelson. Nelson had always been knocking at the door of being a top guy in the division, but was always held back by his stubbornness. Mark Hunt laid him out in just two rounds.

Now Mark Hunt is the man to fill in and is given the opportunity of a lifetime. Fabricio Werdum will no doubt be in better shape, is younger and more well-rounded, but Mark Hunt is Mark Hunt. 

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LEGEND 3 Set for April 5th in Milan, LEGEND 4 with Badr Hari in June

  • Published in Kickboxing

Legend

Interestingly enough, if you follow the exploits of LEGEND's Ruslan Suleymanov you'd know that he appeared at UFC 169 to have some discussions with Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita about a possible UFC event in Russia, just like he had been in discussions with GLORY officials recently and plans to again. Suleymanov has money and a love for the world of Kickboxing and MMA, so he seems steadfast on promoting more big events around the world.

According to an interview with MMAFighting's Ariel Helwani from this weekend, the next LEGEND event will be on April 5th in Milan, Italy. There have been no bouts announced yet, but we have learned that it will be a co-promotion with Carlo di Blasi's Oktagon promotion, which promotes Muay Thai in Milan. This has added to it rumors of using Giorgio Petrosyan on the card, as Di Blasi is Petrosyan's manager. This could be an explanation for the meetings with GLORY officials, as Petrosyan is signed to GLORY. The next LEGEND event afterwards will be in June, where Suleymanov expects Badr Hari to appear.

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Lion Fight 18 Competes For Your Time on Friday Night

  • Published in Muay Thai

This Friday night is pretty much unprecedented for Lion Fight. Usually when they are running events they are clear of most competition. There might be a minor Bellator card here and there, but it’s usually nothing of consequence. This time around, well, things are a bit different. On September 5th combat sports fans are treated to an onslaught of programming that means that inevitably, only one event can be watched at a time. You can DVR what you want to watch later, for sure, but three events at the same time? Some DVRs aren’t even capable of such feats. 

This Friday we get to see the first real event from Bellator that will have his fingerprints all over it. Cokertor will finally make its debut with a card featuring King Mo Lawal against GLORY kickboxer Dustin Jacoby. The Bellator Featherweight Champinoship is on the line in a rematch betweeen Patricio Pitbull and Pat Curran, then you have both Cheick Kongo and Bobby Lashley in action. This is probably one of the bigger Bellator events that we’ve ever seen on free TV, at least since they canceled that PPV and moved the show to Spike. 

Then, on the other side of the spectrum, we have the UFC. The UFC goes down the street from Bellator to Foxwoods in Connecticut with what is a really stacked card for hardcore fans on free TV. The main event is Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi, a rematch from 2008. Then you have 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion and former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem against Ben Rothwell, which is an awesome fight. Add in Matt Mitrione and Joe Lauzon into the mix and you have an appealing free card for fight fans.

This is a lot of direct competition for Lion Fight this weekend. A lot. 

The Lion Fight Middleweight Championship is on the line as champion Yodsanklai Fairtex will square off against the game challenger that is Salah Khalifa from the UK. Then you have all-around bad ass Jason Andrada taking on Stan Mancebo in a bout that should feature excitement from beginning to end. Those are just the top two fights. The rest of the card is bound to provide quite a bit of excitement. In fact, to date, Lion Fight has yet to put on an event that would come anywhere close to considered dull. 

Nick Chasteen vs. Jose Palacios is another fight that you might not recognize their names unless you follow American muay thai and kickboxing closely, but this fight has the potential to be one of the better bouts of the night -- that’s across all three events -- and all you gotta do is tune in. Lion Fight has yet to disappoint and on Friday will have a lot of competition, but this fact alone, that Lion Fight has never disappointed, is reason enough to say that the rest can wait.

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Tyrone Spong Signs with Glory

  • Published in Glory

SpongThere have been rumors about Spong for weeks now, with the former K-1 Heavyweight being a hot commodity on the open market. It appeared that Spong was linked to K-1 for a while, as he was used in the promotional materials for the K-1 Open Tryouts in Los Angeles, but those close to him in the Netherlands were saying the opposite; that he was unhappy with K-1 and didn't trust them. In a press release yesterday (sorry, we've been down for 24 hours), Glory announced that Tyrone Spong had signed with them and will be a participant in their tournament in December in Japan.

Spong makes a welcome addition to the Glory World Series tournament in what could be one of his last active years as a Kickboxer, as he resides in Florida, training with the Blackzilians team (also known as Team Jaco) and is managed by Authentic Sports Management. Spong is essentially surrounded by MMA and talk of him making a MMA debut at some point in the near future has not died down at all. Whatever his decisions for signing with Glory over K-1 are, they are his own and he has not publicly explained it, but his reasons are his reasons.

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Programming News and Notes on This Weekend's K-1 and It's Showtime Events

  • Published in K-1

K-1/It's ShowtimeWe have a very busy schedule coming up for us after a bit of downtime. First off, DREAM.17 marks the return of live Japanese MMA to HDnet on September 24th.

That isn't the end of the action for fight fans, though. Not by a long shot. For kickboxing fans there are two huge 70kg tournaments happening in the two kickboxing hot beds of the world. It's Showtime puts on their Fast and Furious 70kg MAX tournament. The Fast and Furious tournament is shaping up to be the biggest tournament of the year, hands down, in any weight class in the kickboxing world. The event will be streamed on It's Showtime's website, ShowtimeFights.com for the usual 10 euros live, and according to Andrew Simon from HDnet, there are plans of airing the event on the 14th of October.

On top of that, It's Showtime has promised today that on Friday they will announce the fight card for the January 28th It's Showtime event, including the location and they've promised "REALLY breaking news."

