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Mirko Cro Cop Impresses at K-1 in Madrid

  • Published in Video

There were some extremely low expectations for Mirko Cro Cop going into today K-1 Rising in Madrid show against Loren Javier Jorge. It isn't even that Jorge is that good of a fighter as much as it was that Cro Cop has had an extremely tough time of late and has looked less-than-mobile. His fight against Ray Sefo from a few months ago was what it was, but Mirko looked incredibly slow and plodding during that bout, not putting on much of a showing before walking away with the victory. He was still the Cro Cop that we knew and barely tolerated from the UFC that was slow, tentative and relied too much on dirty boxing and less on his kicks that made him famous.

The Mirko Cro Cop that showed up against Loren Javier Jorge tonight in Madrid was like an entirely different fighter altogether. The Cro Cop of old, that we all loved to watch and cheer on seemed to be inside of the ring tonight. He was mixing up his strikes, using better angles, throwing his kicks without fear and moving a little bit more like he used to before his UFC career. When Loren crumbled into the corner in the second round after a few deadly left hands from Cro Cop, it didn't feel like a sad display from a down-and-out fighter as much as it felt like a return to form for the former PRIDE Openweight GP Champion and former K-1 fighter.

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K-1 Offering Stream for Free on Sunday

  • Published in K-1

K-1

Just when we thought that everything was all figured out, about an hour ago K-1 dropped a bit of a bomb on their fans; the stream of the event this Sunday will be completely free of charge. That's right, so if you were looking forward to watching the K-1 event and were not happy about paying $20 for it, it looks like you are in luck. Of course, it is not an entirely noble gesture. It turns out that the internet connection within the arena might not be cohesive with broadcasting an internet stream in HD. Read: Expect a choppy stream that will not be able to handle a decent amount of traffic.

Read the announcement from K-1 below.

"Dear all K-1 fans,

K-1 production team found the internet speed at the venue is not fast enough to support live streaming in high quality. However, they assume that internet speed is good enough to view the fight in standard quality.

We want more fans to enjoy watching exciting new K-1 show, so we decide to live stream for free of charge.

We will provide the recorded show in high quality as soon as it is ready.

We hope you all enjoy the exciting fight and feel the heat of new K-1.

K-1 Global Holdings Limited"

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Up Next for Hunt, CroCop in the UFC

  • Published in Kickboxing

Mirko CroCopLast 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.

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Fallout from Glory Purchasing It's Showtime, K-1 Left in the Cold and in Trouble

  • Published in Kickboxing

I feel like there is so much going on in the Kickboxing world right now that it is difficult to really pinpoint exactly where to start. I feel like watching the above video by FightstarTV is a good start if any, as Bas Boon discusses some of the implications of the purchase of It's Showtime. Firstly, there is talk about the future of Simon Rutz within the organization and how he will continue to play a big role, which to many will be a relief. Then, there is talk about possibly keeping the It's Showtime name alive much like the Strikeforce name is still alive even though the UFC owns it.

To shift gears, I've had a lot of people asking my "why" over the past 24 hours and seen a lot of questions online on forums and Twitter. After speaking with a few people close to the situation as well as a few people who were working at the show yesterday, it appears that Simon Rutz and It's Showtime's partnership with K-1 blew up in their faces and put them in a financial predicament. Apparently, Rutz and It's Showtime had paid for the K-1 Rising in Madrid show in its entirety and due to using the K-1 name, did not get their usual sponsors and co-promoters to help them cover costs. The expectations were that K-1 would pay for these costs, as promised. After a few days had passed and the money had not materialized, Rutz and Glory began talks which have persisted over the past month and finally culminated on Saturday when the deal was signed.

To put it bluntly, K-1 Global has their first true scandal on their hands and it took them less than six months of operations to get there. While there have been press releases over the past week or so from K-1 Global and statements from Doug Kaplan about finding great talent at the Muscle Beach Open Tryouts, the truth staring back at them in the mirror is in one fell swoop their partnership with It's Showtime, which provided them with 90% of their talent, is gone. Of the World MAX Final 16 they just held, a staggering ten of the fighters were under It's Showtime contracts, five of the Final 8. From the Super Fights it appears that only Mirko Cro Cop is left. We had originally believed Badr Hari to be under direct contract to them, and he was, but according to sources close to him and his management, the contract was breached when the money was not paid within the allotted time period, so they are considering the contract null and void. We've heard other fighters had K-1 contracts and are simply not sure yet how they will play out in the end, most are not confident in fighting for K-1 again and trying to get out of said contracts.

Obviously, this is a disaster for K-1. All it took was one weekend and a good chunk of the talent they were going to rely upon have seemingly fallen from their grasp and stories are being spread about K-1 Global not paying their bills on time, taking after their predecessors at FEG.

What we do know for certain is we are entering a new age in Kickboxing and the big brand that has meant everything might not have that same value as we all originally believed, in the coming months Glory can do a lot to prove that new brands can be easily forged in combat sports and that it is the talent and management that makes something special.