We aren't done yet, with K-1 putting on their second tournament of the year. The 70kg MAX Japan tournament marks K-1's biggest tournament so far this year after the -63kg MAX Japan tournament. The event happens on the 25th in Japan and it is unclear if or when the event will air. We have yet to hear back from K-1 on our query about a possible streaming option and HDnet has confirmed that they have no current plans on airing the event.

Stay logged into the LiverKick.com all this week for updates and previews of these huge events.

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Overeem Destroys in 19 Seconds

  • Published in K-1

You knew it was a hard road for Todd Duffee.  Facing the rampaging Alistair Overeem, on short notice, under MMA rules where The Reem can use his killer knee?  That's a tall order, and unfortunately for the ex- UFC fighter, he wasn't up to it.

In just 19 seconds, Overeem landed a series of blows, including that murderous knee, to knock Duffee down and out.  Duffee's chin has been a question mark since his UFC loss to Mike Russow, but those blows would have put almost anyone away.  Such is the power of the K-1 champion.

With that win, Overeem claims the Interim Dream Heavyweight title, making him the current Dream, Strikeforce, and K-1 champion.  I know he has his detractors, but that's an impressive accomplishment.

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Saki on Badr Hari: "Sometimes He Makes a Mistake Because he Fights Too Aggressive."

The showdown between Badr Hari and Gokhan Saki is just two days away now, with things reaching a critical mass for both fighters. At this point both men are done training and are simply wading through the final preparations before the big fight. In an interesting interview with Fighters Only, Gokhan Saki interrupted his training earlier in the week to discuss the upcoming bout with Badr Hari as well as a bunch of other issues. One of the big topics was K-1, and he says that he knows "many things" about K-1, but that he can't talk about them right now. This goes along with a lot of the rumblings we've been hearing behind the scenes.

When asked about MMA and if he is interested, his answer is simply, "Yes, of course, I'm a fighter, you know?" Saki mentioned maybe MMA, maybe Boxing, that he has been training in both, but that his "thing is K-1" and that is his main focus for right now. [source]

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Watch Yuichiro Nagashima Celebrate Post-Fight at Dynamite!!

  • Published in K-1

We all love honesty when it comes in our favorite fighters; a straight-forward attitude, humility and admittance that they are indeed mortal just like you and me. They get scared. Well, most fighters do, not everybody is Alistair Overeem, who knows when he is walking to the ring that it will just be a matter of time before someone lays in a pool of their own blood before him. Going into his Mixed Rules bout at Dynamite!! against Shinya Aoki, Yuichiro Nagashima knew what he had to do; he had to get out there and knock Aoki out in the first round. Aoki used his brain to avoid contact with Nagashima all throughout the K-1 rules round, which lead into the MMA rules portion of the bout, where Nagashima was in deep, deep water against one of the best MMA grapplers in the world. After the boisterous, over-the-top entrance from Nagashima, to lose would be a shame, but when you saw the look on his face and the concern of his trainers going into the second round, you saw a defeated man.

The flying knee that connected not only shocked Aoki, but it shocked Nagashima as well. Watch this video of Nagashima as he heads to the back after the bout and watch him coming down from his adrenaline rush and just how lucky he knows he was for scoring that knockout. He even vows to never, ever do MMA again and that he was "so scared!"

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A Look at K-1's Rising Talents From the Los Angeles GP

  • Published in K-1

K-1

For the first time since 2008, K-1 will return to US soil with the K-1 World Grand Prix Los Angeles event, focusing on cultivating US talent. This is the first time in a very long time where K-1 is actually looking to build up new stars in the United States and make a real, honest-to-goodness effort to push into the mainstream in the United States. If you are a Kickboxing fan, you know that the Heavyweight division has a certain lack of depth to it, so the fact that there will be what can be considered a new generation of fighters presented this weekend is exciting to many.

LiverKick is going to run you through the up-and-comers in the Heavyweight division that will be competing on Saturday at the K-1 World Grand Prix Los Angeles, just so that you'll be prepared.

Jarrell Miller - Jarrell is probably the fighter with the most upside at the moment. He is a known commodity in that he has competed in Kickboxing and Muay Thai for years now, and has recently ventured into the realm of Heavyweight Boxing with nothing but success. We’ve already seen Jarrell in “big fight situations” when he competed in the WCL when he was just 19 years old, including a big win over UFC Heavyweight Pat Barry. Be looking out for Jarrell to hit hard and to try to end it early and make a big statement.

Randy Blake - Blake, another WCL veteran, has a lot of hype surrounding him as he competes in the Southeast a lot, mainly in Oklahoma City. Blake went 1-1 in his WCL career and since then has been taking on all comers, but at Heavyweight, Blake will be undersized against most fighters. As we’ve seen in the past though, that doesn’t always mean a death sentence in K-1, as many undersized fighters have had great Heavyweight careers.

Xavier Vigney - Xavier Vigney is still very much a wildcard when it comes to what his potential is. He had a promising future in American Football, being a standout at De La Salle in California before hanging up the shoulder pads and began kicking thai pads. He has fought a number of amateur bouts, but has yet to step into the ring as a professional. What he does have going for him is size and athleticism, which is very important for a fighter. From the amateur bouts of his that are online he looks a bit rough around the edges, but there is definitely something there. If we’ll see that this weekend against tough veteran Seth Petruzelli is another thing entirely.

Jack May - Jack May is a 4-1 MMA fighter who stands at a towering 6’8” who has yet to really make a dent on the Kickboxing world. All of his victories in MMA come by way of Knockout, so it is safe to say that he should feel at home in a stand-up only environment. He trains at CSW in California and works extensively with Josh Barnett, who of course is known for his grappling. There won’t be much grappling for him to do this weekend, so it still remains to be seen how he handles K-1 rules.

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