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Mirko Cro Cop vs. Jerome Le Banner Possibly on Tap for Genki Desuka 2011

  • Published in Kickboxing

In a ridiculously awkward turn of events, Mirk Cro Cop's recent retirement from MMA has made his name pop up more and more in the news than it ever did in his UFC run on an international level. What we know so far is that Mirko plans on returning to the Kickboxing world and it seems that March is his projected return date against a fearsome opponent in Errol Zimmerman. There is also negotiations ongoing with Dzevad Poturak for a bout in June. Both of these fights are incredibly tough fights for an aging Mirko who has been competing in MMA for years without competing in Kickboxing. He also has been away from training for Kickboxing, which can be a giant problem for a fighter coming from Mixed Martial Arts.

Then there is this piece of news, where Jerome Le Banner is set to be in action. His proposed opponent? Mirko Cro Cop. This would be a spiritual successor to their 1996 K-1 bout where Cro Cop walked away victorious, the only difference is that this would most likely be a professional wrestling bout contested under the IGF banner. According to Nikkan Sports Antonio Inoki has offered Cro Cop a spot on New Year's Eve against Le Banner, the current IGF Champion. IGF will also most likely have pro wrestling contests featuring Naoya Ogawa and Tadao Yasuda, both former professional wrestlers and MMA fighters. [source]

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Remembering Mike Bernardo: 2000 K-1 WGP in Fukuoka -- Revenge Against Cro Cop

  • Published in K-1

Today we were hit with the sudden departure of K-1 legend Mike Bernardo, which is a giant hit to the Kickboxing community. Bernardo, who has been retired since 2004 had a good run in the realm of K-1 before being forced to retire after an eye injury. Bernardo, sadly, had to retire before ever seeing success on the highest level of K-1, which is winning the K-1 World Grand Prix. Even though he never won the big one, he was competing during a period where the competition was intense, to the point where the one tournament victory that he did have under his belt was incredibly impressive.

To help honor Bernardo, we are going to take a look at Bernardo's World Grand Prix in Fukuoka run and why it was as special as it was. His first bout of the evening was against Jorgen Kruth, a young Swedish fighter who was looking to make a big splash on the K-1 scene. Kruth had earned his way into the Fukuoka tournament by running through the K-1 Grand Prix Europe 2000 which saw three impressive knockouts over Tony Katoni, Drazo Ordui and Xhavit Bajrami. It was a steep step up in competition for Kruth, but he had a good deal of hype surrounding him leading into his first K-1 event in Japan. Sadly for Kruth, Bernardo had other plans for him, as did his right hand.

It was a picture perfect right hand that left Kruth crawling on the mat and knocked him out of the tournament early on. Bernardo's next fight was against fellow South African, Andrew Thomson. Thomson had a very tough fight with Stefan Leko in the quarterfinals, and actually lost his fight via low kicks, but moved on due to an injury that Leko sustained. Bernardo quickly smelled blood and went for the kill, securing his spot in the finals. (If the embed doesn't start from the right time, click here or skip ahead to 10 minutes.)

This set the stage for a gigantic rematch for Mike Bernardo, as he was moving on to the finals of the Fukuoka World Grand Prix against Mirko Filipovic. Cro Cop had a rough night, taking two hard-fought decisions over Glaube Feitosa and Hiromi Amada, two tough veterans who posed a significant threat at the time. Bernardo and Cro Cop had met almost exactly a year before in the opening round of the K-1 World Grand Prix where Cro Cop knocked Bernardo around, forcing him to the mat three times forcing the ref to stop the fight. Bernardo was quick to swarm on the battered Cro Cop and Beru-chan fought a much more strategic fight against Cro Cop, keeping in close, not allowing Cro Cop to get distance and land his deadly kicks and instead landed a brutal leg kick of his own.

Cro Cop's corner threw in the towel as Mirk had difficulty getting to his feet, putting Bernardo in the winner's circle with a slot in the World Grand Prix. Sadly, Bernardo suffered an injury and had to sit out the rest of the year, with Cro Cop unsuccessfully taking his place against Ernesto Hoost. This tournament served as Mike Bernardo's lone K-1 tournament win and was truly a great, crowning achievement.

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A Look at the Eclectic LEGEND: Invasion Fight Card

  • Published in Kickboxing

LEGEND

The mixture of Kickboxing and MMA has been around for a while now, with promoters trying to get a "best of both worlds" feel going, but I'm not sure that it has ever made much sense or been a great idea. With that being said, LEGEND Fight Show will be promoting their second event on November 8th and will feature both MMA and Kickboxing. It's obvious that they plan to spend some serious money on this event, as the main event of Alexander Emelianenko vs. Cro Cop must cost a lot and Badr Hari doesn't come cheap, either. The Light Heavyweight Kickboxing tournament is actually pretty awesome as well.

This is definitely something to keep your eye on.

UPDATE: Replaced Aleks Emelianenko.

 

  • Kickboxing -93 kg
  • Andrei Stoica vs. Agron Preteni
  • Kickboxing -70 kg
  • Chingiz "Chinga" Allazov vs. Enriko "Goodan" Gogokhia
  • MMA -77 kg
  • Eduard Vartanyan vs. Florent Betorangal
  • Kickboxing Tournament -93 kg
  • Zabit "Mowgli" Samedov vs. Melvin "No Mercy" Manhoef
  • Kickboxing Tournament -93 kg
  • Sahak "Hak" Parparyan vs. Pavel "Caiman" Zhuravlev
  • ММА -77 kg
  • Paul "Semtex" Daley vs. Alexander "Bad Boy" Yakovlev
  • Kickboxing 93+ kg
  • Badr "The Golden Boy" Hari vs. Alexey "Red Scorpion" Ignashov
  • Kickboxing Tournament Finals
  • ММА 93+ kg
  • Alexey Oleynik vs. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic
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UPDATE: GLORY 14 Zagreb Ratings on Spike TV

  • Published in Glory

Kiria

GLORY 14 Zagreb this weekend was an awesome show for all that tuned in, Kickboxing fans old and new. A hot topic since GLORY has gotten onto Spike TV has been television ratings, as TV ratings determine how many viewers were watching and heavily influence the television network's decisions for the product moving forward. GLORY 13 saw a rating of 659,000 viewers, which was not only an increase, but a steady increase that showed that GLORY was here to stay. Saturday night's GLORY 14 delivered even more viewers than that.

According to reports, GLORY 14 Zagreb pulled in 851,000 viewers on average, which is another almost 200,000 viewer increase from GLORY 13. If Spike TV were to still have their doubts about GLORY and the Kickboxing product as a whole, GLORY 14 pulled in comparable ratings to Bellator 110, which featured Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and King Mo Lawal. Considering that some of the criticism towards GLORY has been not having ratings on the level of Bellator, this is a great step in the right direction and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw GLORY eclipse Bellator in the ratings in short order.

It is an exciting time to be a Kickboxing fan.

UPDATE: Interestingly enough, a blog dedicated to Nielson ratings got it wrong on this one. They didn't pick up 200,000 viewers, they shed 200,000 viewers. GLORY 14 Zagreb, after a three month absence on Spike TV, on tape delay going head-to-head with a Canelo Alvarez PPV got an average of 495,000 viewers with a peak of 588,000. No, those aren't the original, over-the-moon ratings reported, but they still aren't bad. Still around your average Bellator territory, honestly.

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GLORY 14 Zagreb Results

  • Published in Europe

GLORY

GLORY 14 is today, Saturday March 8th and for those who are waiting for the Spike TV broadcast I highly recommend waiting for the event to air before spoiling it for yourself. GLORY is staying quiet on social media for today, it seems, so saving yourself from spoilers might not be difficult.

GLORY 14

Remy Bonjasky (R3 - Decision) Mirko Cro Cop

Middleweight Tournament Finals: Alex Pereira (R3 - Majority Decision) Sahak Parparyan

Lightweight Championship: Davit Kiria (R5 - KO) Andy Ristie

Middleweight Tournament: Alex Pereira (R1 - KO) Dustin Jacoby

Middleweight Tournament: Sahak Parparyan (R3 - Split Decision) Jason Wilnis

GLORY SuperFight Series

Mladen Brestovic (R1 - KO) Jahfarr Wilnis

Benjamin Adegbuyi (R2 - TKO) Dmytro Bezus

Aikpracha (R3 - Split Decision) Albert Kraus

Igor Jurkovic (R1 - KO) Michael Duut

Karapet Karapetyan (R3 - Unanimous Decision) Artur Kyshenko

Murthel Groenhart (R1 - TKO [Cut]) Teo Mikelic

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Sergei Kharitonov Out of Cro Cop Bout at GLORY 17

  • Published in Glory

GLORY

GLORY 17's main event is having a few problems thus far. Originally the plan was for a rematch between Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and Pat "HD" Barry, but Zack Mwekassa's fists had something to say about that. That left former PRIDE, K-1 and Strikeforce fighter Sergei Kharitonov for Cro Cop. Well, it looks like a finger injury has sidelined Kharitonov for the next few months, leaving Cro Cop again without an opponent.

June 21st is less than a month away now, meaning that GLORY has to scramble to find a new opponent. The rumored list of names right now is Zack Mwekassa, Jarrell Miller, Jerome Le Banner and Jamal Ben Saddik. There was a remote chance of Tim Sylvia, but that is definitely not happening, Ray Sefo and Ernesto Hoost have apparently also offered their services for the Cro Cop lottery as well. Out of all of these options, Mwekassa is probably the one with the most upside for GLORY. Mwekassa made short work of former UFC star Pat Barry earlier this month and will be fresh in the minds of fans, so he'd be a credible threat to Cro Cop. If Mwekassa wins you have a Heavyweight star that you can nurture, if he loses there isn't much for GLORY to lose at this point.

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